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.

 

Flyers lose another shoot out

I think by now you get the deal. Flyers are still searching for that elusive first win now with a record of 0-4 thanks to a shoot out loss to the Ducks.

It’s really frustrating when you know that, for 2 periods and the whole 5 minute overtime, the Flyers were the dominant team and should have been able to win this game. The first period was, unfortunately, pretty bad and gave the Flyers a 2 goal deficit that they were eventually able to get out of thanks to special teams. There was a long frustrating stretch in the first period where the Flyers were unable to get to the puck and unable to get it out of their own zone resulted in an inevitable goal. Coming out for the Second period the Flyers had some kind of fire lit under them that grew as the period went on. Especially after an awkward fall from Grossmann that looked like it could’ve meant the Flyers being down yet another defenseman.

In the second period, even with good 5v5 pressure, it took a 5 on 3 power play for the Flyers to start their scoring. A nice Giroux pass across ice went to Mark Streit who buried it to cut the Ducks lead in half. Then another power play let Wayne Simmonds tie it up with his 5th goal of the season, making him the 2nd highest scorer in the NHL. So yes the Flyers are still going to have to rely heavily on their special teams like last season. A late goal from Matt Belesky not only gave the Ducks the lead in the final minute of the second period, but reminded everyone just how bad the Flyers defense can be. Andrew MacDonald and Nick Schultz just kind of didn’t cover Belesky at all.

photo from nj.com

The third period offered some chances but no tying goal, until the Ducks decided to stop paying attention to Jake Voracek and let him go around the net and put in a backhander to tie the game again.

And then there was overtime. The Flyers best performance was probably in the last 5 minutes of this game before the shootout. The Flyers had constant pressure and multiple chances that they just couldn’t seem to finish on. Give that overtime another minute and the Flyers would’ve found the back of the net guaranteed. Unfortunately that’s not how it works and we were forced to the much hated (especially since we can’t win one so far) skills competition.

Even the shootout was tied after a sickeningly beautiful goal from Claude Giroux, but the Flyers were put down by a shootout virgin of all people. William Karlsson, who had not ever taken a shootout before manages to score on his very first one to win it for the Ducks because why the hell not?

judging

 

Because of Vinny Lecavalier’s injury (hit in the foot by a Mark Streit shot) there was yet another line shuffle. 4th line star Pierre-Edouard Bellmare was moved up to Lecavalier’s spot on the second line and it’s hard not to point out his talent. Besides being fast, Belli as he’s called by the team, was one of the Flyers better forwards in the game proving to be a pretty good replacement for Lecavalier. He also showed some defensive ability which could be very helpful with this defense. Despite Bellmare’s good performance, it seems like the line shuffling is impeding the Flyers line chemistry, even with good pressure the passes looked sloppy and it just doesn’t seem like any of the players know what they’re linemates are going to do. Hopefully we can get some steady lines that can read each other better.

Grossmann went down in the second period in what looked like a boarding from Ryan Kesler at first glance, but turned out to just be some bad movement. It did look like Grossmann could have been injured for a minute which would not bode well for the already depleted blue line, but he was back on the bench before the period ended. Speaking of the defensive woes, the 3rd Ducks goal came when Nick Schultz bumped into Couturier, allowing Belesky enough space to put a backhanded goal on Mason that he probably should have had.

The Giroux line. Just enjoy it. Even if they’re not scoring 10 goals a night, they’re fun to watch; especially when they get frustrated and come out on fire. When they play hard energetic hockey it makes the night interesting.

Oh and in case you were wondering, the Flyers have lost the last 7 shootouts they’ve gone to.

Eagles Dominate the Giants

EAGLES DEFEAT THE NEW YORK GIANTS  27-0

Image from the Eagles Facebook page

 

Yes you did read the title correctly. The Eagles absolutely dominated the Giants from kickoff to the final minute of the game. The Eagles did not let their foot off of the gas pedal and never let the Giants back into the game. This was by far the Eagles most complete and best game of the season to this point. The win was also the Eagles first shutout in 18 years. If you want to feel even better about this game you should know that the game was broadcast on national television to show the entire country how good this Eagles team can be.

 

Quarterback Nick Foles had a good game as he completed 21 of 34 passes for 248 yards, threw 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Foles made some very nice throws and played good enough to get the win, including a 15 yard TD pass to Zach Ertz. The problem with Foles is his turnovers of course not many people expected Foles to have a career year as god as last season, it‘d be impossible to do, but the number of interceptions this season kinda need to stop. That is the only negative that can be taken out of this game as the Eagles played an entire 60 minute game for the 1st time all season. Although the half game Eagles were winning games, we won’t be very sad to see that type of performance never happen again.

 https://vine.co/v/OAYKKw9LVib/embed/simple

Running back LeSean McCoy showed the skill and elusiveness we have all come to know and love in his career in Philly in this Eagles victory. Shady had 22 carries for 149 yards, with a 6.8 average yards per carry, and a long rush of 28 yards. Shady playing did not just only affect him but effected the entire Eagles offense as everything seemed to open up and get going when Shady got on a roll. McCoy’s 149 rushing yards was a season high and this game was his first 100 yard rushing game of the season.

 

Now let’s get into what really brought the Eagles this victory and it was the defense. Who would have thought it that a Chip Kelly team would be sparked by its defense? Well that is exactly what had happened on Sunday night as the Eagles combined for 8 sacks and got constant pressure on Giants quarterback Eli Manning all game long. Linebacker Connor Barwin has been one of the Eagles MVPs to this point and the game he had against the Giants Sunday night really showcased why. Barwin racked up 5 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 3 sacks. The Eagles defense swarmed to the ball all night and actually played as an entire unit.

 

This meant so much but not just because it was a divisional game that would determine which team would be tied for 1st place in the NFC East with the Dallas Cowboys, but also because of the Giants ego coming into this game. The week leading up to the game the Giants were trash talking the Eagles about how they should have an 0-4 record because they’re really good at math and counting, Nick Foles being turnover prone, and how the franchise does not have the oh so coveted Super Bowl trophy. The Eagles, despite the nationwide assumption that everything associated with Philly sports is loud and trashy, kept comments to themselves. Now we have the Eagles win to rub in all the Giants fan’s faces, the team let the scoreboard do the trash talking for them.

 

Saftey Malcolm Jenkins said it best after the game,

“It was nothing that really concerns us. We show up and we play. That’s what we talk with, and I thought we made a loud statement today.”

 

Indeed the Eagles made a loud statement that should be heard over the entire NFL. This win could really put the Eagles into a groove as the games get more important to win. The Eagles now head into the bye week with a lot of momentum

Thanks for reading and go follow us on Twitter @ETSPhilly and me @JDiVirgilio4. Tell us what you’re thinking, we thrive on fan interaction.

Flyers Hangover 1: Before the Canadiens

Flyers Hangover Podcast logo

The Flyers are looking to keep themselves from going down 3 games in the beginning of the season. They’ve put some familiar lines back together, but will it be enough?

Evening the Score’s first Flyers podcast…

Flyers lose second of two games.

After a disappointing loss to the Bruins Wednesday night, fans were still hopeful that the Flyers home opener would go more in their favor.  Unfortunately two comebacks weren’t enough to earn the Flyers the win.

There was, I guess, bad news before the game although i’m not sure how really bad it was. The Flyers announced that Braydon Cuburn was out for the game with a lower body injury and would possibly be missing a long stretch of games.  So the bad defense got slightly worse and if you wanted to get really paranoid you’d recall that Mason has an 0-4 record against the Devils before this game.

The first and early 2nd periods went as well as a worst case scenario could go. Turnovers and deflections gave the Devils a 3-0 lead and pretty much killed anyone’s excitement for this game.  After a bit of line shuffling though, the Flyers offense exploded to make the game interesting. It took  a power play to get the Flyers scoring started as Captain Giroux put them on the board a little over halfway through the second period. Yes Giroux scored and we didn’t have to wait 15 games for it this time which is a good sign. The Wayne Simmonds took over, first with an even strength dangle and then on the power play with microseconds left on the clock. Respect the Wayne Train

Wayne simmonds

 

All tied up going into the 3rd, then early in the period Patrick Elias scored putting the Devils back on top after Luke Schenn walked away from his position. This lead to multiple reminders that Luke Schenn is not good at defense. Not a minute later, Vinny Lecavalier scored on a 2-0n-1 rush to tie it up again at 4. Then end came when Danius Zuburs beat Mason on the blocker side, what should have been a fairly easy save. Then just to be sure, Mike Cammalleri put in an empty net goal to make it 6-4.

It’s an unfortunate start, being 0-2 over two games, but it’s not like they were completely terrible. There are good things that will most likely get better as the season goes on. There’s no way we could go 0-82 …… right?

And it got out today that Coburn’s injury isn’t as bad as was originally thought. He’ll only miss a few games and is expected to be back in the lineup by next Saturday against the Dallas Stars, so yay?

Flyers fall in NHL season opener

Season start, NHL is back it’s time for hockey, Flyers jerseys and other apparel flooding the streets and most importantly HOCKEY! We’ve waited all summer for what we all kind of knew would be a Flyers team that would be hard to watch at times, but hey we’re not pessimistic, we still expect the Flyers to do good this season and shut up every analyst and Vegas gambling ring that put Philly down.

Well they didn’t start off the season the way we hoped they would have, but it’s definitely not time to sound the alarms yet. We had that game tied until an unfortunate breakdown in the last two minutes of the game, right? Hell they weren’t even playing that good and they still held on against the Bruins, so there must be something good about this team right? Well kind of, Sean Couturier summed up the night best:

“It’s too bad, but at the same time I think the whole game was on and off … At moments we had the momentum, but then we seemed to lose it. We gotta make sure we’re always 100 percent and have that foot on the gas pedal the whole game.”

THE GOOD:

Steve Mason: We’re used to this by now, Steve Mason was a savior for the Flyers and he will most likely be a savior in many more games this season. Mason had 31 saves on 33 shots and was only beat when the penalty kill unit broke down and left the front of the net wide open, that put the Flyers down 1-0, then in the last minutes of the third with a lucky Bruins play.

Mason save

2nd and 3rd period control: The Flyers had a not so great first period, but for long bits of the last 2 periods, the Flyers were able to control the puck. The first shift of the 2nd period kept the puck in Boston’s zone for over a minute forcing the Bruins to take a timeout after icing the puck. You could add to this the performance of the 4th line, who at times were the best while Giroux’s line was constantly shut down. Besides control, the 4th line also had some pretty nice hits via Zac Rinaldo. A lot of people give Rinaldo shit, but it’s pretty possible that with a 4th line that isn’t made up of goons that can barely skate, Rinaldo may be able to become an offensive asset or at least a skilled 4th liner. Don’t expect a calmer Rinaldo though, we’ll still see the occasional dumb penalty like the little glove to the face in the 1st period.

Every line except the first line: The Giroux line got shut down pretty completely all night. The other lines didn’t as much. The new second line setup looks like it really could lead to an offensive breakout for Sean Couturier, which would be awesome since he’s gone under the radar for a while. Couturier got the only goal for the Flyers. Pierre-Edouard Bellmare is fantastic on the 4th line, he was fast and was able to get into the Bruins zone all night. That’s a 4th line we need, skill not stupid.

The Bad:

The Power Play: Well we hoped it the power play would be as explosive in the regular season as it was in the pre-season, but no luck. They even came pretty close to getting some short handed goals scored on them. If we’re lucky, we just need to wait for them to get into the groove to make that PP dangerous again. Please don’t wait too long though. The first penalty kill sucked too. Son’t know why there were 4 guys in the corner and no one covering the front of the net, but it lead to the Bruins first goal. The problem presented here from Broadstreethockey.com:

oh hey

The first line: They weren’t so bad as they were completely taken out of the game. Patrice Bergeron’s line just had their number. Giroux also flopped on the faceoffs winning only 19% of the face offs he took as opposed to Bergeron’s 78%. Passing was sloppy, but that wasn’t just the first line all the lines had passing troubles the first line just had more Bruins covering them.

The Ugly:

The double hit on Rinaldo and following Luke Schenn Fight: This is horse shit, let’s get that out of the way. Two Bruins almost put Rinaldo’s head into the top of the boards, Luke Schenn defends his teammate and fights Robins, then the penalties cancel out? Some say Schenn deserved the instigating penalty, some thing Robins can go to hell and that other Bruin should’ve been in the goddamn penalty box with him. It’s your call here’s the hit and fight from hockeyfights.com.

Phillies Phandom Episode 1

It’s the premier of Evening the Score’s Phillies podcast series “Phillies Phandom” on Sound Cloud!

Evening the Score’s Justin DiVirgilio premiers the “Phillies Phandom” podcast.
I talk about the end of the Phillies disappointing season, speculate on the future of the organization and talk a little bit about the beginning of the MLB post-season.