With Iverson Trade Looming, Prepare for the Worst

With Iverson Trade Looming, Prepare for the Worst

Editor's note: I  think Billy King sucks.  My boy Matt agrees, but puts it more eloquently for you in a guest post.

When the Phillies traded Bobby Abreu for less than market value this summer, many Philadelphians (myself included) second-guessed the move for netting too little in return. “Chemistry-improving” moves like these often do. However, what I later learned was that Pat Gillick is in fact still a very savvy GM, unafraid to make the risky, unpopular first move of a mid-scale overhaul. As the Phillies put together an enjoyable but unsuccessful playoff run late this summer, I learned a rare, reassuring lesson: trust in Pat Gillick.

I wish I could say the same about Billy King, and I know I’m not alone. Despite my getting schooled by Gillick on how to build a contender, I have zero optimism that King can pull off anything that will make his naysayers eat their words, and, more importantly, put together a deal that will help ease the pain of losing one of the three best players in the history of the franchise.

The funny thing is, I’m not even much of a Sixers fan, and I have little interest in the NBA. It’s about to get worse for me though, because the one guy I can really get behind is about to leave town. I have been fortunate to see him play live from just a few rows back quite a few times, and every time, I was amazed.

If you haven’t already, take a few minutes to read Bill Simmons’s take on AI, in which he bronzes Iverson and eulogizes (I hope) King’s atrocious career with the Sixers. I usually nod and laugh while reading Simmons. I’ve never agreed with him more than I do today, while not laughing at all. Here's a particularly painful moment from his column:

Philly isn't dealing Iverson because he's washed up. They're dealing him because Billy King did a preposterously bad job building this team and antagonized his only real asset in the process. Big difference. King even choked last summer when he could have landed Carlos Boozer and Boston's No. 7 pick for Iverson, choosing instead to bring the Answer back for another, inevitably frustrating season (and killing much of his trade value in the process). Not only should Sixers season-ticket holders be outraged, they should figure out a way to sue this team for negligence. Iverson should have retired as a Sixer; it's not happening because King stinks at his job. These are the facts.

The hottest of many rumors has The Answer headed to Golden State, and it seems to have some legs, since one of the possible future Sixers did not play last night with a questionable injury. So with word of a deal expected anywhere from any minute to "nothing in sight," I’m preparing not only for the departure of my favorite NBA player (ever), but also for Billy “the Wound Salter” King to totally shit the bed on the deal. I had some great chili from John’s Village Market for lunch; for dinner, I hope I eat my words.

Watch: Travis Konecny scores his 1st NHL goal, joyfully hugs Ivan Provorov

Watch: Travis Konecny scores his 1st NHL goal, joyfully hugs Ivan Provorov

The first of many for the kid.

Travis Konecny on Tuesday night scored goal No. 1 of what should be an exciting and promising career in orange and black.

Not only was it the 19-year-old's first NHL marker, but it ignited a third-period comeback from three goals down as the Flyers stunned the Sabres at the Wells Fargo Center with a 4-3 shootout win when they looked dead in the water at second intermission.

"Obviously, it makes it 3-1," Brayden Schenn said of Konecny's special moment. "It gets the crowd going a bit. It gets us going. Any time a guy scores a first goal, like I said, it gets a little more excitement through the building and through our team."

The goal wasn't of the flashy variety, but it epitomized the youngster's complete game. Teammates have routinely praised Konecny for his willingness to score ugly by finding the greasy areas — as we so love to call them — and doing work, despite his a not-so-intimidating frame.

So skillfully, Konecny deflected a power-play point drive by the other 19-year-old Ivan Provorov. Like a little kid — then again, he is a teenager — Konecny leapt into the boards in celebration, smiling ear to ear. In came Provorov for a big hug. Watching those two have fun is fun.

Flyers fans, frame this screenshot and hang it somewhere (and don't you dare cut out Matt Read). Meanwhile, for Konecny's goal and the celebration, watch the video above.

Instant Replay: Flyers 4, Sabres 3 (SO)

Instant Replay: Flyers 4, Sabres 3 (SO)


A very tired Flyers squad came back with a vengeance against the well-rested Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night to win, 4-3, in a shootout at the Wells Fargo Center.
Claude Giroux got the shootout winner.

It was an ugly affair for 40 minutes, starting with goalie Michal Neuvirth, who allowed three goals on 17 shots before being lifted in the second period for the second time in two weeks. The Flyers trailed 3-0 going into the third period.
Whatever energy the Flyers had coming back from Montreal on Monday was saved for the third period when they got three power-play goals from Travis Konecny, Brayden Schenn and Mark Streit to make it 3-3.
The Sabres had not played a game in five days while the Flyers are in the midst of six games in nine days and it showed.
The rookie Konecny scored his first NHL goal in the third period, tipping home Ivan Provorov’s point drive during a power play.
Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas returned after serving a six-game suspension to begin the season.
New lines
In an effort to get Schenn going — scoreless in three games coming in — coach Dave Hakstol dropped him to the third line with Nick Cousins and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. Matt Read, the club’s top goal scorer, moved into Schenn’s spot on the top line with Giroux and Wayne Simmonds.
Boyd Gordon played his 700th NHL game.
Notable goals
Konecny’s first NHL marker.
Goalie report
There was probably not much Neuvirth could do on the Sabres' first goal. Zemgus Girgensons shot from a hard angle in the corner to the net and the puck jumped, hitting Tyler Ennis for a 1-0 lead in the second period. That said, he wasn’t very good on the next two goals. Neuvirth has been pulled twice in just three starts.
Power play
The Flyers' power play awakened. Konecny's goal, plus Schenn's and Streit's. That marked a season high, too.
Penalty kill
Chris VandeVelde overskated the puck during a shorthanded two-on-one for what would have been a goal in the first period. Gordon lost a draw to Ryan O’Reilly and Matt Moulson jumped on it, went to the net with purpose for a quick backhander to make it 2-0 3:56 into the second period. Moulson had two power-play goals. The Flyers' PK units were poor.
Simmonds avoided a hearing and possible suspension for his cross check from behind to Montreal’s Andrei Markov on Monday night that jolted the Canadiens defenseman into the boards face-first. The NHL’s Department of Player Safety reviewed the hit and saw no cause for action.
Dale Weise (suspended), Scott Laughton (knee), Michael Del Zotto (knee), Michael Raffl (abdominal pull) and Nick Schultz (healthy). 
Up next
The Flyers will be off on Wednesday. They are in the midst of six games in nine days and will host Arizona on Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center.