Power Play Blues... But Kimmo Was Logjammin

Power Play Blues... But Kimmo Was Logjammin

We're not going to get too in-depth with a whole "what went wrong, what went right" thing here, because let's face it, not much can go right in a 4-0 loss to a weak team. The league's second best power play unit going 0-11 pretty much says it all. Meanwhile, the Flyers earned 40 PIM and gave up two power play goals.

Part of the reason for the futility was that Braydon Coburn, a key member of the special teams units, was out with the flu along with Randy Jones. Luca Sbisa got some ice time to fill in, and he played okay, but John Stevens relied a lot more on Mike Richards and Kimmo Timonen, who did everything but score.

Richie spent some time as the PP QB, a position he played last season, and Kimmo logged a massive 29:31 of ice time. Neither of the Blues' two regular strength goals came with Kimmo on the ice, so he finished at even, and he also managed to put six shots on goal.

Other than Kimmo's huge (yet largely fruitless) effort, the only things we had to stick-tap for were fights by Richie and Asham fights, both wins. The captain didn't like the way the game was going, and you know he doesn't mind trying to turn it around with his bare hands.

It wasn't enough to get the Flyers on the board, but we applaud the effort. 24 hours after scoring two goals and adding an assist, Richie wouldn't go down without a fight.

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."