Obligatory Check-in: James van Riemsdyk Goes Cold

Obligatory Check-in: James van Riemsdyk Goes Cold

We’ve been checking in on James van Riemsdyk throughout the
season, tracking his inevitable development into an All Star now that the
Flyers have given up on him. This time however it appears JVR has stumbled across
a road block.

When we last took a peek, van Riemsdyk was among the top
goal scorers in the NHL – at one point cracking the top five – but he’s fallen
off quite a bit since then. JVR has just three tallies since the Toronto Maple
Leafs last played Philly on February 25, and the 23-year-old winger is currently
mired in a 10-game drought. He also has just four assists over the span, and
the sharp decrease in production has led to his posting a -8 over the last 16
games.

A big reason why the scoring has stopped coming in bunches
for JVR was his demotion from the top line. Various reports have described him
as being in head coach Randy Carlyle’s dog house.

“That’s what we’ve asked van Riemsdyk, get back into those
dirty areas, hang around in front of the net, use your size, your speed,” said
Carlyle.

JVR was recently elevated back to the top line, but the lamp
must need a new light bulb I guess. He hasn’t been able snap out of the funk after two games so far.

Meanwhile, the other half of the story is Luke Schenn, who
continues to be a reliable presence on the Flyers’ blue line. Brother Luke is
fifth in the NHL in hits, and he’s really picked up his shot blocking as of
late in Nicklas Grossmann’s absence, knocking away four or more in three of the
last six tilts.

Like we keep saying, the real winner (if there is one) of this offseason trade
between Philly and Toronto likely won’t be determined for years to come. For now though,
it turns out JVR is still very similar to the player he was while wearing
Orange & Black – capable of brilliance in doses, but madly inconsistent – and Schenn
has become a solid defender for the Flyers, which remains an area of
great need.

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Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya's 1st MLS goal not enough in draw with Toronto FC

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Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya's 1st MLS goal not enough in draw with Toronto FC

TORONTO -- Justin Morrow scored in the 70th minute and Toronto FC salvaged a point with a 1-1 draw with the Union on Saturday night.

Morrow made a run from his left back position, and midfielder Jonathan Osorio laid the ball off to Morrow for a tight-angle shot. Toronto (13-8-9) had its second straight home tie,

Alejandro Bedoya scored for Philadelphia (11-11-9) in the 25th minute. Bedoya took a pass from Fabian Herbers with his back to the Toronto goal, quickly spun past the Toronto back line and chipped a shot that looped over goalkeeper Clint Irwin.

Penn State routed by No. 4 Michigan at The Big House

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Penn State routed by No. 4 Michigan at The Big House

BOX SCORE

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- De'Veon Smith led an overwhelming ground game with 107 yards rushing and a touchdown and Karan Higdon ran for two scores and No. 4 Michigan routed Penn State 49-10 on Saturday in both teams' Big Ten opener.

The Wolverines scored six touchdowns on the ground as they finished with 326 yards rushing. Wilton Speight threw one touchdown pass.

Michigan (4-0) dominated both sides of the ball. Penn State (2-2) has lost three straight to the Wolverines.

Jabrill Peppers gave the fans an early thrill by returning Penn State's first punt to the 9, although a bench-interference penalty moved the ball to the Nittany Lions 24. Seven plays later, Khalid Hill dove in on 4th-and-goal from the 1.

The Wolverines also scored touchdowns on their next two drives. Penn State finally got a couple stops, but the Wolverines took a 28-0 halftime lead on Higdon's 2-yard run.

The Nittany Lions got on the board with a field goal early in the third, but Chris Evans made it 35-3 with a 3-yard run and the Wolverines cruised to the win.

The takeaway
Penn State: The Nittany Lions came into the Big House without any of their starting linebackers then lost Brandon Smith to a second-quarter targeting penalty. That left the Penn State defense helpless against Michigan's running game and short passes. The offense was even worse, putting up 50 yards in the first half. Saquon Barkley had 19 yards rushing and caught two passes for 47 yards, but the rest of the team combined for minus-16.

Michigan: The Wolverines dominated in the trenches, with their defensive line continuously overrunning Penn State's offensive line. They registered five sacks while building their first-half lead and Speight had all the time he needed.

Poll implications
Michigan: The Wolverines came in at No. 4 and there seems little chance that will change much with No. 1 Alabama winning earlier in the day in a blowout and No. 2 Ohio State on a bye.

Up next
Penn State: Returns to Happy Valley for the first of three straight home games. The Nittany Lions face Minnesota next Saturday in the Golden Gophers' first trip to Penn State since 2009.

Michigan: Plays its fifth-straight game at the Big House to open the season, but will have a tougher test against Wisconsin. The 11th-ranked Badgers routed No. 8 Michigan State 30-6 in East Lansing.