Flyers Out for Revenge, First Win in New Jersey

Flyers Out for Revenge, First Win in New Jersey

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Everybody knew there was no way the Flyers could carry over the
frenetic pace from last season’s first-round playoff series against the
Pittsburgh Penguins into round two. Sure enough, that energy would only last
for all of one more game.

The Orange & Black would go on to take a 1-0 series lead
via an overtime thriller before the New Jersey Devils went about their usual
business of smothering the life out of an opponent. Philadelphia had averaged
nearly five goals during its first seven postseason games, but was held to less
than two per over their next – and final – four.

Just like that, the Flyers were eliminated from the
postseason in what was the equivalent of an elongated sweep. The Devils went
all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Tonight they’ll hold a ceremony and raise another banner in
Newark before hosting the winless Flyers, with an offense still searching to
regain its form after Marty Brodeur and company drained the team of its
vitality. So far this season they have just the three goals in two games,
although the refs have played a part in some of the frustration.

Back in May, the officials didn’t have a damn thing to do
with it. The Devils simply had all the answers. Where the Flyers won most of
the battles for the puck versus Pittsburgh, New Jersey was able to turn the
tables on them. And Brodeur had a magnificent series, not only in net, but also
behind, expertly playing every puck to his teammates that Philly wanted to dump
and chase.

The Devils wore them down at the other end as well, taking
advantage of head coach Peter Laviolette’s aggressive system. Ilya Bryzgalov
could not have been 100% in net either, having sustained a stress fracture in
his foot. New Jersey posted at least three tallies to the scoreboard in all
five contests.

It was a thorough beating, one that does not necessarily
give hope that the Flyers can pick up their first points of the season tonight.

Having said that, Jersey is certainly going through a
transition after losing Zach Parise in free agency. That’s 31 goals and 38
assists subtracted from the lineup, not to mention a league-leading eight goals
in the postseason this past summer, and Adam Henrique’s 16 and 35 are currently
missing as well due to a thumb injury.

Then again, the more things change in Newark, the more they
stay the same. The Devils are still capable of stifling opponents the way they
did to Philly in that series last season, and if the 40-year-old Brodeur is
rusty at all following the lockout, it didn’t show in his first game back.
Marty limited the New York Islanders to one goal in a 2-1 victory.

The Flyers did have some success against their rivals last
year however prior to the playoffs, in particular Bryz, who was 3-0 in starts
against New Jersey last season, only allowing one goal in the process. He’s
looked sharp in the earlygoings this year despite the losing, so we’ll see if he can keep
the momentum going.

Game starts at 7:30 due to pre-game ceremonies. Is it too early to say the Flyers need a win tonight given the shortened season?

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Joel Embiid officially out for rest of season

Joel Embiid officially out for rest of season

MIAMI -- In the end, he played 31 games.

Joel Embiid's rookie season is officially over, the Sixers announced on Wednesday. Embiid has not suited up since Jan. 27 and has missed 17 of the Sixers' last 18 games because of a left knee injury. An MRI taken Monday revealed a bigger meniscus tear than initially diagnosed but significant healing in the bone bruise.

The Sixers have only 23 games remaining and are not in playoff contention, lessening the urgency of Embiid’s return this season. Embiid concludes his rookie season averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.45 blocks in just 25.4 minutes per game.

"The assessment of Monday's follow-up MRI of Joel Embiid's left knee appears to reveal that the area affected by the bone bruise has improved significantly, while the previously identified meniscus tear appears more pronounced in this most recent scan," Sixers chief medical director Dr. Jonathan Glashow said in statement released by the team.

Embiid suffered the injury on Jan. 20 against the Trail Blazers, played one game against the Rockets, and has not suited up since then. Last week the Sixers had targeted a return date of March 3 but changed that status changed to "out indefinitely" after Embiid still was experiencing swelling. 

During an MRI taken the night of the injury, the results also revealed Embiid had a slight meniscus tear which the team did not believe was related to the contusion. 

Prior to the announcement, there was a strong reaction from the fans who were looking for transparency on the big man's status. Embiid expressed his displeasure last Thursday with the way the Sixers managed after he was informed he would miss multiple weeks. 

"I wasn’t too happy with the way it was kind of handled before," Embiid said at the time. "I saw the day-to-day part. I was told that I was going to miss at least two or three weeks. So I wasn’t happy with the way it was handled."  

The following day, president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said he would have done things differently. 

"We should have just said 'out indefinitely,' even though the treatment was still day to day," Colangelo said. "But the fact that there was uncertainty, I'll own that." 

Embiid's short NBA career has been marked by injuries from the very start until now. He sat out his first two seasons with foot injuries. This year the Sixers took an ultra-cautious approach to their starred big man. He was placed under a carefully monitored minute restriction (capped at 28) and did not play on both nights of back-to-back games. Embiid reiterated throughout the season that after missing two years, he was exercising patience to benefit his long-term health.

When Embiid was on the court, though, he shined. He made NBA basketball look easy and he had his way at and away from the basket. Embiid did not appear in enough games to qualify him on the leaders' charts, but based on his raw stats he led all rookies in scoring and in rebounds. Teammate Dario Saric is second in both categories but still trailed Embiid by 8.9 points and 1.6 rebounds. 

Embid ranks second among all players in blocks behind Jazz big man Rudy Gobert. In his first 31 games, he recorded nine double-doubles, which is first among rookies even though he has not played in over a month. 

Embiid scored a career-high 33 points on Dec. 18 against the Nets and 14 rebounds on Jan. 14 against the Knicks. He dished five assists in three games and swatted five blocks in two contests. 

The announcement of Embiid's status comes less than one week after Ben Simmons was ruled out for the season. Like Embiid did, Simmons will miss his entire first year with the Sixers. He suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot during training camp. Simmons received a bone marrow injection on Monday speed up the healing. Both Embiid and Simmons are projected to be the centerpieces of the Sixers' future when they return next season. 

Embiid is with the Sixers in Miami. Expect to see him around the team for the remainder of the season as he stays involved to further their team chemistry for the 2017-18 campaign.

While he works toward his return to the court and eyes his next official game months down the road, he will embrace his mantra. 

As he's always done, Embiid will trust the process.

Flyers trade Mark Streit to Lightning for forward Valtteri Filppula, picks

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Flyers trade Mark Streit to Lightning for forward Valtteri Filppula, picks

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Everyone knew there was a good chance the Flyers would try to move Mark Streit at the trade deadline.

What no one expected, however, was that they would trade him to Tampa Bay for a player who is coming back with a salary nearly identical to the one they are losing and has another year left on  his contract.

That's what transpired late Wednesday at the deadline when Streit left to the Lightning in exchange for longtime 32-year-old versatile forward Valtteri Filppula, who will make $5 million next season. He turns 33 later this month.

Streit, whose contract ends this summer, was making $5.25 million. Because Filppula, who spent eight years in the Detroit Red Wings organization, had a no movement clause, he has to be protected this summer in the NHL expansion draft.

The Flyers also received a 4th round pick and conditional 7th round pick.

Filppula will add scoring on the wing, but he has had declining numbers since joining Tampa in 2013-14 when he posted a career-high 25 goals and career-high 58 points.

Streit had a no movement clause in his contract, but also had 10 clubs he could be traded to and this was one of them. Flyers general manager Ron Hextall has had a working relationship with Tampa GM Steve Yzerman in the past with the Braydon Coburn trade that brought them Radko Gudas.

Weal to the Phantoms
The Flyers have loaned Jordan Weal to the Phantoms to make him available for the AHL playoffs.

More coming...