Flyers - Leafs: Don't go to a shootout.

Flyers - Leafs: Don't go to a shootout.

Tonight's Flyers-Leafs guest gamer is by Flyers Goal Scored By:

All is not well in the land of Crab Fries. A team that started the season with very consistent efforts look to be mired in a 2012 slump. Ever since the new year baby slewfooted Father Time, it's been slow goings for your Flyers. Good games followed by bad games that begot good games. This week the see-saw has been stuck in the "derp" position, seeing Philly lose three games in a row for the first time all season. Tonight a familiar foe is in town to hopefully kickstart the Flyers winning ways and carry them into yet another important weekend.

Flyers Leafs games are always good drinking weather.

Two fast, young teams that'll have the action going back and forth all night. Talented scorers, brain farts and animosity are usually the 3 stars of these tilts. Play will get chippy early on, that will hopefully keep the Flyers intensity level high for the full sixty.  The last time these two teams played, Chris Pronger was lost due to an inadvertent stick to the eye by the Leafs Mikhail Grabovski. This past Wednesday, injured captain Chris Pronger met with his team for the first time since Christmas.  Coincidence or not, seeing the Prongs will hopefully pump the Flyers tires a bit.  Either way, Brian Burke should feel so sorry about what happened to Pronger, he should just send Luke Schenn to Philly for a bucket of soft pretzels from Woodhaven Road.

Toronto has a stud line that brings together the Uncle Fester of American hockey with ex-Flyer Joffrey "don't call me a Lannister" Lupul.  Kessel and Lupul rank number 4 and 6 respectively in terms of scoring this year.   Kessel is a big time threat on the rush and the Flyers will need a strong back check to neutralize Phil's skills.    

One interesting subplot to this game, and to every game against the Leafs this year, is the brothers Schenn battling each other.  Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn has struggled a bit this year, but is still a contributor to the Leaves blueline.  There have been rumors of Burke shopping Schenn around at the deadline, and if the price is right, he'd be a nice 4th or 5th defenceman for the Flyers.  Philadelphia's Brayden Schenn is one of a few bright spots so far in 2012.  Dude's playing like a man and has gelled quickly with Wayne Simmonds on the second line. He was arguably the most dominant Flyer against both the Devils and Rangers this past weekend. Schenn has been very physical on the forecheck which could pay off well tonight.  In regards to Luke Schenn, one thing is for sure: don't expect him to get any….brotherly love tonight! *drops microphone*

Your goalie matchup is Bobrovsky vs. James "Optimus Reim" Reimer. Bryz is sick, and If he can't backup The Bobcat, look for Phantoms goalie Jason Bacashascashihua(spellcheck?) to ride the pine.  Reimer is legit, but beatable.  He can make some miraculous saves, but often gets hung out to dry by his defense.  

Your marquee fight of the night is Toronto's Mike Brown vs. The Double Burrito Tito Sestito.  Brown can toss 'em, but usually sticks to smaller fighters like Zenon Konopka or Dan Carcillo. Along with Sestito, we may see some Simmonds or Hartnell man dances due to the physicality that tonight promises.

The best I've seen this Flyers club recently, and perhaps all season, was in their 6-5 OT loss to the Bruins in late January.  In that game, the Flyers were relentless on their forecheck and converted their power play opportunities. The loss didn't sting as much, because the effort was so noticeable.  For the young Flyers to play more consistently,  they have to be able to match other teams intensity.  They were able to come out against Boston and dictate the pace, something they must start doing more often.  It's time to circle the wagons and grind out two points.  First round is on FGSB, giddyup. Let's Go Flyers.

Former Flyers coach Bill Dineen dies at 84

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The Associated Press

Former Flyers coach Bill Dineen dies at 84

Bill Dineen, who had the distinction of being Eric Lindros’ first NHL coach, died early Saturday morning at his home in Lake George, New York. He was 84.
 
“Such a wonderful person, who got along with everybody,” Flyers president Paul Holmgren said. “I never played for him, but worked with him in scouting. Just a great guy.” 
 
Dineen succeeded Holmgren as head coach during the 1991-92 season.
 
“When I got fired, a lot of our guys were squeezing their sticks,” Holmgren said. “They were tight. It shouldn’t be hard to play the game. When things got tough, they were a little under stress, Billy coming in, he loosened things up.”
 
Dineen coached parts of two seasons here from 1991-92 through the 1992-93 season, which was Lindros’ first year as a Flyer.
 
“Bill treated everyone with the utmost respect,” Holmgren said. “He was the perfect guy for Eric coming in here. That respect goes both ways. He was almost a grandfatherly figure for Eric at the time.”

Dineen served as a scout with the organization from 1990-91 until succeeding Holmgren as coach. He then returned to a scouting role in 1993-94 and remained with the Flyers as a scout through 1996-97.
 
Mark Howe, one of the greatest Flyers defensemen of all-time, played for Dineen as an 18-year-old rookie in the WHA with the Houston Aeros (1973-74), and also had him during his final year as a Flyer in 1991-92.
 
“He was one of the best people I ever met in the game of hockey,” Howe said. “He was a real players coach. Of all the guys I ever played for. Maybe a little Paul Holmgren, too. 
 
“If you lost the game, he was one of the very few people if you went for a bite to eat or a beer after the game you lost, you actually felt poorly for letting the coach down.”
 
Howe said Dineen’s teams weren’t all about skill.
 
“He picked people that were about ‘the team,'” Howe said. “He made me earn my spot that first year in Houston.”
 
Dineen posted a 60-60-20 record with the Flyers. His son, Kevin, played on both of those teams before assuming the captaincy from Rick Tocchet in 1993-94. 
 
A gentleman behind the bench, Bill Dineen was much the same person as a player. A former right wing who spent the majority of his six-year playing career with the Detroit Red Wings, he had just 122 penalty minutes in 322 games, scoring 51 goals and 95 points.
 
“I knew Billy for a long time," Flyers senior vice president Bob Clarke said. "He was a player and coach at the minor league level and the NHL level, but I think more importantly he was a really, really good hockey person and really good person.” 

Dineen won two WHA titles coaching the Aeros and two Stanley Cups as a player with the Red Wings. A member of the AHL Hall of Fame, Dineen also coached the Adirondack Red Wings from 1983 through 1988-89.
 
Three of his five sons — Gordon, Peter and Kevin — played in the NHL. Sons Shawn and Jerry had their roots in the AHL. 
 
“His boys are scattered all over the map,” Holmgren said. “Just a tremendous hockey family.”
 
Dineen is part of Flyer folklore trivia. He, along with Keith Allen and Vic Stasiuk, were all Red Wings teammates during 1953-53. They also shared something else in common: all three later  became Flyers head coaches.

Instant Replay: No. 1 Villanova 74, No. 23 Notre Dame 66

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The Associated Press

Instant Replay: No. 1 Villanova 74, No. 23 Notre Dame 66

BOX SCORE

NEWARK, N.J. – Villanova wasn’t ready to surrender its No. 1 ranking that quickly.

Despite trailing No. 23 Notre Dame for the first 30-plus minutes of action Saturday, Josh Hart and the Wildcats kept the Fighting Irish at striking distance and stormed ahead late for a 74-66 win in the Never Forget Tribute Classic at the Prudential Center.

The Wildcats wouldn’t take their first lead of the game until the nine-minute mark of the second half, which would put the teams on the seesaw for the next few minutes of action. Trailing the Fighting Irish, 62-61, with over six minutes remaining in the game, Villanova went on a 12-5 run to close out its 10th win in as many tries.

Hart continued his spectacular senior season, pouring in a career-high 37 points, pulling down 11 rebounds and dishing out four assists, all team highs. Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges and Eric Paschall each chipped in eight points behind Hart. 

Colson Bonzie and Matt Farrelll each scored 18 points each for the Fighting Irish.  

Turning point
Leading 68-66 with under two minutes remaining, a Kris Jenkins three pointer clanked off the back of the rim and fell to the ground as a loose ball. Jalen Brunson corralled the ball before it went out of bounds and was fouled by Matt Farrell. Brunson hit both free throws to extend the Wildcats’ lead to four. 

Bonzie missed an open look at a three on the other end and Darryl Reynolds was fouled after grabbing the rebound off the miss. Reynolds sunk both free throws to put the game on ice.

Big men on campus
Villanova: Josh Hart 

Hart kept Villanova in striking distance in the first half, scoring over half of his team’s points (19) and chipping in four rebounds and three assists. Hart continued his dominance in the second half with another 18 points and seven rebounds. The senior was 10 of 14 from the field, three of four from deep and a perfect 14 for 14 from the free throw line.  

Notre Dame: Matt Farrell

The Bridgewater, New Jersey, native had an impressive homecoming. Farrell gave Villanova’s defense fits all afternoon with his scoring and playmaking abilities out of the pick-and-roll, as he finished with 18 points on 8 of 13 shooting from the field and six assists.  

Inside the box score
• Both teams struggled from deep. Notre Dame shot 6 of 22 and Villanova hit 4 of its 16 attempts

• Notre Dame led for 30:54 of playing time.

• A lot of the game was played in the half court, as both teams combined for just 13 fast-break points.

Up next
Villanova returns to The Pavilion for its fourth Big Five matchup of the early season, as the Wildcats play host to Temple on Tuesday.