Broken Twigs: Culture changing and the FGSB Mailbag

Broken Twigs: Culture changing and the FGSB Mailbag

Paul Holmgren will not be fired this year so get used to it.

Ala-kazam! You’re welcome.

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Mike Sielski’s not wrong, he’s just an asshole.

Or to put more specifically, being an asshole about this.

Far be it from me to defend poor MISTER Snider or Paul Holmgren or any of the Flyers brass that has come but not gone over the past two decades, but it’s easy (and lazy) to attack a franchise that hasn’t won a championship in almost 40 years because, well, they haven’t won a championship in almost 40 years.

I agree with the sentiment of his Inquirer column – maybe it is time the Flyers change things up in the front office, maybe they get some new (possibly young) faces in there. But simply telling people they need broad sweeping change when something doesn’t seem to be working is like shooting fish in a barrel. And the thing is, Snider’s actually right in a certain sense, and the case of the Blackhawks doesn’t make him wrong. Just like every other team the Flyers have a 3.33% chance of winning the Stanley Cup at the onset of every season. Every spring the media in 29 NHL towns analyze what went wrong, why their team came up short, and what could be done to avoid the same failure next season. Rooting for a sports team has worse odds than your average scratch ticket. In the end almost everyone is going to lose.

So you haven’t reached the top of the pile in 38 years, ever thought about changing everything!?! Duh, dude. Duh. It’s funny to me that the media can be on both sides of this argument. The only entity that rivals the organization itself in identifying Flyers culture is the local media. Actually, they may have done more. Who has been perpetrating the idea of The Broad Street Bullies for the past 4 decades? Who has been feeding its readers this identity for 40 years? Who asks every single draftee if they think they fit into this idea that is Flyers hockey (whatever that is)? This whole time while the Flyers have been the production and distribution in this arrangement the Philadelphia media has been the marketing department. For a member of that same entity to come back and decry the monster it created without acknowledging its role in said creation seems naïve at best, and cowardly at worst.

Asking the chairman of a company if he needs to change the Flyers culture is akin to asking the President if we need to change the American culture after a school shooting. Like, how do you even answer that/what are you even talking about? You deserve to get spanked. Thanks for the insightful question. Let’s change the culture to a Stanley Cup winning one. That will be better for everyone.

It’s true that many Flyers executives formerly played for the organization, but since retiring each one of these individuals has taken a different path to get where they are today. And they continue to do so. Each coach, GM or scout makes decisions based on what he thinks is best for the team, finding some common ground between his own personal opinion and input from people he trusts. Holmgren made different decisions than Clarke would have. Hextall will make different decisions than Holmgren. Edmonton GM and former Flyer Craig McTavish would make different decisions than both of them.

Now if Sielski’s question and ensuing article are a call for just Ed Snider to distance himself from the operations of the team I think there could be some merit to that. But I don’t see the need to have only people who never played for the Flyers in the front office. Former Flyer or former Haliburton VP of Operations, doesn’t matter me to me. How each person performs in that role is what matters.

You have questions, I have answers. FlyersMailBagGo!

Question from myself…to myself: How did it feel when the coach got fired 4 days after you wrote a post for which the headlines was “Peter Laviolette will not be fired this year so get used to it.”
It’s not my fault. It’s the internet. What’s supposed to happen is that I write that headline and that post and then it gets buried in the annals of the internet and everyone forgets about it and Laviollette gets fired and no one cares that I was wrong. That’s how it generally goes. I’m going to bring you back behind the blogger’s curtain and tell you a secret – the internet is full of shit and a lot of it is the same exact thing posted on different sites by different people. So my writing prep generally goes like this – what is everyone in the mainstream media writing about ok I’m going to write the opposite because why not. You have to differentiate you’re product, son!

@DownGoesOskars - Which current flyer do you think would best be suited for a successful career in graphic design?
I’m wondering what angle you’re approaching this from…who is the most creative Flyer or who is the best at doing what they’re told (burn!). I actually wondered if there was a little internet café in the Flyers new locker room when I was reading about how great it was. Jay Rosehill, who has somehow made himself the voice of the Flyers and one of the only things we all talk about, said that it was the kind of place that made you want to come in early and leave late. For some reason I immediately pictured some kiosk/cubicle computer room where guys come in and surf the web. But then I figured they all just use their phones, and finally that these guys don’t really read anything online unless you count the word “Brazzers.” Aint’ nobody got time for computers when you could be working on your snap shot.

@Jmager_22 - how long until Berube punches a player to prove a point?
For some reason I think Berube is a quite/big stick kind of guy who knows that the threat of him coming down on you is way worse than the reality, at least in his post-enforcer days. As a coach you can really only scream at these young millionaires once or twice a year. What you need to do is bench, or even better scratch, a high profile player because then you’re messing with his livelihood and that will get everyone’s attention. All that being said, Berube’s definitely slapped Steve Hartnell in the back of the head.

@lonis119 - Which Flyer will be the first filmed singing Don't Stop til you get Enough after a win, if they do win again?
If we’re going just based on their propensity to be caught on camera than it’s Zac Rinaldo. When he was talking to Jay Rosehill (there he is again!) on the bench on Tuesday I was paralyzed with fear. That look. I thought he was going to come right out of the TV ad dry hump me to death. If I was Berube I’d actually talk to him about that. Not that I care who he’s banging in the crowd, but during the game you focus on the freaking game. Only. Not just when you’re on the ice. Stop talking about boning chicks while you’re on the bench unless you’re up by 5 goals and your coach wasn’t fired the day before.

@treblaw - which Flyer would make a solid, if unspectacular, NBA shooting guard?
I feel like Mark Streit might be able to stroke the occasional three. He might actually be better suited at the point, but I can’t even picture any other Flyers dribbling a basketball. Streit would be best suited to the Harlem Globe-Trotters style of play, but I don’t think he’d be on board with cashing in the NHL lifestyle to ride around on a sleeper bus, eventually arriving in Louisville just to pants a referee and steal the ball from him.

@DirectingTitan - What is the official Craig Berube stance on spanking as a means of instilling discipline?
Well he brought it up so apparently it’s a tool he’s familiar with. Man is that going to be awkward after a blowout loss to the Blue Jackets. Berube in the middle of the locker room spanking Matt Read, staring right in Claude Giroux’s eyes.

Look what I found. Some of you probably weren’t even born yet.

Sixers acquire, merge two leading eSport companies

Sixers acquire, merge two leading eSport companies

The Sixers on Monday acquired controlling stake in Team Dignitas and Team Apex, two eSport companies.

The companies will be combining under the Team Dignitas banner. The Sixers become the first North American sports franchise to acquire an eSports team and intend to manage the day-to-day operations of Team Dignitas.

"There is a tremendous opportunity to leverage the infrastructure, resources and experience of the Sixers organization to support these exciting teams as they continue to compete at the highest levels across multiple games," Sixers managing general partner Josh Harris said in a statement. "We see our entrance into eSports as a natural extension of our expanding interests in traditional sports and entertainment and are confident that our involvement will accelerate the already rapid pace of growth in eSports as a whole.”

Team Dignitas and Team Apex have created games such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm and Smite.

NFC East Week 3: Eagles sit alone atop the division

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USA Today Sports

NFC East Week 3: Eagles sit alone atop the division

Washington reverses course, Dak just wants to be Carson, and OBJ is getting knocked out by kicking equipment. The Eagles sit atop the NFC East heading into the bye week; let’s see if any of the objects in the rearview mirror are closer than they appear.

Washington

What Happened: Jay Gruden’s squad took a defibrillator to their season, coming back from a 21-to-9 deficit to beat the Giants in New York by a final score of 29-27.

The game was billed as a rematch between Josh Norman and Odell Beckham Jr., who went WWE on each other in last season’s Giants-Panthers match. And yet, to the surprise of no one, the two didn’t end up lighting each other on fire on the 50-yard line. Shocker, really, I know. Apparently, the refs didn’t even let them bring their flame-throwers in the building.

It was an odd game, featuring 19 penalties, 7 field goals, and zero Kirk Cousins interceptions. Perhaps not coincidentally, Washington found success offensively when they took the ball out of Cousins’ hands; their final drive for the go-ahead score featured eight running plays. This may be a sign of things to come, as Washington’s offense had been ridiculously pass-focused the previous 11 quarters this season.

The most impressive player on Washington’s roster, meanwhile, was kicker Dustin Hopkins, who went 5-for-5 on field goals for the day. There’s only so much excitement a fanbase can get when the best player is the kicker. Like finding out your favorite bar started serving hot cocoa. Neat!

What It Means: The lungs may be pumping, but the body may be lost. The victory in New Jersey came at a significant cost for Washington; DeAngelo Hall suffered his annual season-ending injury, the offensive line needed three back-ups on the final drive, and so many guys in the D.C. secondary went down that safety Will Blackmon had to finish the game playing the slot. 

And if you think this team is just starting to come together, think again. Chris Baker (he of Nick Foles crushing fame) was seen yelling at his defensive coordinator. Vernon Davis (who is, yes, still playing football) was making play-call requests like he was talking to the DJ at a bar-mitzvah. And Hall, who is likely out for the season, had to call a players-only meeting before the game even started. This team has more cracks in it than SpaceX’s recycled rockets

(Side bar: who has the money to send themselves into space, but then opts for the discounted spaceship? It’s gotta be Dan Snyder, right?)

What’s Next: The Cleveland Browns at home, so okay, yes, Washington should be able to get back to .500 next week. But if (when) they do, let’s not completely forget that they only won this game because of gross incompetence on the Giants end: a turnaround in Washington is about as likely as global warming being caused by zebra farts. It’s so unlikely, it’s not even worth exploring. Also, it’s gross.

New York Giants

What Happened: The Giants fell into old habits, choking away a fourth quarter lead like this was 2015. The loss was assisted by 11 penalties (5 personal fouls) for 128 yards and 3 turnovers (including, as it always seems to, a pair of Eli Manning interceptions in the fourth quarter). It was the kind of totally-dysfunctional defeat that makes you wanna fire the head coach and hire a disciplinarian like Tom Coughlin.

OBJ was statistically terrific (seven receptions for 121 yards), but it didn’t matter in the end. He is now the fastest player to 3,000 yards receiving, which he did in an impressive 30 games. The Giants, meanwhile, are 12-18 in those 30 games, which gives him a lower winning percentage than Kevin Kolb. Or Brett Myers. Or Mo Cheeks, as a coach!

Looking for positive news? Slot receiver Sterling Shepard looks legit. The rookie wide-out had five catches for 73 yards, including an impressive touchdown across the middle. His continued development will likely result in Victor Cruz’s home eventually being up for sale.

Oh, and lastly, if you had predicted that Giants center Weston Richburg would become the first player ejected for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, please DM me your lottery numbers immediately.

What It Means: New York is now 2-1, but it’ll feel about as bad as 2-1 can feel. Like throwing up on the beach; it’s not ideal but could certainly be a lot worse.

But like throwing up on the beach, things could get really bad, really quickly, depending on what happens next. Big Blue let a very winnable game slip through their fingers, and lost it in a fashion that will have pundits comparing this squad to the one from last year. THAT team made a fourth-quarter lead feel about as safe as Tesla’s auto-pilot. The Giants need to do everything in their power not to be THAT team.

Beckham, meanwhile, continues his quest to become the most dislikable receiver in the NFC East (an award Dez Bryant has held tighter than he holds touchdown passes). The guy had the audacity to question why the refs gave him a warning before the game about fighting. That’s like a puppy getting upset you covered the living room floor in newspaper. You think we’re gonna just let you come in here and pee everywhere again? Fool me once, pup. 

Even the equipment thinks this guy’s a jerk, a fact proven by this video of Beckham getting smacked in the face with a kicking net. PUT HIM IN THE CONCUSSION PROTOCOL, ROGER! 

What’s Next: Monday Night Football against the Sam Bradford-led Minnesota Vikings. The Giants will likely be underdogs heading out to Minnesota, which is an odd thing to say about any team going up against Bradford.

Dallas Cowboys

What Happened: Remember a week ago when the Birds made mincemeat out of the Bears on Monday Night Football? That’s essentially what the Cowboys did Sunday night to Chicago. Ezekiel Elliot had his biggest game so far, getting over a hundred yards rushing for the first time in his young career, and Dak Prescott threw his first touchdown pass, to Dez Bryant. Dallas led 24-7 at halftime and walked out with a 31-17 victory that didn’t even feel that close.

Like fellow rookie Carson Wentz, Prescott has yet to throw an interception. And like Wentz, Prescott found beating the Bears an easy task. Their stats are freakishly similar, actually: Wentz has thrown 66 completions, completing 64.7%, for 769 yards. Prescott has also thrown 66 completions, completing 66.7%, for 767 yards. It makes the match-up between Dallas and Philly on October 30th all the more intriguing… assuming Prescott isn’t benched for 52-year-old Tony Romo by then.

In other news, Bryant appeared to injure his knee at one point, but returned, and that was about as much drama as Dallas faced on Sunday. Yawn. 

What It Means: Every win in the NFL is a tough-win, the other team gets paid too, blah-blah-blah. The Cowboys swam in the Eagles wake on this one. Chicago was coming off a humiliating Monday night whipping, traveling to Dallas on a short week, and playing without their starting quarterback (a detriment no matter how uninspiring as that QB may be). Let’s not confuse the Cowboys opponent with the ‘85 Bears… or even the ‘05 version. 

Sure, Dallas has now doubled the number of Romo-less victories they had last season. Sure, they’ll feel better at 2-1 than the Giants probably do. But anyone who had held out doubts about the Iggles after Week 2 needs to allocate those same doubts for ‘dem Boys.

Meanwhile, the better Prescott plays, the more controversy Romo’s return will eventually stir-up. Playing your back-up quarterback should be like visiting the dentist; it’s great when everything goes well, but if you’re already thinking of going back right when you leave, something probably went wrong. 

What’s Next: Chip Kelly! The Cowboys head out to San Francisco to face Blaine Gabbert (groan) and the 49ers who are averaging an unsurprising 26:45 in the time of possession department, which is about 26 minutes higher than expected. Why not spend your bye week being nostalgic as The Chippah runs the same four plays over and over till your head explodes?