Scenes From a Tough Loss

Scenes From a Tough Loss

Just a few notes on the Flyers' 2-1 loss to the Capitals on Thursday night...

  • The home team did a great job staying out of the box, tallying just 4 PIM. Still, penalty calls against the team accounted for a 2-goal swing on the scoreboard, with the Caps scoring on a first period power play, and the Flyers having what would have been the game-tying goal wiped out by a penalty called on Mike Knuble.
  • Speaking of which, I don't remember the last time I heard a louder "Asshole" chant. The goal light went on, the Pennywise started up, and the place went nuts. 2-2. Then it became clear that it was nullified, and most people thought Knuble was called for goalie interference, which hadn't been called on an earlier play in which the Caps had a goal immediately called off because Marty Biron was interfered with. The Caps weren't assessed a penalty, with the ref stating it was incidental contact (replay appears to confirm this), but seeing Knuble carted off, followed by the replay showing that he lightly pushed his defender, who flopped hard on the ice as the puck passed by Jose Theodore. The chants rained down for a few minutes, first "Assssshole," then "Hey Ref, You Suck!" Simon Gagne being hauled down on a questionable play by Alex Ovechkin during a breakaway didn't help matters for the zebras.
  • Anyone else think booing Ovechkin every time he touches the puck is kinda lame? That kind of treatment should be reserved for true offenders, not just for any rival's superstar. 
  • How sweet was this?
  • Marty Biron played a great game, giving up only a power play goal and an Ovechkin rocket after a turnover behind his crease.
  • The Flyers led in most statistical categories, including shots, faceoffs, hits, and (fewer) penalty minutes. They put up 38 shots, but the key stat (which sadly we don't have) was the number of missed shots they had. So many pucks seemed to sail high or wide, or trickle just outside the goal mouth.
  • Two categories they didn't do so well in (other than goals-for): takeaways and giveaways. Lots of very poor passing on power plays and even strength.
  • Fans of every sport in any city love to hate on obviously middle-of-the-road players. Special-teamers filling in on D, middle relievers, reserve infielders, etc... The dumbass behind me screamed at Andrew Alberts all night, as if not winning the Norris Trophy this season would somehow be a breach of his contract. Alberts, by the way, was even for the night and registered three hits in a game in which the Caps scored only twice. Not surprisingly, Arron Asham and Riley Cote were hearing it from this guy too. They are members of the fourth line. Out of four.
  • Dan Carcillo is having a slow start at becoming a fan favorite, as he was held off the score sheet while Scottie Upshall netted his third goal since being traded to Phoenix. Gotta be hard for Carcillo, first being under the microscope because he's the guy the Flyers traded a popular player away for, and then Upshall starts tearing it up for the other team. One reason for Upshall's increased production is that he's averaging just under 5 minutes more ice time per game since joining the Coyotes.
  • It's a relief to see that Danny Briere is likely healthy again. He got hit a few times, but got up without any issues after every one. Hopefully it lasts, and the funk the Flyers power play was in tonight doesn't.
  • Up next is a weekend home-and-home with the Rangers, starting Saturday afternoon in Philly, and a game in Detroit on Tuesday.

The Phillies season in one video: 'Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby'

The Phillies season in one video: 'Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby'

What is there to say about the Philadelphia Phillies?

In doing my usual postgame perusal of the Internet after their 7-2 loss on Wednesday night, I visited Phillies.com to see what kind of "highlights" they could have possibly posted from another crushing defeat at the hands of the Colorado Rockies.

Thankfully, the first thing that caught my eye was a video titled, "Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby."

It was not Larry Andersen in the Phanatic's arms. Nor me.

And that's the Phillies season in a nutshell.

"You gotta question the parenting skills here," John Kruk said on the telecast. And he's right! What kind of parent would raise their kid to be a Philly sports fan?!?

The Phillies now have the worst record in all of baseball. They're 4-20 in their last 24 games. It's their worst start to a season since 1960.

Even the Phanatic doesn't have enough popcorn to mask all the pain.

If you want to read about the upbeat approach Pete Mackanin is taking, go give this a gander.

"In a long season, these things sometimes happen," Mackanin told reporters. "I remember Atlanta, the first half last year, was terrible. They had a real good second half. I believe we just need to get something going. We're going to put something together. I believe that."

That makes one of us.

Highly ranked 2018 recruit Brandon Slater verbally commits to Villanova

Highly ranked 2018 recruit Brandon Slater verbally commits to Villanova

The future of Villanova basketball just got brighter.

Brandon Slater, a 6-foot-6 wing and highly touted 2018 recruit, told Scout.com on Wednesday night that he has verbally committed to the Wildcats.

He later made the announcement on Twitter.

Among the 2018 recruiting class, Slater, a product of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia, is ranked in the top 30 by Scout.com and top 50 by ESPN.com. He's slated as a four-star talent by both media outlets.

Per ESPN, Slater had offers from Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Syracuse, USC and Virginia Tech. He is Villanova's first commitment for 2018.

"Going up there it just feels like a second home," Slater said, via Evan Daniels of Scout.com. "It gives me a good vibe. It's nothing like all the other schools. I just feel like a Villanova guy. It feels like PVI. It's already home."

Slater and Villanova head coach Jay Wright expressed their excitement on Twitter.