Flyers-Devils Game 3: Onwards and Upwards

Flyers-Devils Game 3: Onwards and Upwards

Today's game day post is a special guest edition by none other than Flyers Goal Scored By. These are his words:

Webster's Dictionary defines 'mulligan' as: "A turd of a hockey game that leaves way too many unanswered questions." The Flyers were frustratingly casual on Tuesday night, gift wrapping a winnable game for the New Jersey Devils. Instead of a comfortable two game lead, the Flyers woke up to the fact that this Devils team is good and advancing to the Eastern Conference Final will be no cake walk.

Oh how fickle playoff hockey can be.  Up 1-0, dreams of a L.A. Kings vs Philadelphia Flyers Stanley Cup series fluttered through our heads. Now tied 1-1, we're casting doubts on a once great powerplay and wondering where the dominating Flyers have gone. The Flyers had great success generating a forecheck against the Penguins.  Add a Marty Broduer-sized wrench (Editor's Note: That's a big wrench) in the works and you start seeing problems.  Devils are clearing their zone with ease, something that needs to change in order for Philadelphia to be successful. At this point of the series, Chooch is hitting more than Scott Hartnell and Wayne Simmonds. The Flyers need their sandpaper to muck it up in front of Broduer and to get that forecheck going. You saw Simmer and Schenn doing work in the Devils zone on the Matt Read goal on Tuesday night. This is the type of Jam that Laavy likes to smother on his english muffins on Sunday mornings. Give him his jam, Flyers. Give. it. to. him.

The biggest doubt I have about this series is wether or not the Flyers can win a game where they don't have to score more than 3 goals. That may be a roundabout way of chirping Ilya Bryzgalov, but Philly's goalie wasn't the issue on Tuesday night. Bryz kept a lethargic team in the game with a lead for 2+ periods. If the Flyers can get that performance out of Bryz tonight, they'll be in good shape to grab a victory. The Bryz Cadet gets a lot of flak when he let's in a softee like Sykora's pillow in Game 1, but his control in game 2 should give Flyers fans hope of grabbing a game or two in North Jersey.

Can the Flyers play a sound enough game defensively that won't require them to *have* to put a snowman up on the scoreboard? That is looking like the question of the series.

So pay the tolls, feather your hair and acid wash those jeans, we're headed to North Jersey. The Devils already look to be a tougher opponent than the Penguins in almost every area. It's up to the coaches to adapt their gameplay and for the players to muster enough emotion to take this series back. Playoff JVR playing in his backyard? Fuggedaboutit. Bartender, first round is on us, let's giddy up and f*cking go!

Let's Go Flyers.

North Dakota appears to be Eagles country

North Dakota appears to be Eagles country

It appears that Carson Wentz' fanbase in North Dakota is still pretty strong. Before North Dakota State’s game against Illinois State Saturday afternoon, fans were seen walking around the parking lot in Carson Wentz Eagles’ jerseys. 

Wearing Eagles gear at the tailgate was not all, however. A large group of people begun chanting “Carson” over and over to show their love and support for the Eagles quarterback. 

This is not the first time we have seen North Dakota State fans showing how much they adore Carson Wentz. Going back to the NFL Draft, fans were seen on the red carpet wearing North Dakota State Wentz jersey’s and waving flags.

On Sept. 19, when the Eagles played the Bears, North Dakotans traveled to see Wentz play in person.

Clearly, Wentz has a lot of love from his fans back at home, but it is safe to say that Eagles fans love him just as much after he has led them to a 3-0 start.  

It doesn't hurt that Wentz' cousin, Connor, plays for North Dakota State. Connor is a redshirt junior tight end.

John Clark with Connor Wentz

A photo posted by Rob Kuestner (@rkuestner23) on

Expect Sixers to take cautious approach with Ben Simmons

Expect Sixers to take cautious approach with Ben Simmons

Expect the Sixers to take a cautious approach when determining Ben Simmons’ return to the court.

Simmons will undergo surgery to repair a fractured fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot, according to a league source. No date has been set for the surgery. On Friday, Simmons rolled his ankle during the final training camp scrimmage. According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Sixers believe Simmons has an acute injury that is not related to his weight, which is up to 250 pounds.

The Sixers placed a heavy emphasis on maintaining health and preventing re-injuries during camp. That focus will continue into the regular season. They implemented load management, in which they allocate the best use of a player’s designated minutes. 

The approach was applied to Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor, as they entered the preseason coming off of injuries. Embiid, who is nearing his NBA debut, had been sidelined the past two years with foot injuries. Okafor underwent season-ending right knee surgery last March. Both are slated to play Oct. 4 in the preseason opener. Gerald Henderson also followed load management for rest.  

“There are more variables going on pre-practice,” Brett Brown said Friday. “Before we design our practices and figure out how we’re going to maneuver through the day, the first thing we always do is we put on a digital projector a depth chart and we have the medical staff behind us talking about the circumstances of each player and the restrictions that each player has. 

“Once you understand that world, then you go over to the practice plan and you say, ‘How do you want to spend your money?’ I don’t want to use Joel’s minutes up in a lot of small drills when I could spend it easily and more wisely playing.”

Following this plan, Embiid, Okafor and Henderson did not participate in all of the scrimmages. When they did, Brown utilized Embiid and Okafor in spurts instead of long stretches. 

“Four-minute clumps and really trying to test themselves,” Brown said. “Let’s learn a little bit before we play the Celtics. Let’s just go as hard as you possibly can, let’s see what that means.”

The mapped-out formula allows the players to gauge how they assert their energy on the court. The Celtics took a similar approach with Kevin Garnett during the 2011-12 season. Doc Rivers implemented a “5-5-5” plan in which Garnett played in three five-minute spurts. 

“You kind of know the rhythm you are going to have,” Okafor said. “I think that’ll make it easier for myself and I’m sure for Jo as well knowing that we have four minutes to go as hard as we can, to make an impact on the game, and then we have a sub.” 

The Sixers assessed the length of these segments by comparing them to real-game situations. They want the scrimmage setting to simulate the flow regular season contest. The Sixers are looking to feature an uptempo this season and ranked first in the NBA last season with a total of 1,427.4 miles run. 

“With our sports science program, we’re designing our practice on trips,” Brown said. “How many trips does a normal NBA game have before there’s a stoppage in play? You see, it’s about six, seven trips. You’ve got to go for that … We’re very calculated on how we design our practice to reflect the true pace of a game.”

While there is the eagerness of players to make a comeback as quickly as possible, following the team’s carefully constructed recovery timeline is critical to prevent the reoccurance of injuries. Embiid better understands the importance of waiting after undergoing two surgeries. 

“The main thing I learned about myself is, I could be patient,” Embiid said. “When I was first doing my rehab … the only thing I thought about was getting back on the court. I would try to get back on the court and play more than I was supposed to. After the doctor told me you had to heal well and I needed the second surgery, that’s when I told myself be patient and do whatever I can and make sure I listen to people have to say.”

The Sixers drafted Simmons to be a centerpiece of their team for the future, not just this season. It is worth being careful early on to help him be healthy down the road.