Get Ready for Claude Giroux and Danny Briere on the Same Line to Help Solve Flyers Offensive Woes

Get Ready for Claude Giroux and Danny Briere on the Same Line to Help Solve Flyers Offensive Woes

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The Flyers are having some well-documented issues slipping the
biscuit past the heavily armored man standing in front of a goal that must look
awfully tiny right now. Head coach Peter Laviolette hopes the answer is pairing
the club’s two purest scorers on a line together.

When the team is back in action at the Washington Capitals
on Friday, Danny Briere will be joining captain Claude Giroux and Wayne
Simmonds on the Flyers’ top line. As Sarah Baicker points out, Briere and
Giroux were playing on the same line together for just about every possible
situation while they were in Germany during the lockout.

Lavvy elaborated on the decision to pair the two:

“I think it’s a nice complement,”
Laviolette said. “One sees the ice really well, and one can put the puck in the
back of the net really well. I think a lot of players might enjoy playing with
Claude too, because he does see the ice and he is able to make a lot of plays.
So when you’ve got somebody who’s a natural goal-scorer like Danny, it could be
a good fit.

“They played well in the third period in New York, so we’ll try it.”

It’s certainly worth a try. Philadelphia is averaging two
goals per game, tied for 24th in the NHL. They’ve only managed to find the back
of the net more than two times in a contest once, the main reason why they are
all alone in the Atlantic Division cellar through seven games.

Of course, that doesn’t address the Philly’s struggling power
play, which still ranks 23rd with a 13.5% conversion rate. In back-to-back
losses to the Lightning and Rangers, the Flyers came up empty handed on huge
advantages that could have swung the momentum: four minutes of 5-on-4 in Tampa
Bay, and a 5-on-3 in New York.

You have to think with all their talent, offense will come.
But Scott Hartnell is still out for awhile, and youngsters Sean Couturier, Matt
Read, and Brayden Schenn have yet to make a consistent mark. The team is also
feeling the loss of Andrej Meszaros, one of their better defensemen with the
puck.

The good news is the Capitals may be just the opponent the
Flyers need for a spark. Washington is second behind only the Florida Panthers
for goals allowed at 3.67 per game.

>> In search of chemistry, Flyers unite Briere and Giroux on top line [CSN]

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Carson Wentz talks Derek Barnett, that Cowboys hat and crazy Eagles fans

Carson Wentz talks Derek Barnett, that Cowboys hat and crazy Eagles fans

Carson Wentz has had a whilrwind few days in Philadelphia as the city hosts the 2017 NFL draft.

He took some time between posing for selfies with Eagles fans and messing with Dallas Cowboys fans and hitting trick shots on live TV to talk about his busy week with CSNPhilly's Danny Pommells.

Obviously that pesky Cowboys' fan was a topic of interest.

"He was coming up and was getting booed. I was like, 'I can't take this picture.' So I nicely took his hat off and set it down and took the picture. He was cool with it. It was all in fun," Wentz said.

Carson also spoke about the record-setting Philly crowd and impressive atmosphere on Day 1 of the draft

"It was crazy. I didn't know what to expect being at the Draft Experience. The fans just kind of all circulated, it was nuts. That's Eagles fans. So much passion."

As for the Birds' first round pick Derek Barnett? Wentz had to look him up just like many Eagles fans.

"I watched some film of him. He's a dynamic player. He can really turn that corner and bend around that corner. I'm happy he's on our team I'll tell you that."

"I've heard he's a hard-working kid so that will serve him well," Wentz said.

The NFL Draft Experience continues on Friday and Saturday and is free for all fans.

Sixers 2016-17 Player Evaluation: Richaun Holmes

Sixers 2016-17 Player Evaluation: Richaun Holmes

Richaun Holmes

Position: Center

Status for 2017-18: Under contract for $1,471,382

Holmes in 2016-17
This year very well could have been a lost season for Richaun Holmes. The 23-year-old center was fourth on the Sixers' depth chart to begin the season, sitting behind top-10 picks Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel. Cracking the lineup, even with Embiid not playing back-to-backs and Noel hurt to start the year, was a daunting task.

Early in the season, Holmes provided solid minutes when he received them, reeling in 12 rebounds in a win vs. the Pacers on Nov. 11 and picking up 11 points and eight boards against the Nuggets on Dec. 5. However, Holmes was sent to the D-League soon after and with centers excelling ahead of him, it seemed his time in Philly may be numbered.

But then Embiid got hurt. This opened the door for consistent playing time for the former second-round pick and he shined. He averaged 7.1 points and 4.8 rebounds in 17.9 minutes during February, then shot up to 14.1 points and 6.8 rebounds over 26.4 minutes in March after Noel was traded. He put up 14 games with double-figure scoring despite eclipsing 30 minutes only four times. 

In all, Holmes proved himself to be a force off the bench for the Sixers, as well as when he got into the starting lineup. In 57 games, he started 17 and averaged 9.8 points and 5.5 rebounds, both increases from his rookie season. He upped his field goal percentage to 55.8 percent and became a viable three-point threat, shooting 35.1 percent, up from 18.2 percent as a rookie. Holmes finished the year with five straight games in double figures as he was one of the only healthy players left on the roster.

Signature game
Soon after returning from the D-League in January, he put up 18 points on 8 for 11 shooting against the Clippers in a win. He also had a double-double against the Wizards in late February after the trade deadline.

However, his signature game is one of two. He had 24 points, 14 rebounds and five assists against the Magic on March 20, giving a tremendous effort over 42 minutes. Nine days later, he had 25 points — a career-high — while facing off against Dwight Howard and the Atlanta Hawks, earning the praise of the veteran center (see below).

Looking ahead to 2017-18
It may have seemed unlikely in early January, but Holmes is likely a rotation piece for the Sixers next season. Noel is gone, Okafor may follow soon and Embiid may have trouble with back-to-backs again next season, although president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo has indicated otherwise. That opens the door for a lot of playing time, including more starts, for the Bowling Green product. 

The Sixers may bring in veteran help at center if Okafor is dealt, but it likely won't deter the 6-foot-10 forward in securing a role for next season. He proved too valuable at the end of the season. The energy Holmes provides is a necessary element to a second-unit and something the Sixers will gladly take next season.

On Holmes
"He's a kid that I remember the first time he stepped on the court with me, he was just like excited. He kept saying, 'Wow, I'm on the floor with Dwight Howard.' He just kept saying he was excited. Just to see his growth from that moment, he plays with such passion, it's great to see especially from a young guy like him. I'm proud of him."
- Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard

"He just sat there and accepted whatever we gave him: go to the D-League, sit there and clap, start, play behind Joel — whatever it was, he accepted. And he did it where it didn't diminish his work ethic, it didn't diminish his ability to coexist within a team. He found ways to improve individually, and he did it with a great level of maturity."
- Sixers head coach Brett Brown