Miller'd Yo: Flyers Shut Out by Sabres in Opener

Miller'd Yo: Flyers Shut Out by Sabres in Opener

Sifting through the ashes of the Flyers' 1-0 loss to the Sabres to open the playoffs, it's hard to come down too hard on them despite losing a game we really wanted to see them win. They played well overall, with a single play that was by no means terrible leading to the game's only goal. The Flyers generated some very good scoring opportunities, but couldn't beat Ryan Miller, nor his defense, which clamped down on the slot and surrounding area once the Sabres had the lead. 


Jeff Carter appears to be having a bit of trouble finding the puck.

Fulfilling our greatest concern going into the playoffs, the lack of any ability to score on the power play doomed the Flyers more than anything in this one. At even strength, they had pressure on Miller early and often, screens, and even some shots off of rebounds, but just couldn't beat him. The Sabres blocked shots efficiently, and the Flyers attack faded late. 

The good news is, the Flyers looked a lot better in this loss than they had in their poor stretch run to end the regular season. 

The bad news is, there's no place for "better" in the best of seven series, no moral victories—particularly when you get shut out. 

Miller didn't need to be particularly stellar, although that is the hallmark of some of the best goalies. They make it look a little easier than it actually is. He was in position all night and seemingly saw the puck through a few pretty good screens. The Flyers could certainly stand to get a few more shots through traffic though, if not some deflections.  

Particularly early on, the Flyers pressure was great, and throughout the game there were some good opportunities. It just didn't happen. The Sabres were strong in blocking shots and shutting down lanes toward the net. 

The Briere line was on the ice for the game's lone goal, but they had a decent game overall. Danny Syvret's man scored the game-winner, as the annoying Patrick Kaleta got past him to slam home a long rebound. Syvret didn't have a terrible game, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Chris Pronger suit up in the next game if he can grip a stick. 

The problem wasn't Syvret though. The defense overall was very solid, from the forward lines on back. Sergei Bobrovsky wasn't a concern at all despite the one long rebound that left open the deciding scoring opportunity. A failed brief 5-on-3 opportunity and an overall 0-5 power play sank the Flyers' chances in this one. At first, the inability to score felt like the Flyers were knocking on the door and would soon break through. As the game wore on past the halfway point though, it began to feel like exactly what it would become. The Sabres found the net once in their 25 shots on goal while the Flyers couldn't beat Miller in 35 shots. 

James van Riemsdyk was the Flyers' best player tonight, selling to block shots and generating some of their better scoring opportunities. He looks like he could break out in a big way if the Flyers can help get him going. 

Joel Embiid practices fully but doubtful for Friday and Saturday

Joel Embiid practices fully but doubtful for Friday and Saturday

Joel Embiid was a full participant Wednesday during the Sixers' first practice back from the All-Star break, but he's listed as doubtful for their games Friday and Saturday.

The Sixers host the Wizards Friday night (7/CSN) and face the Knicks Saturday night at Madison Square Garden (7:30/CSN).

If Embiid misses both games it would be 13 in a row and 16 of 17.

Still, it's a good sign he was able to practice in full Wednesday.

Ben Simmons, meanwhile, has a CT scan scheduled for Thursday in New York. The appointment should show whether his foot has healed enough for him to take the next step in his rehab.

Simmons did individual work at Wednesday's practice.

CSN Philly's Jessica Camerato contributed to this report.

Sarah Baicker: I don't skate like a man, just a darn good woman

Sarah Baicker: I don't skate like a man, just a darn good woman

In late December, I was invited to play in a pick-up hockey game with some other members of the local sports media community. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I was one of only two women there that day. Even now, female ice hockey players aren’t exactly common.

After the game, a reporter I’ve known a while — a guy I like a lot — said to me: “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you skate like a man.” I didn’t take it wrong, of course; he meant it as a compliment. The reporter wanted nothing more than to tell me I’d impressed him.

I thought about this exchange a lot in the days that followed. Had someone told me I played hockey like a boy when I was 15, I would have worn that description like a badge. Hell yeah, 15-year-old Sarah would have thought, I do play like a boy. I’m as tough as a boy. I’m as fierce and competitive as any boy on my team. I would have reveled in it, just as I reveled in a similar label I’d received even earlier in my adolescence: tomboy.

Yeah, I was a tomboy. I hung around with the neighborhood boys, riding bikes between each other’s houses or catching salamanders in the creek that ran through town. I loved sports, and my bedroom walls — papered with newspaper clippings and photos of Flyers players — were a far cry from the pink-tinged rooms that belonged to the girls at school. 

As much as I could, I dressed like a boy too, even once cutting the sleeves off of an oversized T-shirt before I went out to rollerblade with our next-door neighbors. My grandmother, who was visiting at the time, pulled me aside to tell me I really ought to dress more appropriately. I rolled my eyes.

I was a tomboy, and I loved the word and everything it stood for. I felt pride in my tomboyishness, believing that the things I liked — the things boys liked — were clearly better than the things stereotypically left to the girls.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit it was a conversation with a 15-year-old that changed my perspective, just a few days after my reporter friend had compared my hockey skills to those of a man. I sat down with Mo’ne Davis, the female Little League pitching phenom, for this very project. I asked her if she identified as a tomboy, and she shrugged. Not really, she said. Maybe other people wanted to define her that way, she suggested, but that wasn’t how she viewed things.

You know that record scratch sound effect they play on TV or in the movies? The one that denotes a sort of “wait … what?!” moment? That’s what happened in my head. Mo’ne Davis, the girl who played on the boys’ team and excelled, didn’t consider herself a tomboy?

Something clicked in my head after that. I’ve long identified as a feminist, and I’ve been a big supporter of girls in sports for as long as I can remember. I coach girls hockey, I’ve spoken at schools and camps about playing and working in sports as a woman. For some reason, though, it took a 15-year-old shrugging her shoulders at the label “tomboy” to take the power out of the word for me. Why does one have to be a tomboy, when one can simply be a girl who kicks ass? How had I never considered this before?

In many ways (and especially in sports) if something is male, it’s considered superior. It goes beyond just the things kids like to do, and it’s all old news. It’s also something I’m ashamed to admit I’ve bought into for practically all of my life. But no longer. How can I help change the narrative if I’m too busy playing along with it?

And if I could do it over, when that reporter approached me after our hockey game to tell me I skated like a man, I would have smiled, shook my head and said: Nah. But I skate like a darn good woman.