Game 8: Toronto Maple Leafs at Philadelphia Flyers Schenn-Off!

Game 8: Toronto Maple Leafs at Philadelphia Flyers Schenn-Off!

The Leafs come to town pretty hot, having started the season at a 5-1-1 clip. The Flyers, on the other hand, have cooled considerably after their first start, losing their last two games in rather convincing fashion.

Leafy Substance
Toronto is scoring a ton of goals, led by Phil Kessel (8 goals, 6 assists in 7 games) and our old pal Joffrey Lupul, who has 4 goals and 4 assists. Dion Phaneuf is contributing in a big way as well, with 7 assists to go with a pair of goals.

Backups In Net
Unfortunately for the Leafs, they'll be without their top goalie, last year's rookie phenom James Reimer. Reimer took an elbow to the head on Saturday night and will miss at least tonight's game. Jonas Gustavsson will start his second game of the season. In his previous outing against the Flyers, our boys hung 6 on him.

Sergei Bobrovsky will get the call in net for the Flyers, who had some obvious trouble in communications between Ilya Bryzgalov and his defense on Saturday.

While they certainly weren't all his fault, Bryz has given up 9 goals in his past two starts. He hasn't been at his best, and that's not something he wears well.

Two-for-One 'Andreas' Night in the Press Box
Jody Shelley will reportedly be in the lineup tonight, with Andreas Nodl getting the scratch; Matt Walker will also be in for Andreas Lilja. Ryan Bright points out that Shelley will dress to be Colton Orr protection and Walker should add some toughness to the blue line for a game that could be pretty rough.

The Brothers Schenn
Flyers phenom Brayden Schenn rebounded from a -3 debut against the Caps to be one of the better Flyers on the ice in the loss to the Blues. Lining up with Danny Briere and Wayne Simmonds, the 20-year-old found his stride once Lavvy switched him back to center to start the second period, and the kid saw his ice time increase by nearly 8 minutes. He'll get to see his older brother Luke tonight, and Tim Panotch says their family will be in from Saskatoon to see the boys square off. Brother Bowls aren't all that uncommon in the NHL, but it'd be great to see Brayden put Luke on his ass in the open ice.

Wishlist
Here's what we'd like the Flyers Genie (Ryan from FGSB) to grant tonight…

1) Jagr breaks his goalless start to the season
2) Riemer earns back the playing time he quietly surrendered on Saturday as the hardest working man on the ice
3) Winter Classic tickets…?

Joel Embiid not named All-Star starter, can still make it as reserve

Joel Embiid not named All-Star starter, can still make it as reserve

Joel Embiid will have to hope NBA coaches trust the process.

Embiid on Thursday was not named a starter in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jimmy Butler locked in the three Eastern Conference frontcourt spots. Kyrie Irving and DeMar DeRozan rounded out the backcourt.

James (25.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 8.1 assists) and Antetokounmpo (23.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists) were locks as starters. That left Butler, Kevin Love and Embiid as the next in contention. Butler is a two-time All-Star averaging 24.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 36.8 minutes for the 21-22 Bulls. Love is posting 20.7 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 31.6 minutes per game on the Eastern Conference-leading, 29-11 Cavaliers.

The Western Conference starting spots went to Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis. 

The voting was made up of fan votes (50 percent), player votes (25 percent) and media votes (25 percent). Embiid has a chance to be voted in by the NBA coaches, whose reserve selections will be announced on Jan. 26. 

Embiid would have been named a starter had the results been based on fan voting (50 percent). He finished third ahead of Love and Butler.

Embiid was in the running for a starting role during a breakout rookie season. He is averaging 19.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 25.4 minutes per game. Even though his playing time is capped at 28 minutes, he ranks seventh among all players in scoring per 48 minutes. He is eighth overall in free throw attempts per game (7.9) and 10th in those made (6.2).

Embiid had obstacles, though, when it came to the voting: rookie status, 28-minute restriction, limited games played (29) because of his allocated workload, and the Sixers’ record.

Even though the All-Star Game highlights individual achievements, team record is often taken into consideration. The Sixers have won seven of their last nine games (see story), but still stand well below .500 at 14-26.

When it came to the players’ vote, it is hard for a rookie who hasn’t even competed against every team in the league to make a strong enough impression for another player to influence their perception of the top talent. Embiid finished outside of the top five in the players' vote, behind James, Antetokounmpo, Butler, Paul George and Kristaps Porzingis. Meanwhile, the Sixers' big man finished fifth in the media vote.

Embiid and the Sixers were very active in pushing for the fan votes. Embiid received the social media support of celebrities including Triple H, Kevin Hart and MLB MVP Mike Trout, among others. The Sixers promoted Embiid through a Shirley Temple campaign based on his favorite drink.

Embiid picked up major steam in the last week of voting. He had trailed Love by 16,028 fan votes in the second returns on Jan. 12.

He took to Twitter to express his gratitude.

Chip Kelly still jobless after swinging and missing with Jaguars

Chip Kelly still jobless after swinging and missing with Jaguars

Chip Kelly's job search continues.

The beloved (sarcasm) former Eagles head coach reportedly interviewed for the Jaguars' offensive coordinator opening. However, on Wednesday night, Jacksonville announced it was retaining Nathaniel Hackett as its OC.

“We are excited to announce Nathaniel Hackett as our offensive coordinator and he will immediately be tasked with installing and implementing our offense this offseason,” Jaguars new head coach Doug Marrone said in a statement from the team. “I have had the pleasure of working with Nathaniel for seven consecutive seasons and know firsthand how knowledgeable and passionate he is about winning.”

So, Kelly swung and miss twice on the Jaguars, as he reportedly interviewed for Jacksonville's head coaching job, as well.

"I’m not going to close the door on any opportunity, but I have to be very smart in what I do next,” Kelly said, via CSNBayArea.com, two days after his firing as 49ers head coach. “I don’t have to take anything, but I wouldn’t rule anything out. I need to make sure that I’m in the right situation.

“I don’t know what the future holds. I’ll do my due diligence. I’m not going to coach just to coach.”

Kelly's decline is staggering, even if you saw it coming.

Look at this NFL coaching history ...

With Eagles in 2013: 10-6, wild-card playoff berth
With Eagles in 2014: 10-6, missed playoffs
With Eagles in 2015: 6-9, fired before final regular-season game
With 49ers in 2016: 2-14, fired after regular season

Who knows what's next for the Chipper?