Flyers Win 5-4, Even Series 1-1

Flyers Win 5-4, Even Series 1-1

The Flyers responded in a big way following
their 1-0 loss on Thursday night. They earned a much needed 5-4 win on
home ice, evening the series at a game apiece. There was no real rhythm
to the game, as the officials apparently were getting paid per whistle
tonight.

The teams were a combined 3-18 on the power play. I don't know about
you, but I was losing my mind with all of the penalties. It's playoff
hockey, let them play five on five. I don't want to see a series
determined by special teams play.

A wild first period ended with the teams tied 3-3. Claude Giroux got the
Flyers going early as he stick-handled through three Sabres before
beating Ryan Miller up high. It was vintage Giroux. Things got out of
control after that as Thomas Vanek evened the score. Dan Carcillo then
punched home a rebound to put the Flyers up 2-1. Vanek and then Sekera
scored to put the Sabres up 3-2.

Bob was pulled after the third goal, giving way to Brian Boucher. JVR
closed out the first period scoring with a nice drag move in the slot
before unleashing a wrist shot which beat Miller. The up and down play
was a far cry from the tight defensive affair we saw in Game 1.

Goal scoring-wise things settled down after that. Ville Leino did
what he does and held the puck longer than you'd ever think possible. He
used a Sabre defenseman as a screen before beating Miller to the short
side. Danny Briere's skate redirected a Scott Hartnell point shot to put
the Flyers up 5-3 heading into the third.

The Sabres, unable to take advantage of three third period power
plays, pulled to within a goal thanks to a goal manufactured by their
fourth line. Rob Niedermeyer whipped a puck across the crease, which
Cody McCormick banged home.

The Flyers clamped down after that and hung on for a crucial 5-4 win.
We'll have lots more on the fallout of Bob being pulled, the Flyers
continued struggles on the power play (they finished just 1 of 10 with
the man advantage), and the day-to-day status of Chris Pronger.

The series resumes in Buffalo on Monday.

Up from 217 to 250, Ben Simmons also stronger mentally from work with LeBron

Up from 217 to 250, Ben Simmons also stronger mentally from work with LeBron

CAMDEN, N.J. — It appears Ben Simmons took the saying about having the weight of the world on your shoulders a tad literal.

The Sixers' No. 1 overall pick walked into the team's sparkling new training complex for media day sporting a much bigger frame than when his name was called on draft night.

"I'm a lot stronger. When I started getting ready for the draft I was about 217 [pounds] and now I'm around 250," Simmons said Monday.

When you're expected to be the centerpiece of an organization that managed just 10 wins a season ago, it helps to have that extra bulk to carry those expectations. 

But Simmons isn’t just being looked at as a key to help change the franchise’s fortunes. He’s also being viewed as perhaps a once-in-a-generation talent after drawing several comparisons to LeBron James, who Simmons shares an agent with in Klutch Sports Group.

So how did the incoming rookie deal with being likened to four-time MVP and three-time NBA champion James? He went to work like someone trying to achieve those same goals.

“Just being around him and learning from his habits and what he does has just helped me overall,” Simmons said of working out with James and other NBA stars during the summer. “He’ll be one of the first guys in the gym every day. It doesn’t matter what day it is. He’s one of those guys who gets the work in and enjoys the rest of his day. Just learning from him I think I can take a lot from what he’s done. ... He’s done a lot for me. He’s helped me experience things I need to learn.

“They get in the gym and work. It’s one of those things where they don’t play around. They get straight to it. Obviously in the weight room too. LeBron loves the VersaClimber and they also brought two more in here. I’m starting to learn from what these guys do, D-Wade (Dwyane Wade) also. They’re all doing the same thing, working out every day and getting ready.”

That type of work ethic will go a long way toward Simmons' earning the respect of his Sixers teammates. The group was already eager to get on the floor with him for training camp at Stockton University and get a firsthand look at the versatile forward, especially his prowess as a passer.

“The most exciting thing that I’ve seen was his passing ability,” Jahlil Okafor said of Simmons. “That’s going to help me out a lot. He’s selfless. Being with the summer league guys he was always about the team. I’ve always considered myself a good teammate and he’s a great one as well. I’m excited to work with him.”

“I think for anybody who likes to shoot or likes to score, whenever you can have a big man who is a really good ball handler, can make good decisions, has great vision, it’s always a great thing,” Gerald Henderson said. “If you can be aggressive on the offensive end you don’t always have to have the basketball to be able to be right there and score. You have somebody that can find you and really is thinking pass-first. I think it’ll be great, not only for us but just our offense in general.”

Considering that the Sixers finished 29th in scoring a season ago, Simmons knows they will need him to be more than just a facilitator. The team needs consistent scoring from everyone on the court. And while the LSU product’s jump shot was questioned during his lone year in college, he believes he has worked hard to silence those doubts.

“I usually try to take what they give me. Obviously I’ve been working on my shot a lot with all the coaches,” Simmons said. “I can shoot the ball. I’m not really worried about that. Coming into training camp, it’s one of the things I’ve been working on since LSU.”

Simmons made it clear several times that he is confident in his offensive game and that the Sixers’ logjam in the frontcourt will work itself out on the floor. One thing he’s not so sure about: that he’s even in this position.

Despite dreaming about being in the NBA since he was a kid in Australia and being groomed to be the No. 1 overall pick for years, Simmons said it’s still a bit of a surprise to be at this point.

“I think it’s still surreal for me,” he said. “I think it’ll finally hit me once I step on the court matched up against OKC the first game.”

There were Carson Wentz and Ben Simmons fans at the debate last night

There were Carson Wentz and Ben Simmons fans at the debate last night

I'm not sure if they could win nationally, but there is absolutely no doubt that a Wentz-Simmons ticket would dominate the Delaware Valley.

An intrepid Philadelphia sports fan was up at the Presidential Debate last night at Hofstra University and made a sign showing his support... for the Eagles and Sixers.

I don't know though, I'm pretty sure Simmons was born in Australia.