Monthly Archives: April 2010

Eagles First Round Preview

Last years top pick Jeremy Maclin

The Eagles enter tonight’s draft at Radio City Music Hall in a position that they really haven’t found themselves in over a decade. The mass exodus of veterans has left them with numerous holes on both sides of the ball and a lack of depth throughout the roster. Here’s how I think new gm Howie Roseman and the actual gm Andy Reid should handle the first round tonight.

Personally, I think the biggest need on the Birds roster is in the defensive secondary. The team never fully recovered from the loss of Brian Dawkins and now with the departure of Sheldon Brown the depth and leadership is absolutely non-existent. Luckily for the Birds there are two big time players available at the safety spot and another couple of cornerbacks who could really be difference makers in the secondary.

The interior offensive line is another key position of need with the release of Shawn Andrews and the late season loss of Jamaal Jackson the current starters at center are natural guard Nick Cole and free agent disappointment Stacy Andrews. This is a spot that the Eagles will absolutely address early and often through the weekend.

A defensive end to play opposite Trent Cole is also a need but it’s my opinion that there are no ends in this years draft in the Eagles range that are worth the investment.

Eagles Picks

1 (24) Own Pick
2 (37) Acquired from Washington for QB Donovan McNabb
2 (55) Own Pick
3 (70) Acquired from Seattle in 2009 draft day trade
3 (87) Own Pick
4 (105) Acquired from Cleveland along with LB Alex Hall for CB Sheldon Brown and LB Chris Gocong
4 (121) Own Pick
6 (200) Acquired from Indianapolis in 2009 draft day trade
7 (243) Compensatory Pick
7 (244) Compensatory Pick

The Dream Scenario…

Earl Thomas S/CB Texas

Eagles clearly have the ammunition to move up in the first round. They could easily enter into the teens without having to sacrifice too much and even into the top 10 if they were willing to touch picks for next year. The cost of getting into the top 10 is a little to rich for my blood but Eric Berry would be the perfect selection for this secondar, I just don’t believe sacrificing a number of high picks would be worth the difference between Berry and the #2 safety on the board. I would package the #24 along with a 3 and a 4 to get into the teens and secure my chance at selecting safety Earl Thomas from the University of Texas. The 5’10 208lb ball hawk is a certified playmaker with experience at safety and corner. He’s a big hitter and he’s got the smarts to be successful in the Eagles aggressive scheme.

Eric Berry S Tennesee

The less sexy picks that I believe the Eagles could target in the first round are 6’5 330 lb giant guard Mike Iupati from Idaho and versatile center Maurkice Pouncey from the University of Florida.

Here’s how I see it…

If the Eagles trade up: Eric Berry, Earl Thomas, MLB Rolando McClain from Alabama or USF defensive end Jason Pierre Paul (I think he’s got bust written all over him. Purely a physical specimen think Mamula)

If the Eagles stand pat at 24: Mike Iaputi, Maurkice Pouncey, cornerback Kyle Wilson from Boise State or linebacker Sean Witherspoon from Missouri.
My pick: Earl Thomas

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Breaking Bad

The Flyers already weak forward depth just took a monumental hit this afternoon. A bad break (2 to be exact) on a couple of slap shots in last night’s hard-fought victory over the Devils are now the headlines as the O & B will be without Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne for the foreseeable future.

Both will have surgery on their fractured right feet  tomorrow in Philadelphia by orthopedic surgeon Steven Raikin of the Rothman Institute.

With Carter it truly is a case of one foot forward and one foot back as he is only 6 games removed from having his left foot surgically repaired. Carter did not miss a game in two full seasons prior to breaking his left foot just over a month ago. Now to experience a similar injury on the other foot so quickly is just cruel irony. The frustration in his case, considering he appeared to finally regain his scoring touch last night must be immeasurable. His return was characterized as indefinite which would tell me that unless the Flyers advance to the Finals last night was probably the last of Carter in uniform for this season.

For Simon Gagne this will just be another notch on his long list of recent health problems. The concussion, the groin, the ab strain and now a fluke fracture in his foot doing something he’s done hundreds of times in his career. GM Paul Holmgren told reporters that Gagne would have a return target of around 3 weeks, which would put it well into the Eastern Conference finals schedule.

To replace the two the Flyers will call on veteran Ville Leino and one of Phantom forwards Andreas Nodl or David Laliberte.

Another year and it’s the some old story. Remember Desjardins breaking his arm while wrestling his kid in ’04? What about 2 years ago with losing Timonen and Coburn at the same time? You go through all the goalies this year and for once you go in with a fairly healthy skating roster then two of your top guns drop in the matter of 20 minutes.

Sometimes it’s hard not to believe this team is cursed.

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Introducing Lady Pha Pha

At the Phillies home opener this week the fantastic Phillie Phanatic revealed his inner pop star, showing the 45,000+ fans on hand his love for Lady Gaga.

The Gaga approves.

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Flyers Add Russian Goalie Prospect

It’s leaked from some European scouts including Teemu (euroFlyers on twitter) that the Flyers have signed Russian goalie prospect Sergei Bobrovsky to a contract. The terms were undisclosed but it’s been confirmed that Bobrovsky will come over to participate in Flyers training camp, come the fall. I thought his name sounded familiar to me and after a quick google search I remembered why. Oddly enough, I have actually seen the kid play a couple of times on the NHL Network for Team Russia. First  in the Super Series versus Canada and ihen n the World Juniors in 2008, when he was Russia’s best goaltender outperforming Caps goalie Semyon Varlamov to earn a bronze medal.

My fiance thought I was nuts for watching those games “Do the Flyers ever even get anyone who is Russian besides the ugly dude? (referring to Danny Markov who she remembers fondly from 2004)” well I finally got to use some of that useless knowledge I acquired from being just about the only guy in the states watching junior hockey.

Here’s a scouting report from the good people at hockeysfuture.com.

Sergei Bobrovsky is a product of the HC Metallurg (Novokuznetsk) hockey system. He has been the starting goalie for his age groupâ’s club team throughout his career and has really come on strong as a starting goalie for the regional HC Sibir team.

2006-07: While one of hte top Siberian goalies, Bobrvosky really came on the scene as a promising proispect during the 2006-07 season when he made his Super League debut and performed well in the backup role for HC Metallurg (Nk.). This achievement made the national team coaching staff take notice.

2007-08: During the 2007-08 season the young prospect was invited to join Russia’s U20 team that competed in the Super Series against the Canadian teams . There, Bobrovsky was clearly Russiaâ’s best goalie, performing better than Semen Varlamov or Sergei Gaiduchenko. This and his strong play in the Russian Super League further elevated the netminder and similarly to Konstantin Barulin a few years ealrier, he capped off his ascention by earning the starting position for Team Russia at the U20 World Junior Championships. There Bobrovsky, while in some ways not playing as well as he did int he Super Series, still performed quite well, helping Russia earn the bronze medals.

Talent Analysis
Bobrovsky is a hybrid goalie who prefers more of a butterfly down lower style than stand-up. The young netminder has above average reaction time and a slightly above average glove side. He has good lateral quickness in the crease, Bobrovsky has impressive quickness and he needs it since he does not take up as much of a net as even his U20 Team Russia teammate Gaiduchenko. The young goalie also tends to skate out far to challenge opponents, though he didnâ’t do this as much outside of Russian hockey when competing internationally. An average puckhandler, Bobrovsky rarely plays the puck outside the crease and tends to make safer and more conservative decisions with it. Another area that the young netminder does need to work on is his rebounding, as he tends to give up a lot of them and some dangerously close in front of him. It is impressive that he is capable of blocking some very difficult first shots, but he does himself and his team a disservice by leaving the rebound and allowing the opposing team second and third chances at the puck. Still, his competitiveness and ability to stop the first shot have been key to his success thus far in his career and he can learn proper rebound control if given more coaching opportunities. Maturity wise, the young 88 born netminder is probably one of the most mature young netminders currently playing in Russia. He took on a lot of responsibility last year and even though handled it very well, especially when backstopping Russia to the bronze medal at the U20 World Junior Championships. His ability to remain composed in difficult situations and remain competitive has been key to his success.

He is instantly our best goaltending prospect. The only guy who is anywhere near him in terms of potential is our Swedish kid Joacim”Sunshine” Eriksson who I also look forward to seeing in camp.

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Carcillo Called His Shot

In a critical game 3 of the Eastern conference quarterfinals, the Flyers got an overtime game winner by grinder Danny Carcillo. To some, he would be a surprising candidate for a heroic goal but he certainly didn’t surprise himself. In a post game interview veteran winger Ian Lapperiere told reporters that just prior to the start of overtime he went up to Carcillo and told him “It’s time to be a hero.” to which Danny responded…

“I got this.”

Less than 3 minutes later, he scored the biggest goal of his life. It’s not quite “Ruthian” but it sure feels as important this morning.

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McNabb Traded To Washington

The Eagles have traded quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins per ESPN’s always reliable Adam Schefter. The deal is reportedly the Redskins 2nd rounder in this years draft and a 3rd or 4th in next year draft for the aging quarterback who enters the final year of his contract.

I am shocked that the Birds would move him within the division but this tells me that the interest around the league must not have been as high as previously reported. I would never have moved him within the division unless the return was either a 1st rounder or a coveted player plus a pick.

Also I find it funny that this is almost certainly another case of the Eagles attempting to shield the spotlight away from their Pattison avenue neighbors the Phillies by leaking this info the night before the season opener.

On the bright side, Redskins games just got a whole hell of a lot more interesting.

I will update with more info as I get it…

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Flyers Playoffs Hopes Fading

A Microcosm of Scott Hartnell's season.

In what can only be described as a monumental “Mets-esque” collapse, your Philadelphia Flyers are in the process of going from an 8 point cushion and the 6th spot in the Eastern conference standings, to finishing out of the playoffs all in the matter of two weeks.

There are many reasons for the implosion but one of the biggest culprits appears to be a lack of determination. Injuries obviously are a factor, but the fact still remains that this is still a very talented roster that is playing well below anyone’s expectations not just the dreams of their devotees. Everything is coming to a head at once. The Flyers twenty-plus year goaltending blind spot, wild irrational overspending, and the frat house atmosphere in the locker room that lends itself to the organizations complete lack of accountability for its top players are just a couple of the obvious ones. All of this combined with having no farm system and 7 different goaltenders dressing this year spells disaster.

Players like Scott Hartnell and Braydon Coburn who were looked on to be giant contributors towards a long playoff run, have had seasons that if you wanted to put it lightly would be described as very disappointing, and if you cut the crap would be called horrific.

Yeah, that looks like a professional athlete.

Hartnell; who is seldom not falling all over himself, has handicapped this team with braindead penalties and countless blind giveaways. A player who when he is on; contributes with a physical edge, agitation and timely offense, only has 2 more goals than grinder Danny Carcillo. In the offseason Paul Holmgren’s first move should be attempting to find some sap GM to take Scott Hartnell’s bloated contract off of this organizations hands.

The supposed elite players on this squad are not immune from criticism either, especially their supposed leader…

Captain Mike Richards; who appears to only play his game when he has a red maple leaf on his chest, is on track to finish about 20 points off of last years pace. His leadership from the outside looking in can be described as monotone and generally lacking. He’s had some minor spats with the media and recently has taken to making excuses after terrible losses. My favorite was after the embarrassing 6-4 defeat to the lowly Islanders, Richards spun this gem…

“This is a hard game to assess. It was such roller coaster…we just came up a little short.”

Oh and I almost forgot good ole’ Richy’s comments after the shutout loss on home ice to the Habs on Friday night…

“We played real well, just didn’t get the result.”

I’m sensing a theme…I’m also sensing that the Flyers will miss the playoff for only the second time in 15 years.

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