Whoever’s in own goal not Flyers’ gravest concern

Whoever’s in own goal not Flyers’ gravest concern

The news that Steve Mason is out for Game 1 of the Philadelphia Flyers’ first-round series versus the New York Rangers hurts. The possibility he could miss even more time with an “upper-body injury” stemming from a controversial collision against the loathsome Pittsburgh Penguins would be a huge blow to say the least.

Yet the Flyers might have bigger problems on their hands than who’s in goal, which would be the seasoned and competent Ray Emery.

They must solve the great Henrik Lundqvist in the opposing crease, who’s built a 27-13-3 lifetime record against Philadelphia. They must rediscover how to win at Madison Square Garden, a feat that has not been accomplished since Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Chris Pronger donned orange and black.

Whether it’s Mason or Emery or even Cal Heeter between the pipes, netminder is only one part of the equation. The Flyers have to learn, as a team, how to beat Lundqvist, how to beat the Rangers over the course of the next two weeks.

Or they’re done either way.

Yes, there is a clear drop-off from Mason, who’s played some of his best hockey since arriving in Philadelphia at the 2012-13 trade deadline, to Emery, 31 years old and living without 13 centimeters of his leg bone. No one would argue Razor gives the club its best shot.

Emery is certainly capable of holding down the fort for a game or two though, assuming that’s all Mason misses. He'll reportedly join the team in New York on Friday. But that’s still putting the cart before the horse.

You could claim the losing streak at MSG is irrelevant. One victory—preferably Game 1 on Thursday—and the building’s entire mystique, the apparent enchantment it has over this group of Flyers goes up in smoke just like that. Of course, a loss could do the opposite for confidence levels, but they have to win a game on Rangers ice eventually, right?

Unfortunately, Lundqvist’s prowess over the Flyers is all too tangible. They got to him once this season, proving it can be done in a 4-2 win on March 1. The other two encounters with King Henrik were far less fruitful, as the 2012 Vezina Trophy winner stopped a combined 67 shots and allowed just two goals in 4-1 and 3-1 New York victories.

Worry about who’s in net for the Flyers, I do not. For once, there's actually some depth and stability back there.

The opposing team's goaltender is the one you want to worry about. Can the Flyers really best Lundqvist over seven games?

Buccaneers promote former Eagles WR Josh Huff to active roster

Buccaneers promote former Eagles WR Josh Huff to active roster

Josh Huff is back on an NFL active roster.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are calling the wide receiver up from their practice squad to their 53-man roster. The Eagles released Huff just over a month ago following his arrest for unlawful possession of a firearm. 

The 25-year-old Huff was originally a third round pick by the Eagles in 2014. He made 48 receptions for 482 yards and four touchdowns over three seasons. He excelled on special teams, returning two kicks for touchdowns. One of those kick returns came in his penultimate game with the Eagles, a 21-10 win over the Vikings on Oct. 23. 

Huff replaces Cecil Shorts III for the Buccaneers after Shorts suffered a season-ending knee injury on Sunday in San Diego.

Meanwhile, the Eagles have filled Huff's role in the offense with rookie receivers Bryce Treggs and Paul Turner. 

MLB Notes: Red Sox acquire ace LHP Chris Sale from White Sox

MLB Notes: Red Sox acquire ace LHP Chris Sale from White Sox

OXON HILL, Md. -- All-Star ace Chris Sale is joining the reloading Boston Red Sox, leaving behind his shredded reputation with the Chicago White Sox.

Boston acquired Sale on Tuesday for a package of four prospects, including high-priced Yoan Moncada.

Sale was a top trade target at the winter meetings and the AL East champion Red Sox were getting him instead of Washington, which also pursued.

A few hours earlier, Boston got prime setup man Tyler Thornburg from Milwaukee. After that deal was announced, without tipping his hand, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said: "We're trying to win now, as you can see."

Boston acquired Sale for minor league pitchers Michael Kopech and Victor Diaz, outfielder Luis Basabe and Moncada, a third baseman (see full story).

Red Sox get setup man Thornburg from Brewers for INF Shaw
OXON HILL, Md. -- The Boston Red Sox have gotten the setup man they wanted, acquiring right-hander Tyler Thornburg from the Milwaukee Brewers in a package that included infielder Travis Shaw.

The deal was announced Tuesday and was the first trade at baseball's winter meetings.

Milwaukee also got minor league infielder Mauricio Dubon, minor league right-hander Josh Pennington and a player to be named or $100.

The 28-year-old Thornburg will become Boston's eighth-inning guy, setting up closer Craig Kimbrel for the AL East champions. Thornburg was 8-5 with 13 saves and a 2.15 ERA in 67 games for the Brewers, striking out 90 in 67 innings.

The 26-year-old Shaw hit .242 with 16 home runs and 71 RBIs last season. He mostly played third base, and also saw time at first.

The 22-year-old Dubon hit a combined .323 and scored 101 runs between the Single-A and Double-A levels. The 21-year-old Pennington was 5-3 with a 2.86 ERA in Class A (see full story).

Yankees to retire Jeter's No 2 on May 14, last single digit
NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter's No. 2 is being retired, the last of the New York Yankees' single digits.

The Yankees said Tuesday the number will be retired on May 14 before a Mother's Day game against Houston, and a plaque in his honor will be unveiled in Monument Park during the ceremony.

Jeter's number is the 21st retired by the team. He won five World Series titles and was a 14-time All-Star during a 20-season career that ended in 2014 and he is sixth in career hits with 3,465.

Jeter set Yankees records for hits, games (2,747), at-bats (11,195), doubles (544) and stolen bases (358) (see full story).