Morning Extras: Lidge, Westbrook and Potential Heart Attacks

Morning Extras: Lidge, Westbrook and Potential Heart Attacks

Let's make this quick. Which player almost gave you a heart attack this weekend? For me, it was Brad Lidge. But the Phils downed the Fish and the righty reliever saved his 40th game in as many tries. Some have been lights out. Some, like yesterday, have been....interesting. A win is a win and a save is a save. The Phillies exited a tough series with Florida in better shape than when they got there, and find themselves in first place by a game and a half over the Mets (and three up on the Brewers for the Wild card - you know, just in case) with six games to play. If anyone on this site starts with the Magic Number stuff I'm going to punch them in the throat.

Six games in seven days. Let's hope they win the next five, then we'll figure out the rest. How about that?

Some of you might be feeling constant palpitations because of the news out of Eagles camp regarding Brian Westbrook. Despite the big win over a good team, and the resurgence of the defense, the story after the game is 36. Westbrook rolled his ankle after leaping and slipping on an offensive lineman laying in his landing zone. He will undergo an MRI today. I wonder if it will be a Westbrook Open MRI. That machine is bad ass.

Eaglesville has some perspective. Not overstating things in the least. Nope. "LET'S STAY CALM PEOPLE! DON'T PANIC."

Looking at the bigger picture, the Birds can't afford to have Westbrook out for any extended period of time. Realistically, if they lost the All-Pro running back their chances of a deep playoff run would be nil. That goes for just about any team in the NFL -- if you lose your best player, your season is essentially over.


• I love this story about Brian Dawkins just because the second line is, "All that was missing was the cape." Yet the headline writer gives us, "Brian Dawkins dons his cape." Hehe. Good story though.

• The League asks how much violence is the appeal to the NFL. David Aldridge gives his opinion on the matter. Gambling, violence and beer.

• Speaking of beer, Mike Golic's kid got arrested with a bunch of other Golden Domers. Golic mentioned it on his show, saying he's a good kid who made a mistake and "everything is going to be fine."

• Oh, and Lane Kiffin is going to get fired. Or he won't. But he will. Today. Or maybe not. Yes he will.


• David Murphy argues that Brad Lidge is the most valuable player on the Phillies this season. It's a good argument.

Yankee Stadium is no more. Think about this what you want. I guess it's a big deal. And yes, I cried a little when the Vet got knocked down.

• METSBLOG UPDATE: Panic has come to Flushing. Says local boy Scot Schoeneweis:

“There’s no explanation anymore. I just don’t know what to say…I just don’t know what to say."


• USA! USA! USA! And when you have Boo Weekly, who needs Tiger Woods. Seriously, enough with the stares and the look-how-rich-I-am-and-how-hot-my-MILF-of-a-wife-is. We need more PONY RIDES DOWN THE FAIRWAY. (Yes, I'm a Phil guy, but today, I'm an America guy).

• I was rooting for Dexter, but Mad Men was a nice consolation as Best Drama. Tom Shales is one of the best TV critic in the country, and he has a rundown of the Emmys.

• Last, my Wegmans has a liquor license. And they aren't using it. Sonsabitches.

Flyers Notes: Ivan Provorov bounces back with help from Shayne Gostisbehere

Flyers Notes: Ivan Provorov bounces back with help from Shayne Gostisbehere

Shayne Gostisbehere has been through it before.
The ups and downs of a rookie season. Although his season a year ago was mostly up and up as a Calder Trophy finalist.
Nonetheless, Gostisbehere felt badly for 19-year-old Ivan Provorov following that minus-5 performance in Chicago on Tuesday and then another minus effort in the home-opening loss to Anaheim on Thursday.
So "Ghost" had a talk with his Russian counterpart about life on the blue line.
“He was down after a few games,” Gostisbehere said. “I didn’t really tell him much other than, ‘Hey, we’ve got 79 more of these.’ I told him to keep his head up and he’ll get over it. 
“He’s a hell of a player and sometimes you don’t get all of the bounces. He’s a great player as you guys could see. He had a great bounce-back game tonight.”
Indeed he did during Saturday’s 6-3 win over Carolina (see story).
Provorov says when the play seems slow to him, he knows he’s focused on what has to be done.

“Once you get comfortable, you get used to the speed and the game slows down for you,” he said. “With every game, I’m getting more comfortable and trying to make more plays.”
Provorov set up two critical early Flyers goals with two assists during a plus-2 outing that led to a 3-2 lead in the second period. The Flyers didn’t trail thereafter.
Both his shots went right to the net. Several other times this week, he had his point shots blocked.
“You try to read off how much time you have and stuff like that, how fast the player is coming at you,” he said. “You’re trying to [decide] what kind of shot to take.”
Provorov admitted some of his teammates were giving him encouragement.
“I think everyone is going to have tough games, it’s only his third game,” Gostisbehere said. “You have to give the guy a break. It’s tough to be in that position, he’s 19 years old.  
“He’s a kid, it’s tough. I was 22 so it was a little different, I’m a little older and everyone is going to have those tough games, but it’s how you bounce back.”
Provorov also had two hits and four blocked shots.
Scoring streaks
Matt Read and Wayne Simmonds both extended their goal-scoring streaks to four games. They are each one shy of their career-high — five games.
The last Flyer to have a four-game goal-scoring streak was Claude Giroux, who did so from March 19 to 28, 2015, with five goals.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, the last time the Flyers had two players concurrently on goal-scoring streaks of four games or more was 1993, when Josef Beranek had an eight-game streak from Oct. 9 to 23 and Eric Lindros had a six-game streak from Oct. 12 to 26.
Read is truly enjoying the best start of his career.
“It made hockey a little bit more fun,” he said. “The last couple of years have been frustrating. You are battling as much as you can out there to try and get better.
“Scoring a couple of goals here early gets the confidence high. I enjoy going on the ice every shift and giving it your all and trying to make this team better every shift.”

Eagles-Vikings: 5 matchups to watch

Eagles-Vikings: 5 matchups to watch

The Eagles (3-2) have an extremely tough game against Sam Bradford and the Vikings (5-0) on Sunday at the Linc.

The Vikings come out of their bye week as the NFL's only undefeated team, while the Eagles have lost to Detroit and Washington following their bye.

Here are five matchups to watch:

Sam Bradford vs. Eagles' defense
The big storyline all week has been the return of Sam Bradford to Philadelphia, where he spent the 2015 season and most of the 2016 offseason.

How much will familiarity play a role on Sunday?

Bradford clearly knows the Eagles' defensive personnel and scheme, having played against the defense throughout training camp. But on the flip side, the defense knows all of Bradford's tendencies. We dove into this in depth earlier in the week (see story).

What has made Bradford so good through his first four games with the Vikings (he didn't play in the opener) has been the way he's protected the football. He hasn't thrown an interception yet and the Vikings' offense hasn't yet turned the football over.

Stefon Diggs vs. Leodis McKelvin
Diggs might be a little banged up, but as long as he's on the field, the Eagles will need to keep an eye on him. Diggs is an absolute burner, so it's a good thing the Eagles will likely have their fastest corner, McKelvin back this week.

But McKelvin is coming off a hamstring injury that has bothered him since early in the season, so we'll need to see if he can make it through this game. If he can't, rookie Jalen Mills will get in the game. Without blazing speed, Mills had trouble containing DeSean Jackson last week.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai vs. Danielle Hunter/Brian Robinson
Big V's NFL debut wasn't a good one. He gave up five quarterback hurries and two sacks against Washington. This week, he'll have to deal with Robinson and Hunter on that right side of the offensive line.

Robinson and Hunter are each tied for the Vikings' lead with four sacks this season. They're likely salivating at the idea of seeing Vaitai on Sunday.

Kyle Rudolph vs. Malcolm Jenkins
While Diggs has been the Vikings' leading receiver, Rudolph is a dangerous component to the team's passing attack. Through five games, Rudolph has 21 catches for 236 yards and three touchdowns.

It will be a team effort to stop him Sunday. At times, he'll be covered with a linebacker and at times a safety. We'll list Jenkins here because he gave up a touchdown to 32-year-old Vernon Davis last week.

Vikings' run game vs. Eagles' run defense
The Vikings have the worst run game in the NFL. They've average a league-low 2.45 yards per attempt. They’re the first team since the 2010 Broncos to have a rushing average of 2.5 or worse through five games. And they’re just the 11th team since 1940 to do it.

But the Vikings are going to try to run the ball against the Eagles. Why wouldn't they?

The Eagles were absolutely gashed for 230 yards by Washington. They had 10 missed tackles and gave up 156 yards after contact. Something's gotta give here.