Flyers v. Red Wings Gamethread: Trading places edition

Flyers v. Red Wings Gamethread: Trading places edition


(after the jump, a photo-chop experiment)

A few Sundays ago, I sat at a gate in JFK waiting for a plane to take me on my two week Italian honeymoon... aaand also a text-score update of the Flyers/Rangers game.  The afternoon prior, Philly had used some late game heroics to tie and eventually win with seconds to spare against a very good B'hawks squad.  A statement game?  Only if they could build upon it.  My phone vibrated with the bad news: 3-1 Rangers, have a good trip.  I would be lying if I said that I thought about the Orange and Black often overseas.  How could they compete  with Michelangelo's David, or the Coliseum, or my wife?   Upon calling home late in our 2nd week from Rome, my mother answered the phone and immediately asked, "Did you hear about the Flyers?"  And as you already know, the news was not good.

In my absence, the Flyers lost (including the Rangers game) 6 out of 7 games.  Their leading goal scorer, Jeff Carter... broke his foot.  Their (2nd) starting goaltender, Michael Leighton, is done for season after suffering a high ankle sprain.  I returned to see them lose to the Pens, tease us  with a win against the Devils, and suffer two more loses to the Isles and Canadiens.  

A few months ago, the Detroit Red Wings were in trouble.  Whispers around the league were going back and worth, wondering if this would be the year that glorious post-season streak would come to an end.  But now, they are becoming some sort of bizzarro version of the Flyers.  They have their star players, Zetterberg and Datsyuk producing, and saw the return of Tomas Holmstrom.  Their goalie, Jimmy Howard, is a rookie sensation that is stealing games for them.  And they currently just ended a 7 game winning streak that took them from outside the playoff picture to nipping at the Predlies' heels in 5th place.  Isn't hockey funny?

Today, the Red Wings could put some serious hurting on the Flyers' playoff hopes.  Couple that with the home and home against the Rangers, the team we are currently tied for 8th with... and I feel for all those south Philly ulcers that will be flaring up over the next week.  To think that the Flyers could go from being "paper" crowned Stanley Cup champions to not even making the playoffs is just mind boggling.  That they are heading into the playoffs with a consummate back up goalie and "insert college goalie name here" just seems surreal.  Go Flyers.

An experiment

A few weeks ago, I was talking to MattP about how the Flyers have such a good uniform and logo (ironic after reading Andrew's prev. post) that its a bit hard to envision them wearing anything but what they currently have.  So I took on the task of experimenting with stock NHL photos and trying to photo-chop them to make a new look for the Flyers.  The all solid scheme is one that is p'wned by the Detroit Red Wings, and most recently used by the Phoenix Coyotes.  The Red Wings also have a very similar logo, only facing in the opposite direction.

I began with a photo of Nic Lidstrom in the solid Detroit red.  It started off a bit rough.  As I changed the main colors to orange, I still hadn't touched the white detail and it created a  a very "creamsicle" look that was jarring.  But as the simple white of the Wings changed over to the bold black of the Flyers, the look grew on me.  I don't get "pumpkin" or "traffic cone" from what's shown here.    What do you think...?  Is this something you could legitimately see the Flyers wearing in a future game?

Doug Pederson: For the Eagles, 'this was a good benchmark'

Doug Pederson: For the Eagles, 'this was a good benchmark'

On his way to the locker room following his team's stunning 34-3 victory over the Steelers, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson reacted, well, like you probably did.

Pederson had to be surprised by what had just transpired. After all, this wasn't the Browns or the Bears. This was the Steelers, who entered the game with the second-best odds behind New England, per Bovada, of winning the Super Bowl (the Patriots were first). 

And the Eagles didn't just beat them. They clobbered them.

But minutes later, when Pederson met the media for his postgame press conference, he tried his best to act like it was no big thing.

“I told the team way back in OTAs that it just takes a little bit of belief," Pederson said. "Belief in themselves. Trust the process. Believe in the coaches and the coaches believe in one another. That’s what they did tonight. 

"Am I surprised? A little. But at the same time, I know that locker room, I know those guys and I know what they are building. By no means have we accomplished anything yet. The season is still extremely young. But what they did tonight just proves that they are coming together as a football team.”

Yeah, yeah. Sorry, Doug. It's OK to be surprised. Scratch that. Make that stunned. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year. But now? Forget that. 

At least for the next two weeks. The Eagles are on their bye week and don't play again until Oct. 9 at Detroit. 

“It is still a young season, only three games. This was a good benchmark," Pederson said. "That’s a good football team, the Steelers are a great football team. They are going to be there at the end, they always are. Coach (Mike) Tomlin always has those guys ready to play. 

"But for our guys, it is just a little glimpse of that belief that I have been saying since the spring and summer. If they just do their jobs, I just feel that good things can happen. We just protect each other in that dressing room in there and keep coming to work everyday.”

Pederson is the only head coach in team history to win each of his first three games. It's only the ninth time the Eagles have started 3-0.

And of course, a big reason they've done so is their prodigy quarterback Carson Wentz, who became only the second rookie in team history to record a 300-yard passing game (Nick Foles is the other).

More impressively, Wentz now has attempted 102 straight passes without an interception, the longest streak ever begin an NFL career (per ESPN). Dallas'  Dak Prescott is at 99 after the Cowboys beat up the Bears.

But don't ask Pederson to admit he's amazed by Wentz or the fact he had the presence of mind to make plays like the riveting 73-yard TD pass to Darren Sproles (much more on that here).

“You know, you just put on his college film. Just watch him," Pederson said. "We exhausted his college tape and those were the plays that he made at North Dakota State. That play tonight was just a tremendous play by both he and Darren Sproles. Those are the types of things that we know he can do. He just keeps gaining confidence every single week.”

As does the defense, which kept one of the league's most potent offenses out of the end zone

"They just weren’t going to be denied," Pederson said. "They just weren’t going to bow their necks. They weren’t going to let them in the endzone. It just came down to our will versus theirs and I was just so happy with the way the guys played. Just a great team effort.”   

Report: Nerlens Noel upset with Sixers' situation at center

Report: Nerlens Noel upset with Sixers' situation at center

After being in the middle of trade rumors over the last few months, Nerlens Noel appears to frustrated with his situation with the Sixers, according to the Inquirer's Keith Pompey.

The Sixers have three starting-caliber centers — Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid, who's now healthy — heading into this season.

"I think it's just silly," Noel told Pompey. "With the departure of [former general manager and president] Sam Hinkie, I would have figured that management would be able to set something done this summer.

"Don't get me wrong. We all get along great on the court and off the court. But at the end of the day, it's like having three starting quarterbacks. It doesn't make any sense.

"And it's just not going to work to anybody's advantage having that on the same team. That's how I'm looking at it. I'm not opposed to anything, but things need to be situated."

The Sixers flirted with having two big men on the court at the same time last season, with Noel and Okafor but with no real success. 

He has a point, and the team knows it.

During the summer, reports swirled saying the Sixers were looking to trade either Noel or Okafor for backcourt help.

Noel, who's in the final year of his rookie contract, doesn't appear to believe the current situation will work.

"I think something needs to happen," he said.