Posts Tagged ‘#Flyers’

Below is Skood Sports’ take on the major sports stories of the day for 12/2/2014:

1. Kevin Durant returns to the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight vs. New Orleans

At 5-12, it’s been a tumultuous start to 2014-15 for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The loss of Durant and PG Russell Westbrook for a significant chunk of the season’s first month put them on ice early. But, both superstars are back. Just in time for their visit to Philadelphia to take on the 0-17 Sixers on Friday.

Despite their early woes, OKC is only 4.5 games out of a playoff spot. So, the return of KD tonight should be enough to see this team rise from the ashes and eventually reach the playoffs yet again.

durantOh, and tonight’s game is being played at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA. Is there a worse name for a stadium/arena than that? Besides, I thought Chip Kelly was the smoothie king.

2. New College Football Playoff rankings come out tonight

I’m not huge on the new College Football Playoff. Mostly because four teams is just not enough to truly find the best team in the country. When teams like Ohio State can beat up on Tuskegee University while playing only 1 or 2 ranked teams during their entire schedule, how can they truly be considered an elite program?

If I had to make my choices, the top four would be Alabama, Oregon, FSU, and TCU. But, you know two SEC teams will get into the dance, even though one of them (Mississippi State) won’t even be playing for their conference’s championship.

In other CFB news, Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze signed a new 4 year contract worth $4.5 million per season. Is there anything more pathetic than the amount that D-1 coaches are being paid these days? Freeze not only got a $1.5 million raise with this extension. But, it also rips up a previously agreed upon contract just after the first year it took affect.

3. Phillies’ Papelbon puts $6.9 million condo up for sale

papelbonerThere’s no secret that the Philadelphia Phillies want to get younger and shed salary. One way of doing that would be to unload their $13 million closer. But, despite his success on the mound, interest in Jonathan Papelbon has remained dim. Whether it’s his antics off the field; or his declining peripherals on the diamond; Ruben Amaro has found it difficult to find a taker for the veteran right hander.

Despite the fact that Papelbon is in the process of selling his home, I would be surprised if Philadelphia unloaded him this offseason. A more apropos tactic would be to hang onto “Pap” until the trade deadline, when desperate contenders would be more willing to take on the remainder of his salary.

4. Can the Flyers’ ship be righted?

Everyone knew that the Philadelphia 76ers were going to be monumentally bad this season. However, there remained a sliver of hope that the city’s hockey team, the Flyers, would be able to lift the fanbase’s morale out of the doldrums of winter blues.

With the team mired in a four game losing skid, that fairy tale appears to be dwindling fast. At 8-12-3, Philadelphia sits in 5th place in the Metro Division. As predicted, they can’t play a lick of defense. Also on the forecast was the continued decline of former star Vincent Lecavalier. Tonight, Philadelphia has decided to bench the defensively (and now offensively) challenged forward against San Jose.

Philadelphia hasn’t won in 8 consecutive road affairs. Meanwhile, San Jose is one of the worst home teams this season at 3-4-2. Something tells me tonight is the night that Philadelphia gets things turned around (at least for a day).

5. When Nick Foles returns, who starts for Philadelphia Eagles?

Mark Sanchez has been astounding since his emergence as starting quarterback of the Eagles following Nick Foles’ broken collarbone. But, has the “Sanchize’s” performance been good enough to warrant continued playing time after Foles is cleared to play?

Doctors have said that Foles could return within 2-4 weeks. Of course, that’s a flaky timeline. Two weeks would put the 3rd year pro in line to start in Washington in week 16. Four would mean he couldn’t be ready to go until the playoffs. Would Chip Kelly feel comfortable throwing Foles to the wolves in a potential make-or-break playoff game, having not played a down since week 9? Or, would the offensive guru stick with the gunslinger who got him there?

In my opinion, it all depends on when Foles is ready to go. If he can come back against Washington, Kelly should consider going back to the former Arizona Wildcat. It would give Nick at least two weeks to prepare (barring a potential bye week) for a playoff run and would eliminate the controversy of someone losing their job to injury. Granted, Foles wasn’t exactly mimicking his masterful 2013 campaign. But, he’s still this team’s starting quarterback and was, up until a month ago, believed to be their best bet for the future.

Of course, if Sanchez plays like he did on Thanksgiving and is able to beat Seattle and Dallas, all bets are off. Having two quarterbacks you’re comfortable with is a good problem to have, and Chip Kelly will do everything in his power to make sure that the right man for the job is under center when the playoffs begin next month.

Weekly NFL Playoff Predictions

(These playoff seeding predictions are based upon projections for all remaining games. Top six teams make the playoffs. Tiebreakers determined by ESPN Playoff Machine)

AFC

1. New England Patriots  – 12-4
2. Denver Broncos – 12-4
3. Indianapolis Colts – 12-4
4. Cincinnati Bengals – 10-5-1
5. Kansas City Chiefs – 10-6
6. Baltimore Ravens – 10-6
7. San Diego Chargers – 9-7
8. Pittsburgh Steelers – 9-7
9. Miami Dolphins – 9-7
10. Buffalo Bills – 9-7
11. Houston Texans – 9-7
12. Cleveland Browns – 8-8

NFC

1. Green Bay Packers – 13-3
2. Philadelphia Eagles – 12-4
3. Arizona Cardinals – 11-5
4. Atlanta Falcons – 7-9
5. Seattle Seahawks – 11-5
6. Detroit Lions – 10-6
7. Dallas Cowboys – 10-6
8. San Francisco 49ers – 10-6

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One of the NHL’s most storied rivalries is about to re-energize itself.

For the first time in 17 years, the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers will battle in the postseason. With Philadelphia’s 4-3 overtime victory flyers-rangers1over Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon, that matchup was cemented in stone. The two teams will begin their seven-game battle either Wednesday or Thursday. With New York earning the #2 spot in the Metropolitan Division, they’ll have home-ice advantage.

Philadelphia triumphed over Pittsburgh thanks in large part due to the play of their first line. Claude Giroux (28 goals, 57 assists) continued his assault on Penguins’ goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, scoring once and recording two assists. Jake Voracek (23 goals, 38 assists) also tallied twice before Mark Streit (10 goals, 32 assists) ended the game with a goal in overtime. The Flyers will need their top scorers to continue their solid play if they have any hope of overcoming their arch-rivals from up I-95. The Flyers will wrap up their regular season play tomorrow against Carolina, in a game that has been rendered moot by this afternoon’s triumph.

New York, meanwhile, concludes their season tonight in Montreal. The Rangers are one of the hottest teams in the NHL, having won 9 of 12. They’ve gone 3-2 against Philadelphia this season and haven’t lost to the Flyers at Madison Square Garden since January 16th, 2011 (8 games). They also boast one of the best goalies in the NHL in Henrik Lundqvist. Still, the Rangers haven’t exactly been world beaters at home, finishing their slate at MSG a mediocre 20-17-4 (worse than non-playoff teams like New Jersey, Washington, and even Toronto).

The last time Philadelphia and New York met up during the postseason was the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals, when Eric Lindros and the Flyers dumped the Rangers in five games en route to a Stanley Cup sweep at the hands of Detroit. The Broad Street Bullies have won three consecutive series against New York (1997, 1995, and 1987), though none have been recently. The most recently significant matchup between the two teams came in 2010, when Philadelphia slayed New York in the 82nd game of the season to earn their berth in the postseason. The Flyers would go on to win the Eastern Conference, much like they did in ’97 and ’87 after dousing the Rangers’ dreams.

Who will come out on top? That’s a question for another time, as Skood Sports will provide an entire playoff prediction next week.