Snider Gets His Way: Red Wings Here to Help Celebrate Mark Howe's Number Retirement

Snider Gets His Way: Red Wings Here to Help Celebrate Mark Howe's Number Retirement

Often, when a team or a school has a special event planned around a
sporting event, they'll try to schedule a cupcake or at least non-elite
matchup, so as to maximize the potential for an all-around good
experience for everyone on the home side. You don't schedule the best
team in the league for homecoming weekend, if possible. However, after
deciding to retire Mark Howe's number 2 fixated immediately on March 6,
2012, the evening the Flyers would be playing the team Howe played for
after his days in Philly. The Red Wings are of course more than just a
stop on Howe's career journey. They're the club for whom is father was a
legend of the game, as well as Mark's current employer.

And, they're a perennial Cup contender, currently just one point
behind Vancouver for the top spot in the Western Conference. But Ed
Snider wanted this to be the matchup when Howe's number went up, and as
is often the case, he got what he wanted despite initially being told
no. By the NHL…

Bill Roose of TheWheelDeal blog on Detroit's NHL.com page relays the story as told by Howe:

But next Tuesday’s ceremony was nearly nixed by the league, which
apparently prohibits pre-game events on the ice once the calendar flips
to March.

“Ed told me that the league told him ‘no’, but they
really wanted to do this with the Red Wings in town,” said Howe, the
Wings’ director of pro scouting.

As a courtesy, the Flyers put in a call to the Wings’ front office
just to double-check if they were OK with honoring the former player,
which they both share in common.

Of course, the Wings didn’t have
any objection to seeing history when Gordie and Mark Howe becomes just
the second father-son tandem in any professional sport to both have
their numbers retired. Bobby and Brett Hull were the first father and
son to have their jersey numbers retired.

Damn nice of all sides to get the event scheduled for the ideal matchup.

Now, the matchup itself…

Detroit
boasts the fourth most goals scored per game, but also the fourth best
goals against mark. Their power play and penalty kill each come in at
15th in the league. Pretty consistent, huh?

However, they're currently struggling a bit despite winning two of
their last three. Pulling back further, they've actually lost four of
six, including three in a row from February 21-25. Of course, if those
are your "struggles," your season is going fairly well. The losses came
to Chicago, who is hot as a pistol, Vancouver, and Colorado. And, the
minor skid comes off the heels of a six-game winning streak that
includes the Flyers' visit to Detroit in mid-February.

Injuries are currently an issue though, with goalie Jimmy Howard out
somewhat indefinitely while Pavel Datsyuk, Niklas Lidstrom, Jonathan
Ericsson, and Jakub Kindl all missing time lately. Datsyuk is the team's
leading scorer, Lidstrom its captain and best defenseman, and Ericsson
and Kindl are both defensemen as well. We don't currently have an update
on the latter two, but Datsyuk and Lidstrom are said to be out, per the
team's official twitter account.

That's a considerable break for the Flyers to catch, but there's
still 60 minutes to be played tonight, and the remaining Red Wings are
plenty capable of taking advantage of a team that comes out of the
tunnel thinking they're damaged.

The Flyers have had some well-documented trouble getting out of the
starting gate lately, an embarrassing streak that was finally snapped
against the Capitals on Sunday. But tonight's late start (puck drop is
closer to 7:30) due to the Howe ceremony could wrench them up a bit.

Bryz is back in net tonight, where we're likely to see him far more
often than not the rest of the way. He's responded well to getting
consecutive starts.

For out of towners, the Howe ceremony will be viewable at CSNPhilly.com. In pre-game skate, the Flyers will all wear a #2 Howe jersey with a special patch. photo by the Flyers

Aaron Grymes waived/injured by Eagles

Aaron Grymes waived/injured by Eagles

Aaron Grymes was making a serious push to be on the Eagles' 53-man roster until the cornerback's right shoulder slammed into the ground at Heinz Field after an interception.

Grymes hasn't practiced or played since and the Eagles waived/injured the 25-year-old corner on Monday.

Before coming to the Eagles this spring, Grymes spent three successful seasons in the Canadian Football League and won a Grey Cup as an All-Star for the Edmonton Eskimos in 2015.

There seems to be a decent shot that the Eagles might want to put Grymes on their practice squad.

After the Pittsburgh game, when he had the interception and suffered the injury, Grymes was asked if he would prefer to be on a practice squad or head back to Canada, where he's already a proven star.

“I’ve thought about both of them," Grymes said on Aug. 18. "Both of them are great opportunities. I know that there are teams in Canada that are willing to bring me in and let me play. But then again, you can’t really compare it with this NFL dream I’ve had forever.

"To sign to a practice squad … injuries happen every day, and I think an opportunity could be there. It will be something I sit down with my wife and talk about, sit down with my agent and talk about. We’ll just make the best decision for us from there.”

Nelson Agholor unlikely to play Eagles' preseason finale, even if he could use the work

Nelson Agholor unlikely to play Eagles' preseason finale, even if he could use the work

Starters typically don't play much if at all in the final preseason game, but what does that mean for the Eagles and Nelson Agholor?

Agholor may be a starter by default, but the second-year wideout has followed up a disappointing rookie campaign with an uninspired summer thus far. More reps might be of value for a young player in Agholor's position.

Doug Pederson apparently disagrees, telling reporters on Monday that Agholor "probably" won't make an appearance in the Eagles' preseason finale this Thursday against the Jets. When pressed for an explanation, the head coach gave a curious response.

"One, I don't want to risk an injury necessarily," Pederson said. "Two, he's right on track with where he needs to be, so I'm not concerned with Nelson."

Any assertion that Agholor is "on track" is debatable. The 2015 first-round pick has just two receptions for 30 yards in preseason action. To make matters worse, he's also dropped three passes, including a costly deflection that went for an interception against the Colts on Saturday.

Minimal production and lapses in concentration plagued Agholor throughout last season, and there's little evidence those issues are behind him. Regardless, Pederson sounds unconcerned.

"Every day he comes out here and puts in a quality day's work," Pederson said. "He works extremely hard, and I've seen what he can do in practice.

"Is there the occasional drop here or there? Yeah. What he did after the drop (against the Colts), you probably didn't notice the blocking downfield, the things he did away from the ball. More than being a receiver — obviously, catching the ball is number one — but we pride ourselves in being physical in the run game and blocks down the field, and the things he did in this football game put him in a really good position going into the regular season."

To his credit, Agholor has shown a willingness to contribute without the ball in his hands. The 23-year-old threw a key block on Josh Huff's eight-yard touchdown run on Saturday.

Of course, Agholor wasn't taken 20th overall for his ability to pancake defensive backs. The Eagles are hoping he can become a viable target in the passing attack.

Agholor has dealt with questions about his production and confidence going back to last year. He knows as well as anybody that he needs to improve, although he doesn't necessarily feel that growth needs to take place in an exhibition game.

"The most important thing to me right now is practice, and I got an opportunity to go out here and practice and progress from the game to today," Agholor said. "We went over some corrections from the game, so that was a step, and now when I go out here, I have to show signs of progression.

"(Coach Pederson's) decision is his decision. For my mind, I need to make sure I go out here today and get better as a football player."

But are Agholor's troubles holding on to the football correctable through practice? Drops are often attributed either to a receiver's hands or his concentration, both of which tend to be difficult flaws to overcome.

Concentration has been more to blame in Agholor's case. If there's a positive, he realizes that. Agholor looks at a drop like the one he had against the Colts that wound up going for an interception and tries to figure out exactly what broke his concentration on that play so that he won't make the same mistake again.

"As a wide receiver, when you watch that, the end result, the drop, isn't on my mind," Agholor said. "It's 'What was my route?' to go to that. Did I do too much to take my focus away from receiving that football? And I felt like I did.

"I felt like my pattern to get to the football — I made man moves and they were actually in a zone — and all those stairsteps made my eyes and my hands not be in the right place to receive the football at the right time."

Nobody is putting more pressure on Agholor to eliminate these mistakes than he is.

"That's what you have to do in this league, and that's what you have to do for a football team, especially when they count on you," Agholor said.

"My teammates count on me to be explosive with the football and without the football. I want to always do it with the football because that's my job. I'm a wide receiver. But as a player on the field, I have to make sure I'm explosive and I have to make sure I make plays without the ball in my hands too."

Perhaps that's why Pederson is showing so much faith in his young receiver. Work ethic has never been an issue for Agholor, and he's going to do whatever he can to become a reliable weapon for the Eagles. When he comes up short, it's not for lack of effort or preparation.

Fortunately, there's still time for Agholor to turn things around. If he can give the offense somewhat steady production in 2016, nobody will remember the preseason or even how he struggled as a rookie. Agholor realizes that too, so he's worried only about getting ready for opening day against the Browns on Sept. 11.

"I have a responsibility because I will be a guy that's out there," Agholor said. "In my mind, my number's going to be called multiple times and I need to answer the phone. That's how I look at it."

Eagles LB Myke Tavarres reportedly changes mind, will stand for national anthem

Eagles LB Myke Tavarres reportedly changes mind, will stand for national anthem

Several hours after telling ESPN that he would join Colin Kaepernick in not standing for the national anthem, Eagles rookie linebacker Myke Tavarres has apparently changed his mind. 

Tavarres' agent told FOX29's Chris O'Connell Monday afternoon that the linebacker will stand for the national anthem Thursday in the Eagles' preseason finale against the Jets.

All right then. 

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson released the following statement regarding Tavarres' decision(s):

For what it's worth, Crossing Broad found this picture from Tavarres a few weeks ago, when he certainly seemed to be pro-America.

Happy Independence Day!! 🇺🇸

A photo posted by Myke Tavarres (@myket14) on