Perhaps trying once and for all to determine which team has rightful claim to NHL flight-related nomenclature superiority, the Flyers and Winnipeg Jets have combined to score 17 and 10 goals in their two previous matchups this season. Perhaps more important than even that high distinction, the Flyers have ceded not only this title, but both games in the process. Second Best Flight-Related Team (as determined by head-to-head matchups) is no way to go through life, Flyers, and I hope Peter Laviolette has so advised you prior to puck drop tonight at the Wells Fargo Center.
I also hope Lavvy's reminded you, somewhat uncharacteristically, that there's absolutely no reason the Jets should be able to put up those kinds of numbers against you. A look at why, as well as the return of a certain Mr. Jagr, below.
The Jets are hovering at 22-22-6, five points out of the playoff bubble. They're also 22nd in the league in goals per game, this despite hanging eleventy goals on the Flyers so far. They have a middle-of-the-pack power play and are missing a key offensive weapon from their blue line with Dustin Byfuglien out tonight. Also out is Evander Kane, whose 18 goals and 13 assists are sidelined with a dreaded concussion.
The Little C is still affecting the Flyers lineup too, with Danny Briere and JVR skating today but not ready to play yet. One top-six forward will return though, or at least will try to. Jaromir Jagr has declared himself ready to rejoin his All-Star linemates.
Ilya Bryzgalov gets the first post-ASG turn in net.
VOORHEES, N.J. — Radko Gudas (wrist) is closer to game action as the Flyers’ defenseman has been cleared to shoot pucks for the “past couple of days.”
The 26-year-old, recovering from a fractured right wrist (his shooting hand), was shooting and hitting in practice Wednesday at Flyers Skate Zone. Gudas has yet to play in a preseason game, but said he’s “pretty close” to 100 percent.
“I can’t say it’s really 100 percent, but it’s getting there soon,” Gudas said following practice.
“There’s a lot of time for me to get in top, game-like shape. There’s not a chance I would miss the start of the season.”
Gudas said the most important aspect of the wrist’s healing is keeping it stable by wearing a brace to limit too much moving.
“It’s better, I’m shooting on it in practices, feels better every day,” he said. “I’m working on a lot of it every day with the strength guys and the doctors here. We’re going day to day, I’m seeing myself sooner than later jumping on the ice.”
The second-year Flyer would like to play in preseason games before the start of the regular season, but also understands the importance of not rushing to avoid costing him regular-season games as a result.
“That’s the main part — feeling pain-free,” Gudas said. “Throughout the season, there’s not a lot of time off so we need to make sure everything is the best it can be before the season starts.
“Obviously it’s going to be the coaches’ decision when to put me in. I’m sure they’re talking with the staff for when would be the proper time.”
Gudas signed a four-year contract extension in June after playing a career-high 76 games and recording 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 2015-16.
After practice, Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol did not have an update on Gudas or defenseman Nick Schultz, who was shaken up Tuesday night.
“Everybody wants to play at least a game or two before the season,” Gudas said. “I don’t think it needs to be said.
“He wants to have me ready and I want to be ready.”
The Eagles crushed a Super Bowl contender on Sunday at the Linc. And Vegas took notice.
According to Bovada, the Eagles' odds to win the Super Bowl went from 33/1 to 22/1. Just nine teams have shorter odds to win the Super Bowl. The Patriots are tops at 15/4, followed by the Packers (8/1) and the team the Eagles beat, the Steelers (9/1).
With the win, the Eagles also became the favorite to win the NFC East, going from 11/4 to 2/1. They're followed by the Cowboys and Giants (both at 11/5) and last year's division champs, Washington, is at 6/1.
The Eagles are also 12/1 to win the NFC.
Of course, the biggest story for the Eagles this season has been the emergence of rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. He had his first 300-yard passing game Sunday and was named the NFC's Offensive Player of the Week. His odds to win MVP went from 50/1 to 33/1. Those are the same odds as Drew Brees and Eli Manning.
Meanwhile, former Eagles quarterback and current Minnesota Viking Sam Bradford went from 50/1 to 25/1 to win MVP.
While Wentz's MVP odds shortened, his odds to win Rookie of the Year actually got longer, going from 8/5 to 7/4. That could have something to do with the odds of Ezekiel Elliot (7/4), Dak Prescott (5/1) and Sterling Shepard (7/1) all improving.