Video: Niklas Kronwall's Brutal Hit on Jakub Voracek

Video: Niklas Kronwall's Brutal Hit on Jakub Voracek

Any semblance of the sportsmanship and mutual respect the Flyers and Red Wings might have had lingering after the ceremony to honor Mark Howe before Tuesday night's game were certainly gone in the second period. It wasn't hard to pinpoint the moment that all good will left the ice.

With 12:30 left in the second period, Jake Voracek was trying to gather the puck near his own blue line and turning to head up ice. Unfortunately, his head was not up, and Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall was poised to deliver a huge hit. Video and comments on its impact on the game below.

If Voracek doesn't have a concussion, then they truly are mysterious injuries.

The hit was square, and Kronwall didn't lead with his elbow or leave his skates. It could be argued that he head-hunted, as Voracek's face was the primary point of contact, but despite the dangerous result, we'd all probably be defending any Flyer who delivered the same one.

Certainly, Bill Clement had a good point in wondering how there was no whistle with a clearly injured player laying on the ice. Particularly scary was the rigid way in which Voracek's arms rose up after he hit the ice, a motion that looked almost involuntary. He was able to skate off under his own power, but would not return.

His teammates quickly took exception and started looking for a battle, but the Red Wings tried to avoid answering the call. Zac Rinaldo drew a weak penalty, and Scott Hartnell later got one as well, though the Flyers would score while on the penalty kill as Claude Giroux forced a turnover, skated up and got a shot on Joey MacDonald, and Max Talbot popped home the rebound for the eventual game-winner.

It was terrible to see Voracek taken out like that, and there's reason to worry the effects of the hit will linger. But the silver lining was that his team rallied around the hit, from the simple act of trying to get the Red Wings to answer for it, to the much harder task of controlling the game and getting the best revenge.

Giroux put in a great effort despite a hand injury that saw Scott Hartnell taking faceoffs. G's breakaway goal on the Flyers' second tally was a thing of beauty.

A Detroit fan threw an octopus on the ice at one point, but for a minute after the goal, I swore I saw MacDonald's jock laying there too.

Ilya Bryzgalov turned in another stellar performance despite again giving up a goal in the first five minutes of the game. it was a pretty damn good backhand by Henrik Zetterberg, but one you'd kinda like to see him in better position for. However, Bryz was the biggest reason the Flyers left the ice with a win. He continues to see the puck well even in traffic and on rebounds, and late in the game, he was locked in as the Red Wings through shots on him.

To add to the Flyers injury woes though, which already include James van Riemsdyk, Kimmo Timonen, and Andrej Meszaros, Jaromir Jagr is hurt as well, leaving the game with a lower-body injury.

Doug Pederson not afraid to get agressive with play-calling

Doug Pederson not afraid to get agressive with play-calling

Talk to Doug Pederson and he comes across … what’s a nice way to put it … dry?

Very nice guy. Very friendly. Very down to Earth. But not the most dynamic personality in public.

Which is why his personality on gameday has been so surprising.

Pederson is a risk taker as a playcaller. Aggressive and fearless.

Whether it’s going for it on fourth down with the lead, going for two after a successful PAT or throwing deep in a situation that doesn’t necessarily call for it, Pederson has proven to be the proverbial riverboat gambler that Chip Kelly was expected to be but never became.

“My personality is probably a little more conservative by nature, I think,” Pederson said Monday. “You'd probably agree with that.”

Pederson got a laugh with that comment because his public persona is exactly the opposite of his gameday demeanor.

It only took one day before we all got a taste of Pederson’s fearlessness.

In the season opener against the Browns, with the Eagles clinging to a 15-10 lead and a rookie quarterback making his first NFL appearance and a 4th-and-4 at the Browns’ 40--yard-line, he kept the offense on the field.

Carson Wentz responded by connecting with Zach Ertz on a five-yard gain to move the chains, and one play later, the Eagles took command on Wentz’s 35-yard TD pass to Nelson Agholor.

Six weeks in, the Eagles are 5 for 5 on fourth down. Only the Falcons have converted more fourth downs in the NFL this year, and they’re 6 for 10.

In the win over the Bears, the Eagles were 3 for 3 on fourth down, their best fourth-down conversion day in nine years.

This is the first time in 14 years the Eagles have converted five or more fourth downs through six games.

According to Pro Football Reference, the Eagles are one of only seven teams in NFL history to attempt five or more fourth down plays through six games and still be at 100 percent. The Lions are also 5 for 5 this year.

Pederson said analytics are a big part of his decision-making process, but he also trusts his instincts.

“I think it's both,” Pederson said. “But I trust our guys and I trust our offensive line and I think it sends a great message to the rest of the team, to the defense and special teams, that, ‘Hey, if we can convert this and stay on the field,’ it sends a good message.

“And on the other side of that, if you do convert, (it’s about) the message you send to the other team and the fact that you're going to stay aggressive.”

The Eagles are 29th-best in the NFL on third down at just 34 percent. But they’re one of only three teams that’s at 100 percent on fourth down.

“It's kind of a crazy deal when you're not great on third down, but you can be 5 for 5 on fourth down and convert them,” Pederson said. “It's a weird deal. But credit to the guys for the execution.

“I'm going to continue to look at it. I don't ever want to be in a position that I'm going to jeopardize the team at the time (by being too aggressive). Looking at the five fourth-down decisions this year, I don’t think they put us in any harm at that time.”

Wentz is 3 for 3 for 21 yards on fourth down, with the four-yard completion to Ertz, a seven-yard first down to Jordan Matthews in the Bears game and a nine-yard to Dorial Green-Beckham, also in the win in Chicago.

He also rushed six yards for a first down on a 4th-and-2 Sunday in the win over the Vikings. The Eagles’ other fourth-down conversion this year was Ryan Mathews’ one-yard TD on a 4th-and-goal against Chicago.

Pederson said as an assistant coach under Andy Reid, he always found himself asking himself whether he would be conservative or aggressive in crucial situations.

We’re all learning the answer now.

“Yeah, you definitely put yourself in those situations, as a coordinator and a position coach,” he said. “Putting yourself in those spots, it's a lot easier when you're not making the decision obviously to go, ‘Oh, yeah, I would have not gone for it there or not gone for it there.’

“Now, being in this position, it's my tail on the line if we don't convert.”

6 months later, Cubs' Kyle Schwarber returns for World Series Game 1

6 months later, Cubs' Kyle Schwarber returns for World Series Game 1

CLEVELAND — Chicago Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber's rehab finished just in time for the World Series.

Schwarber will bat fifth and be the designated hitter for the National League champions in Game 1 on Tuesday night against Cleveland's Corey Kluber. Schwarber hasn't played in the majors since tearing ligaments in his left knee on April 7 in a collision with teammate Dexter Fowler.

Dallas Cowboys orthopedic surgeon Dr. Daniel Cooper operated 12 days later to repair torn anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments. He was expected to miss the rest of the season but was cleared to return on Oct. 17.

Schwarber played a pair of games in the Arizona Fall League, going 1 for 6 with a double and two walks, and flew to Cleveland on Monday.