Broken Twigs: Lecavalier and Giroux, Flyers Bachelorette and FGSB Mailbag

Broken Twigs: Lecavalier and Giroux, Flyers Bachelorette and FGSB Mailbag

Paul Holmgren stands up, fastens the top button of the sports coat he’s wearing over a short-sleeved golf shirt, pauses a moment, and then:

I can show you the world, shining, shimmering, splendid, tell me, princess, now when did you last let your heart decide?
I can open your eyes, take you wonder by wonder, over, sideways and under, on a magic..

“Paul,” Ed Snider interjects, leaning back from the conference room table and resting his cocky smirk on his thumb and pointer finger, “I think we have a deal.”

- - - - -

I am most definitely over-thinking this, but there is something nagging me. 3 words as a matter of fact: let’s just say.

Picture a scene from a TV show. Or a movie. Anything. Hell, real life even. Picture someone saying “let’s just say” and looking all smarmy and superior. There is so much underlying arrogance in those three words. “Let’s just say” is how dudes used to troll other dudes during the Renaissance. Let’s just say, the canvas wasn’t the only thing Mona Lisa let me paint….

Interest is created where there previously was none. Let's just say is the cousin of the humble brag:

“I really don’t want to get into that, but let’s just say Philly, with the meeting that I had with them, that’s the place I really wanted to go,” Lecavalier said. “I gotta tell you, right after I talked with Philly, even before any offers or anything, they went right to the top of the list. I just liked what they were saying.”

When have you ever heard of an athlete in any sport admit to deciding his future not based on contract terms, not based on what’s best for his family, but solely based on a single meeting with executives that he doesn’t know all that well. What could 3 men with a combined age of 275 have said to this 33 year old star Stanley Cup Champion/Gold Medalist/Mr. L’Oreal Sublime Glow for the Body 2011 that made him so eager to be a Flyer?

Believe you me, I’ve been up nights thinking about this one. Did they promise him he’d be GM in 2017? Did they show him a DVD of people taking pictures with Bernie Parent and Bob Kelley at Gate D of the WFC and say “this could all be yours?” Is The Declaration of Independence involved? Is Nicolas Cage involved? Both?

The only thing that I can think of that the Flyers have and other teams don’t, the only promise that the Flyers could make that no other team can, is Claude Giroux. But I don’t think Flyers Management promised Vinny that he would be on Claude Giroux’s line. Everyone in that room knows better than that. They know that line combinations in the NHL can change faster than a 15 year old’s relationship status . I think what they promised Vincent Lecavalier, or more likely asked of him, was to be Claude Giroux’s mentor.

Vinny Lecavalier is 33. When you get to that age as a player you start to think about your legacy. Even if retirement is 5 years down the road you can clearly see that the spotlight is shifting off of you and onto the younger kids with all their kooky electronic gadgets and Tumblrs. So what is left to be done if you’ve won everything? Why train when you could be sitting on the beach (which Vincent Lecavalier is obviously a fan of) reflecting on all of your accomplishments? Why travel for 6 months of the year when you could be home with your family collecting millions? A big part of that is personal drive and habit, obviously not wanting to let go of something that is so familiar and great when you can still do it well, but adding in a mentor role can really serve to stoke a fire that may have died a little when Tampa Bay Management came into the room with their bucket of water.

By mentoring Claude Giroux you take on two roles, you have two reasons to get up at 5AM and jump up onto a box 500 times. The primary reason, it will always come first, is for your own benefit, obviously. But when that's just not getting it done and you think you can cut a corner you remember that you are an example, that even thought Claude Giroux is actually leading this team, you are leading Claude Giroux. And in that way you become bigger than yourself, you can become immortal.

Vinny had this in Tampa, and he shared the responsibility with Martin St. Louis. Over the past 3 NHL seasons, the top scorers in their 20's reads like this:

Steven Stamkos - 245 pts
Claude Giroux - 216 pts
Alex OV - 206 pts
Eric Staal - 199 pts
Phil Kessel - 212 pts
John Tavares - 209 pts
Patrick Kane - 202 pts
Corey Perry - 206 pts
Anze Kopitar - 204 pts
Ryan Getzlaf - 193 pts

Obviously Crosby and Malkin would be on this list if it weren't for injuries, but the Penguins were never an option due to the fact that Ray Shero keeps handing out 8 year $60M contracts to anyone that will talk to him.

With Vinny not wanting to go to the Western Conference, and Claude Giroux being the youngest, most french-speaking, and possibly (time will tell) gifted player on that list, why wouldn't he want to come to Philadelphia and serve as the engine to Captain Giroux? Maybe he could accomplish something great again along the way?

And now your questions…

From @GBHeights: With Briere gone, if the Flyers were on The Bachelorette who would make overnight dates and who would get the final rose?
I’m glad Briere is gone. He wasn’t here for All the Right Reasons (tm). If I’m just going off Bachelorette logic, and not any specific contestant, it goes like this:

  • Hartnell (too goofy), Timonen (too old), Grossmann (too bald), Voracek (too gross), Adam Hall (blends in with the wallpaper), Luke Schenn (looks chubby next to his brother), Meszaros (crutches don’t work), Gervais and Talbot (too into each other), Gus (unaware he’s on the show) are all gone the first night.
  • Simmonds and Emery have to make to the second week, and second week only, because that’s always when the Bachelorette feels like she’s proven to America that she’s not raycess and can safely send the black guys home.
  • In week 3 Mark Streit creeps out from behind a plant and scares the shit out of everyone. No one knew he was there and he gets sent home immediately. In the rose ceremony she sends Steve Mason home because they can’t talk without him bringing up his Calder trophy.
  • Rinaldo, Coburn, and Couturier (who she calls Wolfie) fade away as the weeks pass, and she’s left with 4.
  • Read is right there at the end because his crow-ish good looks and learned brain leave her intrigued, but the final 3 are Lecavalier, B. Schenn, and Captain Jean-Luc Giroux because it all comes down to looks and power, just like real life.
  • In a surprise ending, after banging all the guys on the overnight dates, the Bachelorette breaks down and admits she is in love with the host of the show, Mr. Ed Snider. Snider tosses his wedding ring into the ocean and exults “make it 5!” has he grabs onto a rope ladder that’s dangling from a helicopter, holding the Bachelorette in one arm like Indiana Jones.

Incest from Enrico: what was the first emotion you felt when you saw the photo of the Legion of Doom back together?
Honestly? I had two thoughts in succession – look at those calves and John Leclair needs some new hair. Everyone kept talking about how much weight he put on and all I could think was that he looked like an old, and yes fat, version of the rapper Snow with those little sunglasses and that receding hairline. But then I went back to their calves and was like, damn those are some big calves. And then I looked closer at Renberg and then back to all their calves and thought “that’s a lot of meat.” And then I looked at Ant J. San and thought “how did you get that job and what do you even do?" And then back to the calves. So to answer your question...confused.

From @Mager_Pls: what's your favorite cereal? Thanks, Big Fan
My favorite cereal is Frosted Flakes because I imagine that it’s Scott Harnell’s favorite cereal. Can’t you see him sitting at the huge island in his loft apartment in the Old City, so focused on slurping down a giant bowl of Frosted Flakes that he doesn’t even notice HIS OWN HAIR IS IN THE BOWL! What hijinks! I bet he does fun stuff like eats cereal all the time.

From Kristen: where is the next logical move for the flyers to make this offseason?  what is the actual move they'll make?
Well they have 20 defensemen under NHL contracts and I think you’re only supposed to have like 15. Everyone’s so focused on Coburn/Mesz that I think it’s going to be Grossmann or Schenn, even though the latter would be as heart breaking as the Civil War (the actual war, not the Guns ‘n Roses song). I good rule of thumb with Paul Holmgren seems to be “do the opposite of what everyone else would do” so be ready for anything (for further reading on this topic see The Day Paul Holmgren Traded Away the Entire Team in 2011).

YinzTweet Breakdown of the Week

Even though I want to hate, I actually have to side with @jilldiegsxo’s sentiment here, as much as it really pains me to say someone from Pittsburgh is right about something that is not the best store brand mayonnaise or advice on getting drunk off of windshield wiper fluid. What she’s hipping us too is a twitter handle, @iscrosbyabitch, which I personally don’t see the point of. I don’t really understand where you can go with a trite persona like this. I would expect something this pointless from a Pittsburgh fan but….wait! Maybe it is a Pittsburgh fan posing as a Flyers fan so they can use this against us! Wait again, anyone from Pittsburgh would have run out to play in the dirt mound about half way through such a maniacal thought, so it must be a Flyers fan…. I say shut ‘er down.

In long-awaited NBA debut, Joel Embiid treats Sixers fans to a show

In long-awaited NBA debut, Joel Embiid treats Sixers fans to a show

The crowd erupted as Joel Embiid stepped to the free throw line. They chanted a phrase Embiid has been repeating for the past two years, a fitting welcome to his NBA debut.

“That was great,” Embiid said after the Sixers' 103-97 loss to the Thunder on Wednesday (see Instant Replay). “That’s my motto, 'Trust the process.'”

After two years of rehabbing foot injuries, Embiid has his first regular season game behind him. Embiid scored a team-high 20 points, shooting 6 for 16 from the field, 1 for 3 from long range and 7 for 8 from the line. He also recorded seven rebounds, two blocks, four turnovers and four fouls in over 22 minutes. 

“The beginning I was nervous, but once you make that first shot it just goes away,” he said. “The fans were so into the game that it was fun. I love having fun.”

Brett Brown enjoyed watching Embiid on the court as much as he liked being on it. Brown has seen the 7-foot-2 center grow and develop during his rehab. Finally, he was able to utilize his versatile skills in a real game setting.

“I can't say this loud enough,” Brown said. “For the city to be rewarded with a player that we all understand has unique gifts, special gifts, for him to go through all the things he has been through and play like he did on opening night, the city deserves it. Most importantly, he deserves it.”

Now that Embiid has been cleared to play, he would like to do so for longer periods of time. He began the preseason at 12 and was increased to 20 in segmented spurts for opening night. Even though he exceeded that limit by over two minutes, Embiid is itching to be cleared to play more extensively. 

“It sucks,” Embiid said. “I feel like I could have played more but you know you’ve got to trust the process, got to trust those guys. If I have my minute restriction at 20 minutes, I guess I’m going to go with that. But obviously I want to play more and more and I think it can help the team better. But they have a plan for me and I’ve got to follow it.”

Embiid has maintained he wants to be a clutch player. Brown looked to him toward the end of the game as the Thunder pulled ahead late in the final quarter. He drained a fade away jumper to tie the game at 97 apiece with 50.7 to go. 

Later trailing by four with 10 seconds left, the Sixers went to Embiid. While he was whistled for an offensive foul, Brown was glad to have a go-to unlike in years past. 

“You have a target,” Brown said. “We tried to get the ball to him a lot. … By and large, to have somebody like Joel, where the mystery is solved like, 'What do you do?' You get him the ball as much as you can.”

The more the Sixers found Embiid, the more the Thunder had to try to defend him. Thunder head coach Billy Donovan knew what his team was going up against. He watched Embiid as a high schooler and coached against him during his tenure at Florida. 

“He’s gifted and skilled,” Donovan said. “It was probably our guy’s first time seeing him … I knew the talent, the gifts. The one thing with him is, he’s got great footwork. He’s hard to guard because he’s herky-jerky. He moves. He’s got a lot of (Hakeem) Olajuawon to him.”

Opening night had been two years in the making. Even though the Sixers didn't win, the significance of the evening didn't disappoint. 

"I thought this moment was going to be special," Embiid said, "and it was just great."

Best of NBA: Davis' 50 points not enough in Pelicans' loss to Nuggets

Best of NBA: Davis' 50 points not enough in Pelicans' loss to Nuggets

NEW ORLEANS -- Jusuf Nurkic scored 23 points, Will Barton added 22, and the Denver Nuggets survived a dominant performance by Anthony Davis to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 107-102 in both teams' regular season opener Wednesday night.

Davis had 50 points, 16 rebounds, seven steals, five assists and four blocks. His production helped New Orleans trim a deficit as large as 14 late in the second quarter down to two points in the waning minutes. He simply didn't have enough help.

The rest of the Pelicans combined to shoot 21 of 58. Tim Frazier scored 15 for the Pelicans. E'Twaun Moore added 10 points, but missed a 3-point attempt that could have tied it with 24 seconds left.

Danilo Gallinari scored 15 for Denver and Wilson Chandler added 12 points (see full recap).

Celtics top Nets in Horford's home debut
BOSTON -- Isaiah Thomas had 25 points and nine assists, Jae Crowder added 21 points and Al Horford pitched in 11 in his Boston debut on Wednesday night as the Celtics survived a late scare to beat the Brooklyn Nets 122-117 in their season opener.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 21 for Brooklyn, including a 3-pointer to make it 120-117 with 47 seconds left after the Nets erased most of a 23-point deficit against the Boston bench. But he missed one with a chance to tie it after Joe Harris intercepted Thomas' cross-court pass, and the Celtics were able to hold on.

Justin Hamilton came off the bench to score 19 points and grab 10 rebounds for the Nets in coach Kenny Atkinson's debut (see full recap).

Turner's opening act leads Pacers past Mavs in OT
INDIANAPOLIS -- Myles Turner scored 30 points, tied his career high with 16 rebounds and made a 3-pointer with 1:18 left in overtime to start an 8-0 run that allowed the Indiana Pacers to close out a 130-121 victory Wednesday night over the Dallas Mavericks.

Three-time All-Star Paul George added 25 points, including another 3 with 55 seconds left to seal Indiana's fifth season-opening win in six years.

Deron Williams scored 25 points, while J.J. Barea and Dirk Nowitzki each added 22 as the Mavs lost their fifth straight in the series. They still haven't won in Indianapolis since February 2014.

Dallas didn't tie the score or take a lead until the fourth quarter, yet still forced overtime when Harrison Barnes' open 3-pointer made it 115-all with 2.3 seconds left.

Turner could have won it with a long buzzer-beating 3, but it bounced off the back of the rim (see full recap).