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Canuck Caper: Mason, Flyers rob Canucks in shootout win

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Steve Mason stops Daniel Sedin in the shootout to seal the Flyers 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com)

When the Philadelphia Flyers played host to the Vancouver Canucks in October, the Flyers were on their way to a moral victory by simply reaching overtime. With 2:25 to play, Ryan Kesler thwarted that with the game-winning goal.

In the penultimate game of December, the Flyers were in the same spot. The Canucks had the Flyers penned in their own zone, and sure enough, struck in the most bizarre fashion. But the Flyers managed a final-minute tally, held off the Canucks in a shootout and grabbed another point with a shootout win.

41 saves by Steve Mason plus three more in the shootout gave the Flyers a 4-3 win over the Canucks at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia.

With the first period winding down, the Flyers managed to strike first thanks to the top line. Hard work by Michael Raffl down low sent a loose puck right to Mark Streit who burried it for his fourth goal of the season.

The Canucks managed to tie the game early in the second, as former Flyer Tom Sestito was gifted with a rebound to easily beat Mason.

In the final five minutes of the second, the teams traded goal. A period dominated by the Canucks, they would finally crack Mason as Daniel Sedin found Jannik Hansen alone in front of an empty net to give Vancouver the lead.

The Flyers captain answered moments later with 1:08 remaining in the second. Claude Giroux found a seam and started in on a partial breakaway. With two Vancouver defensemen on his back, Giroux moved in an beat rookie goalie Eddie Lack to tie the game. It was Giroux's 11th goal of the season. It also marked the ninth straight game with a point for Giroux.

For most of the game, the Canucks dominated. The ice tilted in their favor as Mason was pelted with shot after shot and kept the Flyers in the game with several spectacular saves. The Flyers also killed off all three power-play attempts for Vancouver in the game.

But late in the game, a point shot by Daniel Sedin was blockered away by Mason off of Luke Schenn and in to give Vancouver the lead.

In the waning moments of regulation, the Flyers managed the equalizer. A nice feed by Scott Hartnell off a face-off found a wide-open Brayden Schenn. He scored to tie the game at three with 46.8 seconds remaining.

After staving off several chances in overtime as well, the Flyers forced the shootout.

In the shootout, the Canucks elected to shoot first. Mike Santorelli went first and was stopped by Mason. Vincent Lecavalier shot first for the Flyers and scored to give them the lead.

After Kesler fanned on his shootout attempt, Giroux could win it. But Lack was up to the task, stopping Giroux with the pad.

That left things up to Daniel Sedin. Mason stayed with him on the attempt and forced Sedin to throw the shot from in close into his pads, sealing the Flyers win.

While Giroux managed to keep his point streak going, and Hartnell saved his in the final moments of the third, the Canucks ended a nine-game point streak for Jake Voracek and a four-game point streak for Wayne Simmonds.

With another two points, the Flyers crept closer to second place in the Metropolitan Division. The win puts the Flyers within three points of the Washington Capitals.

It is a quick turnaround for the Flyers as they travel to face the Calgary Flames in a New Year's Eve game. 

Kevin Durso is the lead beat writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.


Jimmy Rollins And Ryan Howard Dress As Run DMC

JimmyRollinsRyanHoward

I was so caught up in the Roy Halladay Jamie Moyer costume that I missed this one:  Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins attended the 80s party, too, and were well-prepared.  Here, posing with Brandy Halladay are the Phillies' shortstop and first baseman as Run DMC.

While Jamie Moyer tweeted the picture of Halladay, Karen Moyer tweeted the Run DMC duo:

AND - as Nick Petrucci points out on Facebook - that is BEN FRANCISCO in the background.   Francisco has played for four teams since he left the Phillies, including 21 games for the New York Yankees last season.

I am not sure the nature of the party just yet, but it's nice to see the camaraderie among teammates. 

There is no truth to the rumor that Michael Martinez attended as a Rubik's Cube. 


Roy Halladay Goes To 80s Party Dressed As... Jamie Moyer

RoyHalladayCostume

Everyone loves a good 1980's party.  Former Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay appears to be making good use of his retirement by attending such parties.  In doing so, he dressed up as one of our favorite former Phillies who played in the majors in the 80s.   No, not Von Hayes, but Jamie Moyer.

Moyer himself seemed to appreciate the gesture:

I definitely think that Halladay deserves a spot among the top 1980s-inspired halloween costumes.  Props to Brandy Halladay, too, for her slap bracelets.

UPDATE: Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins also attended...and dressed as a well-known duo.


West Coast trip continues in Vancouver for Flyers

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Ryan Kesler scored two goals in the Canucks 3-2 win over the Flyers in October. (Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com)

The Philadelphia Flyers already got the better of a former goalie. Now, they set their sights on the hottest team in hockey.

The Vancouver Canucks enter Monday night’s game against the Flyers with wins in eight of their last 10 games. The team that had threatened to win a Stanley Cup in years past is starting its ascent to playoff contention after a slow start.

The team, led by former Rangers head coach John Tortorella, will have some background on the Flyers.

Vancouver’s success starts with the Sedin twins, Henrik and Daniel. The two are posting nearly identical seasons. Henrik Sedin leads the team with 34 points and 25 assists. Daniel Sedin has 12 goals and 21 assists for 33 points.

Ryan Kesler is the team’s leading scorer with 15 goals. Three more players, including defenseman Jason Garrison and forward Mike Santorelli, have at least 20 points on the season.

The Canucks also have a strong defensive core with Garrison, Kevin Bieksa, Alexander Edler and Dan Hamhuis.

In goal, it would seem that since Eddie Lack played yesterday, Vancouver would send Roberto Luongo. However, as Luongo recovers from a groin injury, Lack appears to go again against Steve Mason – 15-9-4, 2.37 GAA. Lack is 7-2-0 with a 1.74 GAA in 12 games.

The Flyers will look to the recent hot streaks of Jake Voracek, Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Scott Hartnell. With points in multiple games for all four players, the Flyers will need to attack offensively, especially by taking control of power-play opportunities. The Flyers were 3-for-5 on the power play in Saturday’s shootout win in Edmonton.

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (T-15th, 5th on road), Canucks (22nd,  21st at home)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (10th, 15th on road), Canucks (1st, 3rd at home)
  • The Canucks defeated the Flyers, 3-2, on Oct. 15 at Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers are 69-30-13-0 in 112 games against the Canucks in franchise history.
  • Milestone Watch: Steve Downie is one assist away from 100 in his career. Wayne Simmonds is just two points away from 200 for his career.

Flyers scratches: Hal Gill, Jay Rosehill, Chris VandeVelde, Erik Gustafsson

Flyers Projected Lineup

Line 1: Michael Raffl-Claude Giroux-Jake Voracek
Line 2: Scott Hartnell-Brayden Schenn-Wayne Simmonds
Line 3: Matt Read-Sean Couturier-Vincent Lecavalier
Line 4: Steve Downie-Adam Hall-Zac Rinaldo

D-Pair 1: Kimmo Timonen-Braydon Coburn
D-Pair 2: Nick Grossmann-Mark Streit
D-Pair 3: Luke Schenn-Andrej Meszaros

Goalie: Steve Mason

Where to Watch
TV: CSN
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic

Kevin Durso is the lead beat writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.


Setting the 2014 Phillies and IronPigs Rotations

He should be good, right? Photo by Richard Wilkins Jr.
So we're at the end of 2013, mercifully for Phillies fans. We had to put up with a second straight dud of a team, and now a nearly universally panned off-season. In a little over a month, some players will start showing up in Clearwater, and baseball will be at hand. So the question is, who's going to be there.

Let's start with the rotation, which just a few years ago was dominating. Now? Well, here's the MLB rotation right now:

  1. Cliff Lee
  2. Cole Hamels
  3. Miguel Gonzalez
  4. Kyle Kendrick
  5. Roberto Hernandez
Now that doesn't quite scare you like the 2011 rotation, does it? With that said, if they stay healthy, it's reasonable to believe they could be above average, particularly if Gonzalez is good. If not, who's left behind them? Well, actually a few guys, believe it or not. Jon Pettibone is at the top of the list after a decent run in 2013. Ethan Martin should be a full-time reliever, but he'd be an option I guess. Adam Morgan is a guy I'm looking for big things from in 2014. Are any of them MLB ready? I'm not sure. Are they at least talented? Yeah.

Which takes me to the IronPigs rotation, and what I'm guessing it will look like this year. The IronPigs recently picked up two solid veteran AAA arms that could help. Greg Smith was outstanding for the Pigs in their stretch run, pitching to a 2.68 ERA after being picked up in June. Chris Bootcheck went 10-7 with a 3.69 ERA last season in Scranton. Right now I see Pettibone, Morgan, Smith, and Bootcheck making up 80% of the Pigs rotation in 2014. That leaves one basic debate, one that I would approach with caution- where should Jesse Biddle start. My vote is for Reading, back in AA, because his control issues alarm me. A guy with his caliber of arm should not fear throwing strikes. That just has to stop. My guess right now is that David Buchanan, who threw well in Allentown, is the front-runner for the #5 job, as is. Don't rule out Cesar Jimenez either, or if any of the Cochran-Miner types out there get invited to camp, they could make it.

None of this is overly exciting to Phillies fans, as they know that if Smith is taking starts in 2014, they probably aren't going to the playoffs. Come to think of it, the odds aren't that great anyway...

Monday Review: Eagles unlikely cast of characters wins a Chip

Eagles_Cowboys_Football__148769_team

LeSean McCoy celebrates his second-quarter touchdown in the Eagles 24-22 win over the Dallas Cowboys. (Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com)

 

Take a bow, Birds. You’ve stunned the football world with an unorthodox offense and a defense that lived by the mantra “bend but don’t break.”

Just one season removed from a 4-12 disaster, complete with the firing of Andy Reid, the Philadelphia Eagles are in the playoffs with a 10-6 record.

It was an unlikely cast of characters.

Nick Foles, the second-string quarterback that proved to be more than capable of leading the franchise.

LeSean McCoy, the all-pro running back that shattered records in a season many would call MVP-worthy.

DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Jason Avant, Brent Celek and Zach Ertz, a balanced mix of wide receivers and tight ends that made the Eagles dangerous on every play.

The defense, which frustrated in early games, proved to be the key to victory in the final game of the season. Brandon Boykin, the third cornerback on the depth chart, led the team in interceptions. Mychal Kendricks, a second-year linebacker, was the final game’s impact player.

The 10-6 record goes further than the coach. Every player made an impact somewhere, even down to kicker Alex Henery and punter Donnie Jones.

In a win-and-in game, did the Eagles make it look easy? No. They were significantly better than the Cowboys in many aspects. They didn’t show it on Sunday night.

But a win is a win. And that’s what keeps the Eagles season alive now and in the weeks to come.

The Eagles have been all about staying healthy and surviving the storm. Survival is the best way to look at this team in the recent weeks.

Call their run to the division what you will. They didn’t have to face Aaron Rodgers when they played the Packers. They took advantage. They won the Snow Bowl against Detroit, surviving more than just flurries from the Lions in the first half to dominate the second half.

This team started at 3-5, losing two division games in a row. That was halfway through the season at the start of November. As December comes to a close, they finish with a 7-1 record in the final eight games.

They may not do things by the book. They may struggle with the fundamentals. But this team seems to find a way to pull things out when it matters.

The numbers aren’t the only impressive part of this team. The concept of hosting a playoff game was crazy for more reasons than one. Not only did it seem like the Eagles were miles away from that entering the season, but they didn’t have the loyalty of the fans that would suggest a home-field advantage would matter. 

Who would want to play that won seven of their last eight games at their field in the playoffs?

Lincoln Financial Field will be a madhouse on Saturday. There is no question. That is a credit to Chip Kelly and his team. They have revitalized the fan base.

There are still doubters out there that believe Kelly’s system won’t work and the Eagles aren’t for real. It doesn’t matter what awaits the Eagles in the divisional round or who they would play. The Eagles need one more win to win people over.

The fan base is on board. They believe that this team has a bright future, regardless of the result on Saturday. But the national skeptics and critics will have no choice but to buy in if Kelly and the Eagles win a playoff game.

But the Eagles know what they have. When a team wins, they call it getting the “Chip.” The Chip on the sidelines is the greater prize.

Expectations are a funny thing. For some, they are met, exceeded and make for pleasant surprises. For others, there is no satisfying plateau.

Remember way back to the earliest weeks of the season – the preseason for this team. What were your expectations then? Eight wins at most? Maybe six? Another last place finish?

Here it is, Dec. 30, 17 weeks later. The Eagles are NFC East Champions. They have 10 wins on the season. They are the third seed in the playoffs. They will host a playoff game on Saturday. Who would have thought that would happen?

Kevin Durso is a contributor for Eagledelphia. Look for his weekly game coverage before and after every Eagles game. Follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.


Monday Review: Eagles unlikely cast of characters wins a Chip

Eagles_Cowboys_Football__148769_team

LeSean McCoy celebrates his second-quarter touchdown in the Eagles 24-22 win over the Dallas Cowboys. (Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com)

 

Take a bow, Birds. You’ve stunned the football world with an unorthodox offense and a defense that lived by the mantra “bend but don’t break.”

Just one season removed from a 4-12 disaster, complete with the firing of Andy Reid, the Philadelphia Eagles are in the playoffs with a 10-6 record.

It was an unlikely cast of characters.

Nick Foles, the second-string quarterback that proved to be more than capable of leading the franchise.

LeSean McCoy, the all-pro running back that shattered records in a season many would call MVP-worthy.

DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Jason Avant, Brent Celek and Zach Ertz, a balanced mix of wide receivers and tight ends that made the Eagles dangerous on every play.

The defense, which frustrated in early games, proved to be the key to victory in the final game of the season. Brandon Boykin, the third cornerback on the depth chart, led the team in interceptions. Mychal Kendricks, a second-year linebacker, was the final game’s impact player.

The 10-6 record goes further than the coach. Every player made an impact somewhere, even down to kicker Alex Henery and punter Donnie Jones.

In a win-and-in game, did the Eagles make it look easy? No. They were significantly better than the Cowboys in many aspects. They didn’t show it on Sunday night.

But a win is a win. And that’s what keeps the Eagles season alive now and in the weeks to come.

The Eagles have been all about staying healthy and surviving the storm. Survival is the best way to look at this team in the recent weeks.

Call their run to the division what you will. They didn’t have to face Aaron Rodgers when they played the Packers. They took advantage. They won the Snow Bowl against Detroit, surviving more than just flurries from the Lions in the first half to dominate the second half.

This team started at 3-5, losing two division games in a row. That was halfway through the season at the start of November. As December comes to a close, they finish with a 7-1 record in the final eight games.

They may not do things by the book. They may struggle with the fundamentals. But this team seems to find a way to pull things out when it matters.

The numbers aren’t the only impressive part of this team. The concept of hosting a playoff game was crazy for more reasons than one. Not only did it seem like the Eagles were miles away from that entering the season, but they didn’t have the loyalty of the fans that would suggest a home-field advantage would matter. 

Who would want to play that won seven of their last eight games at their field in the playoffs?

Lincoln Financial Field will be a madhouse on Saturday. There is no question. That is a credit to Chip Kelly and his team. They have revitalized the fan base.

There are still doubters out there that believe Kelly’s system won’t work and the Eagles aren’t for real. It doesn’t matter what awaits the Eagles in the divisional round or who they would play. The Eagles need one more win to win people over.

The fan base is on board. They believe that this team has a bright future, regardless of the result on Saturday. But the national skeptics and critics will have no choice but to buy in if Kelly and the Eagles win a playoff game.

But the Eagles know what they have. When a team wins, they call it getting the “Chip.” The Chip on the sidelines is the greater prize.

Expectations are a funny thing. For some, they are met, exceeded and make for pleasant surprises. For others, there is no satisfying plateau.

Remember way back to the earliest weeks of the season – the preseason for this team. What were your expectations then? Eight wins at most? Maybe six? Another last place finish?

Here it is, Dec. 30, 17 weeks later. The Eagles are NFC East Champions. They have 10 wins on the season. They are the third seed in the playoffs. They will host a playoff game on Saturday. Who would have thought that would happen?

Kevin Durso is a contributor for Eagledelphia. Look for his weekly game coverage before and after every Eagles game. Follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.


Monday Review: Eagles unlikely cast of characters wins a Chip

Eagles_Cowboys_Football__148769_team

LeSean McCoy celebrates his second-quarter touchdown in the Eagles 24-22 win over the Dallas Cowboys. (Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com)

 

Take a bow, Birds. You’ve stunned the football world with an unorthodox offense and a defense that lived by the mantra “bend but don’t break.”

Just one season removed from a 4-12 disaster, complete with the firing of Andy Reid, the Philadelphia Eagles are in the playoffs with a 10-6 record.

It was an unlikely cast of characters.

Nick Foles, the second-string quarterback that proved to be more than capable of leading the franchise.

LeSean McCoy, the all-pro running back that shattered records in a season many would call MVP-worthy.

DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Jason Avant, Brent Celek and Zach Ertz, a balanced mix of wide receivers and tight ends that made the Eagles dangerous on every play.

The defense, which frustrated in early games, proved to be the key to victory in the final game of the season. Brandon Boykin, the third cornerback on the depth chart, led the team in interceptions. Mychal Kendricks, a second-year linebacker, was the final game’s impact player.

The 10-6 record goes further than the coach. Every player made an impact somewhere, even down to kicker Alex Henery and punter Donnie Jones.

In a win-and-in game, did the Eagles make it look easy? No. They were significantly better than the Cowboys in many aspects. They didn’t show it on Sunday night.

But a win is a win. And that’s what keeps the Eagles season alive now and in the weeks to come.

The Eagles have been all about staying healthy and surviving the storm. Survival is the best way to look at this team in the recent weeks.

Call their run to the division what you will. They didn’t have to face Aaron Rodgers when they played the Packers. They took advantage. They won the Snow Bowl against Detroit, surviving more than just flurries from the Lions in the first half to dominate the second half.

This team started at 3-5, losing two division games in a row. That was halfway through the season at the start of November. As December comes to a close, they finish with a 7-1 record in the final eight games.

They may not do things by the book. They may struggle with the fundamentals. But this team seems to find a way to pull things out when it matters.

The numbers aren’t the only impressive part of this team. The concept of hosting a playoff game was crazy for more reasons than one. Not only did it seem like the Eagles were miles away from that entering the season, but they didn’t have the loyalty of the fans that would suggest a home-field advantage would matter. 

Who would want to play that won seven of their last eight games at their field in the playoffs?

Lincoln Financial Field will be a madhouse on Saturday. There is no question. That is a credit to Chip Kelly and his team. They have revitalized the fan base.

There are still doubters out there that believe Kelly’s system won’t work and the Eagles aren’t for real. It doesn’t matter what awaits the Eagles in the divisional round or who they would play. The Eagles need one more win to win people over.

The fan base is on board. They believe that this team has a bright future, regardless of the result on Saturday. But the national skeptics and critics will have no choice but to buy in if Kelly and the Eagles win a playoff game.

But the Eagles know what they have. When a team wins, they call it getting the “Chip.” The Chip on the sidelines is the greater prize.

Expectations are a funny thing. For some, they are met, exceeded and make for pleasant surprises. For others, there is no satisfying plateau.

Remember way back to the earliest weeks of the season – the preseason for this team. What were your expectations then? Eight wins at most? Maybe six? Another last place finish?

Here it is, Dec. 30, 17 weeks later. The Eagles are NFC East Champions. They have 10 wins on the season. They are the third seed in the playoffs. They will host a playoff game on Saturday. Who would have thought that would happen?

Kevin Durso is a contributor for Eagledelphia. Look for his weekly game coverage before and after every Eagles game. Follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.


Phillies Offer Congratulations To NFC East Champion Eagles

The Phillies were kept out of the postseason for two seasons in a row, as were their South Philadelphia neighbors, the Eagles.   The Eagles tonight pulled off a 24-22 defeat of the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas to secure an NFC East Championship.   The Eagles have successfully pulled from worst to first.

The Phillies showed their support:

Maybe the Phillies can rebound this upcoming season as the Eagles have.   We have missed the playoffs.

Keep an eye on what the Eagles are doing this postseason by following our sister site, Eagledelphia.com on Facebook and on Twitter.


Eagles Offense Historic In Chip Kelly's First Season

Mccoy FolesNick Foles and LeSean McCoy were nothing short of historic this season as the Eagles won the NFC East division championship in Chip Kelly's first year at the helm.

Before the NFC East Division championship shirts and caps were distributed to the players in the locker room, Chip Kelly's Philadelphia Eagles tied the bow on a historic season.

By virtue of the Eagles 24-22 win over the Cowboys on Sunday night, for the first time since 2010 the Eagles are NFC East champions and will host a home playoff game on Saturday night at Lincoln Financial Field against the New Orleans Saints.

While Kelly's single goal has been scoring points and winning football games this season, the offensive innovator is now the first Eagles head coach to win the division in his first season. 

Continue reading "Eagles Offense Historic In Chip Kelly's First Season" »