A Surreal Game Day Has Dawned in State College

A Surreal Game Day Has Dawned in State College

Some weren't sure there'd be a football game between Penn State and Nebraska today. Would they cancel out of shame, respect, fear? The answer is no, that the game will go on, unless something shocking happens between now and kickoff.

Bomb Threat
And, at least one person has tried to derail those plans. A bomb threat has been called in to Beaver Stadium. Police have already inspected the claim and found nothing. Having been to a college football stadium for an event that had a bomb threat called in, it's some scary, scary shit, and whoever called it in deserves a thorough ass-kicking followed by some jail time. As if anyone needed all for chaos in State College right now. The past week has seen plenty.

Bradley in the Spotlight
The football regime will look unlike it has in all our lifetimes. Joe Paterno won't be on the sideline or in the protective bubble. Mike McQueary has been placed on paid leave. A significant piece of Joe's crew will be the man in charge this afternoon and presumably for the remainder of the season. For the first time ever, those who don't follow Penn State and college football intently will have to google "Penn State head coach" if they want to know who will be in charge (it's Tom Bradley if you fall into that category).

Arrington by Candlelight
Last night, a candlelight vigil was held for the victims of Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse (great pic here). Lavar Arrington, one of the best linebackers to play at Linebacker U, delivered this speech. Definitely worth a listen. That and more from State College below.

John Clark says a plane is flying a banner overhead that reads "Joe is so dirty he needs a shower." Really? That's the best you could come up with to express that sentiment?

Jeff McLane says PSU linebacker coach Ron Vanderlinden was crying as he entered the stadium.

Darren Rovell says Penn State has removed the names of sponsors from its web site. At least six pulled ads from today's telecast as of yesterday.

Twitter's spilling over with updates like the ones above, with tons of local and national media giving firsthand accounts from the parking lots and Beaver Stadium.  At noon, there'll actually even be a football game played between the Nittany Lions and the Cornhuskers. The degree to which the coverage will shift to the field remains to be seen.

Shayne Gostisbehere was right: Let's not forget the big picture

Shayne Gostisbehere was right: Let's not forget the big picture

Shayne Gostisbehere spoiled us.

In 64 games, we were spoiled by his 17 goals, most by an NHL rookie defenseman since Dion Phaneuf scored 20 over a full 82 in 2005-06.

Spoiled by a historic 15-game point streak, the longest ever for a first-year blueliner.

And spoiled by four overtime winners, an NHL rookie single-season record.

With it all, Gostisbehere created a mighty and somewhat unfair challenge. He exceeded anyone’s wildest expectations and perhaps made for even greater ones as an encore.

So, naturally, questions and doubts have swirled around his quiet sophomore season. Speaking to reporters last week after a 4-1 loss in Buffalo, Gostisbehere, for the first time, expressed just a hint of frustration. In the midst of his current 22-game goal drought, he wanted to make a point.

“I’m doing my job,” he said. “I mean, I’m a defenseman, I’m not a goal scorer.”

It served as a reminder of what many wanted to see improve in Gostisbehere’s second NHL go-round — a more sound game in his own end by honing in on the defensive skills to his position.

Yes, the 23-year-old can change a game offensively, but could he be reliable and responsible defensively?

After all, Gostisbehere is a defenseman, like he said. We’ve already seen the offensive potential. From the onset, defensive growth is what head coach Dave Hakstol wanted to see.

“Consistency every day,” Hakstol said in early October. “Just be an everyday worker who is pushing hard to really improve himself as an NHL defenseman.”

Now, not only is Gostisbehere in a malaise offensively with four goals and 15 assists through 43 games, but he also hasn’t been sharp or consistent defensively. That certainly is a part of the concern permeating through the Delaware Valley. The 2015-16 Calder Memorial Trophy (top rookie) runner-up has been benched twice because of it and is a team-worst minus-17 on the season.

However, the positive here is he’s focused on it. Forget scoring goals for a moment. Even with Gostisbehere’s struggles, Flyers defensemen have provided offense among the league’s best. And for a stretch of 20 games following his first healthy scratch on Nov. 17, Gostisbehere was cleaner and more active with 17 giveaways and 24 blocked shots just partially telling the story. In the 17 games prior, he had 19 giveaways and only 20 blocked shots.

“I’m here to help the team in any way possible,” Gostisbehere said last Sunday. “Right now, it’s just getting back to work and doing the little things. It’s not going to come easy. That is something that me personally, and a lot of us have to look at.”

Even some of the all-time great defensemen went through the proverbial sophomore slump. Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidstrom went from 60 points and a plus-36 rating as a rookie to 41 and a plus-7 in his second season. Brian Leetch, also in the Hall of Fame, saw a dip in production across the board in Year 2 after winning the Calder Trophy.

But let’s not draw crazy comparisons. Let’s just understand the important thing here, which is Gostisbehere’s understanding that defense is paramount. He’s learning through his lumps, starting at the end of his breakout rookie campaign in which he looked spent from the NHL grind. He underwent minor offseason surgeries on his hip and lower abdominal, suffered a nasty face cut in the season opener, then a bone bruise on his right hand in December.

We’re just over halfway through the 2016-17 schedule. Gostisbehere is only 23 years old, a 2012 third-round pick with a cap hit less than 16 other Flyers in a season that looks more like a continued rebuild than a jump to contention.

Really, Shayne Gostisbehere should be some of the least of our worries.

Eagles WR Bryce Treggs has plenty to say on Trump presidency

Eagles WR Bryce Treggs has plenty to say on Trump presidency

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Bryce Treggs made a name for himself in 2016 due to his speed. He was a fan favorite for a moment, as any deep threat tends to be, but only appeared in 9 games and registered just 3 catches.

That didn't stop him from trending on Twitter in Philly on Friday after Donald J. Trump became the 45th President of the United States of America.

Here were some of his tweets.