Game 8: Toronto Maple Leafs at Philadelphia Flyers Schenn-Off!

Game 8: Toronto Maple Leafs at Philadelphia Flyers Schenn-Off!

The Leafs come to town pretty hot, having started the season at a 5-1-1 clip. The Flyers, on the other hand, have cooled considerably after their first start, losing their last two games in rather convincing fashion.

Leafy Substance
Toronto is scoring a ton of goals, led by Phil Kessel (8 goals, 6 assists in 7 games) and our old pal Joffrey Lupul, who has 4 goals and 4 assists. Dion Phaneuf is contributing in a big way as well, with 7 assists to go with a pair of goals.

Backups In Net
Unfortunately for the Leafs, they'll be without their top goalie, last year's rookie phenom James Reimer. Reimer took an elbow to the head on Saturday night and will miss at least tonight's game. Jonas Gustavsson will start his second game of the season. In his previous outing against the Flyers, our boys hung 6 on him.

Sergei Bobrovsky will get the call in net for the Flyers, who had some obvious trouble in communications between Ilya Bryzgalov and his defense on Saturday.

While they certainly weren't all his fault, Bryz has given up 9 goals in his past two starts. He hasn't been at his best, and that's not something he wears well.

Two-for-One 'Andreas' Night in the Press Box
Jody Shelley will reportedly be in the lineup tonight, with Andreas Nodl getting the scratch; Matt Walker will also be in for Andreas Lilja. Ryan Bright points out that Shelley will dress to be Colton Orr protection and Walker should add some toughness to the blue line for a game that could be pretty rough.

The Brothers Schenn
Flyers phenom Brayden Schenn rebounded from a -3 debut against the Caps to be one of the better Flyers on the ice in the loss to the Blues. Lining up with Danny Briere and Wayne Simmonds, the 20-year-old found his stride once Lavvy switched him back to center to start the second period, and the kid saw his ice time increase by nearly 8 minutes. He'll get to see his older brother Luke tonight, and Tim Panotch says their family will be in from Saskatoon to see the boys square off. Brother Bowls aren't all that uncommon in the NHL, but it'd be great to see Brayden put Luke on his ass in the open ice.

Wishlist
Here's what we'd like the Flyers Genie (Ryan from FGSB) to grant tonight…

1) Jagr breaks his goalless start to the season
2) Riemer earns back the playing time he quietly surrendered on Saturday as the hardest working man on the ice
3) Winter Classic tickets…?

Phillies minor league affiliate to ban tacos for one night to demonstrate bacon superiority

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Phillies minor league affiliate to ban tacos for one night to demonstrate bacon superiority

Everybody loves bacon. Everybody loves tacos. So why can't we all just get along and eat bacon tacos?

That's not what will go down on Saturday night when the Lehigh Valley IronPigs are BANNING the sale of tacos at all concession stands at Coca-Cola park.

Brutal!

It's all part of the Bacon vs. Taco night as the IronPigs host the Fresno Tacos.

"It was an easy decision. Serving tacos on Saturday would be hypocritical," said Lehigh Valley IronPigs President and General Manager, Kurt Landes.  "Saturday is about proving once and for all that there is absolutely no substitute for bacon. Period."

Yeah, but like I said: BACON TACOS.

The IronPigs are at least trying to make up for their lack of tacos by making bacon bits available to add to any food item for the low price of 75 cents. Seems like a steal. And there's always the candied maple bacon on a stick at least.

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We're going to share some of the official press release for this event because it's just so juicy:

While the feud between Lehigh Valley and Fresno seemingly dates back to the beginning of mankind (or at least the beginning of Minor League Baseball), we should remind you that it was the IronPigs who first received national and international acclaim in 2014 for their "Smell the Change" rebrand that included the introduction of their now iconic bacon strip on-field cap and bacon-themed uniform. The IronPigs have doubled-down on bacon recently, embracing the "Bacon, USA" theme by doubling the amount of bacon sold at all games. The original bacon cap remains one of the top-selling lids in the history of Minor League Baseball. With widespread interest and publicity, the bacon logo quickly sold to each of the 50 states as well as Australia, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom.

It wasn't until a year later in 2015 that the Fresno Grizzlies announced a one-game name change to "Tacos" (we don't get it either) hoping to garner similar attention while claiming the Central Valley of California as the "Taco Capital of the World."

Regardless of your favorite team or food, there's little argument that these two clubs have distinguished themselves promotionally throughout Minor League Baseball and professional sports. In fact, the IronPigs have been awarded the most Golden Bobbleheads in the history of the award, honoring promotional excellence in Minor League Baseball across various categories. Recently, Fresno captured the top prize in 2015 and Lehigh Valley in 2016. The winner of this contest will have a leg up in the race for the 2017 Golden Bobblehead award.

Shocker: Phillies interested in getting one of baseball's best players

Shocker: Phillies interested in getting one of baseball's best players

We're all looking forward to the free-agent class of 2018.

If Maikel Franco doesn't shape up, the Phillies could make a hard push for Manny Machado. Franco after a two-game benching is back in the lineup for this afternoon's game against the Rockies (see story).

Then, of course, there's Bryce Harper, who earlier this month agreed to a one-year, $21,625,000 deal for next season. 

And guess what? If Harper becomes a free agent after next season, the Phillies would be interested in signing him.

Really?

According to a FanRagSportsNetwork, citing a Phillies source, the Phils would be interested luring Harper to Philly.

Shocker. 

It'd be big news if a Phillies source said the team wasn't interested in signing Harper. 

Anyway, the story also quotes a National League scout.

“Could you imagine what he could do in that ballpark playing 81 games a year in that bandbox?” the scout said.

Chances are every Phillies fan has already imagined it. Harper this season alone is hitting .351/.400/.784 with five homers and 12 RBIs in nine games against the Phils. In three games at the Bank, he's hitting just .250 with a homer and two RBIs.

But in 38 career games at CBP, he's hitting .296/.361/.627 with 12 home runs and 26 RBIs.

In 89 career games against the Phillies, he's hitting .282 with 20 homers and 54 RBIs.

At the risk of stating the obvious, here's one thing to remember: If the Phils sign Harper, then he'd no longer benefit from facing them.