Flyers in Dallas: Bobrovsky Vs. Stars Under a Supermoon

Flyers in Dallas: Bobrovsky Vs. Stars Under a Supermoon

The Flyers' road trip continues with a trip to Dallas tonight. Coming off a shootout loss to the Thrashers in Atlanta and a win in Sunrise, Florida, the team's staccato ways continue, eerily reminiscent of last season. It's great to see the losing streak over, but we've already seen that the Flyers are better than a team that trades wins for losses. For one reason or another, they're just not playing as well as they should be. 

Tonight's opponent isn't the type of team the Flyers can likely beat if they're not wholly on their game.

The Stars are in the middle of a long but challenging homestand that has featured two big shutout wins over the Minnesota Wild and the Chicago Blackhawks, but also three losses. They're getting some solid play from Kari Lehtonen, who is expected in goal tonight as well.

Sergei Bobrovsky is the anticipated starter for the Flyers, and we're reaching an interesting point in the season for him. In addition to auditioning for the team's playoff starting role, Bob has never played more than 35 games in a season. Tonight, he'll start his 43rd of the current campaign. So far, durability hasn't seemed to be an issue with the young, athletic goalie, but we'll be watching to see if he's getting better after seeing more action (and at a higher level), or not.

With the biggest full moon in 18 years expected tonight, we're all still wondering whether the Flyers are ready to quit their waning ways and start waxing phony MCs. 

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

NEW ORLEANS — Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to coexist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right foot fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."