Game 22: Orange & Black Friday, JVR Out With Montreal Canadiens in Town

Game 22: Orange & Black Friday, JVR Out With Montreal Canadiens in Town

There's
a lot to love about Thanksgiving. Wednesday can be a good bar night or a
night to just relax in your house with a day off on the way. Thursday
needs little explanation. Many folks have Black Friday off, with two
more weekend days to follow. For Flyers fans, an annual home matinee
game on Black Friday is an added bonus.

Today at 3:00 p.m., the Flyers host the Montreal Canadiens, who have picked
up some steam since a terrible start had them sitting at 1-5-2 in late
October. Now 10-9-3, les Habs are still toward the bottom of their
division, evenly trading wins with losses lately. Habs notes and Flyers injury news, including one to James van Riemsdyk, below.

They won their last contest, 4-3 in a shootout at Carolina, coming
off a fan-brawl-filled 1-0 loss against Boston. The last week or so has
also seen Montreal win a pair of games 4-0 each, over the Hurricanes and
Rangers, but also drop one to the Islanders. Both shutouts came with
Carey Price in net.

The Habs have been solid in net and defensively, with good marks in
the goals against category (7th) and on the penalty kill (3rd), but they
rank in the bottom third in goals per game (20th) and power play
percentage (23rd).

Jagr remains out with his reaggravated groin, Pronger's illness still has a hold of him, and JVR will join the press box party with an undisclosed UBI. The Flyers say he'll miss 1-2 weeks.

Sergei Bobrovski starts in net.

Sixers being cautious with Jahlil Okafor early in training camp

Sixers being cautious with Jahlil Okafor early in training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. — The Sixers lost Jahlil Okafor for the final 23 games last season because of a small meniscus tear in his right knee. Now they are being cautious as he prepares for his second year.

As part of the Sixers’ prescheduled load management for Okafor, he participated in a portion of practice and then worked out individually with head strength and conditioning coach Todd Wright.

“They just told me to relax once I did what they wanted me to do today,” Okafor said. “I was off to the sidelines. I feel fine. I’ll be good tomorrow.”

Okafor learned during his first NBA season that he should speak more openly with the staff about his body.

“Communication is key,” he said. “I think last year I didn’t really communicate how I was feeling, so I wasn’t able to get the help I needed.”

The team held three practice sessions in the first two days of training camp. Okafor said he knew the Sixers would be cautious with his workload. He is poised to improve upon his rookie year in which he averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in 53 games last season.

“I’m 100 percent healthy,” he said. “I’m all good.”

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- With Joel Embiid's excitement to be on the court following two years of injuries comes the reality of his lengthy setback.

Embiid is participating in his first NBA training camp this week. While he has impressed with his natural abilities and improved skills, Embiid is facing challenges as he gets accustomed to the league.

"Everything is kind of off right now as far as catching the ball or shooting," Embiid said after practice Wednesday. "I've still got to get in the flow of the game."

Embiid has yet to play since being drafted in 2014. For the past two years he has worked out individually and in controlled settings. Practices, even in training camp, are different. 

"You see all the time when you realize he hasn't played basketball for a long time," Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. "He's trying to gather his feet and find his balance, he's trying to figure out stuff in real time speed on defensive assignments and rotations."

On Wednesday, Embiid went through practice without any minute restrictions and was feeling healthier from the cold and virus he had been battling (see story). Teammates have praised his physical presence and eagerness to compete. He makes an impact with his 7-foot-2 presence alone, but there is more he wants to improve. 

Embiid is adjusting to the speed of the game. He has been facing challenges with getting the ball in the post and spoke to the coaches about his frustrations. The staff explained they are focusing on pick-and-roll defense and getting out to run during training camp, but he will get that desired location in game situations. 

“You continue to see the size of Joel Embiid,” Brown said. “He's a big man and he's got a mindset to back up his physical gifts. He really wants the ball. He wants to get deep catches. He wants to dunk on people.”

Embiid always has been realistic about his transition to his rookie season. He has pointed out many times that he is a fast learner, and is anxious to soak up new knowledge and apply it to the court.

"It's really frustrating," he said. "But like I've said, you've got to trust the process, which I've been doing."