Flyers Deserve to Lose, Do So

Flyers Deserve to Lose, Do So

Last spring, a couple of broads who had too much to drink decided it would be more convenient to walk through my patio screen door rather than open it--same night, isolated incidents. The resulting quick fixes performed in the dark of night never quite got the sliding door back on its tracks, and within a day or two, the entire house was infested with flies. I chased the flies around the house for a few days, swatting wildly at every one I saw, but it was a losing battle. It always seemed like there were more.

Until finally I stumbled upon their lair. When the sun was out, those nasty buggers would congregate behind a tapestry that hung in front of the glass patio doors, perhaps to keep warm from the cruel central air. Well from that point on, every morning when I woke up, or whenever I returned home from work, I would grab the nearest copy of Wine & Spirits Quarterly, carefully peel away the tapestry, and begin gleefully smashing flies. It was gruesome, but I hate flies, and eventually the entire population was eradicated.

Roughly one year later, the Bruins are exorcising some demons of their own, gleefully smashing the Flyers with their bodies and swatting pucks by their goaltenders with the same level of ease.

Trying to recap this game seriously or in any amount of detail is about as pointless as that rambling lede. If you witnessed it, you don't really want to talk about it. If you didn't... lucky you. Most likely, you can look at the 5-1 final, and the fact that the Flyers have fallen behind 3-0 in a series with Boston for the second post-season in a row, and determine things went decidedly poor on Wednesday night.

Before a minute could even tick off the clock in the first period, Philly was already behind 2-0. Well before the second frame concluded, the lead was four, and Brian Boucher was heading to the bench once again. Sergei Bobrovsky settled things down somewhat, not allowing another score until the final minutes, while Andrej Meszaros tacked on a goal in the second, but it was all so very little, so very, very late.

The story of the game wasn't just in net though, despite that being the sixth goaltender change mid-game during the post-season. Matt broke it down plain enough in the game preview.

Boosh let up a goal he should have had. There were forward lapses on coverages and bad decisions with the puck on defense. Any on their own can be accepted if all else goes well. But on Monday, in a 1-goal OT loss, the single mistakes become amplified. We should expect just as close a game tonight. If not, it isn't safe to assume we'll be on the winning end of a lopsided game.

Tonight, all three occurred once again, and the the home team wound up on the wrong side of a crooked number.

Of course, it doesn't help the Flyers appear to have run into the proverbial hot goalie. If they hope to have any shot at defying the odds with another historical run in these Stanley Cup Playoffs, they will first have to solve Tim Thomas. Thomas didn't put on quite the show he did in Game 2--and didn't have to--but he's made it look far more simple than it actually is thus far.

As if that weren't enough, Boston won in practically every other aspect of this contest, not just in the final score column, or netminder confidence. They were clearly the more physical of the two clubs. The Flyers are hitting, but the Bruins were flat out steamrolling them tonight. They also destroyed the orange and black in the faceoff dot by an astounding 43-12, making the B's control on the pace of the game that much tighter. Again, that's 43-12. Might as well have been 100-0.

Honestly, looking at what happened tonight, what has gone down this entire series, it's hard to imagine the Flyers can pull four consecutive wins on this club again. And that, I'm afraid, is being kind. What more can we say?

Agholor, Huff and Green-Beckham avoiding Eagles' trade rumors

Agholor, Huff and Green-Beckham avoiding Eagles' trade rumors

While head coach Doug Pederson denied reports the Eagles have inquired about the availability of veteran wide receivers Wednesday (see story), it's fair to wonder how those rumors affect the psyche of the guys who are already here. True or not, there's a reason why stories about trades are believable.

The Eagles' current crop of receivers hasn't been very impactful, particularly Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff and Dorial Green-Beckham. Yet despite disappointing numbers, constant questions about their lack of production and now rumblings somebody like Torrey Smith or Alshon Jeffery could be coming to take their jobs, the young trio doesn't sound too worried.

"We all have a job to do here, and if you're worried about somebody else, you're going to lose sight of your own job," Agholor said. "Just like anybody else in any workplace, you need to focus on yourself and execute your job."

"That has nothing to do with me," Huff said. "As long as I'm confident in the way I do my job, everything else will speak for itself."

"It's something I'm completely not worried out," Green-Beckham added. "I'm really just focusing on myself and whatever happens, happens."

Not only do the Eagles' wideouts sound genuinely unconcerned by trade rumors, they almost seem to welcome the competition.

"It motivates you, especially if you're still around," Agholor said. "Or if you get sent somewhere else, you understand that you have to wake up. You have to wake up and you have to make plays."

"I'm a competitor," Huff said. "I'm not going to say no to a competition, but if they do want a veteran receiver, so be it. It doesn't bother us."

It's certainly the right attitude to have, maybe even the only one. Still, trade rumors — whether rumors are all they are or not — is a clear indictment of this group's performance this season.

Jordan Matthews has been OK, but far from a prolific No. 1 receiver who makes up for a lack of complementary weapons. The third-year player is currently on pace to finish 2016 with 67 receptions for 944 yards and five touchdowns, all of which would be down from his previous season's totals.

Agholor is second on the team with 18 receptions for 191 yards, Huff has 12 catches for 63 yards and Green-Beckham has 13 for 139. All three have found the end zone once as well.

What's troubling about those numbers is that not only the lack of production, but the lack of plays they've made down the field. Agholor and Green-Beckham are both under less than 11 yards per reception, while Huff is averaging a paltry 5.3.

It's no wonder the Eagles' front office would show interest in deep threats like Smith and Jeffery, both of whom are proven capable of stretching the field.

"I just work every day and try to get separation to the best of my ability," Agholor said. "I have a great receivers coach that tries to help me with my releases and fine tune that, but the most important thing I feel like with creating separation is a mindset, because this is a league, where it's good on good every day."

"It's just what the coaches see, what the coaches want from us," Huff said. "Obviously, would I want to get the ball downfield? Yes. Has it gone that way? No, but my job is to continue to get better each and every day, and once my number is called, I'll be ready to make that play."

Pederson, who earlier denied the Eagles were looking into trades, defended the big-play ability of his wideouts.

"Nelson can stretch it," Pederson said. "Josh can stretch it. But I think it's protection and design of the play. When I think of stretching the field, I mean, a guy can run fast and that can be stretching the field, but who can really take the top off?

"Those two guys are two that can do that."

Agholor, the Eagles' first-round pick in 2015, has faced these kinds of questions since his underwhelming rookie season. He's getting used to people doubting his ability, but that's not stopping him from keeping a positive attitude.

"I think the most important thing is to progress each day, and have a next-play mentality too," Agholor said. "Some of the greatest players in this league, they drop balls, I'm sure guys have probably jammed them before, however it goes, but the best thing they can do is just bounce back, line up again and win the next matchup.

"I want to continue to have that mindset and allow it to speak for itself so I don't have to sit here and tell. If every time you're all asking me that, it must mean you all don't see that."

Green-Beckham has a little bit more of a unique perspective on this matter than Agholor and Huff. While the second-year receiver is staying positive and motivated as well, he's been on the other end of these rumors and was ultimately traded from the Titans to the Eagles back in August.

Because he's only been with the team for a couple of months, Green-Beckham didn't seem too worried he's running out of opportunities with the Eagles.

"I just got here, so I don't think I'm going to end up leaving when I just got here," Green-Beckham said. "For some guys, you really have to worry about that, and you just have to focus on trying to compete, trying to get better and better each and every day and doing the little things."

Green-Beckham also knows better than anyone how such a trade would increase expectations on the players already inside the locker room, and he had a message for his teammates.

"I just know how it feels for guys who come in as traded, and for guys who've been here, you just have to understand you're going to have to compete when stuff like that happens," Green-Beckham said. "It makes your job a lot hard, but you just have to focus more.

"It's a business. Like they say, the NFL stands for not for long, so you always have that in your thoughts, and know every opportunity, you have to take advantage of it."

Joel Embiid the gold standard by wearing gold shoes to NBA debut

Joel Embiid the gold standard by wearing gold shoes to NBA debut

For the better part of two years, most of Sixers fans' worries focused on Joel Embiid's foot.

Before his first NBA game on Tuesday night against the Thunder, Embiid made sure his very large feet were still the center of attention.

Embiid walked into the Wells Fargo Center sporting a flashy pair of gold shoes.

Hopefully he has a pair of matching basketball sneakers for tonight's game.

Also, this is cool: