Broken Twigs: Most Hated Players in the NHL and Your Flyers Mailbag

Broken Twigs: Most Hated Players in the NHL and Your Flyers Mailbag

I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of the Arron Asham signing when it happened. For years I had loathed that Metis meatball and now he was coming to my home town team. But like it has happened with so many before and so many since (read: Daniel Carcillo), I rooted for him when he wore the orange and black. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I just wouldn’t really think about it. And if I did it was to try and trick myself into getting pumped up about him. Like “Arron Asham's gonna give you the Kung Fu, beeeyyyaaaatttccchhhhh!” I’m not sure it ever really worked but it got me through a difficult time, although I'm not sure the bad taste ever left my mouth.

Since he’s left the organization I can categorize my opinion of Asham as “he’s not the worst.” That might not seem like a big difference but it’s quite the leap for me.

There are just some guys that I just never want to see in a Flyers jersey. There are a handful of current NHLers that would ruin the whole team for me. They’d be like meeting someone on the beach who had a dead toe. It’s like yeah, you got 19 good ones but I don’t want to be around you because that thing is like blackish grey and stinks and if it touches me I will die face first in a sand castle so now I'm packing up my things and going home. Kinda like that...

So in the spirit of Bleacher Report here is a slide show (j/k you guys) showcasing a group of tool boxes I hope get groin pulls, and when Homer finally signs them, I will drop a dookie on his doorstep that will be so historic IT will become the primary owner of the Wikipedia page for Dookie, and Greenday’s seminal work of alt-rock genius will become just another entry on a disambiguated list.

Chris Neil – Chris Neil is actually the inspiration for this list. I saw Danny Syvret the other night and thought it was Chris Neil for a split second and walked over and punched a hole in my living room window. Chris Neil is that big of a turkey. He’s not particularly dirty or anything, he doesn’t “play the game the wrong way” like the next entry, he’s just…I don’t care to be reminded he exists much less have to force myself to think “nice hit Chris Neil” if the Flyers ever sign him.

Matt Cooke – This guy is going to make any list about NHL shitbirds. Cooke is a great example of how terrible the people of Pittsburgh are. He’s a head-shoting, achilles stomping, chromosome collecting horrible human. And they root for him. Worse than that they DEFEND HIM. If he became a Flyer I’d quit. That’s it, I'm outta here. I’d rather eat sad desk lunches every single meal for the rest of my life than see that pie-shaped, it-wasn’t-me rest stop glory hole wearing my flying P.

Colton Orr – Oh my Lord something is wrong with this guy. He’s legitimately insane. If his non-stop Here’s Johnny expression wasn’t enough to convince you of that go re-watch what he did to poor Todd Fedoruk. Also, he’s easily the worst hockey player, possibly in NHL history. When people talk about wasting roster spots on a guy who can’t play hockey they’re talking about Colton Orr. Guy skates like he just stopped pushing a chair around at practice.

Patrick Kaleta – Google Satyr and then write me a five page paper on how Patrick Kaleta is not a time traveling mythical musical goat man from the past. The Sabres janitors are required to keep 45 lbs. of soda and beer cans behind the Zamboni at all times so Kaleta can graze between periods.

Steve Ott – Steve Ott is what I imagine would happen if Ron Weasley had sex with a Chihuahua in a pile of vomit while wearing Buffalo’s new jersey. YOU DON’T PUSH OUR COACH AND THEN CALL HIM CLASSLESS. I don’t care how good you are at face-offs.

God, that was gross. And now your XXX Flyers Mailbag!

@smasterson3 If you directed an episode of Flyers Flight Plan what would it be about?
That’s the great thing about a tiny little project like this – the ideas don’t need to be fresh or novel or anything. Given the fact that a lot of people who are a lot funnier than me have already had some pretty great ideas I would just steal them. Or pay tribute to them or whatever. But right off the top of my head I’m going with a Drunk History starring Scott Hartnell. I’d want him to drink 8 neat whiskeys and then recount the Day the Music and Drinking Died, aka the day that Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were traded. We could have local celebrities like weather man John Bolaris and non-local celebrities like Blake from Workaholics act out how it went down. The only problem with this is that professional athletes are only allowed to have Puritan School Marm levels of fun when something is being recorded or there are reporters around. This is because the media has ruined everything. Therefore Scott Hartnell would not agree to do this (rightfully so) so it might have to be called Someone Slipped a Mickey In My Drink History. Either way it would be real solid Philadelphia gold that would be woven into the fabric of this great city for the rest of time or at least until the zombies come.

Derek T: You ever notice how all the Pittsburgh teams are black and gold and Philadelphia is orange, black, white, red, blue, green and silver?
Hmm, maybe? Are there other cities that all have the same color scheme? Somehow I feel like the government mandated that Pittsburgh teams be yellow like pee and black like death so that all other cities would be repeatedly warned about the awfulness that is Pittsburgh. “No, no hopeful colors. You can throw the piss color in if you absolutely need one.” It was probably originally yellow and brown, but the brown turned to black amid all the despair floating around the air outside any Pittsburgh bar/school/is there a difference.

@mager_pls when do the Flyers give Hal Gill a max contract?
I must not be the only one wondering what in the world Hal Gill has on our GM that he’s here at training camp. Every time I see him I’m surprised. “What’s he doing here?” It’s awful nice that we’re putting on a Hal Gill Showcase but since when are we in the business of charity? It’s not even like he’s a former Flyer or missing an eye like Bryan Berard. I’d rather them select a random 18 year old out of the crowd every night and let him touch a dream he’ll never even come close to so he can use the story to get laid for the next 10 years. Hal Gill…how did you trick our GM into trotting you around like a show pony for the rest of the NHL? Why do you even want to get embarrassed for another year? Do you have a gambling problem?

@lonis119 Would you trade Jay Rosehill for Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Vladimir Tarasenko?
Can’t do it. Salary cap, bub. Which makes me think – it’s sad that we’ll never get to see super teams again, and equally amazing that the Hawks have managed to win 2 cups in 4 tries. Our kids will never grow up seeing a team that is far and away better than the rest that you can’t help but root for them despite your dad cautioning you not to because they’re a bunch of assholes. Not in hockey anyway. On a semi-related note do you think the Canadian Olympic Team would be a lock for the Cup for the next 5 years? I bet some scrappy team could beat them in a best out of 7 two years out of the five. The cap has made the game a little different in the NHL. People are getting so accustomed to their specialized roles that they become expert 3rd line wings or 6th defensemen. I’d like to see a KHL all-star team play a season in the NHL, and not just to see Lou Lamerillo snipe Ilya Kovalchuk Goldeneye-style from the owner’s box.

Gracie B: Who’s your long-shot to make the team?
I don’t know why exactly but Chris Vande Velde has caught my eye. It might just be his name though. He’s like, not out on the ice but then sometimes he is? I don’t know how to explain it but a perfect analogy is I went to look at the box score from the Rangers game on Tuesday to see how to spell his name and he wasn’t in it. 17 Flyers were, but he wasn’t. That’s weird right? Before I heard he had actually signed a contract with the Flyers I thought he was the product of my crowd-sourced dreams coming true at Flyers camp. I thought he was some HS kid that was making the run of his life. That being said, I don’t think he’ll make the team, but when our first place club gets decimated by injuries in December I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the lineup on some random night. Dude has NHL games under his belt and coaches love when a call-up is responsible defensively. Which he must be as he certainly isn’t responsible offensively, as evidenced by his stat sheet.

Closing thought:
How about the balls on Raffl, eh? Gagne’s body isn’t even cold and this Sound of Music extra is wearing his number.

Phillies-Mets 5 things: All the pressure on Mets, Gsellman

Phillies-Mets 5 things: All the pressure on Mets, Gsellman

Phillies (70-85) at Mets (82-73)
1:10 p.m. on CSN

After two rough losses for the Phillies and their pitching staff, the offense picked them up and came through with a 10-8 win. 22-year-old Jake Thompson takes the hill this afternoon while Robert Gsellman starts a crucial game for the Mets.

Here are five things to watch on Sunday.

1. All the pressure on New York, Gsellman
The Mets remain 0.5 games up on the final National League playoff spot. 

While their pitching staff was falling apart at the seams going into (and during) this series, the one saving grace for New York was its soft schedule, facing the Phillies seven times in its last 10. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals have to deal with the MLB best Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants end the year vs. the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.

However, a loss on Saturday (thanks in part to Noah Syndergaard getting scratched with strep throat) puts the Mets in a precarious position. They're tied in the loss column with the Cards and Giants while fighting for one of two playoff spots and their rotation most closely resembles their Triple A team from Opening Day. 

Gsellman is one of those pitchers who started the year never having tasted the major leagues. In fact, he started the year in Double A. His first career start came at Citi Field last month against the Phillies and resulted in his first career loss after he allowed four runs in six innings. 

He's been better since that start, carrying a 3.13 ERA into Sunday. The 23-year-old righty will likely start vs. the Phillies again next weekend, meaning the Mets' season rides in part on a rookie with just 31 2/3 innings in the majors. 

2. Young man on a roll
While Gsellman lost his last start, Thompson has won his last two starts. The young righty is on a hot streak as his season nears an end.

Thompson's ERA has goe down in each of his last five starts, a stat made less impressive by the fact that he began that run with a 9.78 ERA. He has gone at least five innings in his last eight starts and has shown glimpses of why he was such a valued prospects.

In September, Thompson is 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA over four starts. He's still allowed 33 baserunners in 23 1/3 innings during that span, but it's been much better than his lackluster August.

While Thompson is in line to start next weekend against the Mets as well, today could be his final start of the season. He has already set a career-high in innings and the Phillies may not want to extend him one more start.

3. What to look for in the season's final week
Including Sunday, the Phillies have just seven games left in their season. They're eliminated from playoff contention, but there's still plenty to watch as the Phils take on Braves and Mets.

Ryan Howard's final fairwell: With his five-year, $125 million deal coming to a close this year, Howard is almost certainly playing his final games in Philadelphia next week. He'll get plenty of starts and may even face the Mets' Bartolo Colon, who he's smacked three home runs off of in his career.

Playing spoiler: As mentioned above, the Mets have everything on the line both today and next weekend in Philadelphia. There are few better ways to end a postseason-less season than knocking a rival out of playoff contention.

More looks at the kids: Roman Quinn's emergence over the last two weeks has been fun to watch and Jorge Alfaro may get more chances in the last seven games. Beyond them, Thompson, Tommy Joseph and others close out a nice first season. 

4. Players to watch
Phillies: Maikel Franco has looked more like his 2015 self over the last few weeks. He's batting .310 in September with three home runs, matching his August total. His 15 RBI this month are his most in a month other than July. 

Mets: Asdrubal Cabrera has been on fire this month as well. After battting .405 in August, he's batting .333 and has five home runs, including the walk-off homer on Thursday. He's slugging .628 this month after putting up a .786 slugging percentage in August. 

5. This and that
• In Gsellman's August start vs. the Phillies, he only allowed one run while he was in the game. However, he left the bases loaded in the 7th with no outs before A.J. Ellis knocked in the decisive two-run double to give the Phils a lead they would not relinquish.

• Six different Phillies batters had hits off Gsellman, including Jimmy Paredes who went 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI. 

• Despite pitching injuries, the Mets have the eighth-best team ERA in September with a 3.64 average. The Phillies are 15th in baseball with a 4.10 ERA this month.

• The Phillies are 6-9 against the Mets this year. They're already ensured of a better finish than last year's 5-14 mark vs. New York.

Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, 24, killed in boating accident

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USA Today Images

Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, 24, killed in boating accident

MIAMI -- Jose Fernandez, the ace right-hander for the Miami Marlins who escaped Cuba to become one of baseball's brightest stars, was killed in boating accident early Sunday morning. Fernandez was 24.

The Marlins announced Fernandez's death, and the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed that Fernandez was one of three people killed in a boat crash off Miami Beach.

In the statement, the Marlins say they are "devastated by the tragic loss of Jose Fernandez. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time."

Chief Petty Officer Nyxolyno Cangemi told The Associated Press that a Coast Guard patrol boat spotted an overturned boat at 3:30 a.m. on a jetty near Government Cut. The bodies were discovered a short time later.

Because the boat was on a jetty, the Coast Guard notified Miami-Dade police, which turned the investigation over to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Fernandez was on a 32-foot vessel that had a "severe impact" with a jetty, said Lorenzo Veloz of the Fish Commission.

A news conference was planned for later Sunday morning.

Fernandez was a two-time All-Star who went 38-17 in his four seasons with the Marlins, winning the NL's Rookie of the Year award in 2013. The native of Santa Clara, Cuba became a U.S. citizen last year.

He tried to defect from Cuba at least three times -- landing in jail after one of those unsuccessful tries -- before eventually getting to the U.S. and going to high school in Tampa, Florida. The Marlins drafted him in 2011 and Fernandez was in the majors two years later.

The Marlins' game Sunday at home against the Atlanta Braves has been cancelled.