Flyers Extras: Danny's Return, Goalies, New Lines, Trade Deadline, and the Cap

Flyers Extras: Danny's Return, Goalies, New Lines, Trade Deadline, and the Cap

It's a busy week for the Flyers, who play in Washington Tuesday, host LA on Wednesday, then host the thug-life Canadiens on Friday night.

There are plenty of interesting news briefs surrounding the team right now, as you may have seen.

  • For starters, Danny Briere is likely to return this Friday against the Habs. He's been practicing and is almost at full speed, but the question remains as to whether he'll re-injure his abdominal strain like he did the last time he came off the IR. As the NHL nears the trade deadline, the Flyers need to know what Danny's status will be before game time, because they'll need to create about $2.5 million of cap room. And no, Darroll Powe doesn't make quite that much ($520k all season).
  • Tim Panaccio reports that Jeff Carter is the latest Flyer to catch a bug, but he's unlikely to miss any game time. Good news, considering the Caps are up next. Could be a fire fight.
    Also, John Stevens is juggling his lines. The Richards line will stay intact, but Scottie Upshall, who has been playing with a lot of energy lately (even for him), will move up to take Joffrey Lupul's spot on the second line. Lupul will skate with Claude Giroux and Powe. Either way, that's a hell of a set of second and third lines.
  • Niitty starts Tuesday, Marty on Wednesday.
  • Other than Sunday's Flyers Wives Fight for Lives Carnival, the week didn't end so well for the Flyers. A poor decision by Marty Biron resulted in a Sidney Crosby goal that broke a tie late in Saturday's game. But after the loss, Mike Richards took the blame, citing two giveaways that resulted in goals. Fans won't likely hold him too accountable though, considering he'd scored a goal—his NHL-best seventh shorthanded—and added two assists. Just a game before, he had two goals and three assists, and he has three shorties in his last three games. Fittingly, the NHL named him the week's first star
  • Speaking of Marty's gaffe... after the Pens game, the speculation regarding the Flyers goalie situation heated up again. It's unlikely there will be any change in the goaltending personnel, but it's always interesting to look at what's out there. You may remember David Foley from The Kids in the Hall his great fan reports here at the Level, and now we're happy to see he's started a blog. David F. takes a good look at some of the goalies that might be available if the Flyers are buyers at the trade deadline. We're not fans of the Khabibulin rumor; he's old, and he's just shown why that's a factor, landing on the IR. Plus, he makes too much money for the cash-strapped Flyers to take on. Ditto the Kari Lehtonen rumor. Head-to-head, Niitty has owned him, but of course Kari's awful team has to be taken intro consideration. Still, he's not worth JVR, who isn't under contract or accounted for in the current cap numbers. Someone else would have to go if the Flyers picked up any of these goalies, most likely Biron. That's a huge price to pay for a modest upgrade at best. The one guy we like is Nik Backstrom, but his "availability" is speculative only. Can Homer pull off another rights-acquisition trade? With Minnesota hovering in the 8/9 spots out west, it's a long shot at this point, but pending UFA Backstrom would look great here next season, if not sooner.
  • Bob Ford reports that it will likely be a pretty quiet trade deadline for the Flyers, at least in terms of big name moves. With the cap situation, he's probably right.
  • Don't look for any head coaches to volunteer to start their teams' seasons in Europe any time soon. The Rangers were the fourth club to fire their head coach this season. Oddly, the four teams were the same ones who started '08-'09 in Europe. Axing Tom Renney after the Rangers fell like a rock from the top of the Atlantic Division standings wasn't much of a surprise, and neither is Glen Sather's choice to replace himJohn Tortorella, former head coach of the Lightning and no big fan of the Flyers. This oughtta be good.
  • Finally, it appears Dancing Shawn might have some competition for jumbotron dance party glory up in Beantown.

No. 10 Washington dominates No. 7 Stanford in rout

usa-washington-christian-mccaffrey.jpg
USA Today Images

No. 10 Washington dominates No. 7 Stanford in rout

SEATTLE -- Jake Browning threw for 210 yards and three touchdowns, Myles Gaskin added 100 yards and two scores, and No. 10 Washington was dominant on both sides, overwhelming No. 7 Stanford 44-6 on Friday night.

After months of hype that Washington (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) was on the verge of a breakout, the Huskies showed they were ready for their return to the national stage.

And they did it emphatically, handing Stanford (3-1, 2-1) its worst loss since a 41-3 setback against Arizona State in 2007.

The Huskies raced to a 23-0 halftime lead, scored early in the second half to go up 30-0 and coasted to their biggest victory over an AP Top 10 team since beating No. 5 Southern California 31-0 in 1990. That game 26 years ago announced Washington as a national contender and the Huskies went on to share the national title a year later with Miami -- taking the coaches' version while Miami topped the AP media poll.

Browning was the leader of an efficient offense that scored on six of its eight drives. He threw touchdowns of 3 yards to Dante Pettis, 19 yards to John Ross and capped the night with a 3-yarder to Aaron Fuller with 5:30 remaining. Browning was 15 of 21 and did not commit a turnover.

Equally important was Washington's ability to establish a running game. The Huskies rushed for 214 yards and averaged 5.2 yards per carry.

Meanwhile, Stanford star Christian McCaffrey saw his Heisman Trophy aspirations hit a major speed bump. McCaffrey was held to 49 yards rushing on 12 carries, five catches for 30 yards and continued his streak of never scoring an offensive touchdown in a road game.

It was McCaffrey's fewest yards rushing since 2014 at California when he had 19 yards on three carries.

Stanford's only TD came late in the third quarter on a 19-yard pass from Ryan Burns to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.

Burns was 15 of 22 for 151 yards, but Washington controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides. Stanford quarterbacks were sacked eight times, six in the first half. Stanford had allowed only four total sacks in the first three games combined.

Stanford was playing short-handed without starting cornerbacks Quenton Meeks and Alijah Holder, starting wide receiver Francis Owusu and starting fullback Daniel Marx. Starting right tackle Casey Tucker limped off with an apparent leg injury late in the fourth quarter.

Takeaways
Stanford: The Cardinal were unexpectedly sloppy. Stanford committed 11 penalties after entering the week as the least penalized team in the Pac-12. There were communication issues in part due to the roaring Washington crowd, but also a lack of sharpness not normally seen from David Shaw's team.

Washington: The defense was up to the task of keeping McCaffrey under control and forcing Burns to beat them through the air. McCaffrey had 34 yards on 10 carries in the first half and forced the Cardinal into numerous long third-down situations. That allowed Washington to bring extra pass rushers to get to Burns.

Up Next
Stanford: The Cardinal head home after two straight weeks on the road to host Washington State.

Washington: The Huskies travel to Oregon looking to snap a 12-game losing streak to the Ducks.

Best of MLB: Darvish stars as Rangers beat Rays 3-1 and clinch home field

usa-darvish.jpg
USA Today Images

Best of MLB: Darvish stars as Rangers beat Rays 3-1 and clinch home field

ARLINGLTON, Texas -- Yu Darvish looked playoff-ready with a season-high 12 strikeouts in six innings as the Texas Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 on Friday night and clinched home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

The Rangers can be tied by only the Cleveland Indians and they own the tie-breaker by winning the teams' season series. The AL owns home-field advantage in the World Series thanks to its win in the All-Star Game.

Darvish (7-5) allowed one run, three hits and one walk. His 28th career game of double-digit strikeouts is the second-most in a pitcher's first 100 major league starts, topped only by Dwight Gooden (31). Darvish will likely start Game 2 of the Division Series following Cole Hamels.

Shin-Soo Choo returned to Texas' lineup after missing 39 games with a fractured left forearm. Choo pulled a single to right in his first plate appearance since Aug. 15 and went 1 for 4.

Matt Andriese (8-8) gave up three runs and seven hits, including solo home runs to Carlos Beltran and Rougned Odor (see full story). 

Cabrera hits 2 HRs, Tigers move up in playoff race, beat Braves
ATLANTA -- Miguel Cabrera hit two home runs, Ian Kinsler and Justin Upton also connected and the Detroit Tigers moved up in the playoff race, beating the Atlanta Braves 6-2 Friday night.

The Tigers won their third straight and pulled within a half-game of Toronto for the second AL wild-card spot. The Blue Jays lost at Boston 5-3.

The regular season is scheduled to end Sunday, but the Tigers might need to play beyond that. They were rained out against Cleveland this week and would have to make up that game if it impacts their playoff chances.

Daniel Norris (4-2) gave up one run, five hits, two walks and struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings.

The Braves, playing their final series at Turner Field before moving north to the suburbs next year, had won 10 of 11. Matt Wisler (7-13) was chased in the fifth when James McCann's RBI single made it 5-0 (see full story).

Trumbo hits 47th, Schoop 5 RBIs as Orioles top Yankees 8-1
NEW YORK -- Mark Trumbo hit his major league-leading 47th home run, Jonathan Schoop and Adam Jones also went deep in a six-run fifth inning and the Baltimore Orioles beat the New York Yankees 8-1 in steady rain Friday night to maintain their AL wild-card lead.

Baltimore began the night tied with Toronto for the AL's two wild cards at 87-72, with Detroit 1 1/2 games back and Seattle trailing the Tigers by a half-game.

Trumbo and Jones homered off Michael Pineda (6-12), who started with 3 2/3 hitless innings and suddenly became ineffective.

Schoop tied his career high with five RBIs, hitting a go-ahead, two-run double in the fourth and adding a three-run homer in the fifth against James Pazos -- Baltimore's big league-high 250th home run this season.

Yovani Gallardo (6-8) won for just the second time in nine starts since Aug. 5, allowing two hits, three walks and Mark Teixeira's sacrifice fly in six innings (see full story). 

Ortiz delivers another HR, Red Sox beat Blue Jays 5-3
BOSTON -- Opening his final weekend with yet another game-winning homer, David Ortiz lined a two-run shot into the right-field stands to break a seventh-inning tie and help the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 on Friday night.

The AL East champion Red Sox snapped a three-game losing streak and stayed one game ahead of Cleveland in the race for home-field advantage for the playoffs.

The Blue Jays fell one game behind Baltimore in the wild-card race and are now within range of Detroit and Seattle in the fight for the AL's final postseason berth (see full story).