If Tiger Heff Pet Cat, Would Be Florida Panther

If Tiger Heff Pet Cat, Would Be Florida Panther

The Flyers are
hoping to make it four in a row tonight as they host the Florida
Panthers, who currently sit in first place in the Southeast Division
despite technically being below .500. Such is the state of southern
hockey, as well as the parity of a league with a scoring system that
awards points for overtime losses. The Panthers currently have one fewer win than either of the divisional foes directly below them, but on the
strength of 12 OTLs, hold a two-point lead in the division, putting
them in third place in the conference seedings.

Every game thread about a not-so-great team should include some
mention that they're still good enough to win tonight, which is all we
really care about. Their 31 wins did not all come against the
Hurricanes. However, like the Flyers, the Panthers will take the ice
without some key players.

Leading scorer and former Flyers rental Kris Versteeg is out, as
is Scottie Upshall, who hasn't seen action since these teams played in
January. Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov is out with a bad knee.

For
the Flyers, there's been a snowball effect with injuries starting to
pile up. JVR, Kimmo, and Big Mesz are still out, and it appeared Jaromir
Jagr and Jake Voracek would each miss at least one game after each were taken
out in the battle with Detroit, although Timmy P. seems to think Jagr will give it a go. Harry Z was called up for forward
relief, and defenseman Brandon Manning was also invited for coffee.

Interestingly, the Flyers have actually played some good defense
while two of their back line pillars have been out. Ilya Bryzgalov is
playing his best hockey as a Flyer, and the marking's been tighter in
front of the net, the forechecking fairly aggressive (and, importantly, effective).

The Flyers have won both previous matchups this season, and another one is on the calendar later in the month.

Can Bryz give the Panthers the silent treatment? 

Maikel Franco day to day with sore wrist

Maikel Franco day to day with sore wrist

PITTSBURGH -- Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, who was hit on the left wrist by a pitch on Friday night, is not in the starting lineup for Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates (see lineup).

Franco was hit by a pitch from the Pirates’ Gerrit Cole in the first inning of the Phillies’ 4-0 victory then was removed after hitting a single in the third inning (see story).

“He’s still sore,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Saturday. “He’s day to day. Maybe he will be back in the lineup (Sunday).

Franco suffered a fracture of the same wrist last August when he was hit by a pitch.

Andres Blanco is taking Franco’s place in the lineup after having two hits Friday night when he replaced the third baseman. Blanco is hitting .264 with three home runs in 73 games this season and is reportedly drawing some interest from contending teams looking to add bench help.

“I could see why he would be a desirable player,” Mackanin said. “We’re not going to give him away, though, if we do trade him. He’s played very well for us.”

Source: Brayden Schenn spurns Flyers' 2-year offer, wants $5.5 million

Source: Brayden Schenn spurns Flyers' 2-year offer, wants $5.5 million

It looks like the Flyers and Brayden Schenn are heading towards arbitration. 

A source tells CSNPhilly.com Flyers Insider Tim Panaccio that the Flyers and Schenn's camp are at odds over the salary of Schenn's next contract.

Schenn turned down a two-year deal worth $4.25 million in the first year and $4.369 million in the second, according to the source, noting that Schenn is looking for a deal that would pay him $5.5 million this upcoming season.

Schenn is coming off a career year, setting career highs in goals (26) and points (59), and is now looking to cash in on his best season. Last season, Schenn earned $2.75 million.

General manager Ron Hextall has repeatedly said he believes a deal will get done, but at the moment nothing looks imminent.

Schenn's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Monday.

Today's Lineup: Andres Blanco in, Maikel Franco out after HBP last night

Today's Lineup: Andres Blanco in, Maikel Franco out after HBP last night

After being hit on the wrist by a pitch in Friday's win (see story), Maikel Franco will not play today. Instead, Andres Blanco will take his place, hitting third in the lineup. Blanco was 2 for 2 replacing Franco in the third inning on Friday, with an RBI and a run scored. 

Blanco has been reliable when called upon this season, hitting .264 with a .317 OBP in mostly a utility role.

Other than that, the lineup remains the same as Friday.

Peter Bourjos will leadoff after going 0 for 5 last night, followed by Odubel Herrara. After an All-Star first half, Herrara has hit .211 in July, but seemed to get back on track with three hits on Friday, while scoring two runs. 

After a brutal stretch of games and an extended All-Star break, Aaron Nola returned to form vs. the Marlins last week, tossing six shutout innings. Nola again looks to prove the doubters wrong again today vs. the Pirates, who he has never faced in his brief career. 

Here is tonight's lineup:

1. Peter Bourjos RF
2. Odubel Herrera CF
3. Andres Blanco 3B
4. Tommy Joseph 1B
5. Cameron Rupp C
6. Cody Asche LF
7. Freddy Galvis SS
8. Cesar Hernandez 2B
9. Aaron Nola P