Union’s motto entering final weekend of regular season: 'So you’re telling us there’s a chance'

Union’s motto entering final weekend of regular season: 'So you’re telling us there’s a chance'

How do you know your team’s playoff chances aren’t particularly good?

Here’s one way: a couple of days before the final game of the regular season, Union manager John Hackworth quoted that scene from “Dumb and Dumber” when Lloyd Christmas asks Mary Swanson (aka Samsonite) what the chances are that a girl like him could get a guy like her. Hoping for 1-out-of-100, he happily accepts her answer of 1-out-of-a-million, uttering the now-excessively-quoted line: “So you’re telling me there’s a chance!”

The Union's chances to make the playoffs are far better than 1-out-of-a-million and even better than 1-out-of-100. (It’s actually closer to 1-out-of-10, according to SportsClubStats). But they’re still remote enough that they’re comforted by the dumb optimism of a movie character that thinks his pets’ heads are falling off.

“The classic line – so you’re saying we have a chance – that’s one that we used and we’re in the same position right now,” Hackworth said. “We need help from people Sunday, but we have to take care of business on Saturday.”

So here’s the playoff scenario, which factors in all of the complicated tiebreakers. First, the Union need to beat Sporting Kansas City in their regular-season finale on Saturday at 3 p.m. Then, Houston needs to lose to D.C. United on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Then, New England needs to lose to Columbus on Sunday at 4 p.m. If all of that happens, the Union will earn the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 49 points.

In that same scenario, a Houston-D.C. United draw will also get the Union in, as long as Houston doesn’t score two more goals  than the Union score on Saturday. There’s another scenario where the Union can get in with a New England tie but that would involve scoring eight more goals than New England, so let’s just ignore that one.

Taking each game on their own, the Union, D.C. United and Columbus winning this weekend isn't entirely unrealistic. Philly is facing a very good opponent in Sporting Kansas City that’s fighting for the Supporters’ Shield, but the Union are playing at home and just beat SKC a couple of weeks ago. D.C. United has a historically bad record but they still managed to win the prestigious U.S. Open Cup this year and are hosting a tired Houston team that lost a midweek CONCACAF Champions League contest. And the Revs will also be on the road against a solid Columbus squad that, up until recently, was in the playoff race.

The problem, of course, is that when you need all three of the results to happen, the odds become significantly longer. But, hey, if Harry and Lloyd made it to Aspen on a scooter, anything is possible, right?

Now 22/1 to win Super Bowl, Eagles also the NFC East favorite

Now 22/1 to win Super Bowl, Eagles also the NFC East favorite

The Eagles crushed a Super Bowl contender on Sunday at the Linc. And Vegas took notice.

According to Bovada, the Eagles' odds to win the Super Bowl went from 33/1 to 22/1. Just nine teams have shorter odds to win the Super Bowl. The Patriots are tops at 15/4, followed by the Packers (8/1) and the team the Eagles beat, the Steelers (9/1).

With the win, the Eagles also became the favorite to win the NFC East, going from 11/4 to 2/1. They're followed by the Cowboys and Giants (both at 11/5) and last year's division champs, Washington, is at 6/1.

The Eagles are also 12/1 to win the NFC.

Of course, the biggest story for the Eagles this season has been the emergence of rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. He had his first 300-yard passing game Sunday and was named the NFC's Offensive Player of the Week. His odds to win MVP went from 50/1 to 33/1. Those are the same odds as Drew Brees and Eli Manning.

Meanwhile, former Eagles quarterback and current Minnesota Viking Sam Bradford went from 50/1 to 25/1 to win MVP.

While Wentz's MVP odds shortened, his odds to win Rookie of the Year actually got longer, going from 8/5 to 7/4. That could have something to do with the odds of Ezekiel Elliot (7/4), Dak Prescott (5/1) and Sterling Shepard (7/1) all improving.

Flyers Notes: Ivan Provorov not in ‘younger’ lineup; Travis Konecny gets chance with NHLers

Flyers Notes: Ivan Provorov not in ‘younger’ lineup; Travis Konecny gets chance with NHLers

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers’ morning skate Wednesday came with youthful flavor.
 
Ivan Provorov was no part of it.
 
The 19-year-old was with the big-boy contingent on the opposite ice, a group of mostly NHL players that will not play in tonight’s preseason game against the Devils at the PPL Center, home of AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.
 
Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said a younger lineup is set for the team’s fourth preseason game.
 
“Every game is a little different,” Hakstol said. “[Tuesday] night we had a more veteran group dress, so not only are we looking at individual performances but we would expect to see a little more of our structure come into play. Tonight’s roster is a little more younger, so we’re still obviously looking to build some of the concept and some of the systems and detail.”
 
Provorov, the Flyers’ prized blue-line prospect and No. 1 roster hopeful of training camp, was featured in the NHL-heavy lineup Tuesday night, playing 21:43 with key minutes on the power play and penalty kill. This followed a night of 28:48 ice time in the Flyers’ split-squad preseason opener Monday.
 
So it was highly unlikely Provorov would play Wednesday, but the fact he was saved for a veteran-laden game instead of a prospect-filled one is telling.
 
Then again, Provorov is far from your typical 19-year-old hockey player.
 
“Right from day one, I think we’ve all saw that early,” Hakstol said. “A year ago, the focus, the ability to be detailed and to handle himself like a pro, albeit a young pro. Ivan has a great level of maturity to him.”
 
Provorov has done his work thus far. It’s his time to watch for a game.
 
“You look for him to be able to go out and do things consistently and efficiently,” Hakstol said. “I think for the most part, Ivan was able to do that [Tuesday] night.
 
Konecny with Schenn, Raffl
While one 19-year-old sits, another gets his chance.
 
Although prospect Travis Konecny — also looking to make the NHL jump — did not play Tuesday, he’ll still have a chance to open eyes with NHL forwards tonight.
 
The talented winger will be paired with Brayden Schenn and Michael Raffl, both of whom were clearly especially selected to play tonight with Konecny.
 
“They see the ice real well, I’ve just got to move my feet and get in the good areas and I’m sure they’re going to find the spots,” Konecny said. “I’m going to try to not do too much tonight and just let the game kind of take care of itself — and take care of the little things I can control.”
 
The 24th overall pick of the 2015 draft amassed 101 points at the junior level last season. Putting NHL talent around him should only help and it serves as an amplified audition of sorts.
 
“It gives him an opportunity to play with two veteran players,” Hakstol said. “Travis is no different than anyone else, just go out and play his game. Every player, it’s one of the challenges coming into camp, to go out and make an impression. Every player needs to do that from Day 1. We’re getting into our fourth exhibition game here now, so it’s an opportunity for Travis to go out and play the way he plays. He has an opportunity to do that with two veteran players.”
 
Konecny, 5-foot-10 with speed and skill, is keeping things simple in his second NHL camp.
 
“I think this year I’m trying to approach it and play the game the right way,” he said. “Last year, I came in excited and I had my feet going, my energy, but I was kind of all over the place. I’m trying to follow the system and play the right way this year.
 
“My first game a couple days ago, it was quick pace, I wasn’t really expecting it — it’s been a long time since I was in that kind of speed. So I think tonight’s game I’ll be a little more relaxed and ready to go.”

Roster moves
The Flyers on Wednesday assigned Mark Dekanich, Chris McCarthy, Maxim Lamarche, Martin Ouellette, Jesper Pettersson, Steve Swavely and Kevin Sundher to Lehigh Valley, which opens its training camp Friday. The Flyers' roster now stands at 49.
 
Loose pucks
Other NHLers expected to play tonight: Defenseman Brandon Manning and center Boyd Gordon. “Boyd has had a good camp,” Hakstol said. “He got in game action the first time [Tuesday]. As you’d expect, he did a real good job within his role of starting with faceoffs and the responsible style of play he has.” … Alex Lyon and Anthony Stolarz will be the goalies. Both will compete for starting time with the Phantoms this season.