Unforgettable? UPDATE: Flyers sign Tollefsen

Unforgettable? UPDATE: Flyers sign Tollefsen

Something has been lost in all the ballyhoo that is the
Philadelphia Flyers’ 2009 off-season. 
What with the signing of Pronger, Emery, Boucher, Laperiere, etc, a
certain diminutive center (who can play the wing) has been put in the corner of
the locker room, and covered with dirty hockey socks and jock straps.  He has been forgotten by most, and
dismissed by even more.  Maybe it’s
the fact that he played only 29 games last season whilst battling a bugger of a
groin injury.  Or maybe it’s that
huuuge contract he signed two  years ago, you know… the one with the “No Trade Clause.”  Using the great words that Patrick
Swayze uttered to Jennifer Gray in Dirty Dancing, I have a few reasons why
“Nobody puts Danny in the corner.” 

Exhibit A would have to be reaching the 30 goal mark in each
of his last two seasons before getting injured, with 14 lamp lighters coming on
the man-advantage in his first full season with Philly.  Exhibit B would be his post-season
performance a year ago where he scored 9 goals and 7 assists for 16 pts in 17
playoff games.  Now, I know what
you’re thinking.  This was all
before he blew out his groin.  To
that I respond that various Flyers beat writers have reported that Danny has
been in the training facility working out and skating on a daily basis for a
majority of the summer.  He says he
feels good, and they say he looks good.

 But that’s not game shape you say!  True, and I respond to that with word out of Quebec that
Danny was quite impressive in “À
bout de soufflé,” a charitable hockey tournament featuring other NHL-ers like
Chris Letang, Stephanne Robidas, Jack Johnson, Jason Pominville, Patrice
Bergeron and you’re very own Claude Giroux.  Briere finished number one in scoring with a rumored (google
translator be damned) 13 goals and 16 assists in just four games.  I know, its not NHL hockey we’re
talking about… but the man is at least back on the ice.

 You
recall that just last season Flyers-lifer, Simon Gagne, was returning from a
lost year at the hands of Post Concussion Syndrome.  He bounced back to have a very productive and healthy year,
scoring 34 goals in 79 games.  Perhaps
Briere can take a cue from his fellow countryman and do the very same.  The Flyers lost a lot of goals when Knuble and Lupul left via trades and free agency.  A healthy Danny can help soften that blow.

 UPDATE:  The Flyers have signed 6’2, 211 pound
defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen to a one year contract, per Eklund.  The former Blue Jacket is a gritty and
reliable stay-at-home defenseman and Norwegian, only the second to appear on
the Flyers in the history of the franchise, the other being Patrick “Krukker”
Thoresen.  Monies were not
disclosed as of yet. 

Shortening overtime in the NFL is stupid

Shortening overtime in the NFL is stupid

Like when sporting events finish in a tie? Of course you do. That’s why the NHL scrapped ties in favor of a skills competition back in 2005, or why Major League Baseball awarded home-field advantage in the World Series to the winning side of an exhibition game for 14 years. Yeah, folks love ties.

Well, if you’re the type who enjoys a good tie or a long smooch with your sister, the NFL has a rule change made just for you. Because the end result of reducing overtime from 15 minutes to 10 during the regular season will inevitably be more contests that end without deciding a winner.

Why? The league offered some hollow-sounding excuse built around player safety and competitive balance. Teams that play an additional five minutes in the extra period, then turn around and play again on a short week -- think Monday to Sunday, or worse, Sunday to Thursday -- are at a disadvantage, while the health of the players are at greater risk.

Whether there was any tangible evidence five more minutes can really have a serious effect on the following week is unclear. It sure doesn’t seem like that would make a world of difference. The only thing we can say for certain is the end result will be more ties.

Even under the previous rule, the NFL managed to have two games end in ties in 2016, which are two more than anybody would prefer. Yet, four more games went deeper than 10 minutes into overtime, according to Jonathan Jones for Sports Illustrated, and while not all were necessarily guaranteed to finish in a tie under the change, the likelihood obviously increases.

For the sake of argument, let’s just say there were two more ties in ’16, bringing the total to four. That still isn’t a huge number, but even two is atypical. Most years, there are one, or none at all. Now, the frequency is guaranteed to increase.

Does that matter? Maybe not. A few extra ties are unlikely to turn off viewers. In fact, a case can be made overtime will be more exciting with the clock coming into play more often. Ties also lead to some interesting situations in the standings, and can inject slightly more intrigue into playoff races late in the year.

None of which is going to change the fact that ties are inherently a bad thing and people despise them. The NHL and MLB both came up with rule changes that would avoid ties, each of which had a major impact on the very landscape of the sports. Yet, while competitors are getting away from ties, the NFL has decided to invite more.

Again, it’s worth pointing out the reasoning seems bogus. If competitive balance and player safety are issues, teams wouldn’t have to turn around and play on Thursday four days after a Sunday game in the first place.

The NFL’s overtime rules were already imperfect. Shortening the length of the period is unlikely to fix inherent problems with the sudden-death system -- namely a team winning the game on the possession immediately following the coin flip. Instead, we simply have another round of valid complaints to look forward to on the horizon.

Howie Kendrick (oblique) finally ready to begin rehab assignment tonight

Howie Kendrick (oblique) finally ready to begin rehab assignment tonight

Phillies corner outfielder/infielder Howie Kendrick is finally nearing a return. He'll begin a rehab assignment tonight with Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Kendrick has been out since April 15 with an oblique strain. He did defensive work during the Phillies' road trip and has been taking outdoor batting practice at home this week.

Kendrick was off to a hot start when the oblique injury sent him to the DL. In 10 games, he went 13 for 39 (.333) with four doubles, a triple and five RBIs. He batted second all 10 games.

The Phillies are in a bad offensive funk and could use Kendrick's bat over Michael Saunders' right now. The Phils' 1-2 hitters were among the most productive in the majors in April, hitting close to .350 for the month. They're down to .282 on the season as Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera have slumped in May.

With Clay Buchholz likely out for the season and Saunders providing little offense so far, the Phillies' trio of offseason veteran additions has not panned out through two months.