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Flyers Notes: Sam Morin to LW, Goalie Prospect Out for Season

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

For the second straight week, Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher addressed the media. There were some typical announcements, one on an injury update for a goalie prospect and the news that the training camp roster would be released on Saturday.

But there was also a very unexpected nugget that Fletcher revealed: Sam Morin is switching to left wing.

No, that is not a typo. The rugged 6’6” former first-round pick is attempting his return from a second torn ACL. His career hangs in the balance. He knows it. This could be his last chance with the Flyers and last chance to make an NHL roster.

Continue reading "Flyers Notes: Sam Morin to LW, Goalie Prospect Out for Season" »

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Flyers in 2021

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

This New Year’s Day is different for the Flyers than in years past. An unusual 2020 has forced the start of the 2020-21 season to be delayed. It will finally get underway on Jan. 13 for the NHL, and the Flyers will be part of the opening night festivities by facing the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Training camp begins for the Flyers in just three days, starting with physicals and off-ice proceedings on Jan. 3, then the first on-ice workouts on Jan. 4. As the calendar officially turns to 2021, here are five New Year’s Resolutions for the team.

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Age Just a Number for Claude Giroux

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The upcoming 2020-21 season will present challenges to all teams across the league. The Flyers are no exception. They will have to try to build on last season’s success, climbing back into the playoff picture convincingly as the season progressed, but will go through the new season without one of their leading defensemen in role and ice time from a season ago.

There’s also the core, which continues to remain a constant over the years. It’s been several to say the least.

Claude Giroux has been captain of the Flyers for eight seasons, his ninth set to begin on Jan. 13, the day after his 33rd birthday. Giroux’s career has had its peaks and valleys from a production standpoint, but he’s remained durable, very rarely missing action, and is respected as a leader by his teammates. To him, the age he will reach one day before the season opener is nothing but a number.

Continue reading "Age Just a Number for Claude Giroux" »

State of the Flyers 2020: Short Year with Huge Progress

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The end of the calendar year is always a good time to evaluate where things stand in a lot of areas. On a personal level, we think about health and finance and overall happiness and what we can do to improve these areas in the new year.

The same goes for sports franchises, as with any business, as you look back on the decisions made and the progression you have made or lack thereof. While we will get to the New Year’s Resolutions the Philadelphia Flyers can make in 2021, we start by looking back.

You may have heard me last week on 97.3 ESPN give my State of the Flyers a part of the Christmas Day special State of the Philly Sports Teams show – if you didn’t hear it, you can listen here. As 2020 draws to a close, here are some of the topics discussed in the State of the Flyers, a short playing year with a lot of progress made.

Continue reading "State of the Flyers 2020: Short Year with Huge Progress" »

Phillies Add Lefty Reliever Alvarado in Three-Way Trade

The Phillies have made their first trade of the Dave Dombrowski era.   It's not a big one, but the roster rebuild is on the way.  After Adam Morgan and Jose Alvarez hit free agency, the Phillies are in need of some left-handed relief.   The Phillies added an arm that could potentially be part of the 2021 Phillies bullpen.

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported the Phillies have acquired Jose Alvarado from the Tampa Bay Rays:

The Phillies had to give up a lefty reliever of their own to make the deal.

Garrett Cleavinger came to the Phillies in the trade that sent Jeremy Hellickson to the Baltimore Orioles.  The Phillies also took back outfielder Hyun Soo Kim and his contract to make the deal.  Cleavinger would make one appearance for the Phillies in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, allowing one earned run and recording two outs.  This came after Cleavinger pitched to a 4.35 earned run average in 34 relief appearances in Double-A Reading in 2019.

As for Alvarado, he made nine appearances in 2020, going 0-0 with a 6.00 earned run average.  Alvardo is a combined 2-15 with a 3.36 earned run average in 149 career appearances for the Rays, spanning the last four seasons.  Alvarado's best season came in 2018, when in 70 appearances he pitched to a 2.39 earned run average.  Alvarado is best-known for his high-mileage fastball and sinker.

There will be more to follow, but this could be the first addition to the 2021 Phillies.

Flyers Core Has Recent Memory of How Quickly Shortened Season Can Turn Sour

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

It has already been a unique year in the sports world and especially for the NHL. Not only did they endure the near five-month pause between the unceremonious end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs in the bubble, but there were labor negotiations throughout the year to even get the players back on the ice for the completion of the 2019-20 season and the start of the upcoming 2020-21 season.

The result is a shortened, 56-game season designed to get the NHL back on track for a normal 82-game schedule in 2021-22.

Though the circumstances are very different, the NHL has been here before when it comes to shortened seasons, and not too far in the past either. The NHL saw the 2012-13 season shortened to 48 games after a lockout. 

The Flyers roster featured some familiar faces that have been around for many years now. It was Claude Giroux’s first season as captain. It was Jake Voracek’s second season with the team. It was Sean Couturier’s second NHL season. Scott Laughton even got a five-game trial as an 18-year-old before returning to juniors. The Flyers even had Erik Gustafsson on the roster...though not the same Erik Gustafsson they signed this offseason.

Couturier remembers that season well. The Flyers had provided a lot of fireworks in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, despite their second-round exit, and hopes were high that the team was poised for another run.

Continue reading "Flyers Core Has Recent Memory of How Quickly Shortened Season Can Turn Sour" »

World Juniors Update: Sweden Leads Group B, USA with 2 Pivotal Matches Ahead

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The 2021 IIHF World Junior Championships opened on Christmas Day with a slate of three games. For the three Flyers prospects participating in the tournament, two games have been completed as of the end of competition on Monday night. Only two teams in the tournament have played three of their four Group-play games with three days remaining in the Group round.

Both the USA – with Flyers prospects Cam York and Bobby Brink on the roster – and Sweden – with Emil Andrae on the roster – are playing in Group B. Through Monday, Sweden sits atop the standings in the Group, with two wins in two games. The US is in a three-way tie with Russia and Czech Republic with one win and one regulation loss.

Continue reading "World Juniors Update: Sweden Leads Group B, USA with 2 Pivotal Matches Ahead" »

Eagles Evaluation: Ugly Game In Dallas Eliminates Birds

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Like many games before this one, the Eagles started off this matchup strong, jumping out to a quick 14 points on their first two drives.

Then the gameplan fell apart and the previously successful aspects were never to be revisited as another coaching nightmare ensued.

Unlike in his previous two starts, however, Hurts could not overcome those challenges, particularly as the offensive line started to falter.

The team managed just three more points on their final 11 offensive drives.

Continue reading "Eagles Evaluation: Ugly Game In Dallas Eliminates Birds" »

Do or Die: Eagles vs. Cowboys Review

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By Connor Donald, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

Two more weeks, that’s all that is left of this roller coaster ride of a season. We have seen pretty much everything, almost all you could possibly see from a football team and yet, sitting at 4-8-1, this date with the Dallas Cowboys still left the door open to get into the playoffs with an Eagles win and a Washington loss.

Despite the fast start by the Eagles which put them up 11 at the end of the first quarter courtesy of a Miles Sanders touchdown run and an 81 yard connection between Hurts and the returning Desean Jackson. The Eagles would falter in the second half, mainly led by Michael Jacquet’s bamboozling at the hands of Michael Gallup, allowing the Cowboys to outscore the Eagles 17-3 in the second quarter leading to a three point lead at the half, 20-17.

The secondary continued to get burnt early in the second half this time Nickell Robey-Coleman allowing Ceedee Lamb to grab a 52 yard touchdown and put the Eagles down by two scores early in the third. The Eagles offense continued to struggle early in the second half, while the Cowboys were able to add a field goal to make it a two score game on the possession after the Lamb touchdown. 

The Eagles offense continued to disappoint into the fourth quarter despite a huge Darius Slay interception that gave Pederson and Hurts prime starting field position that they could do nothing with thanks to multiple poor disciplinary penalties along the offensive line. The Eagles offense was given another chance soon after, when the defense forced a three and out, but the march was frozen when Jalen Hurts, under pressure, threw an ugly interception to all but seal the game. The Eagles offense would get the ball back, but a questionable fumble call led to the Cowboys getting the ball back for the final time to bury the Eagles playoff dreams. Ceedee Lamb would add a garbage time touchdown to push the score to 37-17.

The Best

The offense started off shot out of a cannon and then completely fell apart and in typical Doug Pederson fashion, largely abandoned the run. Miles Sanders scored the first touchdown for the Eagles after Jalen Hurts' run was called back due to a hold. And when Sanders was giving the football time and time again he went and grabbed chunk play after chunk play. He had 15 carries for 57 yards, for an average of 3.8 yards per carry and added on three receptions for 18 yards on five targets.

The Good 

Big play Slay, came up with his first interception of the season and at the time in the game it was a huge turning point that the offense was unable to capitalize on. Darius Slay has been everything we wanted in Philadelphia, a true number one cornerback. Throughout much of this game Dalton completely avoided Darius Slay's side of the field and that's what we acquired him for and paid him for. He has had some games, but he gave the Eagles the best chance possible against Dallas by essentially shutting down one side of the field.

The Bad

Early in the second quarter Fletcher Cox left for the blue tent and was ruled out for the remainder of the game, not great news. Add on that Derek Barnett was ruled out Saturday and Josh Sweat headed to the injured reserve earlier in the week and well things aren’t great for a front four that has been the core of this team all season. However, there was still over $14 million worth of investments across that front four on the field in Javon Hargrave, Malik Jackson and Brandon Graham. Clearly dollars don’t matter as the front four created almost no pressure! They sacked Andy Dalton twice against the makeshift line the Cowboys put on the field and hit Dalton seven times, not a bad number, but the score speaks to a far more comfortable Dalton then a pressured Dalton.

The Ugly

Michael Jacquet played okay last week for an undrafted free agent tasked with facing a premier wide receiver in Deandre Hopkins. This week he went head to head with the Cowboys second sometimes even third option at wide receiver and got burnt, burnt and burnt some more giving up over 120 yards on six receptions and a touchdown to Michael Gallup before seeing much less playing time in the second half. He finished targeted nine times, allowing seven receptions for 182 yards and a touchdown. The Cowboys completely avoided Darius Slay and they were fine to do so as Nickell Robey Coleman gave up a big touchdown to Ceedee Lamb and Jacquet gave up a touchdown and multiple big plays. The secondary was never a strength of the Eagles this season, but injuries and inconsistent play have made it a continued liability.

The great and good were almost to easy because the bad and ugly reared its ugly head often. So, the offseason begins for the Philadelphia Eagles and there are holes and needs all over the place. First things first, the Eagles sit approximately $30 million over the cap and have a quarterback controversy where one of them is costing nearly $35 million next season. Time to figure out who is part of the future, where to save cap and what to do at the quarterback position. Good luck Howie.

Halftime Report: Eagles at Cowboys

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By Matt Ryan, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

The 4-9-1 Eagles visit the 5-9 Cowboys in a week 16 matchup. Both the Eagles and the Cowboys need to win this game and need the Washington Football team to lose to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Cowboys lead the Ealges 20-17 at the half. Here's what we saw in the first 30 minutes of action:

First Half Offensive MVP

QB Jalen Hurts

Jalen Hurts had a nice first half, throwing for 178 yards including a 81-yard touchdown and rushing for 53 yards. If Hurts can continue this in the second half, the Birds have a good shot at coming away from this game with a win.

First Half Defensive MVP

DE Vinny Curry

Curry had a huge sack in the Red zone on the Cowboys opening drive, and that drive would end with the Cowboys making a field goal. Curry finshed the half with one tackle and two QB hits.

Who Needs To Step Up

The Eagles Secondary

The Eagles secondary did not have a good first half, giving up 224 yards and two touchdowns. The Eagles secondary needs to step up in the second half of this game for the Eagles to have a shot at winning this game.

Who To Watch Out For

WR Michael Gallup

Gallup had an amazing first half for the Cowboys, catching six balls for 121 yards and two touchdowns. The Birds will need to contain Gallup in the second half to come away from this game with a win.