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.


FOOTBALL LINKS:

• 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.


BASEBALL LINKS:

• 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."


RANDOM LINKS:

• 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.

Sixers' '66-'67 team reflects on success of 'best team ever'

Sixers' '66-'67 team reflects on success of 'best team ever'

As part of their “Salute Saturday” series, the Sixers honored the 1966-67 championship team at halftime of their 107-106 loss the Celtics on Saturday.

Fifty years after winning the title, the success of the squad (which went 68-13 in the regular season) still resonates with those representing the Sixers today. After all, they are the group Wilt Chamberlain described as “the best team ever.” 

“It’s just part of the history of this city and the organization,” said Brett Brown, who has established a relationship with Billy Cunningham through practice visits and emails. “There was a toughness with that team that he personified and the city sort of reflects. It’s stuff you hear me talk about all the time how you want our team to reflect the spirit of the city. That team did it.”

Prior to their tribute ceremony, members of the team reflected on their run in which they beat the San Francisco Warriors for the title. 

On Wilt Chamberlain
“Wilt was such a dominant figure, not only as a basketball player, but he’s almost bigger than the game,” Matt Goukas said. “He played so well, he was such a good team player – he started really passing the ball right around that time --and that enabled great scorers like Hal (Greer) and Billy and Chet Walker to do their thing, and Wilt was very happy to give them that leeway.”.

On fond memories
“It was a team that we played well together and we lived as a family and that’s what made it so good for us," Greer said. "A lot of fun, a lot of fun. We missed the next year, but 68-13 is not bad at all.”

“It’s hard to forget a situation like that where we had such a terrific team and the season went so quickly, we won so many games and then of course winning a championship,” Goukas said. “As a first year player I said, ‘This is the way it’s supposed to be, I guess.’ But of course I never won another championship as a player, but we had such a terrific group of guys and true professionals that for me as a rookie, Billy Melchionni as a rookie, we really benefited from guys like Hal Greer, Wally Jones and Harry Costello, they really showed us the way.”

On team chemistry
“It was very difficult times when you look at the sixties from a social aspect,” Cunningham said. “Martin Luther King was killed the following year we won the championship. Race relationships weren’t the best. And this time, which was just about half black-half white, I’m not even sure, it was never an issue. That’s the beauty I think of being on a team you know getting to know people, you judge them as an individual and nothing more than that.”

“I think it was our coach Alex Hannum, for one (that kept the team together),” Greer said. “And of course the big guy. He held us together most of the time, he could rebound, play defense, do it all.”

Ivan Provorov buries Chicago nightmare by showing Blackhawks his true self

Ivan Provorov buries Chicago nightmare by showing Blackhawks his true self

Ivan Provorov moved on but didn’t forget.

The 19-year-old still remembers losing his footing on the United Center ice in front of 21,263 fans, alone in his own end and costing the Flyers a goal in a blowout defeat to the Blackhawks on Oct. 18.

In just his third NHL game, Provorov had his rookie moment. He also had a minus-5 rating when the 7-4 loss was all said and done.

Well, on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center, he saw the Blackhawks again and made it a point to show them his best. Provorov ripped off two goals in 31 seconds of the second period to erase a 1-0 deficit and spearhead a 3-1 win for the Flyers (see story).

Better output than last time?

Provorov laughed, paused and then laughed again.

“A little bit,” he said. “I think so.

“I was trying to use it as a positive thing. Try to prove that that’s not me, that it’s just one bad game.”

Consider that job done.

“I didn’t play my best at that game,” Provorov said. “But I put it behind me, learned from it and this was a better result tonight.”

In 31 ticks of the clock, the Russian defenseman topped his goal total through the first 25 games (see 10 observations). Provorov uncorked a slap shot and slung a wrister for the tallies early in the middle stanza.

“I think you have to keep everything in perspective from a night like that,” Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said of Provorov’s first game against Chicago. “He is a guy that continues to work at his game and continues to build.”

Provorov didn’t net the hat trick, but in the same period, saved a goal on the defensive end when he quickly pounced on a puck dribbling toward the goal line off and behind goalie Steve Mason.

“I came from the left corner and I saw the puck was rolling on Mase’s shoulder,” Provorov said. “It went down, rolled to the goal line. I just got there as quick as I could and swiped it out.

“I think it was close. As soon I saw the puck, I tried to get there as fast as I can.”

After experiencing some growing pains to start the season, Provorov has played better. Once he makes a mistake, he rarely makes it again.

“He’s just beyond his years in terms of maturity and the way he studies the game,” Hakstol said a little over two weeks ago. “He’s a young guy that I can probably ask him about a play that happened two weeks ago in a game and he would immediately have recall on that play. A very intelligent player, he’s handled the ups and the downs pretty well."

Mason isn't surprised by Provorov's development.

"When you come into the league at a young age, it’s not easy and you’ve got to get your feet under you," Mason said. "We’re starting to see that [with Provorov]."

And two goals in half a minute don’t hurt.

“Score one goal in a game, it’s a good feeling. Score two in one shift, it’s unbelievable,” Provorov said. “Two great plays by our forwards. The whole team, it was a great effort, we played a great hockey game, so it was easy to play.

“Every time you score, it’s like a confidence booster. For me, it’s defense first but when you get goals and assists, it’s always nice.”

The Flyers had the players’ dads on hand for Saturday’s game. Provorov’s father, Vladimir, couldn’t make it from Russia, but you can bet he tuned in.

“He watches every game back home,” Provorov said. “Today was a little easier because it’s only 9 p.m. back home when the game started, so yeah, I think my whole family watched it.”

He watches the other games at 3, 4 a.m.?

“Yeah,” Provorov said with a smile, “then he takes my brother to practice at 6.”