Flyers Rolling with What They've Got

Flyers Rolling with What They've Got

A couple of mid-level defensemen acquired days before the deadline even approached proved to be all the Flyers would do to tweak their team heading into the stretch run of the season. Paul Holmgren and his crew stood pat on Monday afternoon as the trade deadline came and went. Homer's statement on opting to stick with the guys they already have in the dressing room:

"We received some calls about a few of our players with some scenarios that we talked about, but nothing really made sense for us either in the short term or the long term," said Holmgren.

"I think we stated all along that anything we do needed to make sense both ways for us and nothing really came up. We made our moves a couple weeks ago and I think adding size and experience on defense that we were looking for with the absence of Chris Pronger for the rest of this year, we felt good with our group."

It proved to be a market with few highly coveted players on teams who appeared to be asking too much in return. A lackluster day for trade junkies, but a good day for those who liked the core parts of this current Flyers team, including much rumored trade bait JVR.

How do you feel after the trade deadline passed without the Flyers making a splash?


More from the Homer conference call:

Q: Were you getting a lot of calls today about James van Riemsdyk?

We received some calls about some of our players, with some scenarios that we talked about.  But nothing really made sense for us in the short term or in the long term.  I think we’ve stated here all along that anything we do needs to make sense both ways for us, and nothing really came up.  We made our moves a couple weeks ago and I think adding the size and experience on defense that we were looking for with the absence of Chris Pronger for the rest of this year… we felt good with our group.  We really didn’t go into this trade deadline, since we made those two deals for Pavel and Nicklas, we didn’t really go in with anything that really felt we needed to do. We like our team and we were quite comfortable coming out of it like we did without doing anything more today

Q: So you’re not disappointed?

Absolutely not.  Not at all.  A couple weeks ago we felt we lacked some things on our back end just because of the absence of Chris, and we addressed those issues without giving up anyone off our team.  I like our team.  I think we’re a team that obviously the group for the most part has been together all year.  We’ve put some young guys into the lineup over the course of the year, and we like our team. We like the direction we’re heading and we didn’t want to do anything to disrupt anything long-term for sure.

Q: Does the goals-against still concern you?

Yeah.  It’s a function of how we’re playing. We’re still a little loosey-goosey from time to time, and obviously our goaltending needs to be better.  I think the coaches and the players have spent a great deal of time going over how we’re playing, and we’re trying to tighten things up.  That’s a situation that the team is addressing on a daily basis, and you hope getting down here where we’ve got 21 games left, we’ll start to tighten it up and play

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

USA Today Images

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

CHESTER, Pa. — On the eve of his comeback after missing nearly 13 months with a left tibia stress fracture and other related injuries, Union midfielder Maurice Edu fractured his left fibula on Saturday, keeping him out for the 2016 playoffs and beyond.

“I was trying to take the shot on goal and my foot got stuck in the turf,” Edu said Sunday, in his blue Union-issued suit and supported by crutches. “My ankle rolled and twisted and it kind of snapped a little bit. I heard it crack, and a lot of pain from there. I got a scan afterward, and there was a break.”

There's no timetable his return.

Edu, 30, has spent over a calendar year fighting various injuries that have kept him out of game action. His trouble began on Sept. 30, 2015, when he played through the U.S. Open Cup final with a partially torn groin and sports hernia. It was during Edu’s recovery from those injuries that he developed a stress fracture.

"A little bit frustration. A lot of frustration, to be honest," he said. "But all I can do now is get back to work, focus on the positives and make sure that my situation isn’t a distraction from the team."

Edu’s teammates were equally devastated by the news. Edu, the Union captain when healthy, is popular and well-respected in the locker room.

"I feel so bad for him," said Alejandro Bedoya, who wore a dedication to Edu under his jersey on Sunday. "He’s one of my good friends, so I was looking forward to playing alongside him. I know how hard he’s worked to get back, and to see him go out like that, it’s heartbreaking. I’m sad for his loss and I hope he stays strong."

Edu, who has been with the Union since 2014, returned to training in July and played three conditioning appearances with the Union’s USL team, Bethlehem Steel FC. He was on the bench for the Union’s last three games and was set to make his first appearance in over a year against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, a game the Union eventually lost, 2-0 (see game story).

"We’re gutted for Mo," Union manager Jim Curtin said. "He was slated to start today. It’s real upsetting because he’s worked so hard to get back on the field. It’s been a tough 2016 for him, but I know he’ll come back stronger."

While he was visibly shaken by recent injury, Edu is driven to return.

"What happened, happened," Edu said. "I have no control over that. The only thing I do have control over is my next steps from here, how I prepare myself mentally and emotionally and how I continue to support this group."

Sixers 'all over the place' different without Ben Simmons

Sixers 'all over the place' different without Ben Simmons

CAMDEN, N.J. — It has been over three weeks since Ben Simmons suffered an acute Jones fracture in his right foot during the final scrimmage of training camp. The Sixers had constructed schemes around the rookie point-forward and watched unconventional lineups play out at Stockton University.

Those “can’t-wait-to-see” situations have been delayed to “wait-and-see” as Simmons recovers.

“Where do you begin?” Brett Brown said after practice Sunday. “I could talk for three days on what’s different without Ben Simmons. It’s all-over-the-place different. The core values of how you want to do different things there remain the same, but the whole landscape changed.”

This week was supposed to be the debut of a new-look system featuring a player who could influence the game with his versatility and athleticism. Brown even had experimented with pairing Simmons and Dario Saric at the two and three positions. Instead, the Sixers once again will start a regular season shorthanded by injuries.

Simmons was projected to start at power forward and also handle point responsibilities. His multitasking lessened the need for the Sixers to find a standout point guard this summer. They signed veteran Jerryd Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez, who is returning to the NBA for his second stint.

Bayless was expected to start, with the intention of Simmons running the floor at times. Now, neither can play. Bayless has been sidelined by a ligament injury in his left wrist. The Sixers announced on Friday that Bayless will have a non-surgical rehab and will be reevaluated in two weeks.

Brown on Sunday was undecided on whether Rodriguez or second-year point guard T.J. McConnell would start at the one on opening night.

“He was going to be one of the primary ballhandlers,” Brown said of Simmons. “And with that, floor spots and spacing and how you actually set this thing up changes dramatically.”

The players also have noticed a change without Simmons in the backcourt. Joel Embiid, playing his first season after missing the past two with foot injuries, found himself struggling with his shot selection early on in the preseason. He got glimpses in camp of how Simmons could improve that.

“He’s such a big presence and he’s really important to us,” Embiid said. “He just makes plays. I’ve been rushing shots and that’s where it comes in play. Someone like him can help me get better shots because he can get me easy baskets.”

Simmons’ absence also fast-forwarded Saric’s transition in his first NBA season. The injuries to Simmons and Jahlil Okafor (right knee) have pushed Saric into the starting power forward role during the preseason. The rookie has been learning on the go in a new league.

“He has been thrown into the fire,” Brown said of Saric last week (see story).

Simmons recently went through a two-week, post-operative exam and had sutures removed. He is working on day-to-day rehab with the Sixers' staff while also spending time talking with Brown. The team is implementing a multi-faceted recovery program of education, health and shot improvement.

This includes meeting with Brown to break down his game — where it is now and where it can develop in the future. Brown wants to make sure Simmons knows the ins and outs of the system so he is best prepared to begin his rookie season once cleared to play.

“I think that part of my excitement is I get with Ben every day while we’re here and go into my office for half-an-hour and it’s like basketball-NBA 101,” Brown said.

That’s one aspect of Simmons’ injury for which Brown can prepare.