Sixers Trade for Teague

Although pretty much no one is looking forward to sitting through this awful Sixers season we are about to witness, there is some news that the team made. The Sixers were fully aware that point guard Michael-Carter Williams will be coming back from an injury apparently on November 13th. So the team made a trade with the Brooklyn Nets to acquire point Marquis Teague and 2019 2nd round pick the Nets received point guard Casper Ware.

Teague came into the league in 2012 out of Kentucky and is only 21 years old. Teague was drafted 29th overall by the Chicago Bulls and went to the Nets. Teague has played in 88 in the league. Teague is a good player who is quick and can play some defense. He is one of the more known players on the Sixers roster. Teague will not turn this awful team around which none of us fans want because we want high draft picks.

 

 

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Should the Flyers call up Shayne Gostisbehere?

Now that the Flyers have announced both Braydon Coburn and Andrew MacDonald will be out of the lineup for 4 weeks there’s a lot of debate about what the Flyers are going to do for a replacement and the biggest question is “Are they going to call up Shayne Gostisbehere?”

Well the answer is pretty simple and makes a whole lot of sense if you’ve been paying attention to everything Hextall’s said:

 

No!

MAJOR UPDATE: 

Foot in my damn mouth right? The Phantoms announced that Shayne Gostisbehere would be a healthy scratch, and only a few minutes later everyone’s suspicions were proved right and the Flyers announced that Ghost Bear has been called up and will make his NHL debut.Ron Hextall has abandoned the patience plan; having the top defensive pair has forced Hextall to reconsider his whole plan to leave the prospects down in the minors to develop.

Earlier in the day we were told that Mark Alt was thought to be coming up to replace MacDonald because equipment people had put his name on one of the locker room stalls, but Hextall was obviously surprised at the news and told media that they hadn’t talked about who they were going to bring up yet.

Well now we know.

Phillies Re-sign Grady Sizemore

Just a couple of days removed from resigning starting pitcher Jerome Williams, the Phillies have resigned outfielder Grady Sizemore. Sizemore is prominently known for his glory years with the Cleveland Indians but Sizemore caught the injury bug and has not been the same player since. Sizemore originally came to the Phillies around July of last season after being released by the Boston Red Sox.

sizemore

Sizemore’s deal is a 1 year deal that is worth $2 MM but can be worth up to $5 MM due to performance bonuses. Sizemore played 60 games for the Phightin’ Phils last year and played quite well as he hit 3 homers, drove in 12 runs, and had a batting average slash line of .253/.313/.389. Although he obviously does not have the power he used to have, Sizemore still produced and was one of the only Phillies players that played with energy.

Again, not another blockbuster signing by any means like the Williams deal but the Phillies are taking care of the guys that they want on the team. Sizemore is a good keep for the Phillies as he plays good defense and with good energy. Plus, it is only October so no exciting will be made anyway.

 

 

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Flyers own the Consol Energy Center

The bright spot going into a game at the Consol Energy Center is the Flyers record there since it opened in 2010. I’m sure you’ve heard that the Flyers are 11-2-1 on the Penguins home ice a bunch of times because what else is there to talk about that doesn’t make you want to drink heavily? So The Flyers record in Pittsburgh is good and we’re hoping that they can keep that building tradition alive by beating the Penguins despite the recent troubles.

The first period was a rollercoaster, starting with a Penguins rush right off the opening face off forcing Emery to make a good save early on. A typical early penalty on the Flyers doesn’t lead to a goal which is a welcome change from the embarrassing play of the PK over the past 2 games, but 7 seconds later the Penguins manage to put one in. Luckily The Flyers have Mark Streit who blasts one in on Fleury from the point to tie it up. There was a scary segment where the Flyers absolutely could not manage to clear the puck and it was one of those sequences where it’s not gonna end unless the puck goes in or someone gets a penalty called on them. Luckily Emery was able to glove a shot to get the play stopped giving the Flyers some relief.

At around 13 minutes into the game, French native and new Flyer Pierre-Edouard Bellmare scored his first NHL goal to put the Flyers up 2-1. Bellamre’s goal was a tip in from a Sean Couturier shot. The Flyers started the second period on a power play thanks to a potential dirty hit from Simon Despres. Couturier looked like he saw the hit coming and pulled up just before Despres could lay a full hit on him, R.J. Umberger stepped up to fight Despres on behalf of Coots. The Pens were given an interference call along with the fighting penalties.

Despite being out shot 11-7 in the first the Flyers managed to end the period with the lead.

Bellmare’s goal looked like it gave him the equivalent of taking four 5hour energy’s at once because he was all over the ice in the 2nd period.

Did you miss seeing the Flyers actually dominate on the power play? Yeah we did too, and it was so sweet to watch the Flyers 2nd power play of the night. Unlike the past few games, the PP unit actually managed to keep the play cycling in the offensive zone for a good chunk of time creating a few scoring chances. Unfortunately a short while later the Pens win a defensive zone faceoff and manage to tie it up  from a shot that manages to deflect off on Andrew MacDonald’s skate.

In a matter of 2 minutes Both Wayne Simmonds and “Pebbles” Bellmare were hit in the head with shots and both went off the ice. Both did return to the bench after a nerve reacking commercial break. At the End of the 2nd period the Flyers get another penalty off an Olympic dive by Chris Kunitz. Concurrent minors are given out for hooking and embellishment.

https://vine.co/v/Ohmd1EJVa5U/embed/simple

At the start of the 3rd it’s announced that Rinaldo has an upper body injury and doesn’t return to the game presumably after a monster hit on Crosby earlier in the game that apparently injured his shoulder.

Midway through the 3rd period R.J. Umberger puts in his first of the season to give the Flyers the lead again. Then The Penguins give up a turnover and Sean Couturier puts a pass on Matt Read’s stick that turns into a beautiful top shelf goal. The Flyers go up 4-2 for most of the period until a bit of a break down let’s Marcel Goc sneak up on Emery and decreas the Flyers lead to 1.

With around 2 minutes left the Flyers seem to forget ho to play for a bit leading to some heart attack inducing plays and inevitably the Penguins pull Fleury in the last minute hoping to force an overtime, but they can’t come up with an equalizer and Sean Couturier puts an empty netter in to finalize the win.

Flyers beat the Penguins 5-3 and improve their record to 10-1-1 in the regular season. After ending the 1st period down 11-7 in shots, the Flyers end the game with a 33-25 shot advantage.

Remember the Flyers did officially own the Consol Energy Center according to Wikipedia:

 we’ve since been prevented from editing the Consol’s wiki page Consol vandalism

Shut out in Chicago, praying in Pittsburgh

After an exciting win in Dallas to start off what was obviously going to be a difficult road trip, the Flyers hoped that they had some momentum going into the game against Chicago. Well it looked like the little bit of luck the Flyers had going into Tuesday nights game had faded fast just in time to face one of the most difficult teams to play against.  It was almost as if every criticism that people had about the Flyers roster this season was magnified and thrown in our face.

photo via the Flyers official twitter

If you only watched the first period I don’t think anyone would blame you. They struggled to get one shot on goal until almost 8 minutes into the period overall, the Flyers were out shot 19-9 in the first. After a Chicago goal that most fans would call questionable (Brandon Saad seemed to push Steve Mason off of the puck when it should have been blown dead) The Flyers immediately took a penalty which resulted in another goal. Less than 2 minutes later Chicago scored again giving them a quick 3 goal lead. 3 goals in 2:06. Brutal.

What we’re not used to is the low quality of special teams that contributed to the loss. Our only saving grace was supposed to be above average special teams; so what can we expect when they don’t show up? The Blackhawks powerplay coming into this game was in a slump a 1 for 12 slump which for any other team with out special teams reputation would mean an easy penalty killing night. The Chicago powerplay was 2 for 4 against the Flyers.

The Flyers power play wasn’t any more effective as they went 0 for 2. They started the second period with a power play that was killed and forgotten. They did manage to get a few good chances, but as luck would have it couldn’t manage to finish off any of those chances against the backup goalie Anti Raanta.

Voracek stoned

Now the Flyers head into territory where they’ve had better luck historically. Since the Consol Energy Center opened in 2010 the Flyers record in Pittsburgh’s home arena has been 11-2-1 (including playoffs) so we hope that tradition will continue.

Coots beat malkin

Obviously the Defense needs to at least think about playing tonight since they decided not to show up on Tuesday. Tuesday the defense expected to have Braydon Coburn return from his lower body injury only for that decision to change at the very last second. Berube had talked about playing 7 defensemen so that Coburn could play low minutes to test himself before playing regularly. Coburn may not improve the defense much, but they need everything they can get. UPDATE: Still no Coburn for tonight’s game, Before last game Berube had said that Coburn was as good as he was gonna get so he must have done something in that short period before the game.

Since the penalty kill is dangerous for us, the Flyers need to stay away from dumb penalties which might be impossible with tonight’s referees. Wes McCauley and Marc Lemelin are the referees for tonight’s game, but the first name is the cause for concern. The Penguins have won six straight games when McCauley refs the game. You might think we’re being crazy or a little bit paranoid, but it’s the little things like that that hurt us and make the big problems problematic (like the penalty kill).

Shots on goal are a must; when the Flyers played the Stars they dominated shots on goal with 37 to Dallas’ 23 and were able to erase a deficite multiple times. Yes they had to come back multiple times, but they didn’t get shut out.

 

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Phillies Keep Jerome Williams

The Phillies have made their first move of the offseason as the team has resigned starting pitcher Jerome Williams. Williams came over to the Phillies late in the season as he only made 9 starts fro the Phillies. Although he only made 9 starts, Williams was quite productive in that short stint of starts as he went 57 1/3 innings and had an ERA of 2.83 which is quite impressive. The deal Williams and the Phillies agreed to is a 1 year deal that is worth $2.5 million but the money could spike up to $4 million as part of incentives.

Williams is a 33 year journeyman pitcher in the MLB who has bounced around but did pitch well for the Phillies. The negatives of this signing is that it is just like a signing that you say, “Oh ok they got him”. That’s not a knock on him but it is not an exciting signing due to what’s he has done in his career and how bad this Phillies team is going to be until they wake up and rebuild this mediocre franchise. Another negative is that you know what he can do so it doesn’t seem like he can grow and get better.

The positive of this signing is that Williams did produce for the Phillies and he can build on the positive momentum. Another positive is that Williams can fill in the 3, 4, or 5 spots in the Phillies rotation and the rotation is lacking depth. That certainly the only thing this Phillies team is lacking.

Thanks for reading and go follow us on Twitter @ETSPhilly and me @JDiVirgilio4.

Who says Matt Read isn’t good enough?

Read (1)

According to Sam Carchidi, the Flyers just don’t trust Matt Read to be able to get back and help defend against some of the better forwards in the league. But Matt Read is a part of the damn shut down line! You say. Yes we know it does seem confusing. Matt Read has given up offensive potential to be shoved onto the 3rd line with Couturier so that they can specifically defend against opposing teams top lines! The twitterverse screams. Yeah doesn’t make sense.

Let’s go back for some context. Friday a fan got curious about the offensive potential of Matt Read and takes to twitter to ask one of the beats if he feels the same way about Matt Read’s role on the roster which went like this:

 

Carchidi 1

Let’s go farther back so we can really understand why this comment makes absolutely zero sense. Ever since Matt Read came to Philly he’s been recognized as a good all-around player. Flyers fans were crazy about him back in 2010-11 when he was making his way through the AHL. His first season on the Flyers roster, Read was one of the NHL’s best rookies ending the season with 47 points (24 of them goals) and was the top scoring rookie that year with more goals than the Calder nominees, but unfortunately not more points. After that Read kind of went under the radar and got shuffled around the lines because he was able to play well at any forward position they put him in earning him the unofficial title “Swiss Army Knife”.

Under Laviolette Read didn’t get much offensive love; he’s been pushed to the middle of the lineup for a while despite being able to put up some offensive numbers with constantly changing linemates and somehow flown under the radar while still being pretty damn good. Under Berube however, Read found at least one permanent linemate with Sean Couturier and the two became the go to shut down line tasked with keeping top opposing lines from getting offensive pressure. And the duo have been praised for their role and how well they do it since they’ve been put together.

In an article from Broad Street Hockey’s Kevin Christmann back in March of 2014, Christmann points out how well Read was performing against the higher level of offensive opponents and how well Read and Couturier did when they were on the same line.

“Read (and Couturier) are in rare company with respect to their defensive role. There are only fifteen forwards that see zone starts and competition as skewed as he does (less than 45 percent zone starts and greater than 29 percent Opponent Rating which measures the quality of the competition a player faces).

Among those players, Read has the sixth best rating with respect to shot attempt differential. And this isn’t just a case of Couturier being the exceptional player and bringing Read along for the ride.

When Couturier is apart from Matt Read on the season his shot attempt differential is 46.2 percent. Matt Read is 47.4 percent when without Couturier. Together they climb to 48.9 percent. They make each other better.”

The graph of that looks a little bit like this:

Read corsi

 

 

For a majority of his time on ice, Read was playing against top line players; something that Carchidi tells us that the Flyers don’t trust him to do.  But Berube must trust Read at least somewhat to keep him on with Couturier or else why would he risk Couturier’s great defensive play by putting someone he doesn’t think can defend on his line? Why not put read on a forward line and let someone they think CAN defend against top lines join Coots on the shutdown line?

Well according to an article from Dave Isaac, Berube sure as hell trusts Read as a shutdown player with Couturier.

They’re a shutdown unit, play against top lines at times, but that doesn’t mean they can’t score,” Berube said about the usual 3rd line pair. “You’ve got to be able to play both sides. You’ve got to be able to do your job and produce offensively.” which is kind of a ridiculous statement because Matt Read’s offensive ability hasn’t dropped even since being put against a higher level of competition.

Berube’s praise kind of answers this question that Carchidi dodged like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix:

Carchidi 3

Well if Isaac’s article isn’t a post on The Onion, we can assume that staffer isn’t Berube.

Carchidi also offered this little clarification of his earlier tweet:

Carchidi 2

So we can assume that Berube isn’t the “Flyers” that doesn’t trust Read’s defensive capability, and if Hextall is as reliant on the stats department as he’s seemed, then Hextall can’t possibly see anything wrong with Matt Read, in fact I’d expect Hextall to be giving Berube suggestions to move Read up to a bigger role.

Matt Read over the seasons has been a well kept secret for the Flyers and if given a bigger offensive role could become a damn superstar.

Remember that chart up there, well what that chart is showing you is the workload Matt Read was given in the 2013-14 season. He was put against top line players from top tier teams like St. Louis, Chicago and LA and yet Read managed to get 22 goals and have a 40 point season, something close to his amazing rookie season. All that while on a line that couldn’t really keep a 3rd man.

Imagine what kind of offense Read could put up with a 3rd man like, say, Wayne Simmonds? Sounds familiar, oh yeah! Because the Flyers had that amazing line all put together until the Brayden Schenn top line winger experiment went south and all the lines got blown up. Schenn has underperformed since coming here and a move to the 1st line was supposed to improve him and maybe spark his potential. It didn’t, and instead of just putting Michael Raffl up in his place and shuffling the bottom two lines, Berube went with line combos similar to last season; which meant moving Couturier and Read back to the 3rd line to once again become the shutdown line and focus less on their offensive ability.

So the Flyers don’t like the D of a top line with Read on it? Why the hell not? Wouldn’t it be beneficial to put a guy like Read, who you already use against top line players, onto a line that would most likely give him a major offensive boost? Not only that, but if Voracek and Giroux are the defensive problems of that line then putting a player like Read on the line with them could help them learn a little bit about how to play against the superstar forwards which would then improve the roster as a whole. Now you potentially have 4 players who can defend against top lines instead of just Read and Couturier.

Spread the knowledge, spread the talent. Wayne Simmonds certainly planned on improving his defensive play while on the 2nd line with Read and Couturier which would have been helpful for the team moving forward.

“Those guys are great defensively. I’m trying to work on my defensive game. I think playing with those two, I have no choice but to get better. I have a different offensive element that may not have been on that line before. I can go loosen up pucks for those guys and both of them are great shooters.” Simmonds said about his early season linemates.

It might seem almost impossible that the Flyers are able to look over a weapon like Matt Read year after year and then decide “Meh, not doin enough defensively.” But the Flyers have a habit of misusing skilled players; their most recent offense, scratching Jason Akeson for tonight’s game against Dallas.

 

The next mystery is to find this “staffer” who is obviously blind and dumb and fire his ass for having such an ass backwards opinion on Matt Read.