Flyers in Jersey for Celebration of a Wide Open Atlantic

Flyers in Jersey for Celebration of a Wide Open Atlantic

Not long ago, the Rangers' lead over the Atlantic Division, and with it the Eastern Conference, seemed insurmountable. Now, after winning their ninth straight, the Penguins are absolutely in striking distance, and after their fifth consecutive win, the Flyers are just four back of the Pens heading into tonight's game against the Devils. Jersey, though having played one more game, is just two points back of the Flyers. 
The Rangers have slowed their pace, losing three straight, and the Bruins have fallen off as well. The top three Eastern teams in terms of points are all from the Atlantic, and NJ is tied with Boston heading into tonight. The Rags will resume winning again, and the impressive Pens and Flyers will lose a few games eventually, but the middle of the pack is climbing the standings ladder, and we're in for an exciting every-game-counts finish to the season. 
Tonight's action pits the currently 5th seeded Flyers against the 6th seeded Devils at 7PM. 
For the most part, no one is playing for seeding aside from a desire to steal the division. Everyone's just trying to get their game in order for the postseason regardless of matchup. These games have some added interest though in that a pair of Atlantic could teams could square off as the 4-5 pairing. 
How do you like the Flyers' chances against Pittsburgh or New Jersey in a seven-game series?
We'll get a good look at Lou Lam's boys with back-to-back games tonight and Tuesday. The Devils have won four of their last five after losing four in a row. Last night, they too were scoreless against the Islanders through two periods, and the Isles had the game within reach after John Tavares scored in the third. But David Clarkson equalized with less than two minutes to play, and Marek Zidlicky put the Devils ahead 14 seconds later. Thanks a lot, Islanders. 
After not getting a single power play last night, the Flyers face the league's top killing unit tonight. Hopefully we'll at least get a shot at them. 
Gotta be a tough call for Peter Laviolette as to who should start in net. Ilya Bryzgalov has gone 11 straight without a break, but he's playing out of his mind right now, currently riding a pair of consecutive shutouts, with three in his past four games. 
Who do you go with in net in this important matchup? The locked-in netminder or the backup who could use a turn? [UPDATE: Sam Carchidi says Bob goes tonight]
The schedule remains jam-packed, with games Tuesday and Thursday, and two battles looming next weekend—in Boston and hosting Pittsburgh. If the Flyers can keep playing at this level, and get healthy, it should be pretty entertaining. 

Nerlens Noel on Sixers' frontcourt logjam: 'I don't see a way it can work'

Nerlens Noel on Sixers' frontcourt logjam: 'I don't see a way it can work'

CAMDEN, N.J. — Nerlens Noel is standing his ground.

After saying that the Sixers' entering the season with three starting-caliber centers (himself, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid) "doesn't make sense," Noel didn't back down from his stance during the team's annual media day.  

"I don't see a way it can work," Noel said Monday. "It's just a logjam. You have three young, talented centers that can play 30-plus minutes a night." 

The Sixers attempted to play with two bigs in Noel and Okafor last season but had little success. Now that Embiid is finally healthy, the fit to the puzzle doesn't figure to get any better.

Reports swirled during the offseason that the Sixers were looking to trade either Noel or Okafor to add backcourt help to the woeful franchise, but nothing came to fruition.

"Things need to get situated," Noel said. "I think things obviously need to be moved around, someone needs to be moved around. It's just a tough situation. I can't really say too much because I have no say in the matter, so obviously that's for who can handle the situation in the right manner.

"I've gone through a whole lot. Probably the most, arguably, that any player has gone through in the NBA in losing. It's a tough situation to still be in. Year by year, to see things get more difficult to show your value. Year by year, it's always been something. It's really at a point where it's just a lot."

Bryan Colangelo said he understands Noel's viewpoint. However, the Sixers' president said he is in no rush to trade any of the centers and will wait the situation out.

"It’s not disappointing. It’s understandable," Colangelo said. "I think Nerlens actually did a pretty good job sizing up what we have, which is a lot of depth and a lot of talent at that position."

Despite each of the three centers being early in their career, Noel, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, doesn't want to hold off to see if the trio can actually mesh on the floor.

"I can't say I do really understand that (wait-and-see approach)," Noel said. "If you have a group of players, I just don't think it makes too much sense to just still come into the season with such a heavy lineup at the center position. I don't know what there is to wait and see."

Noel made sure to express that he has no issues with Okafor and Embiid and said they are some of his closest friends on the team. But when asked whether he was happy to be a Sixer, Noel deflected.

"I feel good," he said. "I'm all right, I'm in a good place right now."

Sure sounds like it.

Darren Sproles' TD from Wentz set to Sonic the Hedgehog music

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Darren Sproles' TD from Wentz set to Sonic the Hedgehog music

You may fondly remember the time Darren Sproles took a punt return to the house last season and a wonderful Twitter user set the video to the Super Mario Bros.' star music, yes?

It was great.

Now that Sproles' put on the jets again yesterday in the Eagles win over the Steelers, the same @pacdude on Twitter has done it again.

This time it's the theme music from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Please enjoy.