Broken Twigs: Pronger and Giroux to Montreal and Your FGSB Mailbag

Broken Twigs: Pronger and Giroux to Montreal and Your FGSB Mailbag

If you suggest a trade on the internet you are going to be torn to pieces. That is a fact of life. Doesn’t matter the forum, doesn’t matter the trade. You’re either giving away too much and getting too little, or you’re an idiot who is severely over-valuing the assets you’re prepared to give up. You cannot and will not win. Even if the actual trade you proposed on Twitter is executed 3 hours from the time you suggest it, you’ll have been ridiculed past the point of reason for those three hours. And then they're coming for you and the GM.

Matt Read for Cody Franson.

See. It’s the internet, baby. Cats and hate, cats and hate.

So let’s use this space today to get in on the fun and dump on a trade proposal that is buried in the archives of Hockey’s Future Flyers Board. A proposal that was far more preposterous than user Fisher for Selke offering up Hartnell and Coburn for Sheldon Souray and Patrick O’Sullivan in February of 2010. Far more ridiculous than user keslehr proposing Carter and Coburn for Nabakov in June of the same year. Here is the trade that surferdude99 thought would make sense right before the 2010-11 season kicked off, just 3 months after the Flyers made a surprise run to the Stanley Cup Finals.

To Philly: Roman Hamrlik, Ben Maxwell, Andrei Kostitsyn, Two 1st Rounders
To Montreal: Chris Pronger, Claude Giroux

Scoop your jaw up off the floor and unfurrow your brow. Let’s break this one down a little further. Here are the players that were proposed to be part of the deal for Montreal:

Roman Hamrlik – a 36 year old defenseman whose mobility had been exponentially decreasing for 2 years. Yes, he was coming off a 26 point season, and actually hit the mid-30’s the following year, but his expiration date was fast approaching.
Ben Maxwell – a 2nd round pick in 2006 that had managed to get into 20 NHL games and score no points since his draft day. He had been putting up Jared Ross-like numbers in the AHL but we already had a bushel of Jared Ross’s. Plus, we don’t believe in having a good farm team so unless this guy is good at opening beers in the Executive Suite at the WFC, he would be utterly useless.
AK47 – Ah great, an enigmatic Belarussian two years removed from a career high of 53 points is exactly what’s going to put the Flyers over the top in 2011! What’s that? Rumors out of Montreal that he’s a part-boy? Sign that youth up for Dry Island!

And then who are these bums on the Philly side…?

Chris Pronger – about to turn 36 but had just scored 55 points and played an IMPORTANT role in the Finals run. But yeah, he’s probably expendable, especially if we have the Czech version of Derian Hatcher coming in from Montreal.
Claude Giroux – a 22 year old who had 47 points in his first full season with the Flyboys and then exploded in the playoffs for 21 points in 23 games. He made Arron Asham look like Eskimo Mike Bossy. Let's get rid of him before he gets too expensive to sign!

Everything about this proposed trade is laughable, both in hindsight and even at the time. The Flyers and Habs had both just snuck into the playoffs with 88 point seasons, and against all odds, made it to the first ever 7/8 Eastern Conference Finals in which the Flyers dry humped the Canadiens to completion in 5 games. Why on Earth would these two teams, that were essentially at the same place in their building process, make ANY trade, let alone this one?

It’s like surferdude99 was listening in on a private meeting where Paul Holmgren listed his top 3 priorities for the off-season:

1. Downgrade our #1 defenseman and get a little older.
2. Trade away our burgeoning rookie star for a guy who probably won’t make it in the NHL and a divisive former Soviet Block player (this actually was on Homer’s list of things to do the next off-season)
3. Cushion the fall with one 1st round draft pick to cover each ear.

And this conversation very well may have happened, but that’s why Homer has secret behind the scenes handlers.

This is a trade that could have been Sandbergian. Except replace Bowa with Schmidt.

Well…I feel better. Nothing like blowing out someone else’s flame so your shines brighter!

FGSB MAILBAG

Chris D: Gagne a Flyers?
I think Gagne’s got to be on the Flyers this year. He’s the perfect third line winger for this team and he’ll probably sign for $2m. I’ve been picturing the behind the scenes winking going on between Gagne and Holmgren for the past couple days and let me tell you, it’s getting out of hand. Holmgren tells Gags he can’t sign him *wink*. Gags says he understands and is going to pursue his options *wink*. Holmgren says he can come to training camp *wink*. Gagne says he’ll come but if a good offer comes up he’s going to sign somewhere else *wink*. Homer says that it doesn’t mean anything *wink* but he’ll be practicing on the third line in training camp *wink* *wink* *wink*. Gagne says “I love you, Paulie” *wink*. MAKE OUT SESH.

Brsi3518: Who can Streit play with?
Count Chocula. Ha! Get it? That’s a chocolate joke! And a vampire joke! Because he’s Swiss. Swiss chocolate. And he looks like he could be a vampire. Ahhh. Ok, in all morbid seriousness, he’s apparently an asset offensively and a liability defensively. That would make you want to pair him with a strong defensive defenseman, right? That’s what they usually do? So there’s Luke Schenn and Nick Grossmann. But maybe you put him with Coburn and just let the offense flow all over the other team’s face? Assuming that Coburn can regain his offensive prowess. And then in interviews Streit can be all like “I don’t hafta be good at defense because I’m never in the defensive zone. Goal me!”

@WTPuckingPuck who will have the biggest moobies entering training camp?
I think Dustin Byfuglien will be the last big man to win the Keith Tkcahuk Memorial Training Camp Tatties Award. There’s too much media shaming for showing up not in shape these days no matter how good your are or how long of a contract you have. Guys who used to show up out of shape must not have been able to work out because of their BIG BALLS. Can you imagine showing up to NHL training camp out of shape and looking around at your teammates who would be gawking at your flabby stomach? That would be the worst. And then you’d be trailing in every drill and Rinaldoing on the bench during The Canadian Mile. It would just be the ab-so-toot worst. Unless you scored 50 goals a year. But even in my NHL fantasies I’m a 4th line scrub who’s lucky to be there. I got problems, yo.

Roger P: If the Flyers start the season 10-20 is Laviolette back to being a CBC Analyst?
Last summer Lavy was extended through next season, but you know as well as I that when it comes to coaching a professional sports team plans can change in an instant. Or after a crappy start to the season. I think winning 33% of your first 1/3 of the season would be enough to get any coach fired after your biggest off-season signings were a 33 year old forward, a 35 year old defenseman, and an almost 31 year old goalie. That doesn’t exactly scream “rebuilding mode.” While Holmgren and Snider have repeatedly expressed their support of Petey Lavs, the team didn’t make the playoffs last year and unfortunately that’s kind of the Philadelphia measuring stick. So while he comes in with the full support of the executive office, Laviolette’s team needs to start the season strong to keep the media, and therefore the fans, at bay. People do not like slow starts. After waiting 5 long months for the season to begin a slow start is like finally hooking up with your dream girl and only getting a hand job. What a let down.

Eagles-Redskins: 5 matchups to watch

Eagles-Redskins: 5 matchups to watch

The Eagles are coming off their third straight loss and have dropped five of their last six. 

The Redskins have dropped two straight, but are still very much in the playoff hunt at 6-5-1.

The Birds are looking for their first win against the NFC East this season. Here are five matchups to watch.

Eagles defensive line vs. Redskins offensive line
In the matchup in Washington, the Redskins' O-line owned the Eagles' D-line to the tune of 230 rushing yards and nearly 500 yards total. The Eagles also failed to record a sack. And that was at a time when their line was playing fairly well.

The Eagles' line has come under serious fire and for good reason. They've grossly underperformed for a unit that's supposed to be the team's strength. As for the Redskins, their line has been very good all season and they'll get All Pro Trent Williams back after the massive tackle served a four-game suspension.

DeSean Jackson vs. Eagles' corners
DeSean has been on a roll. The Eagles' corners have not. In his last three games, Jackson has nine catches for 228 yards (good for 25.3 yards per catch) and two touchdowns. 

Last week in Cincinnati, the Eagles were burned by the formidable trio of Brandon LaFell, Tyler Boyd and Cody Core for 11 catches for 219 yards. Each receiver had at least one reception of 29 yards plus. It could be a long day for Nolan Carroll, Leodis McKelvin and Jalen Mills.

Carson Wentz vs. Joe Barry
It's no secret that Wentz has been struggling. In his last three, Wentz  has three touchdowns to six interceptions and has completed less than 60 percent of his passes. Equally as alarming is that Wentz is 83 of 141 over that span. That's a ridiculous 47 attempts per game. Yes, the Eagles have been behind in those games, but Doug Pederson still needs to find a way to give this offense balance.

Barry's unit hasn't exactly set the world on fire, ranking 23rd in yards per game and 20th in points allowed. They've let up 31 points in each of their last two games, but it is important to note that they've played the Cowboys and the Cardinals. The Eagles don't have playmakers like Ezekiel Elliot and Dez Bryant or David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald.

Ryan Kerrigan vs. Allen Barbre
Kerrigan looked unstoppable in the NFL debut of Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Kerrigan racked up 2.5 sacks and five quarterback hurries in the Redskins' win. Kerrigan has already reached double-digit sacks for the second time in his career and has notched a sack in each of his last three.

Barbre has performed admirably in the absence of both the suspended Lane Johnson and the injured Vaitai. It's also pretty clear that Barbre's best position is guard. It's going to be a stiff test for Barbre to contain Kerrigan. 

Jordan Matthews (maybe) vs. Josh Norman 
With Paul Turner performing well in the slot, it'll be interesting to see if Pederson decides to use Matthews on the outside more. Matthews is coming off an ankle injury that kept him out of the Eagles' loss to the Bengals and is listed as questionable on Sunday. Even if Matthews is 100 percent, it's not an ideal matchup for the Eagles.

Louisville's Lamar Jackson wins Heisman Trophy

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USA Today Images

Louisville's Lamar Jackson wins Heisman Trophy

NEW YORK -- Lamar Jackson leapt over a loaded field of Heisman Trophy contenders early in the season and by the time he slowed down nobody could catch him.

The sensational sophomore quarterback became the first Louisville player to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, beating out preseason favorite Deshaun Watson of Clemson despite some late-season struggles.

Baker Mayfield finished third and Oklahoma teammate and fellow finalist Dede Westbrook was fourth. Michigan's Jabrill Peppers was fifth.

Watson, who finished third in Heisman voting last year, led a stacked group of contenders entering this season that included five of the top seven vote-getters in 2015.

Jackson outdid them all in his first season as Louisville's full-time starter, accounting for 51 touchdowns and averaging 410 yards per game in total offense. He ultimately won going away, with 2,144 points to Watson's 1,524. By percentage of possible points received, Jackson's victory was the sixth largest in Heisman history, and he became the youngest winner at 19 years, 352 days.

Jackson is the first Heisman Trophy winner to play on a team that lost its last two games of the regular season since Tim Brown of Notre Dame in 1987. He's the first to enter the postseason without a chance to win the national title since Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M in 2012.

No matter. Jackson did so much before November it was difficult to deny him the award because of a couple of missteps at the end.

He provided a signature moment against Syracuse, hurdling a defender on his way into the end zone, and then played his best against Louisville's toughest competition.

In a romp over Florida State and a close loss at Clemson, Jackson threw for 511 yards, ran for 308 and accounted for eight touchdowns. After ripping apart Florida State in September, he earned the stamp of approval from his idol, former Virginia Tech and NFL star Mike Vick.

Jackson left that Oct. 1 game in Death Valley as a threat to run away with the Heisman, but losses to Houston and Kentucky, when he committed four turnovers, in late November provided an opportunity for others to sway voters.

Watson made the biggest surge, but ultimately fell short.

Jackson continues a recent trend of breakout stars winning the Heisman. He is the sixth player to win the award as either a redshirt freshman or sophomore, all since 2007, joining Manziel (redshirt freshman), Jameis Winston (redshirt freshman), Mark Ingram (sophomore), Sam Bradford (sophomore) and Tim Tebow (sophomore).

Jackson came to Louisville as a three-star recruit from Boynton Beach High School in Florida. Some colleges were not sold on him as a quarterback, but Jackson was such a dynamic talented Louisville coach Bobby Petrino altered his offense to accommodate Jackson's speed and elusiveness.

Jackson flashed brilliance as a freshman and showed what was to come in the Music City Bowl against Texas A&M. He had 453 total yards and led Louisville to a victory.

Still, with so many well-established stars from Watson and Mayfield to running backs Christian McCaffrey of Stanford, Dalvin Cook of Florida State and Leonard Fournette of LSU, Jackson entered the season without much fanfare.

Just the way he likes it.

Jackson spent this season adjusting to newfound fame, growing into the role of face of the team and trying to stay out of the spotlight. He said he cut down on trips to the mall to avoid the inevitable crowds he drew.

He is about to become even more popular. Especially back in Louisville, where he has another year before he can even consider his next big jump -- to the NFL.