Game 20: Carolina Hurricanes at Flyers Pronger and Coburn OUT

Game 20: Carolina Hurricanes at Flyers Pronger and Coburn OUT

Add
two more names to the Flyers' list of skating wounded. Defensemen Chris
Pronger and Braydon Coburn won't face the Carolina Hurricanes tonight,
each sitting with as-yet undisclosed injuries (ie, it hasn't been
specified whether they are upper or lower body injuries). Marc-Andre
Bourdon and Kevin Marshall will dress in their places, having been
called up/down from the Adirondack Phantoms earlier today. Harry Z has
been sent to Trenton, presumably to keep him close by for a quick
recall.

Can't say we're pleased to hear any injury news for Chris Pronger,
who suffered lingering back issues after breaking a hand last year and
missed time due to a stick to his eye already this season. Hopefully
it's nothing major, perhaps just a flu bug or other illness. The decisions made in personnel—both the guys they called up and the presumed short-term loan of Harry Z) are at least good signs that the Flyers aren't immediately looking to replace Pronger and Coburn for a long time. [Injury Update from Paul Holmgren below]

On to the game.

In two contests so far this season, including one a week ago tonight, the Flyers have topped the Hurricanes 5-1 and 5-3.

The
Canes are 7-11-3, with their 17 points currently representing last
place in the Southeast Division and the Eastern Conference. They're not
scoring a ton of goals nor doing a particularly good job keeping the
light off behind their own net, and neither their power play (woeful)
nor penalty killing are anything to write home about so far.

A 3-2 win over Toronto yesterday snapped a three-game losing skid,
including two shutouts; Carolina has turned in a terrible November to
date, losing seven of 10 games. Their other two wins this month came
over Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay.

Cam Ward started last night, but it appears head coach Paul Maurice won't be giving Brian Boucher a go in front of a Flyers faithful that are still happy to call him our own, even if he may get a mock cheer here and there. Boosh took the 5-1 loss in the team's previous visit to Philly this season, while Ward took the 5-3 defeat in Carolina. Pucking Hockey lists Ward as tonight's Canes starter, and Ilya Bryzgalov is back between the pipes for the Flyers.

The Hurricanes have had trouble finding the net lately, scoring just
three goals in their last three games, all of which came in last
night's win. Will the Flyers' depleted blue line be able to keep them
muted? Will Matt Read stay blazing hot? Will Kimmo Timonen, Andrej Meszaros, and Matt Carle be skated into the ground as they try to hide two guys making their NHL debuts?

There's more to this matchup than first place vs. last place...

[Update: Paul Holmgren informs the beats that Pronger has a virus, and Coburn an upper-body injury that is barring him from contact. Both are day-to-day. Erik Gustafsson was placed on LTIR]

Report: Nigel Bradham arrested for involvement in Miami assault

Report: Nigel Bradham arrested for involvement in Miami assault

Another Eagle is in trouble with the law. 

According to NBC6 in Miami, linebacker Nigel Bradham was recently arrested after an incident on Miami Beach. 

Bradham, 26, turned himself into Miami Beach Police on Monday, "charged in the beating of a worker at the Hilton Bentley hotel," according to the report. 

The Eagles released the following statement Tuesday afternoon: “We are aware of the recent incident involving Nigel Bradham in Miami. We have been in contact with Nigel and the proper authorities. Due to the ongoing legal process, we will have no further comment at this time.”

Per the NBC report, six people began arguing with the employee about "the length of time it took to bring them an umbrella they had paid for" and the argument became physical. The victim sustained cuts and was allegedly smashed in the back of the head with a bottle. The report continues to say the six people got in a vehicle and sped away. A phone found at the scene allegedly revealed Bradham paid for the umbrella with his credit card. 

The Eagles signed Bradham to a two-year deal worth $7 million ($4.5 million guaranteed) this offseason. 

The linebacker is expected to be the team's starting strongside linebacker, next to Jordan Hicks in the middle and Mychal Kendricks on the weak side. 

Bradham's best season came in 2014, while playing under Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz in Buffalo. That season, he had 104 tackles, 2 1/2 sacks and an interception in 14 games. 

The Eagles seem to have three decent starters, but if Bradham misses any time, it could be a big blow. The team doesn't have much in the way of depth, with players like Najee Goode, Deontae Skinner and Joe Walker as the backups.

Want to play corner for Jim Schwartz? Must worry about more than deep ball

Want to play corner for Jim Schwartz? Must worry about more than deep ball

The Eagles might not have any top-flight cornerbacks, but they certainly have a lot of guys with some talent.

Many of them are young, and all of them are battling for just several roster spots.

That hodgepodge of talent has made the corner position one of the more intriguing spots at this year's training camp. We're not sure how it'll all shake out, who will be the starters, who will be the depth players.

But one thing's for certain: Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz wants all of them to be aggressive.

"It's going to be fun to watch the corners compete," Schwartz said after practice Tuesday. "We have some guys that can cover. We have some guys that have a great opportunity here. If they'll get up and they'll challenge receivers, like I said before, if you can cover — you can't cover many people if you don't want to challenge guys. That's God's honest truth. I could play the deep ball. I'd get my ass 50 yards deep and you couldn't get one over the top of me, but I couldn't cover anything else.

"There's a fine line in there. And the fine line is you obviously have to play the deep ball in this league, but if that's the only thing you're worried about, you're not going to cover anything else."

Schwartz said he's happy with the blend of veteran and young players on the roster, before rattling off five names: Nolan Carroll, Leodis McKelvin, Ron Brooks, JaCorey Shepherd and rookie Jalen Mills.

The one notable omission from that list of names is second-year player Eric Rowe, who finished last year as a starter, but has been somewhat of a forgotten man this spring and summer. On Monday, head coach Doug Pederson mentioned some "hiccups" Rowe encountered learning the new defensive scheme (see story).

Even with Rowe buried on the depth chart for now, there are still plenty of talented, young corners fighting for jobs.

Carroll, on the other hand, isn't young. He's 29 and a returning starter from last year. Schwartz praised Carroll's smarts and said he's been a resource for younger players. But Carroll is also coming off of a fibula fracture and subsequent surgery. That's why he's one of the select vets that reported to camp early.

"This is important for him now," Schwartz said. "It's a good opportunity for him to come back before the full club gets here, just to sort of test it out and see how he's feeling. You don't want to judge too much. He might need a day here or there. It helps that he's a veteran player."

It seems Carroll, on a one-year deal, has a decent shot of being a starter opposite McKelvin. During the spring, Brooks worked outside in the base package and moved inside to the slot. At times, the rookie Mills also played in the slot.

Schwartz said corners in the slot need a different set of skills than the ones outside. They need to have the "courage" to take on big-bodied running backs and the occasional pulling guard. They also need to cover differently.

"It's very rare that you're getting the same routes," he said. "You're not getting the same routes from the slot as you are from the outside. So there's a different skill set. Some guys can play both, some guys can't. So it's our job to determine over the next six weeks where all the guys fit in that."

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard starts; Ichiro in CF, 4 hits away from 3,000

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard starts; Ichiro in CF, 4 hits away from 3,000

Ryan Howard is in the Phillies' lineup Tuesday night, batting fourth against Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler. 

It's the second start in three games for Howard, who has actually been productive lately when he's gotten a chance to start. He went 2 for 3 on Saturday and had a homer in three of his previous five starts. Over that span he's gone 6 for 21 with three home runs and five RBIs as the Phillies' starting first baseman.

One of those homers was against Koehler last week at Citizens Bank Park, a two-run shot.

Howard's struggles this season have been well-documented and he's still hitting just .165, but he and Tommy Joseph have produced from a power standpoint. The only team in the majors that has more home runs from its first basemen than the Phillies (24) is the Cubs (26).

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Cameron Rupp, C
6. Cody Asche, LF
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Peter Bourjos, RF
9. Jerad Eickhoff, P

And for the Marlins:

1. Ichiro, CF (four hits away from 3,000)
2. Martin Prado, 3B
3. Christian Yelich, LF
4. Giancarlo Stanton, RF
5. Chris Johnson, 1B
6. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS
7. Jeff Mathis, C
8. Miguel Rojas, 2B
9. Tom Koehler, P