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. 

Sixers-Warriors 5 things: At home, can Sixers hang with NBA's best again?

Sixers-Warriors 5 things: At home, can Sixers hang with NBA's best again?

The Sixers (22-36) host the NBA-best Golden State Warriors (49-9) at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m./CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports app).

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Bummer at the buzzer
Apparently one good last-second shot deserves another.

The Sixers stormed back from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks on Saturday. Jahlil Okafor capped off his monster night with what appeared to be the game-winner at the time when he scored in the lane with nine seconds remaining.

That was until Carmelo Anthony drained a clutch jumper over Robert Covington with 0.3 ticks left on the clock to give the Knicks a 110-109 victory. Call it payback for T.J. McConnell's buzzer-beater against New York last month.

While the Sixers didn't get the win, they had to be pleased with some of the efforts they received on the second night of a back-to-back set. 

Okafor finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Covington had 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Dario Saric added 19 points and 15 boards.

2. So much splashing
The Sixers will need those type of performances and then some if they hope to keep up with this potent Warriors team.

In case you've been lost at sea since the summer, former league MVP Kevin Durant bolted Oklahoma City for Golden State in free agency to turn the "Splash Brothers" of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson into an entire splash family.

Already dominant offensively, the Warriors have been even better this season with Durant. They rank No. 1 in a slew of offensive categories, including points per game (118.2), field goal percentage (50.0), assists per game (31.0), fastbreak points per game (23.5), offensive rating (114.1) and true shooting percentage (60.4).

If that weren't enough, Durant's length has also impacted the Warriors' defense too. They are first in the league in steals (9.6), blocks (6.7) and points off turnovers (19.2) per game.

Simply put, the Warriors are scary good. 

3. The wild card
Every family has that one person that you're just not sure about at times. They can make gatherings the best night ever or a downright miserable experience.

Enter Draymond Green. 

Green has been on the miserable side of the Warriors' gatherings lately. He shot 1 of 10 for five points and was benched for long stretches in Golden State's win over Brooklyn on Saturday. In the game prior to that against the L.A. Clippers, he picked up a technical foul, trash talked Paul Pierce and went to his preferred kick move on Blake Griffin.

Overall, Green has been his usual solid self on the court. He's averaging 10.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists a night while providing lockdown defense.

The Sixers are fully aware of Green's versatility. The veteran forward averaged a triple-double against them in the two meetings last season with 11.5 points, 12.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists.

It will be interesting to see Green lock horns all game with the surging Saric.

4. Injuries
Joel Embiid (knee), Tiago Splitter (calf), Ben Simmons (foot) Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are out for the Sixers.

The Warriors have no players listed on the injury report.

5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost six straight games to the Warriors.

• With their 112-95 win over the Nets on Saturday, the Warriors became the first team to clinch a playoff berth. It marked the earliest a team has clinched a postseason spot since the 1985-86 Boston Celtics.

• Covington is averaging 17.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in February.

• Thompson averaged 36.0 points on 54.7 percent shooting from the field and 45.8 percent from three-point range against the Sixers last season.

Brandon Manning suspended 2 games for hit on Penguins' Jake Guentzel

Brandon Manning suspended 2 games for hit on Penguins' Jake Guentzel

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning was suspended two games for his illegal hit to Pittsburgh's Jake Guentzel during Saturday's 4-2 loss in the Stadium Series game at Heinz Field.
 
Manning's shoulder made contact with Guentzel's head.
 
Manning wasn't surprised and even admitted to reporters that he fully expected "one or two" games because he hit a player who didn't have control of the puck yet.
 
Strangely, there was no penalty on the play for interference, yet the NHL's explanation on Monday afternoon specifically cited "interference" as the reason for the suspension.
 
This is Manning's first NHL suspension.
 
The hearing was conducted on the phone Monday with Stephane Quintal, senior vice-president of NHL Player Safety. Manning will forfeit $10,833.34 in salary.
 
"It was late," Manning said of the hit. "He didn't touch the puck after it hit his skate. Which I thought he was going to do. They do their whole breakdown by time frame."
 
Manning said he caught Guentzel's shoulder first, then his head "on the follow through" because Guentzel is shorter than him.  The 6-foot-1 Manning has two inches on Guentzel.
 
Guentzel, who had two assists in the game, was not injured.
 
"Looking at it, [the hit] is a little late," Manning admitted. "I thought he was going to touch the puck. Usually, when a puck hits your skate, you pick it up, and he kinda left it ... The hard part is, there was no penalty called on it."
 
Manning said he had to make a hit or face an odd-man rush.
 
"There were two players there and if I don't play my guy there, it’s a 3-on-1 the other way," he said. "You're giving up scoring chances. Fortunately, he wasn't hurt. He finished the game and that's always the good thing."
 
Mark Streit, sitting on the bench at the time, said he saw the hit and was shocked at the suspension.
 
"It was a great hit," Streit said. "You look at the replay and everything looks different. You can slow down every hit and talk about it. I guess it was a little late …"
 
Manning's suspension likely means Michael Del Zotto will play against Colorado on Tuesday.
 
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said Manning has been a "solid piece" for the club this season.
 
"He brings that physical edge, he's been reliable, and he's been a staple for our lineup," Hakstol said. "That's a hole we'll have to fill over next couple of games here."
 
Manning will also miss Thursday's game against Florida.