Flyers in Buffalo With Two to Go, Playoff Seeding on the Line

Flyers in Buffalo With Two to Go, Playoff Seeding on the Line

We have two more regular season Flyers games in which to find either comfort or agony. That may sound a bit melodramatic, but that's how the games have felt for the better part of at least the past month, and with the postseason looming, I don't see us going monk on the outcomes of the final two. The Flyers have a possible playoff preview on their hands in tonight's visit to Buffalo, a game that also has heavy implications on the overall Eastern Conference playoff picture. 

The Flyers are still playing for seeding and for the pride of a first place finish, whether in the conference or the division. Things like the President's Trophy and first place finishes don't mean much in the shadow of the Stanley Cup, but it's still nice to be able to look back on history and count division titles (particularly if the team also wins the Cup). 

The Sabres have two games left and a one-point lead over the eighth-seeded Rangers, who have only one game remaining and could still be caught by Carolina. If the playoffs were to start today, the Flyers would be hosting Buffalo. However, the Penguins can knock the Flyers to fourth place if they win both of their remaining games and the Flyers lose one of their remaining two. Boston still has a shot at the second seed as well. 

Despite being without Ryan Miller in goal, Buffalo has won three of their last four games and earned points in each of them. Jhonas Enroth, tonight's likely starter for the Sabres, has turned some heads with wins over the Rangers, Hurricanes, and Lightning. He'll face Flyers playoff starter Sergei Bobrovsky before presumably returning to the backup role with Miller nearly ready to play.

So who will respond to whatever call Homer barked out during the closed door meeting? 

Shady McCoy hung up on the Pittsburgh media after party question

Shady McCoy hung up on the Pittsburgh media after party question

Eagles fans likely yearn for LeSean McCoy's days in Philadelphia. Not only is Shady still beasting on the field for the Buffalo Bills this season, he's also entertaining per usual off of it.

The latest instance comes thanks to the Bills matchup this week with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the pro team in the city where Shady spent his formative years.

A Pittsburgh reporter on Wednesday's conference call, for some reason, decided to ask Shady about that infamous "females only" party he was going to host. You remember that one, don't you? The "no weird orgy thing" one?

Shady would eventually go on to cancel that party and plan another one DJ'd by Donald Trump -- the dude was ahead of his time.

But that doesn't mean he wants to talk about it all.

To be fair, who really wants to talk to the media anyway?

Phils lose LHP in Rule 5 draft, exit winter meetings balancing present with future

Phils lose LHP in Rule 5 draft, exit winter meetings balancing present with future

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – The winter meetings ended Thursday morning with the Phillies sitting out the Rule 5 draft. The Phillies’ roster was at the 40-man limit and that prohibited the team from making a pick.

The Phils did lose one player in the draft as reliever Hoby Milner was selected by the Cleveland Indians. 

Milner, who turns 26 in January, is a left-hander who recently switched to a side-arm delivery. He had a 2.49 ERA in 49 games at Double A and Triple A in 2016.

Milner was eligible for the draft because he was not protected on the 40-man roster last month. The Indians selected him for $50,000. He must stay in the big leagues all season or be offered back to the Phillies for $25,000.

Andrew Pullin was a player the Phillies feared losing, but they hung on to the lefty-hitting outfielder. Pullin, 23, hit .322 with a .885 OPS between Single A and Double A in 2016. A late-season elbow injury prevented Pullin from playing in the Arizona Fall League and factored into the Phillies’ decision to leave him unprotected.

The Phillies selected one player, infielder Jorge Flores, in the minor-league phase of the draft. Flores had been in the Toronto system.

The Phils lost one player, 25-year-old pitcher Jairo Munoz, to Tampa Bay in the minor-league phase. Munoz pitched in the low minors in 2016.

With the winter meetings behind them, Phillies officials will head back to Citizens Bank Park to complete the construction of their 2017 roster. So far this winter, the Phils have re-signed starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson and added outfielder Howie Kendrick and relievers Joaquin Benoit, Pat Neshek and David Rollins.

Remaining on the Phillies’ to-do list is adding a backup infielder – Andres Blanco could return – and deciding whether to pursue a veteran hitter to play a corner outfield spot or give an opportunity to a young tandem such as Roman Quinn and Aaron Altherr. 

General manager Matt Klentak spoke often during the week about that balance he is trying to strike between improving the 2017 club while keeping intact long-range goals.

“Successfully balancing the present and the future is the single greatest challenge that a baseball operations department faces,” Klentak said. “We’ve talked about it all offseason. The decisions that we are making right now about giving playing time to a young player that has cut his teeth in Triple A and needs that opportunity to take the next step as opposed to a shorter-term solution from the outside – that’s one of the main challenges that we’ve run into this offseason.”

Time will tell which way the Phillies go on this matter.