Flyers Top Tampa, But Claude Giroux Leaves (Video)

Flyers Top Tampa, But Claude Giroux Leaves (Video)

Excitement over the Flyers' fifth straight win is tempered with the knowledge that Claude Giroux left the game in the second period after a collision saw Wayne Simmonds' knee hit Giroux in the head. Giroux was low on the ice after a checking attempt, and Simmonds tried to avoid him by jumping over him, but his knee hit Giroux's helmet pretty hard.

Giroux would leave the game and go up the tunnel, and he didn't return. On Friday, the Flyers announced that Chris Pronger was out indefinitely with concussion-like symptoms, and Brayden Schenn's previously described upper body injury was updated to be a concussion as well. After Sidney Crosby missed nearly a year with concussion-related symptoms (and is once again being held out as a precaution), nothing could be scarier than a player having a possible concussion.

At least for now, Paul Holmgren is saying Giroux's removal from the game was a precaution. He will be evaluated again tomorrow morning and did not go to the hospital. We're not going to get too much further into what-if's until we're given a reason to.

llya Bryzgalov also left the game, departing during a stoppage in the third period. He went halfway up the tunnel, but returned the bench not long after. After the game, he coyly indicated that it was "an old boo-boo," and seemingly nothing to worry about. Sergei Bobrovsky finished the game for him, preserving the 4-2 lead he inherited before Scott Hartnell netted an empty netter. It's a least a good sign that Bryzgalov never took off the equipment and skated with the team to celebrate the win.

Video of the collision and more on the game below.

Game Action:
The question heading into the game was whether the Lightning and Flyers would once again play a trap vs. stall showdown. Tampa didn't stick strictly to the 1-3-1, and did send forecheckers more than we saw in last game. It may have had something to do with the fact that they just seemed to have the puck more overall in the period. They came out firing and controlled the tempo through most of the first period. Ryan Shannon opened the scoring, converting on a nice feed from Dominic Moore.

Although the home side looked pretty sluggish while chasing the Lightning through the first 20 minutes, a one-goal deficit was hardly much to worry about after seeing the Flyers win a pair of comeback efforts in recent games.

This is a Flyers team that appears seasoned beyond its years, with players young and old keeping their heads in the game even when they concede early leads and aren't playing good hockey. When the second period began, so did the game for Philadelphia. The Flyers scored three straight in the frame, with Danny Briere, Jaromir Jagr, and Wayne Simmonds all lighting the lamp.

Vincent Lecavalier scored on a power play less than a minute into the third period, but the momentum didn't tip any further to Tampa's advantage. Matt Carle deposited a great pass from Danny Briere just four minutes later to put the Flyers back up by a pair.

Hartnell scored a well-deserved empty netter in the final minute of the game, extending his goal scoring streak to five contests.

We still don't know the extent of Giroux's injury, but it was encouraging to see the rest of the team hold up so strongly in the third period. Even after last season's very deep team was blown up, they're at least as deep right now as they were then. That's not to say losing Giroux for any amount of time wouldn't be disruptive...

Notes:
Giroux had a pair of assists, including a sweet drop pass to Jagr. Simmonds is heating up, getting increasingly very comfortable around the opposing crease. His goal was a little dirty in that it went in off a deflection and total change of direction, but Simmonds is making things happen down low on a regular basis lately. His goal came off a play very much like an attempt he made against the Penguins, spinning down low and trying to send a blind pass to Jakub Voracek.

Simmonds was also very active with the stick. Briere's goal came off a great strip by Simmer, as well as a nice pass.

Jagr had an amazing overall game, and his goal tied him with Brendan Shanahan for 11th all time in NHL goals with 656.

Sean Couturier took Giroux's spot between Jagr and Hartnell in the third period, a welcomed site for fans wanting to see the star rookie play in an offensive role (although no one would have it be for this reason). Cooter nearly scored twice, both off of great feeds from Jagr.

Once again, the defense was pretty solid. Marc-Andre Bourdon and Kevin Marshall played well, and Kimmo Timonen continued to build on an excellent season. He did have a goal pass through his wickets before beating a screened Bryzgalov though…

Tonight's great soundbite came from Bryzgalov, who, when pressed by Tim Panaccio as to why he didn't return to the ice on a stoppage if it was only an equipment issue, as Bryz had indicated, gave up and just said, "I'm a bad liar," drawing laughs from the room. We're just glad his status can literally be called a laughing matter.

We'll keep you posted if any injury updates are made, but it sounds like we've heard all there is to say for tonight.

Video Highlights:

Nelson Agholor unlikely to play Eagles' preseason finale, even if he could use the work

Nelson Agholor unlikely to play Eagles' preseason finale, even if he could use the work

Starters typically don't play much if at all in the final preseason game, but what does that mean for the Eagles and Nelson Agholor?

Agholor may be a starter by default, but the second-year wideout has followed up a disappointing rookie campaign with an uninspired summer thus far. More reps might be of value for a young player in Agholor's position.

Doug Pederson apparently disagrees, telling reporters on Monday that Agholor "probably" won't make an appearance in the Eagles' preseason finale this Thursday against the Jets. When pressed for an explanation, the head coach gave a curious response.

"One, I don't want to risk an injury necessarily," Pederson said. "Two, he's right on track with where he needs to be, so I'm not concerned with Nelson."

Any assertion that Agholor is "on track" is debatable. The 2015 first-round pick has just two receptions for 30 yards in preseason action. To make matters worse, he's also dropped three passes, including a costly deflection that went for an interception against the Colts on Saturday.

Minimal production and lapses in concentration plagued Agholor throughout last season, and there's little evidence those issues are behind him. Regardless, Pederson sounds unconcerned.

"Every day he comes out here and puts in a quality day's work," Pederson said. "He works extremely hard, and I've seen what he can do in practice.

"Is there the occasional drop here or there? Yeah. What he did after the drop (against the Colts), you probably didn't notice the blocking downfield, the things he did away from the ball. More than being a receiver — obviously, catching the ball is number one — but we pride ourselves in being physical in the run game and blocks down the field, and the things he did in this football game put him in a really good position going into the regular season."

To his credit, Agholor has shown a willingness to contribute without the ball in his hands. The 23-year-old threw a key block on Josh Huff's eight-yard touchdown run on Saturday.

Of course, Agholor wasn't taken 20th overall for his ability to pancake defensive backs. The Eagles are hoping he can become a viable target in the passing attack.

Agholor has dealt with questions about his production and confidence going back to last year. He knows as well as anybody that he needs to improve, although he doesn't necessarily feel that growth needs to take place in an exhibition game.

"The most important thing to me right now is practice, and I got an opportunity to go out here and practice and progress from the game to today," Agholor said. "We went over some corrections from the game, so that was a step, and now when I go out here, I have to show signs of progression.

"(Coach Pederson's) decision is his decision. For my mind, I need to make sure I go out here today and get better as a football player."

But are Agholor's troubles holding on to the football correctable through practice? Drops are often attributed either to a receiver's hands or his concentration, both of which tend to be difficult flaws to overcome.

Concentration has been more to blame in Agholor's case. If there's a positive, he realizes that. Agholor looks at a drop like the one he had against the Colts that wound up going for an interception and tries to figure out exactly what broke his concentration on that play so that he won't make the same mistake again.

"As a wide receiver, when you watch that, the end result, the drop, isn't on my mind," Agholor said. "It's 'What was my route?' to go to that. Did I do too much to take my focus away from receiving that football? And I felt like I did.

"I felt like my pattern to get to the football — I made man moves and they were actually in a zone — and all those stairsteps made my eyes and my hands not be in the right place to receive the football at the right time."

Nobody is putting more pressure on Agholor to eliminate these mistakes than he is.

"That's what you have to do in this league, and that's what you have to do for a football team, especially when they count on you," Agholor said.

"My teammates count on me to be explosive with the football and without the football. I want to always do it with the football because that's my job. I'm a wide receiver. But as a player on the field, I have to make sure I'm explosive and I have to make sure I make plays without the ball in my hands too."

Perhaps that's why Pederson is showing so much faith in his young receiver. Work ethic has never been an issue for Agholor, and he's going to do whatever he can to become a reliable weapon for the Eagles. When he comes up short, it's not for lack of effort or preparation.

Fortunately, there's still time for Agholor to turn things around. If he can give the offense somewhat steady production in 2016, nobody will remember the preseason or even how he struggled as a rookie. Agholor realizes that too, so he's worried only about getting ready for opening day against the Browns on Sept. 11.

"I have a responsibility because I will be a guy that's out there," Agholor said. "In my mind, my number's going to be called multiple times and I need to answer the phone. That's how I look at it."

Eagles LB Myke Tavarres reportedly changes mind, will stand for national anthem

Eagles LB Myke Tavarres reportedly changes mind, will stand for national anthem

Several hours after telling ESPN that he would join Colin Kaepernick in not standing for the national anthem, Eagles rookie linebacker Myke Tavarres has apparently changed his mind. 

Tavarres' agent told FOX29's Chris O'Connell Monday afternoon that the linebacker will stand for the national anthem Thursday in the Eagles' preseason finale against the Jets.

All right then. 

For what it's worth, Crossing Broad found this picture from Tavarres a few weeks ago, when he certainly seemed to be pro-America.

Happy Independence Day!! 🇺🇸

A photo posted by Myke Tavarres (@myket14) on

Carson Wentz back at practice, frustrated he’s out for Eagles Thursday night

Carson Wentz back at practice, frustrated he’s out for Eagles Thursday night

Carson Wentz was on the fields at the NovaCare Complex wearing a helmet and ready to practice on Monday for the first time since fracturing his ribs on Aug. 11 against the Bucs.

He’s getting better. Just not quickly enough.

Despite being back at practice Monday afternoon, Wentz will not play in the Eagles’ preseason finale against the Jets on Thursday night. The original hope was that the No. 2 overall pick would be ready for the fourth preseason game.

“That’s a no-go for this week, but I’ll be ready for Week 1,” Wentz said.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said a CT scan on Wentz’s ribs showed one was completely healed, while the other was just 60 percent healed (see story).

Wentz said he expects to be fully healed by Sept. 11, when the Eagles open the season against the Cleveland Browns. But by then, he will have missed three of his four opportunities to play in the preseason. And, as the third-stringer, he won’t even be active on game days.

“It’s tough,” Wentz said. “With all injuries, it’s tough not being on the field, especially as a competitor coming in here, these preseason games were going to be big for me. It’s tough, it’s frustrating, but it just kind of is what it is.”

In his only game this preseason, Wentz went 12 for 24 for 89 yards and an interception. He also ran three times for 15 yards. During that game, he showed flashes of why the Eagles were so high on him, but it was just a taste.

After Thursday night, he will have spent the rest of the preseason as a spectator during games, taking mental reps instead of real ones.

Mental reps help, certainly. Wentz stands on the sideline and mentally inserts himself into the play. What would he do here? What would his read be there? What would he do with a certain protection?

“You’re really just trying to be locked in like you were the guy in the game,” he said.

Mental reps are great. But they don’t replace the real ones. Nothing does.

So while Wentz has been working to get better since going down with the ribs injury earlier this month, he’s lost valuable practice and game reps that he won’t get back. Pederson said once the season starts, the team can’t help him make them up because it will be too focused on getting the starters ready to play.

“You have to make the most of every opportunity you have in practice,” Wentz said. “I feel confident with where I am. Obviously, I missed the couple preseason games. I know when my number gets called, I’ll be ready.”

Pederson on Monday said he was less concerned about Wentz because Wentz is the third-string quarterback behind Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel. That was the plan before Wentz’s injury. Then the injury cemented that plan.

Does Wentz have any hope that he’ll play during his rookie season?

“I’ll be ready to go,” he said. “It’s not up for me to decide. We’ve been talking about this forever now. I know I’ll be ready to go and I’m excited for when I’m back out there. Practicing today, I’m excited for that too.”