An Obligatory Check-in with James van Riemsdyk amid Maple Leafs Visit to Philly

An Obligatory Check-in with James van Riemsdyk amid Maple Leafs Visit to Philly

We’ll be keeping an eye on the trajectory of their careers for
years to come, but we are reminded to check in on the James van
Riemsdyk-for-Luke Schenn swap every time the Flyers meet the Toronto Maple
Leafs. JVR makes his first trip back to the Wells Fargo Center since he was
traded on Monday night, and he returns with 11 goals already in 2013 – good for
sixth place in the NHL.

Van Riemsdyk has really begun to flourish for Toronto, his
15 points tying him for the clubhouse lead with All-Star Phil Kessel and
impressive young center Nazem Kadri. JVR has been by far their best goal-scorer
though – the next-closest player on the team is the surprising Matt Frattin
with seven – and he’s been lighting the lamp in bunches, earning his third
multi-goal game of the season last Thursday versus Buffalo. Van Riemsdyk is
also in a tie for eighth on the NHL leaderboard in shots on goal.

There’s no question the change of scenery continues to be a
good thing for the Middletown, New Jersey native. He’s showcasing true All-Star
potential, and perhaps is on the verge of finally living up to his status as
the second-overall pick in the ’07 draft if he can keep up this level of
production.

You hate to let a player go when he has that kind of ability,
but I’m not sure you would say the Flyers got robbed or anything. The change of
scenery has mostly been kind to Luke Schenn as well, who has quickly become
Philadelphia’s most physical presence on the blue line. Schenn is fifth in the
NHL in hitting (second on the Flyers to Zac Rinaldo), and his 41 blocked shots
puts him among the league leaders in that category as well. He hasn’t been
afraid to drop the gloves, either.

It’s too soon to declare either side winners or losers, but
even amid JVR’s breakout year it’s hard to feel bad about the exchange. The
Flyers’ offense has been on a roll of late, climbing to eighth in the rankings with
2.90 goals per game, so it’s not as if they miss him desperately. Despite the
addition of Schenn though, Philly is allowing the eighth-highest goals
against at 3.05, so obviously they still need work on the back end.

Of course JVR drew first blood on his old team two weeks ago,
skating right around Schenn then finding twine to put the exclamation point on a
5-2 Maple Leafs win. However, it could be awhile before we know who has the last
laugh.

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Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- With Joel Embiid's excitement to be on the court following two years of injuries comes the reality of his lengthy setback.

Embiid is participating in his first NBA training camp this week. While he has impressed with his natural abilities and improved skills, Embiid is facing challenges as he gets accustomed to the league.

"Everything is kind of off right now as far as catching the ball or shooting," Embiid said after practice Wednesday. "I've still got to get in the flow of the game."

Embiid has yet to play since being drafted in 2014. For the past two years he has worked out individually and in controlled settings. Practices, even in training camp, are different. 

"You see all the time when you realize he hasn't played basketball for a long time," Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. "He's trying to gather his feet and find his balance, he's trying to figure out stuff in real time speed on defensive assignments and rotations."

On Wednesday, Embiid went through practice without any minute restrictions and was feeling healthier from the cold and virus he had been battling (see story). Teammates have praised his physical presence and eagerness to compete. He makes an impact with his 7-foot-2 presence alone, but there is more he wants to improve. 

Embiid is adjusting to the speed of the game. He has been facing challenges with getting the ball in the post and spoke to the coaches about his frustrations. The staff explained they are focusing on pick-and-roll defense and getting out to run during training camp, but he will get that desired location in game situations. 

“You continue to see the size of Joel Embiid,” Brown said. “He's a big man and he's got a mindset to back up his physical gifts. He really wants the ball. He wants to get deep catches. He wants to dunk on people.”

Embiid always has been realistic about his transition to his rookie season. He has pointed out many times that he is a fast learner, and is anxious to soak up new knowledge and apply it to the court.

"It's really frustrating," he said. "But like I've said, you've got to trust the process, which I've been doing."

Tonight's lineup: Cody Asche starts in place of injured Roman Quinn

Tonight's lineup: Cody Asche starts in place of injured Roman Quinn

With Roman Quinn's season over with an oblique strain, Freddy Galvis moves up to second in the Phillies' lineup Wednesday night against the Braves.

Quinn's showing in the majors this month was a microcosm of his pro career to this point — he showed his speed with four steals and several infield hits, posted a .373 OBP in 69 plate appearances, but suffered another injury. Health has always been his roadblock.

With Quinn out, Cody Asche gets a start in left field against Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, who he's homered off of. The presence of Quinn and Aaron Altherr has limited Asche's playing time — he's started only three games since coming back from Triple A on Sept. 10.

Asche bats seventh, a spot ahead of Aaron Altherr, who is 7 for 52 (.135) in his last 18 games and has four extra-base hits in his last 133 plate appearances.

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Cody Asche, LF
8. Aaron Altherr, RF
9. Adam Morgan, P

Matt Kemp, who sat last night, returns to the Braves' lineup.

1. Ender Inciarte, CF
2. Adonis Garcia, 3B
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Matt Kemp, LF
5. Tyler Flowers, C
6. Dansby Swanson, SS
7. Mallex Smith, RF
8. Daniel Castro, 2B
9. Mike Foltynewicz, P