We're quite excited about the Philadelphia Passion game against the Tampa Breeze tonight in Trenton. We've got a very special Friend of the Level credentialed for the evening so expect some interesting shots on Monday. Tickets are still available for those interested in the bone-jarring action.
TORONTO — At training camp last year, Ivan Provorov roomed with Shayne Gostisbehere. This year, he’s hoping to follow the young blueliner’s footsteps and earn a roster spot on the Flyers' blue line.
After playing two games with the Flyers during the 2014-15 season, Gostisbehere joined the Flyers last November and appeared in 64 games, scoring 17 goals and tallying 29 assists. The 23-year-old’s 46 points led all Flyers defensemen and the Florida native finished second to only Chicago’s Artemi Panarin in Calder Trophy voting as the league’s Rookie of the Year.
“He had an unbelievable season [and] he helped the Flyers a lot,” Provorov said this week at the annual NHLPA rookie showcase in Toronto. “I saw him at development camp and main camp — thought he was a great player. He got his chance when he got called up, and he used it well and played his game.”
Provorov, the Flyers’ first selection (seventh overall) in the 2015 NHL draft, has only one option this year: make the Flyers' roster out of camp. Otherwise, because of his age, he’ll have to return to junior and the Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings.
This past season, Provorov scored 21 goals and 73 points in 62 regular-season games with Brandon. He added three goals and 10 assists in 21 postseason games, helping the Wheat Kings win the WHL title and reach the Memorial Cup. However, Brandon struggled at the four-team tournament, losing all three games.
For his solid second season in the WHL, Provorov was named the recipient of the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy as the league’s top defenseman.
“[Memorial Cup] didn’t really turn out the way that we were hoping to, but still a great experience,” Provorov said. “It was a different atmosphere and different tournament, where you have to win one game to get into the playoffs. It’s not like a seven-game series.”
With a second WHL season under his belt, Provorov feels he’s better prepared than he was a year ago to make the leap to the NHL game.
“I should be a little bit more comfortable, I know what to expect,” he said. “I had a great summer and I think I'm a better player than I was a year ago: stronger, bigger, better in all areas of my game. Just looking forward to getting to Philly and starting camp.”
The Flyers currently have seven defensemen under contract for the upcoming season, but Provorov’s combination of size and skill could push a veteran such as Andrew MacDonald, who already spent most of last season with the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms, out of a job.
Despite his abilities, Provorov knows bumping a veteran for a roster spot won’t be an easy task.
“Of course when you move on from a level to another level the speed increases, the players are stronger [and] bigger,” he said. “I think, for me I'll just try to play my game and compete as hard as I can.”
Provorov grew up idolizing Nicklas Lidstrom and has tried to model his game after the Hall of Famer. At 6-foot, 200 pounds, Provorov has spent his two seasons in Brandon developing into a two-way blueliner, who can put up numbers on the offensive side, but at the same time be counted on in a shutdown role.
The 19-year-old credits his decision to come to North America at such a young age for helping him adjust to the differences in lifestyle. By the time he was 16, Provorov was playing for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in Iowa prior to being selected by the Wheat Kings in the Canadian Hockey League import draft.
“I came here when I was really young, so it wasn't that hard of a transition,” Provorov said. “Probably the most weird [adjustment] was probably food 'cause, I mean, food is really different from back home, but now I'm used to both.”
If he does wind up back in the WHL, Provorov has the annual World Junior Hockey Championship to look forward to. At last year’s tournament, Provorov, a native of Yaroslavl, Russia, registered eight assists in seven games, winning a second consecutive silver medal at the under-20 tournament.
“World Juniors is a great tournament, good experience,” he said. “It's always great to represent your country and, this time, if I get a chance to play, hopefully we'll win gold.”
Eagles long snapper Jon Dorenbos did it again.
The 36-year-old performed another jaw-dropping magic trick on NBC's America's Got Talent on Tuesday night.
His tricks have progressively gotten more and more intricate on the show. The first two times, he went with card tricks before doing an impressive shattering-glass trick the last time.
On Tuesday night, Dorenbos went even further. This time, he made all the judges snap or throw velcro footballs onto a giant map. Then there was a locked wooden chest and quarters and a lot of moving parts, but it was all very impressive when he wrapped up the trick and left the judges speechless.
And, of course, after it was over, he dropped a "Go Birds!" in true Philadelphia fashion. He'll play in the final preseason game on Thursday night.
Dorenbos will need fan votes to stay alive in the competition. Watch the entire trick below:
The Phillies fell victim to a dominating pitching performance by Washington’s Max Scherzer in a 3-2 loss on Tuesday night.
Scherzer held the Phillies to two runs over eight innings. He walked one and struck out 11.
Scherzer has started against the Phillies eight times since signing with the Nats before the 2015 season. He is 6-0 with a 1.98 ERA in those games.
The Phillies had just three hits. They had just four in losing to the Nats on Monday night.
Starting pitching report
Jerad Eickhoff gave up three runs on five hits and three walks over six innings. He gave up back-to-back two-out doubles in the first inning and extended the inning with a walk before giving up another RBI hit.
He took the loss to fall to 9-13 in 27 starts. His ERA is 3.90.
Scherzer (15-7) opened the game with five no-hit innings. The right-hander has carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning in nine of his 61 starts with the Washington. He has reached double digits in strikeouts 12 times this season.
Hector Neris and Edubray Ramos kept the game close.
Mark Melancon earned the save for Washington.
At the plate
Freddy Galvis broke up Scherzer’s no-hit bid with a leadoff double in the sixth. He was promptly picked off second on a bad boneheaded base running play.
Ryan Howard lined a two-run homer to left to get the Phils on the board and make it a one-run game in the seventh. Howard hit an 0-1 Scherzer fastball that registered 94 mph on the stadium gun. Howard had been 1 for 20 with 13 strikeouts in his career against Scherzer before the homer.
Howard’s homer was his 20th of the season. He has reached 20 homers 10 times. Only Mike Schmidt (14) did it more as a Phillie. Howard has 377 homers, tying him with Norm Cash and Jeff Kent for 73rd all time.
Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos and Scherzer (with a safety squeeze) drove in the Washington runs.
One day after pitching seven innings of two-run ball against the Nationals in his fifth big-league start, Jake Thompson was named the International League’s Most Valuable Pitcher. Thompson went 11-5 with a 2.55 ERA in 21 starts for Lehigh Valley.
Manager Pete Mackanin is about to cut into Howard’s playing time so he can look more at Tommy Joseph (see story).
The two teams play the series finale on Wednesday night with a pair of lefties on the mound. Adam Morgan (1-8, 6.50) opposes Gio Gonzalez (9-9, 4.25).