Defenseman Signing Day: Flyers ink MacDonald to big-money extension, Gostisbehere to entry-level deal

Defenseman Signing Day: Flyers ink MacDonald to big-money extension, Gostisbehere to entry-level deal

Sure, the Stanley Cup Playoffs start for the Philadelphia Flyers in two days and all, but there was some pretty interesting news out of Flyerland today that had nothing to do with the upcoming series with the New York Rangers.

The news actually involved contracts for defensemen that have generated a ton of chatter lately.

First, the Flyers announced this morning that they signed Andrew MacDonald to a six-year, $30 million contract extension.

You read those numbers correctly. MacDonald just got paid and in a big, big way.

When the Flyers acquired the 27-year-old from the New York Islanders in exchange for two draft picks on March 4, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren almost immediately made his intentions of resigning MacDonald, who was set to be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, known to the world.

So the extension should come as no surprise.

The numbers, though, are a bit high but those shouldn’t come a surprise, either.

The reality today in the NHL is that puck-moving defensemen like MacDonald are so coveted that they can get almost any dollar amount they command because teams are so desperate for their services. The fact is that MacDonald likely would have gotten a deal of equal or even higher value on the open market.

So while it may be an overpay by the Flyers, it very well could also be market value.

And let’s be honest, he’s a way more solid option on the third pairing than Andrej Meszaros, who the Flyers subsequently traded to the Boston Bruins a day after acquiring MacDonald, or Erik Gustafsson.

He’s helped somewhat stabilize the Flyers’ most glaring weakness.

Since joining the Flyers, MacDonald has four assists in 19 games while mostly playing on the third pairing with Luke Schenn.

In the end, they locked up the guy they always wanted.

And now on to the signing has you all giddy with excitement like little kids on Christmas morning.

The Flyers also announced today that they have signed Union College defenseman, and apple of Flyers fans’ eyes, Shayne Gostisbehere to an entry-level contract.

You may remember Gostisbehere, a Flyers’ third-round pick in the 2012 entry draft, from the recent Frozen Four - which was held at Wells Fargo Center - when he tore up both Boston College and Minnesota en route to leading his team to a national championship.

In that Frozen Four, he posted a goal, four assists and was plus-7 en route to being named the tournament’s most outstanding player.

In the title game against Minnesota, he scored goal, recorded two assists and was plus-7.

Plus-7 in a championship game against the nation's No. 1 team ain’t too bad.

The kid is an offensive machine from the blue line and, if all goes according to plan, should quarterback the Flyers’ power play in the very near future.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that very near future won’t be this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.

According to CSN’s Sarah Baicker, Gostisbehere would have had to been on the Flyers’ reserve list by the trade deadline and signed by the end of the regular season to be eligible for the playoffs.

Instead, the 20-year-old, who scored 22 goals and recorded 60 assists in three years at Union, will report to the Phantoms and play three games with them until their season ends this weekend. Afterward, he’ll join the Flyers but just as a member of the team’s playoff practice players, also known as “the black aces.”

And that's probably for the best.

The college game is a whole different world than the NHL pro game. Let him get his feet wet with a couple AHL games and then some NHL practices instead of just throwing him into the fire of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against a hated rival.

This way, he can start fresh at camp in the fall and try to earn his way on to the squad.

After that, who knows where the kid’s talent will take him?

But, for now, let’s just focus on getting a win at Madison Square Garden, shall we?

Baylor hires Temple's Matt Rhule as next head coach

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Baylor hires Temple's Matt Rhule as next head coach

Just when it hit its peak, the Matt Rhule era at Temple is over.

Rhule has accepted the open job at Baylor, a Big 12 school. The news was first reported by Fox Sports and was confirmed by Baylor football’s official Twitter account.

Rhule, who became the head coach of the Owls in 2012 after Steve Addazio left for Boston College, left an indelible mark on a downtrodden program with a 28-23 record in four seasons. While that may not look like a spectacular record, it's a remarkable job for a program that was a mere board of directors vote or two away from extinction just over a decade ago.

Rhule spent parts of 10 seasons at Temple as he filled various roles on the coaching staffs of both Al Golden and Addazio.

"I am truly honored and humbled to join the Baylor Family," Rhule said in press release Tuesday afternoon. "I can't thank President (David) Garland and (athletic director) Mack Rhoades enough for this incredible opportunity. Baylor is a tremendous institution with a history of football success and I know the passion that so many have for the Bears will help bring the community together to reach even greater heights. I am excited to get started."

Tuesday's news comes just three days after Rhule lead the Owls to victory over No. 19 Navy in the AAC title game. It was the program's first conference title since 1967 and just the second in school history.

Though the Owls missed out on the Cotton Bowl at-large berth that went to undefeated Western Michigan, they are set to face Wake Forest in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 in Annapolis, Maryland.

Baylor has been mired in controversy in recent years as sexual assault scandals have rocked the program and ultimately cost head coach Art Briles his job.

Baylor went 6-6 this season.

As of this writing, there is no word who will coach the Owls in the Military Bowl.

Temple has set a 1:30 p.m. press conference on Tuesday to discuss today's news.

Dorial Green-Beckham wore Yeezy cleats in support of the 'Yeezy Foundation'

Dorial Green-Beckham wore Yeezy cleats in support of the 'Yeezy Foundation'

While Carson Wentz was supporting Jesus, Dorial Green-Beckham was supporting Yeezus.

As you're likely well aware of by now, the NFL ran its My Cleats, My Cause promotion this week allowing players to wear footwear that represented a charity or cause they felt passionately about.

And after watching the Eagles' loss to the Bengals on Sunday, you may not think they are passionate about much, but they still wore some unique cleats.

Carson Wentz opted for the religious motif on his feet while Dorial Green-Beckham went for flat out style.

He wore a pair of Yeezy cleats that were banned by the NFL earlier in the season. He told Eliot Shorr-Parks that he was supporting the "Yeezy Foundation" which is probably not a real thing.

So just to recap: instead of bringing awareness to a meaningful cause, DGB just wanted to wear some cool kicks.

Now, who knows, maybe he wanted to bring awareness to Kanye West's recent mental struggles? No one can say for sure. Let's all just hope that Kanye and DGB are doing okay after their rough patches.