Flyers 2012-13 Schedule Released: Puck Drops in Style on October 11th

Flyers 2012-13 Schedule Released: Puck Drops in Style on October 11th

The NHL released the 2012-13 schedule today, announcing the Flyers will host the Boston Bruins in the first part of a nationally televised doubleheader to kick off the new season.

NBC Sports will air the rematch of last season's opener, when the Flyers spoiled the Bruins' Stanley Cup banner raising with a 2-1 win. That game will be followed immediately by St. Louis at Colorado.

Boston and Philly will collide three more times during the month of March, including a home-and-home March 30-31.

Thoughts on some key dates, plus the full schedule below.

The Flyers won't have to wait long to get their first crack at rival Pittsburgh. Just one week into the season, they'll welcome the Penguins to the Wells Fargo Center in game number three on October 18. They don't meet again in Philly until March 26, part two of a home-and-home series, with the final of their six tilts coming down to the final week of the season, April 9 at WFC.

On that note, the Flyers close out their season at home on April 13 against the Rangers. It was only 2010 when the two teams memorably decided their playoff fates with a shootout in game number 82. Claude Giroux's goal gave Philadelphia the 2-1 victory, catapulting them into the postseason, and all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, while New York watched.

The Devils, Eastern Conference Champions and Flyers playoff ousters, arrive in Philly for the first of six on November 1. The clubs then go head-to-head three times between Decemebr 11-21, which includes the remainder of the home games against New Jersey. The final of those three also kicks off the longest road trip of the year.

The Flyers have eight in a row on the road over Christmas and New Years as they vacate the building for the annual Disney on Ice shows. They'll swing out west for six of those, including their lone slate with the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings on January 3. I'm sure that will be received back home with exactly the right amount of hype.

The Flyers also have a pair of five-game road trips against eastern opponents, from Nov. 24 to and Dec. 4, and again from Feb. 12 to Feb. 20.

Full schedule:

October 2012
Thu Oct 11, 2012     vs. Bruins         7:00 PM     
Sat Oct 13, 2012     @ Islanders         7:00 PM     
Thu Oct 18, 2012     vs. Penguins         7:00 PM     
Sat Oct 20, 2012     vs. Jets         7:00 PM     
Thu Oct 25, 2012     @ Canadiens         7:30 PM     
Sat Oct 27, 2012     vs. Maple Leafs     7:00 PM     
Sun Oct 28, 2012     @ Sabres         5:00 PM     
Tue Oct 30, 2012     vs. Stars         7:00 PM     

November 2012
Thu Nov 1, 2012     vs. Devils         7:00 PM     
Sat Nov 3, 2012     vs. Ducks         1:00 PM     
Sun Nov 4, 2012     @ Rangers         7:00 PM     
Tue Nov 6, 2012     vs. Sabres        7:00 PM     
Thu Nov 8, 2012     @ Hurricanes         7:00 PM     
Sat Nov 10, 2012     vs. Hurricanes         7:00 PM     
Tue Nov 13, 2012     vs. Wild         7:00 PM     
Fri Nov 16, 2012     @ Sabres         7:00 PM     
Sat Nov 17, 2012     vs. Sabres         7:00 PM     
Wed Nov 21, 2012     vs. Senators         7:00 PM     
Fri Nov 23, 2012     vs. Jets         3:00 PM     
Sat Nov 24, 2012     @ Rangers         1:00 PM     
Wed Nov 28, 2012     @ Maple Leafs         7:00 PM     
Thu Nov 29, 2012     @ Islanders         7:00 PM     

December 2012
Sat Dec 1, 2012     @ Panthers         7:30 PM     
Tue Dec 4, 2012     @ Lightning         7:30 PM     
Thu Dec 6, 2012     vs. Sharks         7:00 PM     
Sat Dec 8, 2012     @ Islanders         1:00 PM     
Sun Dec 9, 2012     vs. Islanders         7:00 PM     
Tue Dec 11, 2012     vs. Devils         7:00 PM     
Thu Dec 13, 2012     @ Capitals         7:00 PM     
Sat Dec 15, 2012     vs. Hurricanes         1:00 PM     
Wed Dec 19, 2012     vs. Devils         7:30 PM     
Fri Dec 21, 2012     @ Devils         7:00 PM     
Sun Dec 23, 2012     @ Senators         1:00 PM     
Thu Dec 27, 2012     @ Predators         8:00 PM     
Sat Dec 29, 2012     @ Blues         8:00 PM     
Mon Dec 31, 2012     @ Coyotes         9:00 PM     

January 2013
Thu Jan 3, 2013     @ Kings         10:30 PM     
Sat Jan 5, 2013     @ Sharks         10:30 PM     
Sun Jan 6, 2013     @ Canucks         9:00 PM     
Thu Jan 10, 2013     vs. Canadiens         7:00 PM     
Sat Jan 12, 2013     vs. Rangers         1:00 PM     
Tue Jan 15, 2013     @ Jets             8:00 PM     
Thu Jan 17, 2013     vs. Capitals         7:00 PM     
Sat Jan 19, 2013     vs. Flames         1:00 PM     
Sun Jan 20, 2013     @ Blackhawks         7:30 PM     
Wed Jan 23, 2013     vs. Maple Leafs     7:30 PM     
Tue Jan 29, 2013     @ Wild             8:00 PM     

February 2013
Fri Feb 1, 2013     @ Capitals         7:00 PM     
Sat Feb 2, 2013     vs. Red Wings         7:00 PM     
Tue Feb 5, 2013     vs. Lightning         7:00 PM     
Thu Feb 7, 2013     vs. Panthers         7:00 PM     
Sat Feb 9, 2013     vs. Oilers         2:00 PM     
Tue Feb 12, 2013     @ Penguins         7:00 PM     
Thu Feb 14, 2013     @ Blue Jackets         7:00 PM     
Fri Feb 15, 2013     @ Devils         7:00 PM     
Sun Feb 17, 2013     @ Rangers         TBD     
Wed Feb 20, 2013     @ Penguins         7:30 PM     
Thu Feb 21, 2013     vs. Panthers         7:00 PM     
Sat Feb 23, 2013     vs. Avalanche         1:00 PM     
Mon Feb 25, 2013     vs. Rangers         7:00 PM     
Wed Feb 27, 2013     vs. Capitals         7:30 PM     

March 2013
Fri Mar 1, 2013     vs. Islanders         7:00 PM     
Sat Mar 2, 2013     @ Maple Leafs         7:00 PM     
Mon Mar 4, 2013     vs. Lightning         7:00 PM     
Sat Mar 9, 2013     @ Bruins         1:00 PM     
Sun Mar 10, 2013     vs. Blackhawks        3:00 PM     
Wed Mar 13, 2013     @ Devils         7:30 PM     
Fri Mar 15, 2013     vs. Canadiens         7:00 PM     
Sun Mar 17, 2013     @ Panthers         6:00 PM     
Mon Mar 18, 2013     @ Lightning         7:30 PM     
Fri Mar 22, 2013     @ Hurricanes         7:00 PM     
Sun Mar 24, 2013     @ Penguins         7:30 PM     
Tue Mar 26, 2013     vs. Penguins         7:00 PM     
Thu Mar 28, 2013     vs. Islanders         7:00 PM     
Sat Mar 30, 2013     @ Bruins         1:00 PM     
Sun Mar 31, 2013     vs. Bruins         7:30 PM     

April 2013
Tue Apr 2, 2013     @ Canadiens         7:30 PM     
Thu Apr 4, 2013     @ Senators         7:30 PM     
Sat Apr 6, 2013     @ Jets             7:00
Tue Apr 9, 2013     vs. Penguins         7:00 PM     
Thu Apr 11, 2013     vs. Senators         7:00 PM     
Sat Apr 13, 2013     vs. Rangers         3:00 PM

Challenges await Darryl Reynolds, Villanova in run to repeat as national champs

Challenges await Darryl Reynolds, Villanova in run to repeat as national champs

VILLANOVA, Pa. — Darryl Reynolds said it hurt. And he wasn’t alone. 

A month ago, Reynolds and the rest of the Villanova Wildcats found out five-star freshman big man Omari Spellman would not be eligible to play in 2016-17.

And despite Spellman — at 6-foot-9 and 260 pounds — being the biggest competition cutting into Reynolds’ playing time for his senior year, Reynolds understood the ramifications from losing what was expected to be a key cog in Villanova’s next run for glory.

“We lost a — no pun intended — big piece to the puzzle,” Reynolds said Tuesday at Villanova’s media day. “He went down, but everybody else has realized that we need that much more from everybody else.

“Me and Omari are close, in more ways than on the court. It would’ve been exciting to play with him. But it also provided that much more motivation.”

Motivation because Reynolds, a Lower Merion grad, also understands what the ramifications mean for him, too. The 6-foot-9, 240-pound senior may arguably be the most important player on the 2016-17 Wildcats. 

For three years, Reynolds has largely taken a backseat, hidden by the shadow of Daniel Ochefu. Now he’s front and center.

“He battled through that,” fellow senior Josh Hart said. “Never complained. Never had any down moments. Brought it every single day. We know he can play at this level.”

Reynolds heads a position in which Villanova was supposed to have depth. Now it has question marks. Reynolds and Spellman were going to be a 1-2 punch inside and a perfect supplement to a bevy of offensive talent around them. The question marks up front include sophomore Tim Delaney and freshman Dylan Painter. How quickly the two of them get going will be big. And so, too, will be figuring out where Fordham transfer forward Eric Paschall fits in the rotation.

Coach Jay Wright, who said Reynolds would be a starter, talked more about the other pieces behind Reynolds when asked what he’d be expecting from the senior big man.

“I think part of our challenge is Tim Delaney and Dylan Painter,” Wright said. “Which one of them, if not both of them, can step up and give us the depth that Darryl gave us last year up front when we needed size? Down the stretch in big games against big-time teams, you need that size. We’ve got to develop Tim and Dylan and see how they do with that, see how Eric Paschall can do. Can he play bigger? We definitely have our challenges.”

Those challenges also include replacing leadership roles vacated by Ryan Arcidiacono, Ochefu and a trio of walk-ons.

Insert Reynolds there, too. The Wildcats will start three seniors this year. Hart and Kris Jenkins may do most of the scoring, but they’re pretty reserved off the court and when talking to the media.

“Obviously Ryan (Arcidiacono) was a great leader for us. He was our rock,” Hart said. “When you look at this team, a lot of times we look at [Reynolds]. He calms everybody down. He vocally tries to make sure everybody’s on one accord. Basketball-wise, he’s always been good. You saw the Providence game last year when we needed him to step up and he had, what, like 19 and 11?”

Hart remembers the numbers well, even if he added an extra rebound to the ledger. Reynolds was 9 for 10 from the floor and had two blocks in 36 minutes of action to help the Wildcats earn revenge with a road win after the Friars beat them in Philadelphia two weeks prior.

That game was the last of a three-game stretch in late January into early February when Ochefu was sidelined with a concussion. Reynolds’ minutes over that stretch: 29, 31 and 36, respectively.

That experience, Reynolds says, coupled with the rest of 2015-16 — when he saw an uptick in minutes from his sophomore season’s 5.4 per game to 17.1 per game — will be easy to draw from in 2016-17.

“There’s nothing like getting out there and actually playing,” Reynolds said. “You see a lot from the sidelines. You learn a lot playing spot minutes. You get different things. But just being out there throughout entire games, playing 20-plus minutes, it teaches you things that you could never have learned from another perspective. I learned a lot from those experiences and I think it made me the player that I am in many ways. It’s the same thing with this year. I’m still going to learn a ton in a sense of being out there that much more and not having Daniel. 

“In many ways he taught me a lot. So not having him, not having that voice in my ear, not having that guy to go against in practice, it will make me grow up. 

“Nothing wrong with that,” he said with a smile.

Doug Pederson not afraid to get agressive with play-calling

Doug Pederson not afraid to get agressive with play-calling

Talk to Doug Pederson and he comes across … what’s a nice way to put it … dry?

Very nice guy. Very friendly. Very down to Earth. But not the most dynamic personality in public.

Which is why his personality on gameday has been so surprising.

Pederson is a risk taker as a playcaller. Aggressive and fearless.

Whether it’s going for it on fourth down with the lead, going for two after a successful PAT or throwing deep in a situation that doesn’t necessarily call for it, Pederson has proven to be the proverbial riverboat gambler that Chip Kelly was expected to be but never became.

“My personality is probably a little more conservative by nature, I think,” Pederson said Monday. “You'd probably agree with that.”

Pederson got a laugh with that comment because his public persona is exactly the opposite of his gameday demeanor.

It only took one day before we all got a taste of Pederson’s fearlessness.

In the season opener against the Browns, with the Eagles clinging to a 15-10 lead and a rookie quarterback making his first NFL appearance and a 4th-and-4 at the Browns’ 40--yard-line, he kept the offense on the field.

Carson Wentz responded by connecting with Zach Ertz on a five-yard gain to move the chains, and one play later, the Eagles took command on Wentz’s 35-yard TD pass to Nelson Agholor.

Six weeks in, the Eagles are 5 for 5 on fourth down. Only the Falcons have converted more fourth downs in the NFL this year, and they’re 6 for 10.

In the win over the Bears, the Eagles were 3 for 3 on fourth down, their best fourth-down conversion day in nine years.

This is the first time in 14 years the Eagles have converted five or more fourth downs through six games.

According to Pro Football Reference, the Eagles are one of only seven teams in NFL history to attempt five or more fourth down plays through six games and still be at 100 percent. The Lions are also 5 for 5 this year.

Pederson said analytics are a big part of his decision-making process, but he also trusts his instincts.

“I think it's both,” Pederson said. “But I trust our guys and I trust our offensive line and I think it sends a great message to the rest of the team, to the defense and special teams, that, ‘Hey, if we can convert this and stay on the field,’ it sends a good message.

“And on the other side of that, if you do convert, (it’s about) the message you send to the other team and the fact that you're going to stay aggressive.”

The Eagles are 29th-best in the NFL on third down at just 34 percent. But they’re one of only three teams that’s at 100 percent on fourth down.

“It's kind of a crazy deal when you're not great on third down, but you can be 5 for 5 on fourth down and convert them,” Pederson said. “It's a weird deal. But credit to the guys for the execution.

“I'm going to continue to look at it. I don't ever want to be in a position that I'm going to jeopardize the team at the time (by being too aggressive). Looking at the five fourth-down decisions this year, I don’t think they put us in any harm at that time.”

Wentz is 3 for 3 for 21 yards on fourth down, with the four-yard completion to Ertz, a seven-yard first down to Jordan Matthews in the Bears game and a nine-yard to Dorial Green-Beckham, also in the win in Chicago.

He also rushed six yards for a first down on a 4th-and-2 Sunday in the win over the Vikings. The Eagles’ other fourth-down conversion this year was Ryan Mathews’ one-yard TD on a 4th-and-goal against Chicago.

Pederson said as an assistant coach under Andy Reid, he always found himself asking himself whether he would be conservative or aggressive in crucial situations.

We’re all learning the answer now.

“Yeah, you definitely put yourself in those situations, as a coordinator and a position coach,” he said. “Putting yourself in those spots, it's a lot easier when you're not making the decision obviously to go, ‘Oh, yeah, I would have not gone for it there or not gone for it there.’

“Now, being in this position, it's my tail on the line if we don't convert.”