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Why the Flyers won the Talbot-Downie trade

Why the Flyers won the Talbot-Downie trade

The Flyers just got a little better.

After a sleepy 3-8-0 start to the season, many in the hockey world expected the Flyers and general manager Paul Holmgren to make a panic move. Instead, the aggressive GM closed on a depth trade, moving forward and defensive specialist Max Talbot to the Colorado Avalanche for physical forward Steve Downie.

And that’s an overall win for the Flyers.

At face value, what the Flyers get in Downie is familiarity with head coach Craig Berube, a jolt in bullish energy and a pinch of offensive capability that was desperately needed at the wing position.

He’s three-years younger than Talbot and brings different, much-needed strengths to the Flyers’ roster. More of an offensive player than Talbot, Downie, who isn’t completely inept defensively, averaged 16:43 time on ice per game and was a top-four forward on the Avs’ eighth-ranked power play.

Looking for a top-six winger that isn’t Michael Raffl and for someone to help their 25th-ranked power play, the Flyers may tap Downie to play solid minutes next to Claude Giroux, who has struggled without steady finishers and forecheckers on his line.

Downie, who once scored 22 goals with the Tampa Bay Lightning, is currently on pace for a career-high 55 points this season. He has seven assists and one goal in 11 games and was a solid contributor to the Avalanche’s current 10-1-0 record.

This move also makes slight financial sense for the Flyers. With Talbot signed on for three more years at $1.75m, the Flyers give themselves options. If the Downie experiment doesn’t work, that’s OK. He is in a contract year at $2.65m. They can simply walk away.

Tossing that all aside, here’s why the Flyers win this trade: It’s less about Downie’s numbers and more about the decline of Talbot.

Scouting reports will tell you that 29-year-old Talbot is a gritty, physical, energy forward that is above average defensively, an elite penalty killer and will chip in offensively. He has also slowed considerably during the last two seasons.

Talbot was one of the Flyers’ best penalty killers, if not the best. He averaged 15:08 time on ice per game, 3:35 of which went into the PK -- a high for Flyers forwards. And though that’s what the Flyers will miss most, it’s also where his contribution ended.

The smallish forward has just 11 hits in 11 games and hasn’t shown the same aggressive forechecking fire that got him his reputation. Caught between being a fourth-line center and third-line winger, Talbot drew tough defensive assignments but couldn’t really overcome them, scoring just one goal and one assist this season. He has also managed just 14 shots on goal, his lone score coming off an unknowing skate defection.

Coming off a shortened season in which he only earned 10 points in 35 games, Talbot’s decline from his 19-goal 2011-12 season was swift. Though his tempo and production might change under Avs coach Patrick Roy, Talbot was little more than a slowing bottom-five defense-only player on a bad team.

CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

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CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

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Instant Replay: Phillies 9, Astros 0

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Instant Replay: Phillies 9, Astros 0

BOX SCORE

Aaron Nola pitched another beauty and batterymate Cameron Rupp smacked a pair of two-run homers to lift the Phillies to a 9-0 win over the powerful Houston Astros at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night.

The Astros entered the ballgame averaging a majors-best 7.9 runs in 19 games in July and they had outscored the Phillies, 18-4, in winning the first two games of the series. Nola held them scoreless for six innings.

The Phillies are 35-64.

Houston has the best record in the American League at 67-34.

Starting pitching report
Nola (8-6) held the Astros to four hits over six shutout innings. He walked one and struck out 10, a career high.

Over his last seven starts, Nola is 5-1 with a 1.49 ERA. He has struck out 60 batters in that span and walked just 14. Opponents have hit just .189.

Houston right-hander Mike Fiers (7-5) gave up five hits and three runs over four innings.

Bullpen report
Luis Garcia, Joaquin Benoit and Hector Neris completed the shutout for the Phillies.

Houston right-hander Michael Feliz was hit hard. He gave up eight hits, including two homers, and six runs in two innings of work.

At the plate
Rupp became the first Phillies catcher since Mike Lieberthal in 2006 to hit two homers in a game. Maikel Franco clubbed his 15th homer. Tommy Joseph doubled twice, singled and walked.

Houston hit machine Jose Altuve had a pair of hits, raising his hitting streak to 18 games. He leads the majors in hitting at .365.

Health check
Trade candidate Howie Kendrick left the game with soreness in his left hand. He was hit by a pitch. It's unclear how that will affect his trade status. The Phillies might have to wait until after Monday's non-waiver trade deadline to deal him. Players traded after Monday must first clear waivers.

Reliever Pat Neshek is the Phillie most likely to be dealt before the deadline. The Phils have received extensive interest in him.

Transaction
The Phillies placed Daniel Nava on the disabled list and activated Aaron Altherr from the DL. Altherr started in center field in place of Odubel Herrera, who was not benched (see story).

Up next
The Phillies are off on Thursday. They host the Atlanta Braves in a four-game series beginning on Friday night. Here are the pitching matchups:

Friday night -- RHP Jeremy Hellickson (6-5, 4.73) vs. RHP Julio Teheran (7-8, 4.76)

Saturday night -- RHP Jerad Eickhoff (2-7, 4.71) vs. LHP Sean Newcomb (1-5, 4.81)

Sunday afternoon -- RHP Vince Velasquez (2-6, 5.49) vs. RHP R.A. Dickey (6-7, 4.31)

Monday afternoon -- RHP Nick Pivetta (3-6, 5.73) vs. RHP Mike Foltynewicz (9-5, 3.82).