Flyers-Panthers: Prongerless Reality Game 1

Flyers-Panthers: Prongerless Reality Game 1

Although the Flyers have been without Chris Pronger for a few games already, a situation they are no longer strangers to, tonight marks the first time they'll take the ice knowing that they will be without him for the rest of the regular season. Their best shutdown defender, the big point shot, the masterful antagonism, and the biggest hits will all be in the press box the rest of the way. 

Not exactly good news for a team suddenly struggling to close out games when a guy who logs Chris Pronger minutes is out of the lineup. As always, we'll try to find some silver lining, but the rest of the Flyers will need to change a few things pretty quickly, starting tonight in Florida.

Nick Boynton will be active, with Erik Gustafsson called up but serving as a healthy scratch. Obviously the Flyers will now be relying quite a bit on Boynton to maintain, if not help to restore, the defensive depth, with Andrej Meszaros once again playing a prominent role in all facets. But as much as we need to see the D-men steup up, the forwards really have to get back on their game defensively too, which includes not allowing so many turnovers that end up going the other way and giving the defense little chance. At times they've seemed careless, maybe even overconfident with the puck, and that's dangerous no matter who they play, but especially so when they're facing teams that are desperate for wins. 

At 11 points out of the playoff race, I'm not sure the Panthers are scratching that bubble. I don't think the Flyers are currently above losing to them either, not after what we've seen from them lately (and the Panthers have beaten both Tampa Bay and Chicago in the past week). Our boys have been rather creative in how they let games get away from them, making it harder to pinpoint exactly what is currently going wrong. It's easy to say they didn't play a full 60 minutes against the Thrashers, but why? And how did that manifest? I don't even feel like getting into that game. Not at all. 

A decisive win tonight will, which should be very possible, will go a long way toward getting our minds off back to back weekends of shitful hockey. On the other hand, with a loss tonight, it's possible they could slide out of first place for the first time since early January. Motivation enough? 

Boucher is net for the the Flyers, Vokoun for the Panthers. Show 'em why, Boosh. 

Eagles' Brandon Brooks gives father touching gift

Eagles' Brandon Brooks gives father touching gift

How’s this for an awesome deed?

Eagles offensive guard Brandon Brooks took to Twitter to show a heartfelt message, that included a photo of a new car he purchased for his father.

In the tweet, Brooks revealed the mindset his father has instilled in him growing up, not wanting to be average and more.

Nice gesture, Brandon.

Elements will play factor for both Flyers, Penguins in outdoor game

Elements will play factor for both Flyers, Penguins in outdoor game

PITTSBURGH -- The ice on Friday afternoon at Heinz Field was watery and slushy.
 
That’s because the city set a historic record at 78 degrees for Feb. 24.
 
So what were the ice conditions?
 
“They were pretty good,” said Sidney Crosby. “It was pretty bright there. Started off the practice and the sun was beating down pretty good.
 
“I’ve played in a few of these and the ice was pretty good considering how warm it was. It’s supposed to cool down and I’m sure it will get better.”
 
The Penguins will host the Flyers on Saturday night in a Stadium Series outdoor game.
 
Pittsburgh took the ice Friday at 4 p.m. The Flyers got on the ice a little more than an hour later and things started to cool down.
 
“We had a pretty good practice given the circumstances,” Jakub Voracek said. “This is a little better setup than Philly. The fans are closer.”
 
It was much hotter when Pittsburgh took the ice, but the temperature was still warm after the sun went down.
 
Shayne Gostisbehere said, “It was hot for sure. … It was fun, but it was pretty hot.”
 
Defenseman Radko Gudas said the ice surface was, “playable, but a little rough.”
 
On Saturday, rain is expected, with temperatures falling to 42 degrees by 5 p.m.
 
During the game, which begins at 8 p.m., the temperature is projected to continue to drop and there will be wind gusts up to 31 mph. By the end of the night, the forecast says temps will be in the 20s. 

Players are more concerned about the wind than the ice at this point. Crosby, who has played in three previous NHL outdoor games, said wind is a huge factor. It happened to the Penguins at the 2014 Stadium Series game in Chicago.
 
“It can definitely be a factor,” Crosby said. “I want to say in Chicago that was something we kind of had to look at. We felt it a little more there compared to the other two [outdoor games]. If it going to get windy like that, it’s something to be aware of.”
 
It remains to be seen how the NHL will handle which team goes into the wind first.
 
“Yeah, the wind,” Penguins assistant coach Rick Tocchet of what element will be a big factor. “I hope you don’t have to backcheck. Who gets the advantage? They change in the third period. But who picks what end? There is a wind factor.”
 
Tocchet rated the ice Friday as “a little slushy.”
 
“It was good early and then it got tough because it was hot outside,” Tocchet said. “But we got a half-decent practice out of it.
 
“The one thing, the puck didn’t bounce, which was good. Players can adapt a lot better when the puck doesn’t bounce. When things bounce, it’s a tough night.”