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Throwback Thursday: Sixers Trade Korver To Jazz

By Brandon Apter, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

The Cleveland Cavaliers traded veteran sharp-shooter and potential Sixers trade target Kyle Korver to the Utah Jazz this week in exchange for a pair of second-round picks and Alec Burks. Korver heads to a Jazz team that will be right in the middle of the Western Conference playoff picture after staying with the young, rebuilding Cavaliers to start the season.

This will be Korver's second stint with the Utah Jazz. Nearly 10 years ago, on December 29, 2007, the Philadelphia 76ers dealt the then 26-year-old to the Jazz. In return, the Sixers received Gordon Giricek and a conditional first-round pick. Korver, at the time, was set to earn $15 million over the final three years of his deal (which now looks like a bargain), but general manager Ed Stefanski made the move to become more of a player in free agency.

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Do the Flyers Need a Full House Cleaning?

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

When the puck dropped on Tuesday night’s game between the Flyers and Senators, the crowd at Wells Fargo Center was sparse. Very sparse.

Usually that amount of empty seats is reserved for games where weather comes into play. That was not the case this time. Tickets were available on secondary markets for under 10 dollars. And people weren’t interested.

The fans of this team were willing to be patient to an extent. Like Paul Holmgren and the ownership group headed by Comcast-Spectacor chairman Dave Scott, they also expected more results by now, a better product on the ice worth the time and money, but understood the process of building with prospects. The ire remained directed at a part of the organization that remained the same for Tuesday’s game and will for the next few days ahead at least.

Dave Hakstol remains the coach of this team, at least for now. That was an issue that Holmgren continued to “kick down the road.” It will be the next GM’s decision whether Hakstol stays or not.

It was ironic to listen to Holmgren talk about needing a “fresh” voice and approach to the team. Five years ago, when the Flyers fired Peter Laviolette and Hextall was the assistant GM waiting in the wings, Ed Snider adamantly insisted that the Flyers did not need a fresh perspective. Holmgren essentially ensured that the new GM would be an outside voice.

Anybody with an outside perspective would look at the product on the ice and think they had a lot of work ahead of them. Certainly, Hextall set the Flyers up well for the future with prospects and draft picks and cap space.

There wasn’t much learned in Tuesday’s press conference in regards to answers. But if you want to believe the Flyers fired the wrong guy, you would be mistaken.

The Flyers didn’t fire the wrong guy by dismissing Hextall. If Hextall wasn’t willing to budge and as “unyielding” on everything as Holmgren indicated, then he did need to go because what the team needed was change. But what the team needed to change went beyond the surface.

Hextall wasn’t going to budge in his process. If no change was coming, he was going to be the change.

Hakstol’s system, or lack thereof, is an obvious problem. When players come out completely unprepared at the start of a game or fade in the final 10 minutes, that’s as much coaching as it is playing. It’s the players job to give their best effort for 60 minutes on game night. It’s the coach’s job to have the team prepared to do that and keep order on the bench. If a team is getting "scared" and "losing confidence" -- as Jake Voracek put it -- because of a goal that merely cuts into a lead, you have a problem that begins on the bench and extends to the ice.

Maybe the issue on the ice, then, goes beyond Hakstol. Maybe the Flyers need to start the shed parts of the old core and start over with Hextall’s pieces -- think Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny and Nolan Patrick, even more established vets like Sean Couturier and Shayne Gostisbehere.

In addition, the Flyers could bear to clean house in other areas as well. If the team really wants a fresh perspective, keeping organizational lifers around should be frowned upon.

That starts with Holmgren, who has become more of an extension of Ed Snider as team president.

Holmgren has been with the organization in some capacity for almost every NHL season since 1976. He started as a player from 1976 to 1984. After spending parts of two seasons with Minnesota, Holmgren retired and immediately took a place behind the bench as an assistant coach under Mike Keenan. Holmgren became the first former Flyer to be named head coach in 1988. He lasted three and a half seasons before being fired.

After that, Holmgren spent the next four years out of the organization, splitting time as head coach and GM of the Hartford Whalers. When he was fired as the coach in 1995, he returned to the Flyers organization as the Director of Scouting. Starting in 1996, he was the Director of Player Personnel, a role he held for three years. In 1999, he became the team’s assistant GM, a role he held until being promoted to GM in 2006. He held the GM role until 2014, when he stepped aside for Hextall and was “promoted” to the president role.

The common thread over Holmgren’s tenure with the Flyers, which extends some 40 years now, is the Flyers championship drought. The Flyers have carried the same philosophy of knee-jerk reactions, big deals, quick changes and doing everything possible to win. That may have worked during the 90s and early 2000s. Before the lockout, there was no salary cap to tell you not to buy your way to a championship.

This is why Holmgren struggled as the GM. The team wanted to be buyers on a regular basis. Holmgren ultimately didn’t have money to spend at the end, so when big free-agent signings backfired, there was only two options -- a buyout or wait it out.

Hextall’s plan ushered the Flyers into the salary cap era with the understanding that teams that were winning championships were building out their team from the ground up, not looking for the quick fix.

That was the scary part of Tuesday’s press conference. If the Flyers want to move forward by spending the cap space and trying to buy their way to a title, then they might as well have just named Holmgren GM again. The first three years of Hextall’s time as GM was spent cleaning up Holmgren’s mess -- the salary cap woes and the depleted prospect pool. The last two years might have left more to be desired, but Hextall did handle the first task at hand and give the Flyers some sort of future. There’s no denying that.

If the Flyers want to get an understanding of where they are as a team with a fresh approach and perspective from an outside GM, that person may find that the problems extend far beyond the previous GM, to the coach, the players, even to the organizational lifer that holds the president’s role.

The joke often told among fans during Hextall’s time as GM was that the Flyers were a year or two away from being a year or two away from being contenders, like some never-ending cycle that replayed like Groundhog Day. In a sense, it proved to be true, at least in Dave Scott’s eyes. The Comcast CEO felt that the team should be better now and can make improvements now, not two or three years from now.

That’s all very true, this team should be farther along than they are now. But will this GM change really put them any closer to the ultimate goal? Not right away.

The Flyers will still be a year or two away because of the amount of work that needs to get done. They need more stability on the blue line. They need a goalie, one they can actually trust to get the job done and stay healthy in the time it will take for Carter Hart to be ready. They need more depth at forward, players that actually drive the play and get more production.

That was the irony of Tuesday’s game. The Flyers had taken action and made a change. Obviously, they still need to find the next GM, but it was a start to what is necessary across the organization. That still didn’t change the result or the product on the ice. Funny how that works.

By the end of the game, the fans in the stands were chanting for the coach to be the next to go, just as they were before the team ousted the GM. There was also a new one floating around social media. It was directed at Paul Holmgren.

So maybe this is the point where you forget about trying to salvage the current core, let the GM bring in his own coach and rid yourself of every internal perspective you have.

It was a question five years ago and it remains one now. The Flyers need a fresh perspective. They tried to get one from a former goalie turned GM. His patience wasn’t good enough for an impatient management group.

A look in the mirror should show that the change that was made isn’t the only one that needs to happen. Maybe someone with a fresh perspective will see that instead.


Report: Flyers Given Permission to Speak with Chuck Fletcher Regarding GM Job

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

It's been just over 48 hours since the Flyers fired Ron Hextall and the pursuit for a new GM started. Several names have been mentioned, but one has emerged as a clear frontrunner.

Chuck Fletcher, the former GM of the Minnesota Wild and currently a senior advisor with the New Jersey Devils, is atop the list. The Devils granted the Flyers permission to speak with Fletcher regarding the open GM position on Wednesday, according to a report from TSN's Bob McKenzie. Darren Dreger reported on Monday that Fletcher was a name highly regarded on the Flyers list and was considered a frontrunner for the job.

In addition, Dave Isaac of the Courier Post reported that the Flyers have spoken to Fletcher specifically, and The Athletic's Michael Russo reported that the Flyers were already doing their due diligence on Fletcher, contacting people in the Minnesota Wild organization.

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Nigel Bradham Broke Thumb in Three Places During Giants Game

By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Over half of the Eagles original 53-man roster has missed time with or played through injuries this season. They added another name to that list last weekend: linebacker Nigel Bradham.

Dave Zangaro if NBC Sports Philly reported on Wednesday that the linebacker had broken his thumb on the third play of the Giants game last Sunday.

Bradham knew that the defense was short handed with all the injuries. Sure, Malcolm Jenkins can play linebacker well for the Birds, but with Corey Graham going down in the Giants game and the already thin cornerback room, the team would essentially be without any backups. LaRoy Reynolds has played only a few snaps on defense as he and DJ Alexander are on the team specifically for special teams play.

Due to the injury situation, Bradham decided to remain in the game for every defensive snap. Jordan Hicks was the only Eagle to play every snap on defense prior to his injury in the Saints game and Bradham thought he needed to provide that consistency in his stead. The result: Bradham played 59 defensive snaps with that thumb broken in three places. He registered six tackles in the contest.

Bradham and fellow linebacker Jordan Hicks have been getting quite a bit of flak from fans recently for not forcing more turnovers, but the pair have been arguably the most consistent tandem on the team. The tandem has combined for 148 tackles, five sacks, six passes defensed and two fumble recoveries. It is difficult to get interceptions when quarterbacks are not consistently pressured and have all the time in the world to throw and if runners are regularly getting by the first set of tacklers, the linebackers are going to focus on making the tackle rather than stripping the ball. Bradham is currently third on the team in tackles with 63.

Bradham played hard for this city and played through/will continue to play through the pain in order to insure that his team has the best opportunity to win.

He hopes to play against the Redskins on Monday, but he currently has a cast on his left arm and the training staff have yet to officially clear him to play. The Eagles may look to add an extra linebacker, especially if the Eagles do not anticipate Jordan Hicks back. Hicks returning this week seems unlikely based off of Doug Pederson’s comments at his press conference Monday. Kamu Grugier-Hill and Nathan Gerry will be atop the depth chart if Bradham is not cleared.


Brett Brown Provides Update on Zhaire Smith

By Brandon Apter, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

It's only tradition that the Sixers have a first round pick that suffers some big injury that forces them to miss time. It's a tradition that dates back to the 2013 NBA draft with Nerlens Noel and has been an annual thing all the way to the 2018 NBA Draft. First-round pick Zhaire Smith suffered a Jones fracture at a camp in the offseason and in addition to that, he reportedly lost a chunk of weight due to a sesame allergy and is in danger of missing the entire season.

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NFC East Week 12 Review

By Matthew Kaplan

In a week with only two NFC East games, it could not have been a bigger week for teams around the division. After last week, the momentum and who the true contenders in the division were seemed to have changed. Coming into week 12, the Cowboys seemed like the favorite for the division. Since the controversial Amari Cooper trade, they have seemed to find their stride. They would be hoping to continue this success against the Redskins on Thanksgiving Day.

The Cowboys-Redskins clash was the middle game of a full slate of games happening Thursday. This game would happen in Dallas and would end up being a Dallas victory, 31-23. While it would start off as a hard-fought game, the Cowboys would really take control in the third quarter behind two big Prescott to Cooper touchdown passes. Both throws would be over 40 yards and would help both achieve big games in this vital Cowboys win. Prescott would end the game 22 of 31 for 289 yards and two touchdowns plus another rushing touchdown that would come late in the game and be the final blow to the Redskins. Cooper, on the other hand, would not only catch those two touchdowns, but he would also catch six more balls for a grand total of 180 yards. If both could play like this every week along with Elliot’s consistent dominance, the Cowboys have a chance to do big things. They will take this win into next week and take on the New Orleans Saints. The Saints are by far the best team in the NFC and I don’t think any one sees them losing next Thursday night.

The Redskins showed, on the losing end, that without Alex Smith, they lack offensively. McCoy, while a great college player,  has proven he isn’t going to give a team enough to consistently win games. Having him at quarterback might just cost the ‘Skins the rest of their season. In their loss this week, McCoy would throw three interceptions and Adrian Peterson would struggle to do much against a strong Cowboys defensive front.

The Eagles and Redskins will both go in to next week like it’s a playoff game. The match-up on Monday night in Philadelphia could put either side out of the division race. Both teams need the victory to keep pace. There is still a lot of football to play and it is still anyone’s division, so the Eagles coming off the Sunday afternoon win over the Giants need to come out with a purpose on Monday.


Bayless, Saric Discuss Fultz Saga

By Brandon Apter, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

The Philadelphia 76ers are 5-2 since acquiring Jimmy Butler, but the bigger headline is still focused on 2017 top pick Markelle Fultz. The former Washington product is undergoing numerous consultations on his shoulder and wrist in New York this week while reports have surfaced regarding his future with the team and potential trade partners. Two of Fultz's former teammates, Jerryd Bayless and Dario Saric, recently sat down for an interview with Forbes and gave their thoughts on Markelle's situation.

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Flyers Fire Asst. GM Chris Pryor, Asst. Coach Gord Murphy

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

First, it was the news of Ron Hextall’s firing on Monday. Tuesday was the press conference in an attempt to explain why and where things go from here. Wednesday was the start of further action.

The Flyers announced that assistant GM Chris Pryor and assistant coach Gord Murphy have been fired.

In addition, goaltender Calvin Pickard was placed on waivers and forward Tyrell Goulbourne was sent down to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

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Possible Candidates for the Flyers Open GM Position

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

With a GM search now underway, the Flyers will spend the next several days and weeks looking for the right successor to Ron Hextall, the right voice to fill the GM role that can move the team forward.

 

Several candidates have emerged in reports and there are others out there that at least have warranted speculation.


Here are eight names that could be mentioned as possibilities for the open GM job with the Flyers.

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Flyers-Senators: Postgame Review

11-27-2018_FlyersvsSenators_1st_credKateFrese-11

(Photo: Kate Frese)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Change was in the air on Monday when the Flyers chose to dismiss Ron Hextall as GM. It didn't change the results, at least immediately.

Tuesday night's game was a better one for the Flyers, a far cry from the 6-0 drubbing they took on Saturday. But in the end, a nine-minute lack of urgency cost them again. A regulation loss to Ottawa put the Flyers in last place in the Eastern Conference and 29th in the league standings.

If anything was indicative in this game, it's that the Flyers certainly know that a lot of change could lie in store, but the results aren't going to change without max effort.

Let's break it down in our Postgame Review.

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