Game 7: St. Louis Blues at Philadelphia Flyers Blues Music edition

Game 7: St. Louis Blues at Philadelphia Flyers Blues Music edition

Tonight in South Philly, the Flyers will need to do something they haven't had to do as a group yet—play on the heels of a sound beating. They took one at the hands of the Washington Capitals on Thursday night, marking their first non-OT loss of the season, and while it's nothing to worry about (really, nothing short of a major injury is cause for concern this early in the season), it will be interesting to see how the team responds.

Chemistry hasn't been a negative issue for the Flyers overall, certainly not through the first five games. Game 6 saw a new lineup, with Brayden Schenn entering the mix, and it was clear there was some work for Peter Laviolette to do in finding the right combinations for his lines. On the box score, Thursday's loss would also mark the first time Ilya Bryzgalov got shelled as a Flyer. However, anyone watching the game will tell you this wasn't solely on Bryz, as several of the shots were deflected by defenders attempting to block them.

Bryz and the rest of the Flyers will get a chance to put that loss firmly behind them for the time being, hosting the St. Louis Blues (3-4-0) at the Wells Fargo Center tonight at 7.

Tonight's game marks the start of a three-game Flyers homestand, part of a busy schedule that includes five games in eight days. They won't get much sympathy from the Blues, who played last night, winning 3-2 in overtime at home against Carolina.

Brian Elliott took the Friday night win in net for the Blues, who can't be too thrilled with Jaroslav Halak's performances to date. Halak has only one win, and only one game allowing fewer than three goals. He's allowed four or more in three of his five starts.

Elliott played some good games against the Flyers during his time with the Ottawa Senators, but his luck ran out last season, when the Flyers beat him twice. Blues head coach Davis Payne may start him on back-to-back nights in an effort to keep Elliott's hand hot. We'll know closer to game time who'll be in net for St. Louis.

The Blues have been terrible on both the power play (30th overall, with 1 goal on 25 opportunities) and the kill (28th overall, 70.8%). The Flyers have converted on 25% of their power play opps (8/32), good for 4th in the league, and their PK has been decent and should improve as the personnel get established in their roles.

Hope everyone enjoys some Saturday night hockey, and that the Flyers' youngins earn their merit badge in shaking off a loss.

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."