What a Judge's Decision Means to the Eagles and Trading Kolb

What a Judge's Decision Means to the Eagles and Trading Kolb

The first big step toward resolving the NFL lockout was taken on
Wednesday, when a Minnesota court heard arguments for a "preliminary
injunction" in the players' antitrust lawsuit against the league.
Basically, Judge Susan Nelson is being asked to lift the lockout because
the players—who are no longer unionized—believe the lockout is illegal
under antitrust laws, and will suffer "irreparable harm" if they are not
allowed to work. It's all here in this handy guide.

While Judge Nelson might be sympathetic to the cause of the players, admitting they appear to present a strong case,
she didn't seem to have Kevin Kolb's interests in mind. The court did
not make a decision at the hearing's conclusion, instead taking the case
"under advisement," and although a decision will be reached soon, Judge
Nelson said it would come in a couple of weeks. The NFL Draft begins on
April 28.

The date of the draft is important because assuming the Eagles intend
to trade Kolb for picks in 2011, the lockout first must end. A couple
of weeks, in its most literal translation, suggests a ruling will come
no less than eight days prior to the draft. Under that best case
scenario, it would give the front office precious little time to hammer
out a deal, and that's if the judge has reached a decision by then, or
sides with the players in the first place. Oh, and one more obstacle:
the league will appeal when the lockout is blocked, which could delay
the process for weeks.

So that means the Eagles are stuck with Kolb?

Not necessarily. Nobody really knows what is going to happen. The
players could win their injuction, and the court could end the lockout
even with an appeal pending. While that would leave only a small window
for the Eagles to negotiate a trade before the draft, it still should be
enough time to get something done. Plus, despite the fact that teams
can't officially swap players, there is no reason why they couldn't take
calls. The Inquirer's Jeff McLane reported two weeks ago that one team
at least has already offered a first round pick.

Should the lockout continue through the draft, the Eagles can still
unload Kolb before the season begins. It may not be ideal, but the
Eagles could accept draft picks in 2012. The fact of the matter is, they
are in a position where both Kolb and Mike Vick are scheduled to become
free agents next year (if this thing is over by then), and in lieu of
reaching an extension with one or the other (also impossible right now),
the club risks watching somebody walk away for nothing.

Even in the event of a protracted lockout lasting deep into summer,
the Eagles are in a position where they should strike a deal. There are
concerns over a player's trade value, particularly a quarterback, if
training camps open up late and teams are scrambling to get ready for
the season. Also, once the draft has been completed, fewer teams will be
in the market.

Not to say those factors wouldn't have any impact at all on Kolb's
value, but they don't completely preclude making a fair trade. The fact
is, there aren't enough available starting-caliber quarterbacks already
in the league or in the draft, so there will be teams looking to fill a
need there. In particular, clubs that employ a variation of the west
coast offense still make sense, because it wouldn't take as long to get
Kolb up to speed.

For instance, one increasingly interesting landing spot for Kolb
could be Cincinnati. Carson Palmer insists he is finished there, and
frankly, he is no longer very good. New offensive coordinator Jay Gruden
is installing a timing-based west coast offense, and former Eagles
quarterbacks coach Jay Urban recently joined the staff. That seems like a
comfortable fit for everybody, and with the extra picks from a
potential Palmer-to-Miami trade (or wherever), they could boldly skip
quarterback early in the draft and outbid the rest of the league later
for Kolb's services.

There are an endless array of possibilities, but most important, the
ongoing lockout and lack of an immediate ruling on the injunction in the
antitrust case have not vanquished the Eagles' options just yet. With
every day that passes, the chances of winding up with an extra first
round pick in this year's draft decrease, yet even that is not quite
lost. For now, we wait on the courts.

Flyers' disallowed early goal costly for team struggling to score

Flyers' disallowed early goal costly for team struggling to score

It was just pouring out of Flyers swing forward Dale Weise after Thursday’s 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals.

A disallowed goal because of him.

A strong game in every respect from his teammates.

A realization that things never seem to change for Dave Hakstol’s club.

“We come out with a great start,” Weise said. “Get on the forecheck. The building is lively. We score what we think is a first goal which we haven’t done a lot this year.

“I’m not going to say it’s a game-changer. Whatever it was, it didn’t end the game. But that’s a pretty big part of the game.” 

Weise ended up grabbing Caps goalie Braden Holtby. He said he did so for support or he would have knocked him over since he was trying to position his stick.

Funny things is, Holtby apparently never felt the contact. When the Caps challenged Jakub Voracek’s goal on the first shift of the game, it was overturned.

“Yeah, I obviously didn’t see the interference part I just kind of followed the puck and next thing I know it was kind of out of the play so a little fortunate, a great call by our video coaches,” Holtby said.

Weise wasn’t sure what he did amounted to much because it happened before Voracek’s shot and not during the act of shooting that would have prevented Holtby from getting position.

“To be really honest with you I don’t think I really touched him that hard,” Weise said.

Goals are so hard to come by these days for the Flyers. To score one a half-minute into play in a huge rivalry game, with them so desperate for points, and then to lose the goal and the momentum early, it becomes a significant event in the overall outcome.

The Caps made the most of their chances. Just like Calgary did last week.

“Winning and losing is so thin in this league and when you’re playing a team like that who just has loads of offensive talent, you give them one, two opportunities and they score on it,” Weise said.

“For a team like us that doesn’t score very often, that’s tough. We are playing behind the eight ball every night. It’s frustrating. I’m not going to lie and say it’s not in our head when we get down because you can see the way we play.

“We’re gripping the sticks. I really liked our effort though. I thought we played hard the whole night. Full marks to our team but it’s just kind of the same story every night.”

It’s trite but the term “snake bit” has been used a lot lately in talking about the Flyers since their 10-game win streak ended.

“That’s a good way to put it,” Weise said. “Look at that one there. Touch the goalie, goal disallowed. [Ivan Provorov] hits the cross bar. We had a couple other chances in tight. Snake bitten, I don’t even know if there’s a word for how I feel right now.”

It doesn’t get any easier this weekend with the Flyers' playing in their first outdoor game in five seasons.

Another even more bitter rival: the Penguins at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field on Saturday night. Taking two from the Pens will require a supreme effort and maybe a little luck for a change. The Flyers have been real short on luck all season.

The Flyers' dressing room after games, of late, has the feel of a morgue sometimes. Over the last 10 games, the Flyers have seven losses (including overtime). In six of those losses, they have scored one goal or no goals.

“We got a pretty positive group in here,” Weise said. “We try our best to come in every day and be positive. It’s a tough situation right now. Every day we’re fighting for our playoff life so that’s in the back of everyone’s mind.

“It makes it more frustrating when you’re playing, so well. I thought we played a pretty good game tonight. That goal disallowed we come right back. They make it two nothing on the power play.

“We kept going. We played well. We had a lot of chances. Good start to the second period again. We came out strong but we just can’t seem to finish.”

Veteran defenseman Mark Streit said they're playing well, but losing doesn’t make up ground in the standings. The Flyers remain three points out of the wild card going into the weekend.

Of their remaining 22 games, 19 are against the Eastern Conference, so mathematically, they have a chance to recoup points.

“We keep telling that we’ve been playing pretty well but lose a lot of hockey games,” Streit said. “We just got to find a way ...

“We have to find a way to turn it around, to get the bounces, just to get a little bit lucky out there, and to get the ugly goal. It’s tough. It’s frustrating. But it’s also the bloody truth.” 

Joel Embiid reacts to Nerlens Noel trade on Twitter: 'Trust it'

Joel Embiid reacts to Nerlens Noel trade on Twitter: 'Trust it'

Nerlens Noel was traded to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday morning and the move caught much of Philadelphia off guard. Jahlil Okafor was the player who was rumored to be most likely to be dealt, so when news of Nerlens broke, the emotions were flowing.

One person who didn't overreact was The Process himself, Joel Embiid, who called Nerlens his "best friend on the team."

"Gonna miss my best friend but I'm happy for him... He represented the process since he was here from the start.. One more time>>> Trust It," Embiid tweeted.

Nerlens was also spotted at the Sixers' training complex in Camden giving out some goodbye hugs.