How Much Does Danny Briere Have Left in the Tank?

How Much Does Danny Briere Have Left in the Tank?

Danny Briere has been the subject of trade rumors for thepast month, which I suppose in a way is actually a good thing for the two-timeAll Star. Theyve taken some of the focus off the fact that hes having hisworst season in the NHL since he was 21 years old.

Not that people havent taken notice of Brieres lack ofproduction, were just not sure everybody has taken stock of how bad it is. Hehas five goals and eight assists while supposedly centering the Flyers secondline, and even for a guy whos posted a career minus, a -13 through 26 games isugly in fact only five players have a worse ratio.

Perhaps most troubling of all is the shot percentage. Brierehas made 14.5 of the shots hes taken in his career, but this year that numberhas been slashed in half, down to a meager 7.2. That would easily set a newpersonal low.

Plus, now hes out indefinitely with a concussion, yetanother impediment to making a trade even if the Flyers could. Briere of coursehas the no-movement clause in his contract, so theres a chance he wasnt goinganywhere regardless, but not too many teams are going to be interested in aninjured player whos had virtually no impact this season.

At this point, the real question is whether or not Brierecan snap out of it. How much of his struggles are due to age and naturaldecline, and how much can be attributed to issues that can be fixed and smallsample size?

Sample size is something were going to be looking at for along time with relation to this season. You can extrapolate the numbers over afull 82 games, but a normal season has ebbs and flows. Briere could return tothe ice, get hot, and suddenly this discussion becomes moot.

Its also worth noting that the Flyers frustrations rundeeper than Briere, so its not necessarily equitable to single out one person.

And if were being fair about this, how much has the wristinjury he suffered while playing in Germany during the lockout affected hisshot? One week doctors are telling him not to take slap shots at practice, thenext week Briere is back in the lineup. Its certainly something that could betaking its toll even if Briere wouldnt necessarily admit it himself.

But then the writing was on the wall last year already. His16 goals and 33 assists were his fewest over a full season since 2002-03 whenhe was traded from Phoenix to Buffalo, and his 9.2 shot percentage was wellbelow normal, lowest since 98-99 actually.

Briere is 35. Its only natural for his ability to startfalling off.

Yet somehow he still turns it on during the playoffs. Brierescored eight goals in 11 postseason games last year, potting an incredible30.8 of his shots. Clutch performances are nothing new to Briere, but it wouldseem to fly directly in the face of an athlete-in-decline storyline.

Assuming Briere is still in Philadelphia after the tradedeadline passes on April 3, which is pretty much a given at this point, theorganization is going to have a tough decision to make in the offseason. He hastwo more years on his contract at 6.5 million against the cap money theFlyers could desperately use and regardless of whether he can bounce back, Breiresbest days are obviously behind him.

If hes not amenable to a trade, amnestying the contract is always on the table. One way or the other though, it might be time for the Flyers to consider moving on from Danny Briere.

Ken Tribbett's 1st MLS goal helps Union salvage draw vs. Orlando City

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Ken Tribbett's 1st MLS goal helps Union salvage draw vs. Orlando City

BOX SCORE

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Ken Tribbett scored his first career MLS goal in the 75th minute and the Union tied Orlando City 2-2 on Wednesday night.

Tranquillo Barnetta started the scoring in the 52nd minute on the Union's first shot on goal. Chris Pontius outjumped his defender to win a diagonal cross and headed it to the back post for an unmarked Barnetta.

Then the game opened up with three goals in a 7-minute span.

Kevin Molino tied it in the 68th -- one minute after entering as a substitute. Cyle Larin collided with two defenders and the goalkeeper while battling for a long ball and Molino knocked the loose ball into an empty net.

Three minutes later, Larin gave Orlando City a lead on a questionable goal. Kaka played a ball across goal, Larin chested it off the goalkeeper and the Union's Fabinho appeared to clear it off the line.

Tribbett evened it for the Union (5-3-4) when goalkeeper Joe Bendik dove to get a touch on a cross and Tribbett slotted home the rebound.

David Mateos was given a straight red card for Orlando (3-3-6) in the 93rd minute for a studs-up tackle just outside of the box. But Barnetta's free kick sailed harmlessly over the crossbar.

Watch: Nerlens Noel dominates the American Ninja Warrior wall

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Watch: Nerlens Noel dominates the American Ninja Warrior wall

The American Ninja Warrior television show is hosting a regional competition on May 26th and 27th at the Richmond Power Plant in Philadelphia.

A Comcast SportsNet camera crew was there on Wednesday to tape a segment for a show next week when they recognized a familiar face in the crowd.

Sixers big man Nerlens Noel was there supporting a friend practicing on the course. Noel also gave the wall a go and it proved no match for his length.

Contestants will compete on Thursday and Friday in Philly with a chance of qualifying for the finals to be held in Las Vegas.

If you think you've got what it takes, head on over and try to be a walk on talent. You probably won't do any better than Nerlens though.

Odubel Herrera flips Phillies into winners over Tigers before big trip to Wrigley Field

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Odubel Herrera flips Phillies into winners over Tigers before big trip to Wrigley Field

BOX SCORE

DETROIT — At least Odubel Herrera was honest about it.

“I didn’t expect to hit it that far,” he said with a big grin on his face late Wednesday afternoon.

A couple of hours earlier, Herrera helped key an 8-5 Phillies’ win over the Detroit Tigers with a towering three-run home run into the right-field seats against Anibal Sanchez (see Instant Replay).

Herrera unloaded on the hanging slider and finished with his bat high.

As the bat reached its apex, Herrera didn’t just let it go. He flipped it in the air as if to say, ‘Uh-huh, I crushed that one.’ In the annals of bat flips, it wasn’t quite Jose Bautista quality, but it wasn’t far off. The flip was so dramatic that Herrera admitted after the game that he would not have been surprised if a Tigers pitcher had retaliated and stuck a pitch in his ribs later in the game.

Retribution never came. And Herrera left Detroit with a smile on his face and yet another big day for the Phillies. He is leading the club with a .327 batting average and his .440 on-base percentage is second-best in baseball.

Herrera's big home run helped make a winner out of Aaron Nola and the Phillies on a day when they really needed a win. After all, they had lost four of their previous five and are headed into the den of baseball’s best team, the Chicago Cubs, on Friday.

“For me, it was a must-win,” said manager Pete Mackanin, whose club is 26-21. “We’d lost four of five and I felt like we needed to come out of here with a win.

“The guys battled the whole game. To me it looked like they played like they had to win this game, which was nice to see. It looked like they played knowing we had to win. They were grinding and coming up with hits. Call it what you want, it was just the feeling I got.

“I’m not going to say I’m anxious to see the Cubs; they’re a hell of a team. But I’m hopeful we can take two out of three.”

The Tigers are one of baseball’s best hitting teams.

The Phillies are one of the worst. They entered the day scoring just 3.2 runs per game.

But on this day, the Phillies out-hit the Tigers, 12-10, to salvage one game in the series.

Nola went six innings, allowed four runs, a walk and struck out six. He left with a 7-4 lead. Things got hairy in the seventh, but Hector Neris cleaned up things for David Hernandez, and Jeanmar Gomez registered his majors-leading 17th save.

In between, Peter Bourjos had a couple of big hits, including his first homer of the season. Andres Blanco started at second over Cesar Hernandez and had a couple of big hits, as well. Bourjos and Blanco even hooked up on a double steal with Blanco becoming the first Phillie to swipe home since Chase Utley in 2009. (An off-line throw to second by Tigers catcher James McCann helped.) 

“We have to try things,” Mackanin said. “We can’t bang it out with most teams so we have to try that kind of stuff, take chances.”

The Phillies actually banged it on this day.

Bourjos’ homer in the seventh provided some valuable cushion.

There are no cheap homers in spacious Comerica Park. Bourjos’ homer traveled 401 feet according to ESPN’s play by play.

Though Bourjos claimed he did not see Herrera’s bat flip in fifth inning, he was aware of it. For the record, Bourjos did not flip his bat on his homer. He put his head down and ran.

“I don’t have that kind of swag,” he said with a laugh.

Bat flips make some folks, particularly old-schoolers, uncomfortable. Bautista’s famous bat flip against Texas in the playoffs last season led to simmering tensions all winter and eventually a brawl between the two teams two weeks ago.

Mackanin actually seemed a little uncomfortable talking about Herrera’s flip.

“I did not see it,” Mackanin said. “A lot of players believe that they should be able to celebrate. But I didn’t see it. I wish you never brought it up.”

Herrera explained that he always flips his bat, even when he makes outs. This one had a little extra oomph, he said, because, "I didn’t expect to hit it that far.”

And how far did he hit it?

Well, ESPN’s play by play said it traveled 409 feet. MLB’s Statcast said it went 427.

Either way, that’s a long Uber ride.

Herrera was asked what was more impressive, the flip or the homer?

“Both,” he said with a laugh.

Herrera has become a more demonstrative player in his second year in the league. He’s letting his emotions show. On Monday night, frustration over a poor at-bat got the best of him. He did not run out a ball back to the pitcher and was benched.

On Wednesday, his emotion was more triumphant, hence the bat flip. But sometimes that can make an opponent angry. There were no repercussions Wednesday and probably won’t be because the Tigers and Phillies don’t see each other again this season. But down the road?

“I’m not worried,” Mackanin said.

“It was nothing personal,” Herrera said. “It was natural.”