Broken Twigs: Flyers' Rosehill Problem and Your FGSB Mailbag

Broken Twigs: Flyers' Rosehill Problem and Your FGSB Mailbag

Something I’ve noticed about the Flyers is that they seem unable to be grasp a basic subject that most of league has picked up on over the past few years – opportunity cost.

Here are some completely random transactions from recent Flyers history:
April 17, 2013: Jay Rosehill signed to a 2 year, $1.35M contract
July 1, 2010: Jody Shelley signed to a 3 year, $3.3M contract
July 1, 2008: Riley Cote signed to a 3 year, $1.65M contract
October 7, 2007: Jesse Boulerice signed to a Ryan Kessler’s face contract

And the reason I bring this up is that as disappointing as the Jody Shelley contract was financially, the Jay Rosehill contract is conceptually.

Let me be clear that this is not a fighting debate. Although I know fighting is probably unnecessary when it comes down to brass tacks, and is surely reckless and completely dangerous, for some reason I’m a fan. I like fighting in hockey even though I know it’s against my better judgment and will leave it to people more progressive than I to remove it. But the fact that a “player” like Jay Rosehill could possibly be on the big club this October instead of a younger, faster, more promising prospect such as Tye McGinn doesn’t sit well with me. Actually, it doesn’t even have to be a young guy. It could be an old salty veteran that excels at killing penalties (and pirates). It could be Scott Gomez! It could literally be anyone with any sort of skill that was more hockey-related than UFC.

Jay Rosehill has 3 goals and 3 assists in 83 NHL games. Jay Rosehill has 24 fights in 83 NHL games. Last season Jay Rosehill averaged 6:47 TOI during his 11 games as a Flyer (I had to go to the second tab to find that stat! He wasn’t even in the top 30 on the freaking team!). Jay Rosehill has never put up real points at any level including junior and is not a consistent, defensively-sound checking forward. Jay Rosehill is a fighter when what we need in 2013 is a hockey player.

It’s no secret that the number of pugilists in the league has been dropping steadily for years, since the advent of the instigator rule and much more so since the 2004-05 lockout resulted in a faster, slicker, sexier brand of hockey. But the Flyers don’t get that. Or more clearly stated, don’t care to get that. This is Philadelphia and no one’s going to push us around and Broad Street Bullies and Rob Zombie and gggrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

So they sign Jay Rosehill to a two year deal and then they traded a puck-moving piece of defensive inventory for Kris Newbury. There was probably someone in that conference room that was considering resigning Jody Shelley. And what we as fans get is a couple fights with Colton Orr and to grit our teeth every time the 4th line is out. Sounds good.

Hopefully this is some underlying, double secret plan to finally give the people of Glens Falls some entertainment after 4 years of hockey that wasn’t winning but wasn’t Slap Shot either – aka boring. The worst part is you know it’s not. And you know there will be injuries. And you know that there will be a game where our 4th line features Jay Rosehill and Kris Newbury – both with the hockey skills of Riley Cote, one of whom he used to beat up and another one he should have.

Time for some questions!

Bill L.: What kind of season is Danny Briere going to have with Les Canadiens?
The weird thing about being a Philadelphia fan is that more than winning, possibly, you love to see former players excel in new environments because a) you appreciate their service and b) you love to have spare darts to throw at management. That being said, Briere will lead the league in points next year with 110 points in 81 games. He will miss one game because the President cannot find Jack Bauer and needs Danny Briere to save the world in 24 hours sometime in January. He’ll do that AND manage to take his kids to a One Direction concert because he’s a good dad.

Ada D.: Couldn’t Kurtis Foster have stayed in the NHL, somewhere?
It would appear not. Good rule of thumb for anything in life is that if people would rather have Oliver Lauridsen do it, it’s time to start doing something else. But I’m glad to see Fozzie Bear head to Europe to play, even though I thought he’d return to the Finland or possibly even head to a less competitive league in Austria. Kurtis Foster is a good dude that has worked really hard and had some really bad luck. That he can change leagues, make at least the same amount of money and go from never knowing if he’d be in the press box to #1 superstar offensive dynamo defenseman is deserving of his hard work. I saw a lot of Twitter rubbish talking about moving to Siberia and whatnot but if you’ve never been to Croatia (which I haven’t) you should Google Images the town he’s going to be playing in (which I did) – it’s absolutely beautiful.

mhoc3518: What do you think about the Philadelphia Amateur Hockey Combine?
I think the 64 13-15 year olds who were invited to that camp probably have a good chance of playing college hockey somewhere, and it’s nice to get them together to reaffirm to every other kid in the area that they probably don’t. Which raises the question: when is a good time to tell your son he is not going to play in the NHL and should start staying up all night developing apps unless he wants to be a floor salesman when he grows up? I would guess that deep down you know if your kid’s got a shot at pro hockey around the age of 10, and I suggest as soon as the thought even occurs to you (missed breakaway, bad practice, whatever) you tell him that he doesn’t. No need to fill his mind with dreams of Joel Otto, Matt Read or other late bloomers – it’s not going to happen. There are over 500,000 active registrants in USA Hockey. There are 600 NHL positions available. If you play the odds and stick your kid at forward there are actually only 360 spots available (forget about goalie). Then take into account that people of at least a one decade range are competing for those 360 spots, not just ‘96’s or ‘04’s. And then take into account Canada, Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Finland, and Slovakia. When you’re delivering this news be sure to blame most of your son’s failure on your spouse’s lack of athletic ability.

Mike K.: What is your obsession with Jim Dowd.
Let me ‘splain something to you. Matt Read was a very good college hockey player, right? His best year he had 41 points in 37 games and it appears he’s going to put together a decent NHL career. Now think about this – Jim Dowd’s best year at Lake Superior State he had NINETY TWO points in 46 games. One year in NJ high school he had 113 points in TWENTY FOUR games. Jim Dowd Y’all!
Also, when he finished his NHL career with the Flyers in 2007-08 he scored 6 goals during the course of the year and looked as excited as a squirt scoring his first goal ever every time. That was fun.

Mike G.: You think the NHL will ever see a Royce White?
Ever is a long time but still, probably not. Hockey so manly that there is fist-fighting allowed (see: above). Concussions (brain damage) are hidden by the players if they’re not elite. Above all, individualism is only allowed as a marketing tool and personalities or other distracting qualities(see: Bryzgalov, Ilya) are frowned upon. That aspect is probably one of the biggest challenges You Can Play faces in hockey culture – that coming out is a personal action in a team environment. On that line of thinking Royce White probably needs to not travel for a while, but besides the logistical hurdles this raises for the coaching staff, it would make for a weird locker room, which is also not tolerated in hockey (see: Island, Dry). We’re huge proponents of both You Can Play and Royce White’s mission to bring mental illness to into the professional sports discussion, but it’s going to be a while until hockey culture sees either.

Yinztweet Breakdown of the Week

She's saying she had a sex dream about Sidney Crosby. That's what she's saying.

Matt Klentak: Trade was about doing the right thing for Carlos Ruiz

Matt Klentak: Trade was about doing the right thing for Carlos Ruiz

The Phillies’ decision to trade beloved catcher Carlos Ruiz to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday was ultimately made by Ruiz himself.

“This was about doing the right thing for Carlos because he has meant so much to this organization,” general manager Matt Klentak said Thursday night.

“Once Carlos cleared trade waivers last week, we started thinking about it. The Dodgers expressed some interest. Pete [Mackanin] and I talked to Carlos over the weekend. We discussed whether he wanted to finish the year with us or get the chance to chase another championship ring.

"He took a few days to discuss it with his family and got back to us Wednesday in Chicago and said that he'd be interested in exploring the opportunity and we finalized things with the Dodgers today.”

As a veteran of 10 seasons in the majors and five consecutive with the same team, Ruiz, 37, could have vetoed the deal. He chose to accept the deal because he wanted another chance to play in the postseason. He will serve as a backup to catcher Yasmani Grandal with the Dodgers, but is expected to get playing time. Ruiz's .368 on-base percentage from the right side of the plate could be a nice complement to the lefty-hitting Grandal.

The Phillies acquired the Dodgers’ backup catcher, veteran A.J. Ellis, minor-league pitching prospect Tommy Bergjans and a player to be named later in the deal. The Phils will not decide on the player to be named until after the minor-league season ends in mid-September. The Phils also sent an undisclosed amount of cash to the Dodgers. Ruiz is owed about $2 million in the form of salary and a contract buyout for 2017. Ellis, 35, is finishing up a one-year deal that pays him $4.5 million.

"This deal was not motivated by cash,” Klentak said. “It was about doing the right thing for Carlos, giving him the chance to get another ring.”

Klentak said he was "adamant" about getting Ellis back in the deal. The Phillies have two catching prospects in the upper minors in Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp, but the club would like to see them finish their minor-league seasons.

“Carlos has been such an important leader for so long, we knew we had to fill a role on and off the field,” Klentak said. “There is a reasonably good chance one of our young catching prospects will be in the big leagues before the season is over. Both our Double A and Triple A teams are in pennant races and we believe it's important for them to continue to get meaningful at-bats and play in meaningful games.”

Ellis is expected to join the Phillies in New York this weekend. It’s not easy going from a first-place team with legitimate World Series hopes to a rebuilding club.

“I talked to A.J. this afternoon,” Klentak said. “He is a true professional. It's never easy for a guy who has been in one place his whole career to be told out of the blue that it's time to go. A.J. is determined and excited about contributing to the Phillies.”

Bergjans, a 23-year-old right-hander, pitched at Haverford College. He was an eighth-round draft pick of the Dodgers in 2015 and is 3-13 with a 4.98 ERA for Single A Rancho Cucamonga this season. He has 133 strikeouts and just 29 walks in 130 innings.

"Tommy was an excellent college performer,” Klentak said. “He has controlled the strike zone well in a tough league. We're always looking to add starting pitching and we had a chance to do it. He strikes out better than a batter an inning and limits walks which was appealing.”

Sources: Phillies shake up amateur scouting department

Sources: Phillies shake up amateur scouting department

The Phillies have undergone massive changes on the field and off over the last couple of seasons.
 
Those changes have reached the club’s amateur scouting department.
 
According to major league sources, the club recently fired three longtime members of that department, including Mike Ledna, a high-ranking coordinator and national cross-checker. Ledna was the No. 2 man under former scouting boss Marti Wolever, who was let go two years ago and replaced by Johnny Almaraz.
 
Almaraz has overseen the last two drafts with a staff of mostly holdover scouts. He has clearly begun to put his stamp on the department with his recent shakeup. Ledna’s firing was preceded by the club’s decision to part with Steve Cohen and Paul Scott. They covered the talent-rich state of Texas.
 
It is not clear whether more changes on the scouting staff are coming. Over the last year or so, the Phillies have hired a new club president (Andy MacPhail), general manager (Matt Klentak) and manager (Pete Mackanin). The playing roster has also been churned, most recently with Carlos Ruiz being traded to the Dodgers on Thursday (see story). His parting leaves Ryan Howard as the lone member of the 2008 World Series championship team still with the club.

Soul's ArenaBowl chances hinge on slowing Rattlers' potent offense

Soul's ArenaBowl chances hinge on slowing Rattlers' potent offense

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The postseason accolades and awards are nice, but Soul defensive back Tracy Belton has a much higher goal.

Named as the Arena League Football Defensive Player of the Year during an awards ceremony Friday, Belton, considered the passion and spirit of the Soul defense, is more than comfortable putting aside individual honors and pushing his teammates to greater heights.

Reaching the ArenaBowl against the Arizona Rattlers Friday in the Gila River Arena (7 p.m./ESPN) the prize is out there, and Belton has his blinders firmly affixed. The focus and concentration is not in question, so the task ahead remains paramount.

“I want that ring, I need that jewelry,” Belton said during media day Friday. “Oh yeah, it would definitely be nice to get that ring.”

To obtain that shiny piece of hardware, Belton and his defensive teammates have the task of trying to shut down the most potent offense in the league.

Guided by quarterback Nick Davila, the AFL’s Most Valuable Player, the Rattlers are averaging 80.3 points per game. From an offensive standpoint, Arizona led the AFL in many offensive categories, including scoring, total offense, rushing, third-down conversion and fourth-down conversion.

To complement the offense, the Arizona defense ranked first in the league in defensive scoring defense, rushing defense, interceptions, turnover ratio and sacks allowed.

In a league which glorifies offense, the task ahead for the Soul defense is considered a challenge. After all, these teams each finished with a 13-3 mark and each defeated the other team on their home turf.

“To win this game, we hope they make mistakes,” Soul head coach Clint Dolezel said. “They are very explosive, but our secondary is playing at a high level. For us, we need to limit our mistakes.”

If Davila, who is the first player in AFL history to win the MVP award three times, is to be challenged, the Soul’s offense need to be proficient. Coming into the ArenaBowl, the Soul averaged 59.0 points per game. That was good enough for fourth in the league, but quarterback Dan Raudabaugh put up better numbers, in certain categories, than Davila.

In head-to-head competition, Raudabaugh tossed more touchdown passes (14 to 13), passed for more yards (541 to 431), completed more passes (48 to 32) and averaged more yards per game (270.5 to 215.5) through the air. Yet, the Rattlers’ offense is swift, quick, efficient and lethal.

“In this league, the quarterback is the most important position,” Davila said. “You have to make decisions quickly, and facing a defense like Philly, that’s the challenge for us. It’s about limiting mistakes. The team which makes fewer mistakes is the team that usually wins.”

Notes
Since the Phoenix Mercury are scheduled for a home game in Talking Stick Arena in downtown Phoenix Friday night, home site for the Rattlers, the title game was switched to home of the NHL's Arizona Coyotes. … Among league leaders this past season for the Soul, Belton was fourth in tackles, Jake Metz led in sacks, Darius Reynolds was sixth in receiving and Jeramie Richardson was second in rushing. … In comparison of QBs, Raudabaugh was second in the league in passing (101 TDs, 63.3 passing percentage) and Davila placed third (110 TD passes, 69.6 passing rating). … This is the third league title meeting between these two teams. The Soul dropped the previous two championship games, 72-54 in 2012 and 48-39 in 2013.