Boosh on a Forgettable Day, Phillies' Record April, Akers' Numbered Days, Union Atop the Table

Boosh on a Forgettable Day, Phillies' Record April, Akers' Numbered Days, Union Atop the Table

Three Philly teams were playing home games yesterday afternoon, two of which ended in good results, while the other was something of an absolute travesty. Unfortunately, the latter was the one that mattered most. Here's a look at some of the storylines out of those games, as well as the Eagles draft weekend.

Let's start it off with a quotable that pretty much sums up the Flyers' 7-3 loss, even it misleadingly seems to harness the speaker with more than his fair share of the blame. Here's Brian Boucher when asked about the specifics of two of the goals he allowed:

“I let in so many I can’t remember the third one, I can’t recall right now."

Boosh would also say he didn't think anyone played particularly well, which is a more apt representation of the game than hanging it on the goaltending, which of course could have been better as well. Four goalie changes in eight games is embarrassing no matter who's at fault. [Mike Morreale,]

So the Eagles drafted a kicker with a fourth round pick yesterday. Hoooo boy... Much, much more after the jump.

First, does this mean David Akers is gone? I'd have to presume so, although Reuben Frank quotes both Andy Reid and Akers' agent as being non-committal. Along with Akers' contract situation and a rocky end to the season between the longest tenured Eagle and the front office, it's hard to imagine the Eagles opening camp with this proven veteran competing against the guy they used a valuable pick to select. If ever there was a Reid quote I don't buy, it's this one when asked about the impact of selecting Alex Henery on Akers' future as an Eagle:

“Well listen, I haven’t even gone there with [general manager] Howie [Roseman],” Reid said. “But I will tell you that [Henery] is a good kicker. And so we’ll talk about that as we go here.”

That's either complete bullshit or an indication that the Eagles throw darts to make their draft choices. We've heard some of the former from the head coach in recent years, and the latter is seemingly far from true whether you agree with their choices or not. If anything, they are very deliberate, and I respect that about their drafts. I also don't really care that Reid isn't forthcoming with his quotes on what the team's intentions are with its as-yet unsigned players. It does them no good to show all their cards, and it's foolish (although somewhat understandable) for us to expect them to. But I couldn't help but laugh when I saw this one. So uh... before the draft, you didn't talk to the GM about which players you want to keep and which you want to replace? Come on Big Red...

Read more on the Akers story here, but I leave you with one thought that's troubled me more than simply losing Akers, a guy I like a lot and wish would retire as an Eagle. What are the chances this guy ends up kicking field goals for a division rival next season?


Now some more positive news... The Phillies beat the Mets again, earning a series win before tonight's Sunday Night Baseball matchup. Roy Halladay was brilliant, throwing his first 18 pitches for strikes (most by a pitcher to start a game since 1991) and efficiently working his way through yet another complete game. It's kinda funny how much hemming and hawing there is about the Phillies this season, what's wrong with them, etc... Looking back from the vantage of the first day of May, the Phillies just posted their highest April win total in franchise history. Matt Gelb has a look at yesterday's game and how it was representative of the entire month for the Phils. [Inquirer] [Other Phils April highlights]


In the aftermath of drafts, we're often treated to a lot of stories written by guys who have never seen their subject play a snap. That's fine, understandable given how much college football they'd have to watch in order to be experts, all while covering their NFL beats. But I still love reading up on the new guys, both the scouting reports of their on-field play, and the looks at their background stories, which give a little color to the new guys. Like how the babyfaced Danny Watkins has a nasty streak that includes chopping people in the jugular, and Temple product Jaiquawn Jarrett's mom—a Rikers Island corrections officer—may be to Birds games what Allen Iverson's mom was to the Sixers


The Union earned a 1-0 win the hard way yesterday down at PPL Park, playing much of the match with only 10 men. I'll have more to say on this game and the team in a later post, but here's the winner off the foot of Sebastien Le Toux, as shot from The River End:

Did you happen to hear the discussion in the beginning? Sent in by Level reader and commenter Muscles, who had to cut the video short because he's one of the guys who starts the rollout after a goal. The Union currently lead the MLS in points, and despite the lack of scoring, it's looking like it's no fluke.


First Pippa steals the show at the Royal Wedding, and now the Phanatic: 

Via the incomparable Mr. Todd Zolecki.

Enjoy your Sunday, everyone.

Flyers Notes: Travis Konecny sparks power play with 1st NHL goal

Flyers Notes: Travis Konecny sparks power play with 1st NHL goal

The kid finally has his first NHL goal.

Travis Konecny scored at 4:30 of the third period (see video) during the Flyers' 4-3 shootout win over Buffalo on Tuesday night (see story).  

His was the first of three power-play goals to erase a 3-0 deficit and get the Flyers into overtime.

First markers are always that much more special when they make a difference in a comeback victory, such as this one with the Flyers in a brutal stretch of six games in nine days.

“I am just excited that it happened,” Konecny said. “But the thing for me that was more exciting was coming back after that 3-0 [deficit] and an overall exciting night for us.”

The three power-play goals were a season high for the Flyers.

“We got going those two power plays ... our power plays set a tone,” Konecny said. “When that gets going, it makes it hard for the other team to stop us.

“It’s awesome because we know what they can do [on the top power-play unit]. They have been sticking with it and fighting the puck, whatever it’s been the past couple of games, but you know what they are capable of — you can see it the past couple of years. 

“You knew it was coming and tonight is the perfect night to get it going and I am sure that they are going to keep rolling with it.”

Schultz sits
The decision to sit 15-year veteran blueliner Nick Schultz to get Radko Gudas back into the lineup wasn’t easy but it made sense on several levels. Gudas had been suspended for six games.

First, Schultz doesn’t play on the power play, whereas Andrew MacDonald carries heavy minutes with the power play and penalty kill.

Brandon Manning? Not happening. He’s been the Flyers' best defenseman this season. Mark Streit? Doesn’t work because he quarterbacks the second-unit PP and is essentially teaching that duty to rookie Ivan Provorov.

“It’s real tough,” Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said. “It’s part of the business and [Schultz has] done an excellent job. He’s always very well-prepared.

“We talked about what’s best for our team and we feel like Gudy going in, especially on a back-to-back, gives us fresh legs and a fresh body coming back into the lineup.”

Hakstol recently has had to switch around his defensive pairs to get more defensive coverage and consistency on the ice. For instance, moving Provorov from Streit to Manning.

He discounted Schultz’s age (34) as a true factor in the decision.

“I think the more flexibility you have, the better, whether it be for rest or for the injury situations,” Hakstol said. “First and foremost, I think we’re still looking for the true consistency that we need through our entire team, but certainly your D pairs are a big part of that. 

“Before we start getting to a comfort level of guys playing with different people, first we have to find true consistency. We’ve been pretty good, but we’ve had stretches where the consistency needs to improve, as well.”

Give and Go: Predicting Sixers' MVP, win total and more for 2016-17

Give and Go: Predicting Sixers' MVP, win total and more for 2016-17

The Sixers officially get back to work Wednesday night in their regular-season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder (see game notes).

Before tip-off, Sixers insider Jessica Camerato and producers/reporters Matt Haughton and Paul Hudrick run the Give and Go to break down some burning questions surrounding the team.

What is the one stat that will most define the Sixers' season?


The Sixers want to build a defensive identity and understandably so — they ranked last in the league in rebounds with a minus-518 differential and were outscored by 10.2 points per game, also last in the NBA. That being said, I am looking at turnovers this season. Last season, the Sixers were prone to throwing away points with errors. They ranked 29th (second to the Suns) with 16.6 turnovers per game. The team is down two ball handlers in Jerryd Bayless and Ben Simmons (both injured), which heightens the challenge. In order for the Sixers to get into any type of rhythm and build an offensive flow, they have to actually maintain possession.

It's got to be defense.

Brett Brown is banking on Joel Embiid being the centerpiece to the team's defense, and he better be for the head coach's sake. Embiid also better get some help from the guys around him on that end of the floor or it will be another year-long parade of bad rotations, easy buckets at the rim and wide-open jumpers. In Brown's three years as Sixers head coach, the team has ranked 29th, 20th and 30th in opponents' points per game. That has to change if the Sixers want to take the next step in their rebuild.

With an abundance of big men and Simmons eventually taking the court as the team's main facilitator, the Sixers need players that can shoot. Last season, they took the eighth-most three-point attempts in the NBA while finishing 24th in three-point percentage. That second number has to go up if the Sixers ever want to create floor space.

Who will be the Sixers' MVP?


The towering 7-foot-2 presence is going to be the dominating force on both ends. Brown intends for Embiid to become the “crown jewel” of the defense and the offense to go through Embiid and Jahlil Okafor, whose role is restricted (knee). Embiid has shown in a small sampling of preseason games he is capable of leading the team on all sides of the floor.

Of course the answer is Embiid, but let's go another route and say Brown.

The coach got an extension last season and also received a boost in roster talent. Now he just has to figure out how the pieces fit together. That didn't go so well with Okafor and Nerlens Noel a season ago, but playing those two together was essentially the only intriguing thing about the Sixers in 2015-16, which is why Brown stuck with the pairing. With better players to mix and match this time around, I believe Brown will figure out some solid options to have the squad in better position to compete on a nightly basis.

The easy pick is Embiid, but I'm going a little outside the box with Dario Saric.

The 22-year-old Croatian showed off the versatility of his game during the preseason. He's an old school player that excels in the team game. He's what's often referred to as a "glue guy." He has skill, but the skills he lacks he makes up for with grit and basketball savvy.

What is your season projection for the Sixers?

This season was supposed to be a bridge year, the start of rebuilding. That will be delayed until the team is healthy with key players like Simmons, Okafor and Noel back at 100 percent. In the meantime, the Sixers' outlook is better than last season’s 10-win total but less than earlier projections with Simmons in the lineup. Because of injuries, I am shifting their win projection to 19.

The injury bug, starting with No. 1 overall pick, Simmons, has certainly put a damper on the Sixers' projected win total. Las Vegas odds books originally set the mark at 27½, which seemed like a long shot even with a full roster. I say they show strides but fall just shy of doubling last season's win total and finish with 19.

This really depends on the return of Simmons. Simmons will make this team so much better on both ends of the floor. Bayless' absence early will hurt this team as well. And don't forget about all the minutes restrictions. The Sixers are going to struggle early on, but if Simmons returns in January, I think this team can double its win total from last season and win 20 games.