Charlie Manuel certainly has a flair for the dramatic doesn’t he? With 1 out remaining in tonight’s NL East clincher against the Astros, Charlie inserted Brad Lidge into the fray as a symbol of his importance to the club and to hopefully inject some much needed confidence into the beleaguered brain of one of the club’s most important pieces.
Lidge, with rally towels and the screaming masses swirling around him needed just one pitch to get Lance Berkman to ground out to Ryan Howard and incite the celebration.
4 more games until the postseason, rest up boys the city is ready for another parade.
Per a source, Randy Jones will be placed on waivers within the next 24 hours. In the meantime the Flyers will attempt to move him and his 2.75 million dollar cap hit in a trade in an attempt to avoid forcing Jones to play for the Adirondack Phantoms in the AHL. I was told that Jones was notified this afternoon but that is not 100% confirmed.
If true this means the remaining Flyers defenseman are…
Chris Pronger, Matt Carle, Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Ryan Parent, Ole Kristian Tollefson and Danny Syvret.
I’ll post more info if I get any…
Net minding newcomer Ray Emery stole the show in last night’s preseason showdown with the Devils at the Wachovia Center. Emery finished with 31 saves on 32 shots but the stats don’t tell the full story of how Ray held his team in the game. During a 2-3 minute stretch in the third where they were under siege, Emery made 3 dazzling stops including a lunging kick save on a 2 on 1 that was the highlight of the night.
The first thing that stands out about Emery is his size in the pipes. He’s very big and he’s incredibly athletic for a big goalie. His cross crease agility and speed appear to be a significant upgrade to the inconsistency of last years netminding duo of Martin Biron and Antero Nittymaki.
I know it’s preseason and overreactions are always possible but if this performance was a preview of what we can expect, it’s going to be a very fun ride.
Oh yeah by the way the Flyers won in overtime 2-1 with a Mika Pyorala goal that was created by Chris Pronger joining the rush.
And in case you missed it, forward Danny Carcillo scored a 1 punch KO of youngster Marc Fraser in the first period. Down Goes Fraser!
The regulars season starts a week from tonight in Carolina.
Sixers forwards, Thaddeus Young and Elton Brand showcased their modeling skills yesterday as the team unveiled their new retro style uniforms. Im sure you’ve heard the buzz around town about the Sixers being primed for a long playoff run and having a real shot at making the Finals this year. What? You haven’t heard a word about the Sixers? Really? Well maybe that’s because their most exciting offseason moves have been drafting a kid who won’t contribute for 3 years and bringing back Rodney Carney. Oh yeah, also in case you weren’t aware Samuel Dalembert is still the starting center for your 10.9.8.76ers.
In other depressing news, the Sixers’ fired their marketing director Eric Blankenship last week. My question is why? Don Draper couldn’t sell me on buying a ticket for this franchise stuck in neutral right now. You want people in the stands? Create a buzz, get an exciting product. You can’t market Sam Dalembert and Willie Green.
BTW: How skinny does Elton Brand look?
Tonight the Flyers will face-off in South Philly against the New Jersey Devils in the 5th game of the preseason. In this lineup will be Defenseman Randy Jones. That, in and of itself is not news however the questions surrounding Jones’ position on this team may be some of the most ressing remaining before the opener in just over a week.
Prior to last year Jones was a restricted free agent and was given a 2 year 5.5 million dollar contract extension. He suffered a torn labrum in his hip during preseason action which required surgery. He missed half of the year and when he returned he was generally unimpressive. He finished the year a +8 with 4 goals and 4 assists in just 47 games played.
WIth the Flyers moves in the offseason clearly geared towards beefing up their blue line it appeared that Joens might be an afterthought. Besides bringing in Chris Pronger to anchor the first pairing, the Flyers also brought in hard nosed Norwegian defense man Ole Kristian-Tollefson from the Blue Jackets to compete for a spot. Tollefson along with impressive youngsters Ryan Parent and Danny Syvret have drawn praise from Head Coach John Stevens for their efforts thus far during camp. The same cannot be said for Jones…
“Physically, he feels better but Jonesy is capable of playing better than he has to this point, He needs to get back to that level of play that we’ve seen before and that comes from moving his feet and not standing still when he defends and when he has the puck.”
Even if Jones’ play reaches the level that his head coach expects it to, where does he fit into the lineup? The top 2 pairings for the Orange and Black appear set in stone with Chris Pronger paired with Matt Carle and Kimmo Timonen teaming up with Braydon Coburn on the second grouping.
In the new world of the salary capped NHL a team that plans on competing for the cup simply cannot afford to pay a third pairing defense man nearly 3 million dollars. Keeping Jones on this roster over the likes of Syvret or Tollefson will cost the team approximately 2 million in cap space and could be the difference between them being able to make a mid-season acquisition that may require them to take on salary. Also, Jones’ roster spot could have a direct impact on whether James Van Riemsdyk’s salary could be fit into the club’s numbers for the start of the season.
Do you remember the last week of the year when the Flyers had to call up amateur defense men like David Sloane and James Fritsch just to field a full lineup. They were so strapped for cash they couldnt even call up a Phantom from across the parking lot and it cost them.
I doubt Paul Holmgren wants to scramble for some guy off the street in the middle of a playoff run again.
Brad Lidge continued his quest for the record books with his 11th blown save of the season tonight in a critical divisional matchup in Miami against the Marlins. This latest outing leaves Lidge just 3 more disasters away from tying the major league record for futility with 14 blown saves. I know all of Lidge’s fans in Atlanta and all 4 of them in South Florida are pulling for Brad to keep the lights on and reach his goal, but he’s running out of time.
Sadly, I don’t think Lidge will reach the amazing record because I dont see any way that Charlie Manuel can possibly use him in any role let alone the closing spot for the remainder of the season. Charlie made a decision two weeks ago but he’s hedged and teetered and gave back into Brad because of his undying loyalty and appreciation for last year but there has to be a limit. Since the removal in Washington Brad has an 11.57 ERA in five appearances with opponents hitting .391 against him. Lidge’s record now stands at an astounding 0-8 with an era over 7.40 for the year.
Calling this a bad season would be the understatement of the year. It’d be like calling Philly’s crime rate just a little high or Megan Fox just moderately attractive. Think about this, of all the terrible relief pitchers we’ve seen…from Wild Thing on his wildest day to Jose Mesa being Jose Mesa or even our old 6 fingered friend Antonio Alfonseca we’ve never seen a closer be this remarkably terrible in Philadelphia.
Sorry Brad but it’s over, I think we need to see other people.
Today was cut-down day at Flyers camp. The most notable name among the players notified that they will not be donning the orange and black anytime soon was veteran winger Mark Bell, who had his tryout agreement terminated.
Bell made a little wave last week in the press when he stated that a 2-way contract (enabling assignment to the Phantoms) would not be acceptable to him. He followed up his strong words with being invisible in practices and not impressing in his preseason action. Quite a showing by a guy who should consider himself lucky to be a free man let alone being able to continue his career as a professional athlete. (For his DUI story refer to my camp preview) Good riddance.
On the bright side, first round pick James Van Riemsdyk remains in pro camp and has been taking regular shifts with Mike Richards and Simon Gagne. The organization obviously wants him to succeed early and it appears that he has the inside track on winning a top 9 spot out of camp. The other fringe forwards battling James are fellow rookies Pat Maroon and the surprise of camp so far David Laliberte.
Laliberte, a 4th round pick by the Flyers in the ’04 draft was considered one of the most talented players coming out in his draft year but was later struck with a terrible neck injury. He was forced to sit out a full year and was told by doctors that he would always have to deal with some amount of pain throughout his entire life. When David rejoined his junior team he was named captain and netted a hat trick in his first game back. After he spent the 07-08 season splitting time between the Phantoms and the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers, Laliberte spent all of last season in the AHL in Philadelphia and totaled 28 goals and 20 assists. The strong camp showing almost assures that Laliberte will be a call-up at some point this season if he does not somehow sneak onto the opening night roster.
In other camp news, Blair Betts appears to be the frontrunner for the 4th line center spot while Phantoms top defenseman Danny Syvret has survived this round of cuts and is challenging Randy Jones and Ole-Kristian Tollefson for the 6th/7th spot on the blue line.