Wild Friday Night Plans: Flyers Hockey in the Buff

Wild Friday Night Plans: Flyers Hockey in the Buff

On Tuesday, most of you got your Flyers fix after two weeks off due to the Olympic break. Sadly I missed that one, but on a more positive note, I missed the next one too. ("Nationally televised" on Versus doesn't usually apply to hotels nor many bars, and I've been out of town for a week, so tonight's action will be the first I've seen in a while.)

Two games into the post-Olympic season, "1-1-0 and head-scratchingly weak on team defense and goaltending" isn't the start we were hoping for. It won't be any easier tonight against Captain America, Ryan Miller, to whom we owe some respect and acknowledgment... 


Ryan Miller~Buffalo Sabres Dec 30 '06 game Atlanta, originally uploaded by Shelley K.

...before giving way to the desire to see him either not get the start or otherwise get scored upon repeatedly. 

Fortunately, the Sabres haven't come out of the Olympic gates on fire either, losing their first two games since the break. Unfortunately, they didn't lose them to teams from Florida, instead dropping back-to-back contests to the defending champion Penguins (ugh) and the NHL-leading Capitals on Tuesday and Wednesday, 3-2 and 3-1, respectively. Those are the kinds of losses that motivate good teams, and the Sabres are definitely that.  

It's not too early to start counting point-swings in the standings (full disclosure: we've been leaning on that little crutch all season, while saying it's too early to do so), and the Sabres are directly ahead of the Flyers in the East. Six points separate the teams, and the Flyers need to start closing that gap rather than the four points that stand between them and the ninth seed. 

As far as the roster is concerned, Frank Seravelli of the Daily News reports that Michael Leighton will return to the crease after Brian Boucher out-awful'd him to steal the loss on Wednesday. Darroll Power Wheels will be out again, replaced by Ville Leino, who is on pace for 21 goals as a Flyer if he stays in the lineup. Leino will skate with Carter and Briere. 

Jahlil Okafor trade watch: Bulls reportedly unwilling to trade first-round pick

Jahlil Okafor trade watch: Bulls reportedly unwilling to trade first-round pick

With the NBA trade deadline nearly upon us — 3 p.m. Thursday — here is the latest on Jahlil Okafor. (We'll update this with news on Okafor throughout the afternoon.)

• The Bulls are still pushing to acquire Okafor, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

Chicago has been one of the rumored destinations for weeks — in fact, the Bulls were reported as a suitor for Okafor before the Pelicans, Blazers and Pacers.

• What's the hold-up? According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, the Bulls "have shown no inclination to this point of including" their first-round pick, along with a player, which is what the Sixers have been seeking for Okafor.

Johnson notes that forward Nikola Mirotic is available. Mirotic, 26, is a restricted free agent after the season. With Ersan Ilyasova traded to Atlanta Wednesday night, perhaps the Sixers could look at Mirotic as a backup four to Dario Saric. 

Mirotic's value is in his outside shooting — he's a 6-foot-10 forward who made 39 percent of his threes last season. But his numbers have dipped across the board this season and he's shooting just 38 percent from the field and 30 percent from three.

• According to ESPN's Marc Stein, Okafor's preferred landing spot is Chicago, his hometown.

• Obviously, it's not up to Jah — the Sixers will go with whichever offer is best.

Eagles wise to bring Jason Peters back, even with full salary

Eagles wise to bring Jason Peters back, even with full salary

This isn't a big surprise, but Jason Peters will be back with the Eagles — big salary and all — for the 2017 season.

While the Eagles approached the veteran left tackle about his contract in January, Peters has not restructured his deal, according to a league source. 

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport on Thursday morning reported that Peters will be back next season on his normal contract. 

Yes, Peters is expensive in 2017. His base salary after hitting another Pro Bowl escalator written into his contract is up to $10.45 million for next season (plus a $250K workout bonus), which comes with a big cap hit of $11.7 million. That cap hit is the highest on the team, but not outlandish for a high-caliber left tackle. 

The Eagles could have very well cut Peters and moved on. It would have saved them significant cap space to use elsewhere. They just wouldn't have found any player more valuable to pay with that money. 

Peters, 35, is still their best option to protect Carson Wentz's blind side. He made his ninth Pro Bowl in 2016 after playing all 16 games. The team hasn't been shy about wanting him back and Peters toward the end of the season said he wanted to return for another year. 

"We certainly want to have him back," Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said of Peters in early January.

“I love him. I want him on the team,” head coach Doug Pederson said with two games remaining this past season. “I don’t want him to go anywhere."

With Peters back, it means Lane Johnson's eventual trip to left tackle will be held off for another year. Eventually, he'll take over that spot … just not right now. 

During the season, Peters opened up about his future, saying he hopes Wentz can be the guy who finally gets him a Super Bowl ring (see story).