You're Not Alone: Peter Laviolette Can't Believe They Got Swept by the Rangers Either

You're Not Alone: Peter Laviolette Can't Believe They Got Swept by the Rangers Either

Rivalries ebb and flow, peak and valley over time. Sometimes one team falls off for a long enough period that the general dislike is still there, but there's just something less vitriolic about each meeting.

In the the late 90s and early 2000s, it was the Devils as the Flyers' chief antagonist. Since the '04-'05 lockout, it's been the Penguins. And, really, after Eric Lindros flattened Mark Messier and company in '97 Eastern Finals, the Flyers' rivalry with the Rangers had trended more towards one of those valleys. Don't get me wrong, no one started liking the Rangers all of a sudden, but the passion for the rivalry had waned for some, if not many.

That said, it doesn't take much for one of these long-standing feuds to get reignited. In fact, getting waxed 0-6 in a regular season and losing a Winter Classic at home just might do the trick. It seems to have for coach Peter Laviolette.

Lavy, like you, can't believe the Flyers were unable to take even one game off the Rangers this season. In part one of his offseason mailbag, he answers a fan question "the biggest surprise on the season" for him:

PL: “I hope this doesn't come off sounding bad, but honestly, the biggest surprise of the season was not beating the Rangers in a single game. I think of our team as a strong competitive team and I view the Rangers as the same. If someone would have asked before the year if it would surprise me if we didn't take one game from the Rangers I would have scoffed at them and told them they were crazy. So the fact that the season took place and we were unable win one game in the series...well...I'm surprised.”

It's worth noting that outside of two to three occasions in which the Flyers clearly couldn't hang, including those back-to-back weekend afternooners on Feb. 5 and Feb. 11, they skated with the Rangers and could have, perhaps should have, split that season series if a few extra bounces gone their way. Without dispute, they could have at least taken a game (see: Winter Classic).

The histrionics of this year's first round series against the Penguins aside, if you can manage to put them aside, doesn't it feel good to really passionately dislike the Rangers? If only it didn't have to take a season sweep to get the fire burning once again.

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Unrelated Note: The Flyers' stylize Lavy's nickname as "Lavi." Your thoughts.

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- With Joel Embiid's excitement to be on the court following two years of injuries comes the reality of his lengthy setback.

Embiid is participating in his first NBA training camp this week. While he has impressed with his natural abilities and improved skills, Embiid is facing challenges as he gets accustomed to the league.

"Everything is kind of off right now as far as catching the ball or shooting," Embiid said after practice Wednesday. "I've still got to get in the flow of the game."

Embiid has yet to play since being drafted in 2014. For the past two years he has worked out individually and in controlled settings. Practices, even in training camp, are different. 

"You see all the time when you realize he hasn't played basketball for a long time," Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. "He's trying to gather his feet and find his balance, he's trying to figure out stuff in real time speed on defensive assignments and rotations."

On Wednesday, Embiid went through practice without any minute restrictions and was feeling healthier from the cold and virus he had been battling (see story). Teammates have praised his physical presence and eagerness to compete. He makes an impact with his 7-foot-2 presence alone, but there is more he wants to improve. 

Embiid is adjusting to the speed of the game. He has been facing challenges with getting the ball in the post and spoke to the coaches about his frustrations. The staff explained they are focusing on pick-and-roll defense and getting out to run during training camp, but he will get that desired location in game situations. 

“You continue to see the size of Joel Embiid,” Brown said. “He's a big man and he's got a mindset to back up his physical gifts. He really wants the ball. He wants to get deep catches. He wants to dunk on people.”

Embiid always has been realistic about his transition to his rookie season. He has pointed out many times that he is a fast learner, and is anxious to soak up new knowledge and apply it to the court.

"It's really frustrating," he said. "But like I've said, you've got to trust the process, which I've been doing."

Tonight's lineup: Cody Asche starts in place of injured Roman Quinn

Tonight's lineup: Cody Asche starts in place of injured Roman Quinn

With Roman Quinn's season over with an oblique strain, Freddy Galvis moves up to second in the Phillies' lineup Wednesday night against the Braves.

Quinn's showing in the majors this month was a microcosm of his pro career to this point — he showed his speed with four steals and several infield hits, posted a .373 OBP in 69 plate appearances, but suffered another injury. Health has always been his roadblock.

With Quinn out, Cody Asche gets a start in left field against Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, who he's homered off of. The presence of Quinn and Aaron Altherr has limited Asche's playing time — he's started only three games since coming back from Triple A on Sept. 10.

Asche bats seventh, a spot ahead of Aaron Altherr, who is 7 for 52 (.135) in his last 18 games and has four extra-base hits in his last 133 plate appearances.

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Cody Asche, LF
8. Aaron Altherr, RF
9. Adam Morgan, P

Matt Kemp, who sat last night, returns to the Braves' lineup.

1. Ender Inciarte, CF
2. Adonis Garcia, 3B
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Matt Kemp, LF
5. Tyler Flowers, C
6. Dansby Swanson, SS
7. Mallex Smith, RF
8. Daniel Castro, 2B
9. Mike Foltynewicz, P