In Memory of the Thrashers

In Memory of the Thrashers

After 11 NHL seasons, the fruits of which were a single Stanley Cup playoff appearance, Atlanta's professional hockey club will mercifully pack up their operation and move someplace north where people actually care. Because it's not polite to let a franchise die with a whimper, particularly one the Flyers have played four times every season since they entered the league in 1999, we thought a brief stroll down memory lane might be in order.

Spoiler alert: times were good.

Not unlike the majority of the NHL, Philadelphia experienced great success versus the Thrashers, compiling a 30-8-3-3 record against their southern rivals. Their sizable series lead over Atlanta was aided in large part by a 14-game winning streak that began on December 28, 2005, and lasted nearly four full years, finally ending November 28, 2009.

Not coincidentally, the Flyers' all-time winningest goaltender against the Thrashers is San Jose Sharks netminder Antero Niittymaki, who was between the pipes for the majority of the streak. Niitty was the goalie of record in 13 Philadelphia victories over Atlanta. You may remember this old gag, Niittymaki's certificate of ownership--a blogging crutch designed by Digi that I for one am sad to see retired.

Interestingly enough, Niittymaki never did surrender a game to the Thrashers. The Finnish goaltender picked up four more W's during a pit stop in Tampa Bay, driving his career record to a perfect 17-0.

Despite the Flyers' relative dominance over Atlanta, the Thrashers had gained the upper hand on the orange and black in recent years. They sneaked a series sweep in '09-'10, and last season took three of four, accounting for 63.6% of the franchise's all-time win total against Philly. For that reason alone, we aren't sorry to see them go.

Of course, they're not gone per se, just moved to a relevant hockey town, and re-branded so they finally resemble a professional sports team, and not like something that was whipped up in the Create-a-Team mode of NHL 11. Will the change in scenery spark a turnaround for the franchise though? I have no idea, but they can hardly do any worse.

Now if anybody has any Flyers-Thrashers memories they would like to share... no? Okay, carry on.

Former Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn signs 2-year deal with Coyotes

Former Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn signs 2-year deal with Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes have signed former Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn to a two-year contract.

The 26-year-old defenseman had four goals and 12 assists in 72 games with the Flyers and Los Angeles Kings last season. Schenn and Vinny Lecavalier were traded by the Flyers to the Kings last January in exchange for Jordan Weal and a third-round draft pick in last month's entry draft.

In his career, Schenn has 28 goals and 100 assists in 566 games with the Kings, Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs. In three-plus seasons with the Flyers, Schenn scored 12 goals and added 30 assists.

Schenn was the first-round draft pick - fifth selection overall - by the Maple Leafs in 2008.

Coyotes general manager John Chayka called Schenn "a good, young defenseman" who will be "a solid addition" to the Arizona blue line.

- CSNPhilly.com contributed to this story.

Cameron Rupp leaves game vs. Pirates after getting hit in head by pitch

ap-cameron-rupp-phillies.jpg
Associated Press

Cameron Rupp leaves game vs. Pirates after getting hit in head by pitch

Updated - 5:55 p.m.

PITTSBURGH -- Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp left the game in the third inning after being struck on the left ear flap of his batting helmet by a pitch from Pirates rookie right-hander Tyler Glasnow.

Rupp walked off the field under his own power and backup catcher Carlos Ruiz pinch ran for him and stayed in the game to catch starter Aaron Nola.

The Phillies later announced Rupp was removed from the game as a precaution and that he showed no symptoms of a concussion.

Less than 24 hours before, Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco was hit in the wrist by a pitch thrown by Pirates starter Gerrit Cole in Friday's 4-0 victory at PNC Park. Franco left the game and did not start on Saturday afternoon. He's listed as day to day (see story).

In the first inning on Saturday, Rupp hit into an inning-ending ground out. He is hitting .276 with 10 home runs in 63 games.

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.”