Chris Mason has more shutouts than the Flyers (Oh, and Flyers lose, 1-0)

How many chances like this were there tonight?

[Box Score] -  [Game Page] – [Atlanta Reaction]
[Shift Charts] – [Head-to-Head TOI] – [Corsi and Fenwick] – [5-on-5 Faceoffs]

PHILADELPHIA — Let’s go over some numbers, briefly.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves tonight. An errant skate aside, he played well enough to win a hockey game and he even played well enough to earn a shutout. The Flyers won 57 percent of the faceoffs.

Peter Laviolette said that they outchanced the Atlanta Thrashers by a margin of 2 to 1, and I wouldn’t doubt his assessment. (We’ll find out tomorrow when we analyze the scoring chance data ourselves.) They took 43 shots at the Thrashers net. 

The Flyers allowed just three shots on goal in 11:36 of penalty kill time. These are all very good numbers. These are all the kinds of numbers that win you hockey games in the NHL. For whatever reason, that didn’t happen tonight. Chris Mason made a few big — no, huge – saves in the second period to keep the score knotted a zero, but that doesn’t mean anything from the Flyers perspective. 

Simply put, the Flyers didn’t get the bounces tonight. It’s easy to get all “OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG” about this kind of game, especially given the last month of hockey. That wouldn’t be fair tonight, though. The bounces simply didn’t go their way, plain and simple.

A few sprawling (and lucky) saves, missing a loose puck by a hair off the tip of the stick in the slot, Danny Briere missing by inches, Jeff Carter hitting a post with four seconds left. It just didn’t go right tonight. It happens. There’s no deep meaning in it. 

The magic number to clinch the Atlantic is at four. The magic number to clinch the East is at eight, and the Flyers are in the drivers seat the whole way. Game tomorrow. Time to eliminate the Devils once and for all, right?

Questions with answers and the comment of the night after the jump.

Video later. YouTube ain’t cooperatin’.

Questions with Answers

  1. Are the Atlanta Thrashers still mathematically alive in the playoff race by the end of the night? Ugh, yeaaaaah.
  2. The Briere line was great in Pittsburgh. More? Wasn’t as good, but they had their chances. 
  3. As was the power play. More? The power play wasn’t as good, but I wouldn’t call tonight a setback.
  4. Can the Flyers simplify the game and bring a “road style” game to home ice? I thought they did simplify their game a bit more, yes. 
  5. Bob was great in Pittsburgh, as well as last Saturday in New York. Three straight games would go a long way towards building the playoff confidence. Yes? Bob was fantastic yet again. Fantastic to see.

Comment of the Night

How do you know a period of hockey has been uneventful? Nick Boynton gets interviewed. 

>> Justin F. 





Home Sweet Nuthin: Flyers Lose Fifth in a Row at Wells Fargo Center

Is it too late for the Flyers to tank their way out of home ice advantage in the playoffs? I kid, of course, but the situation in South Philly hasn’t been pretty lately. On Thursday night, the Flyers lost their fifth straight game in the Wells Fargo Center, a 1-0 shutout at the hands of the soon-to-be-eliminated Atlanta Thrashers. The folks in the playoff ticket sales department can’t be thrilled. Those OTL points don’t sell as well as W’s… 

The lone bright spot in the night was another strong performance from Sergei Bobrovsky. Bob didn’t have to face a lot of shots (just 22), but he managed to stay sharp throughout and stop some tough ones. A puck directed in off the skate of Nik Antropov was the only “shot” to beat him. Notes after the jump. 

•The Flyers generated some quality scoring opportunities, but couldn’t solve Thrashers goalie Chris Mason despite piling 43 shots on him. 

•The importance of shot totals (or lack thereof) was on display again: Per the postgame notes, it was the 15th time the Flyers have registered 38 or more shots, and their record in those games is just 7-6-2, with five of the losses being shutouts. Hockey’s a sport where “snakebitten” is a reality, and the goal that beat Bobrovsky being the sole marker in a game the Flyers dramatically outshot their opponent is a good illustration. It was mind boggling that some of these shots didn’t go in. It was part bad luck, but there were definitely some opportunities squandered by not getting the puck over Mason’s outstretched pads. 

•Evander Kane frustrated the Flyers again, and not just by earning his fourth point in as many games against them this season when assisting on the game’s lone goal. Kane also drew two penalties, with one in particular involving some flair for the dramatic. Soon after catching Andrej Meszaros with his butt end while throwing his hands up to avoid a Big Mesz, cutting Meszaros’ nose in the process, Kane would throw his own head back on a subsequent contact by Meszaros for a penalty. 

•Great night for the PK unit, which absolutely smothered the Thrashers over six power plays. Unfortunately, the Flyers’ power play unit was almost as impotent and just as ineffective. 

•Jeff Carter had a great opportunity to tie the game in the waning seconds, but couldn’t get it past Mason after a Mike Richards shot caught iron. 

The loss wasn’t the end of the world, nor cause for ritual sharting, but it’s an exercise in optimism to look for the bright side in getting shut out. Overall, they outplayed the Thrashers for much of the game, put a lot of shots on net, and got a very good showing from their rookie goalie. Fortunately, they won’t have to play Atlanta in the playoffs, because that team just has their number lately. But the Flyers aren’t out of the woods yet, failing to win consecutive games for the fourth straight opportunity. It’s looking likely the they will enter the playoffs with some questions to answer, and not just the annual one between the pipes.

In lieu of highlights: 



THRASHERS AT FLYERS THIRD PERIOD THREAD So apparently Nick Boynton is on the Flyers. How ’bout…

E0861b9256bd8156b8a8e4079a3659a6-getty-102636951jm040_atlanta_thra

THRASHERS AT FLYERS THIRD PERIOD THREAD

So apparently Nick Boynton is on the Flyers. How ’bout that.

No scores, lots of snores. And penalties. Who doesn’t like penalties?





THRASHERS AT FLYERS SECOND PERIOD THREAD Uneventful period, although some Thrasher did get…

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THRASHERS AT FLYERS SECOND PERIOD THREAD

Uneventful period, although some Thrasher did get throroughly Meszed there at the end.

Still a lot of puck sliding around the ice left before this one ends.





Flyers-Thrashers: Presidents, Starters, and Captains edition

MAAAASSSSONNNN A home game against the Atlanta Thrashers coming off of a solid road win at Pittsburgh with another road game tomorrow in Jersey could be plenty challenging for the Flyers, who have struggled against Atlanta recently. After the Thrashers won both of the previous meetings between these teams in March, the three games don’t look quite as enticing as they did heading into the final full month of the regular season. A clunker of a third period resulted in a big Atlanta comeback and OT win in the first of the March matchups, which was followed by a shootout loss in Atlanta five days later. Although both games ended with a sympathy point, the Flyers lacked the ability to finish off an inferior opponent, albeit one that was fighting for its playoff chances.

Tonight, the Thrashers trail the playoffs by 11 points and at least three teams—a rather large hill to climb with only six games remaining. They either need to play with a win-out mentality tonight, or they’ll be golfing before they know it. Will the Flyers match that intensity if the Thrashers can conjure it? 

A few more notes after the jump. Richie, Bob, Briere, and the President’s Trophy… 

•Atlanta has had a March not unlike the Flyers’ own, trading wins for losses and a fair amount of OT games. They’re coming off a loss at Montreal, but they haven’t lost back-to-back games since the first and third of the month.

•Chris Mason will be in net for Atlanta, facing presumed playoff starter Sergei Bobrovsky, who is coming off of his third victory over the Penguins this season and an impressive 37-save performance on Long Island. Another confidence booster at home tonight wouldn’t hurt. 

•Glad to see the Briere line had a great game last time out, reminding the Flyers’ potential playoff opponents that they’ll have three (3) bona fide scoring lines to counter over a seven (7) game series. Last time the Thrashers were in town, Ville Leino netted a hat trick (pictured above, though it should be noted that Mason was only in goal for the third, and of course Atlanta did still win that one). 

•I just returned from some time out of town, where I was able to mostly ignore the latest white noise over the Mike Richards captaincy/strained media relations. I guess, like the goaltending situation, we have little chance of hearing the end of this until the Flyers hoist a Cup, but I’m not even holding out much hope for after that either. My opinion? Nothing to see here.  

•Vancouver can lock up the President’s Trophy with a win tonight and a Flyers loss. This would be the least effective motivational tool in Peter Laviolette’s arsenal tonight. 

•It’s Bill Barber’s turn to be honored at home tonight, with his number banner from the Spectrum handed to him before the game. 

•It’s time to put this lousy Smarch weather behind us, ending a dreary month with consecutive wins and looking ahead to what could be a pretty amazing spring in Philly. 



Philly March Madness: (2) Chase Utley vs. (11) Cole Hamels

Over the next few weeks at The700Level, we’ll be posting poll matchups as part of our Philly March Madness competition. Examine the cases of the two fine Philadelphia athletes below, and cast your vote at the bottom as to which you think should advance to the next round. And as always, feel free to explain your selection and/or debate the choices in the comments section.

Please coninue to send us your personal stories and rememberances of the various Philly athletes suggested to 700fantasy@gmail.com. In the meantime, take a read through some of the relevant career stats amassed by these legendary athletes during their time in Philadelphia.

Utley
(2) Chase Utley

Games Played: 1006

Home Runs: 177

RBIs: 650

HBPs: 125

Average OPS: 894

All-Star Apperances: Five (’06-’10)

Playoff Appearances: Four (’07-’10)

World Series Appearances: Two (’08 & ’09)

World Series Championships: One (’08)

Hamels
(11) Cole Hamels

Games Started: 149

Win-Loss Record: 60-45

Average ERA: 3.53

Average WHIP: 1.176

All-Star Appearances: One (’07)

Playoff Appearances: Four (’07-’10)

World Series Championships & MVPs: One (’08)

Bracket16

Second-Round Results:

West Bracket:

(1) Julius Erving (80.4%) over (8) Simon Gagne (19.6%)
(4) Randall Cunningham (65.6%) over (5) Eric Lindros (34.4%)
(11) Cole Hamels (78.6%) over (14) Tug McGraw (22.4%)
(2) Chase Utley (95.9%) over (7) Darren Daulton (4.1%)

Midwest Bracket:

(1) Mark Howe (52.2%) over (9) Rod Brind’Amour (47.8%)
(5) Brian Westbrook (58.9%) over (4) Mike Richards (41.1%)
(3) Jimmy Rollins (72.7%) over (6) John LeClair (27.3%)
(2) Allen Iverson (90.5%) over (7) Lenny Dykstra (9.5%)

West Bracket:

(1) Mike Schmidt (95.3%) over (9) Wilbert Montgomery (4.7%)
(4) Ron Hextall (84.8%) over (5) Ron Jaworski (15.2%)
(3) Brian Dawkins (96.8%) over (6) Mike Quick (3.2%)
(15) Carlos Ruiz (59.2%) over (7) Mo Cheeks (40.8%)

South Bracket:

(1) Reggie White (91.0%) over (9) Troy Vincent (9.0%)
(4) Ryan Howard (77.5%) over (5) Pete Rose (22.5%)
(3) Donovan McNabb (72.8%) over (6) Pelle Lindberg (27.2%)
(2) Charles Barkley (79.5%) over (10) Jerome Brown (20.5%)

 



Game 77, Discussion Thread: Atlanta Thrashers at Philadelphia Flyers

Photo

Thrashers_blue_medium Flyers_orange_medium

#11 Atlanta Thrashers (32-32-12, 76 pts) at #1 Philadelphia Flyers (46-20-10, 102 pts)

7:00 p.m. tonight at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia

Catch the action on CSN Philly HD, SportSouth HD and 610 WIP

[Game Page] – [Atlanta Perspective]

Tonight’s goaltenders:


GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
Sergei Bobrovsky 49 2761 28 11 116 2.52 1397 1281 .917 0


GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
Chris Mason 30 1541 12 11 87 3.39 807 720 .892 0

 

After the jump, lineups, questions to answer and our in-game chat.

Flyers Projected Lineup

Hartnell – Briere – Leino
Nodl – Giroux – Carter
JVR – Richards – Versteeg
Powe – Betts – Carcillo

Timonen – Coburn
Carle – Meszaros
Boynton – SOD

Scratches: Jody Shelley (eye), Nikolay Zherdev (healthy), Chris Pronger (hand), Oskars Bartulis (shoulder)

Atlanta Projected Lineup

Ladd – Little – Wheeler
Kane – Schremp – Antropov
Maxwell – Stapleton – Stewart
Boulton – Burmistrov – Thorburn

Bogosian – Enstrom
Byfuglien – Hainsey
Stuart – Oduya

Questions to Answer

  1. Are the Atlanta Thrashers still mathematically alive in the playoff race by the end of the night?
  2. The Briere line was great in Pittsburgh. More?
  3. As was the power play. More?
  4. Can the Flyers simplify the game and bring a “road style” game to home ice?
  5. Bob was great in Pittsburgh, as well as last Saturday in New York. Three straight games would go a long way towards building the playoff confidence. Yes?

Go Flyers.





On Chase Utley’s Knee and the Origins of Public Panic

I’m sure you’ve all seen this movie before, but go to about 2:35 in this video and watch until 3:45. The important text is below:

You know… You know what I’ve noticed? Nobody panics when things go “according to plan.” Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it’s all “part of the plan.” But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!
Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos.

I intend to apply this logic to the effect that Chase Utley‘s knee injury has had on the fan base. You see, what’s bothered me, at least, about Utley’s injury is not that the Phillies will be without the services of Chase Utley, who is fifth all-time in rWAR for the first eight years of a second baseman’s career (the top 4? Jackie Robinson, Eddie Collins, Joe Gordon, and Frankie Frisch, all Hall-of-Famers). Rather, it’s that I don’t know how long he’ll be out. And here’s why.

It was Sir Francis Bacon, the famous English Renaissance philosopher, scientist, and breakfast food enthusiast, who said “Knowledge is power.” Knowledge allows us to make more informed decisions. In political science, individuals and states are often assumed to act as rational, self-interested utility maximizers with incomplete information. What this means is that, given limited knowledge, they can be expected to pursue the most favorable outcome. When they don’t, that failure is often attributed to uncertainty about the environment.

Uncertainty or an information vacuum leads to panic. In the wake of the recent natural disaster in Japan, a lot of fuss was made over here about the potential meltdown of one or more Japanese nuclear power plants, and the world-ending consequences that could ensue. This is the result of an information vacuum by caused by the refusal of the Japanese authorities to discuss a “worst-case scenario,” which they (the Japanese) find so unlikely as to not warrant mention. In reality, there’s almost nothing to worry about, certainly not for people on our side of the Pacific, but in the absence of information, the public groupthink went into a state of paranoid hypochondria.

Philly sports fans are used to having our stars injured. Donovan McNabb’s broken ankle in 2002, or Terrell Owens’ broken leg in 2004 could have incited panic. Or how about Eric Lindros’ seemingly never-ending series of concussions? McNabb and Owens were both slated to come back in a couple months, and in the meantime, lesser players filled the void. Life was not the same, but in neither case did anyone seem to really panic.

Or how about Lindros? It was widely considered that, after a terrible 1999-2000 in which he suffered a collapsed lung, another concussion, and had feuded with management to the point where he was stripped of his captaincy, it was all but certain that Lindros’s time as a Flyer was up: terrible news for the Flyers. But still, no one panicked, Keith Primeau and Daymond Lagkow filled in, and everyone lived.

Not so with Utley. Chase Utley‘s knee is an enigma, a Gordian knot that will keep Utley out of the lineup until some unspecified date between tomorrow and the end of recorded time. I’ve heard “he’ll be back to full strength by Memorial Day” and I’ve also heard “this is the end of Utley as an everyday second baseman.” Most of all, I’ve heard this absolutely idiotic trend of people picking anyone but the Phillies to win the NL East. And I get the feeling that people are only saying this because of the uncertainty that comes without having a date certain for Utley’s return. I mean, the Phillies have four second basemen (Valdez, Martinez, Orr, and Polanco) on their Opening Day roster, and they ought to be able to cobble together something that works.

The point is, if Utley were just “out for 2011,” we’d deal with it, get comfortable with his replacement or replacements, and reevaluate the situation (and our expectations) accordingly. But the Phillies either don’t know the extent of and solution to Utley’s injury, or they know and won’t tell the public. Left with no rational course of action regarding Utley, we, as the Phillies’ fan base, have taken the only course of action left for us: irrational panic.

I hate to keep drawing on movies, but the key to solving any crisis situation is to slow down and gather as much information as possible, then make an informed decision about a course of action. As long as we’re being kept in the dark about Chase Utley‘s knee, that isn’t possible, and we’re left with no choice but to panic.



What Philly Is Overreacting To: The Phillies’ Injuries

Stool If baseball games are won in the hearts and minds of fans, the Phillies have already lost. Chase Utley would be the perfect metaphor for this team right now, as they come limping a bit more literally into the regular season with a pair of players who will return to the diamond, well, whenever they get around to it.

We’ve all experienced together the doom and gloom side of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Unstoppable forces have met immovable objects. What’s meant to be turned out was not to be. The fear is the Phillies, for all their aces, all their accolades, all the hype, will somehow fall short of our expectations, lofty as they are.

They will not be undone in April though. The Phils will begin this season without two critical pieces, and those absences will undoubtedly be felt in ninth innings and clutch situations. Still, it’s a little early to be hitting the panic button, don’t you think?

Utley will be back. Let’s say for the sake of discussion it’s not until after the All Star break, and the Phillies would have to scrape by for the next three months or so.

Raise your hand if you think they’ll be out of the pennant race at that point. Shoot, raise your hand if you think they won’t be in first place.

That’s not intended as a slight on the rest of the NL East. The Phillies are just that good. They still have five All Stars and two Most Valuable Players in the starting lineup. They still have four aces, two Cy Youngs, and a World Series MVP in their rotation.

With or without Utley, the team is going to be right there. You could make the case the Fightins could win the whole thing without him., that’s how loaded they are. The fact that he’s expected back is a bonus.

And before you go all he might not be 100% on me, that’s fine. 50% of Chase Utley is better than most second basemen. It’s not ideal, but stick him in the lineup somewhere, and he’s going to make good things happen through sheer determination.

Brad Lidge… okay. This certainly is a concern, but again, not so much because he’s going to miss a portion of the season. With his ever ongoing durability issues, and one very forgettable ’09 season lingering in the rear view mirror, it’s becoming harder and harder to gamble on his success.

Which isn’t to say there definitely will be rocky roads ahead either. Maybe Lidge returns healthy, and it’s Lights Out again.

Or maybe not. Here’s the good news though: this gives them plenty of time to sort it out. I would imagine there will be a few save situations before Lidge returns, perhaps even a handful in April. (Hey, you don’t know with this caliber starting pitching.) So it stands to reason that if something should happen and Lidge can’t go again, or simply doesn’t have it, Charlie Manuel will know where to turn.

And if nobody takes the ball? Supposing it can’t be Madson—or Contreras, or Romero, or even Matthieson—why not deal for another closer? Certainly there should be some idea as to whether there is a finisher in that bullpen by July 31.

Honestly, it’s hardly worth getting distressed over so early, not with the roto they have.

Injuries? You haven’t seen injuries. Yeah, the rest of the team isn’t exactly a picture of health. Placido Polanco has a banged up elbow. Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard both missed significant time last season. They’re all pretty much in their 30′s, which Matt P. can tell you means everything breaks easier.

It would be foolish not to acknowledge an increasing number of injuries could derail the Phillies’ season, just as it could any team in any sport. It’s the nature of the game.

Well you can only worry about what you know. Utley and Lidge are hurting. That’s not a good start, but it’s April. Right now, both guys are expected back wellll before the post-season begins.

That’s what’s important. While anything could happen between now and October, the Phillies not reaching the playoffs should be the last thing on anybody’s mind. What they look like when they get there, that’s a little more difficult to predict, but a couple of injuries on Opening Day shouldn’t leave anybody believing this season is spiraling out of control.

Yet.



BSH Radio 35, Part 3: Live From A Saturday Night In Glens Falls, NY

Geoff saw a Jeremy Duchesne jersey on the concourse of the Glens Falls Civic Center. He chased the man, but couldn't get his attention before he disappeared over the horizon. Photo via Flickr.

It’s Part 3 of BSH Radio’s trip to Glens Falls, New York! Isn’t that exciting?

Okay, we’ll admit: this Part 3 isn’t full of much hockey talk, but we do start out talking a bit about our impressions of the Phantoms and their local fans after a second night of hockey in upstate NY. Of course,  we’re doing this talking while, uh, “preparing” for a night out in Saratoga. It involved beverages. Draw your own conclusions. 

So this episode is a little out there, but that’s not to say it’s not entertaining radio. You even get to hear a fight between Don and Geoff, which is pretty hilarious to even just think about. And yes, somewhere in there you might find some redeemable hockey talk. Maybe. 

Get the show after the jump.





Philly March Madness: (1) Julius Erving vs. (4) Randall Cunningham

Over the next few weeks at The700Level, we’ll be posting poll matchups as part of our Philly March Madness competition. Examine the cases of the two fine Philadelphia athletes below, and cast your vote at the bottom as to which you think should advance to the next round. And as always, feel free to explain your selection and/or debate the choices in the comments section.

Please coninue to send us your personal stories and rememberances of the various Philly athletes suggested to 700fantasy@gmail.com. In the meantime, take a read through some of the relevant career stats amassed by these legendary athletes during their time in Philadelphia.

  Erving
(1) Julius Erving

Games Played: 836

Points Scored: 18,364

Points-Per-Game Average: 22.0

All-Star Games: 11 (’77-’87)

All-NBA First Teams: 5 (’78, ’80-’83)

Post-Season Appearances: 11 (’77-’87)

Finals Reached: Four (’77, ’80, ’81, ’83)

Championships: One (’83)

MVPs: One (’81)

Cunningham
(4) Randall Cunningham

Games Started: 107

Passing Yards: 22,877

Passing Touchdowns: 150

Rushing Yards: 4,482

Rushing Touchdowns: 32

Post-Season Appearances: Five (’88-’90, ’92, ’95)

Pro-Bowl Seasons: Three (’88-’90)

Pro Footballs Writers Assocation MVPs: One (’90)

Bracket16

Second-Round Results:

West Bracket:

(1) Julius Erving (80.4%) over (8) Simon Gagne (19.6%)
(4) Randall Cunningham (65.6%) over (5) Eric Lindros (34.4%)
(11) Cole Hamels (78.6%) over (14) Tug McGraw (22.4%)
(2) Chase Utley (95.9%) over (7) Darren Daulton (4.1%)

Midwest Bracket:

(1) Mark Howe (52.2%) over (9) Rod Brind’Amour (47.8%)
(5) Brian Westbrook (58.9%) over (4) Mike Richards (41.1%)
(3) Jimmy Rollins (72.7%) over (6) John LeClair (27.3%)
(2) Allen Iverson (90.5%) over (7) Lenny Dykstra (9.5%)

West Bracket:

(1) Mike Schmidt (95.3%) over (9) Wilbert Montgomery (4.7%)
(4) Ron Hextall (84.8%) over (5) Ron Jaworski (15.2%)
(3) Brian Dawkins (96.8%) over (6) Mike Quick (3.2%)
(15) Carlos Ruiz (59.2%) over (7) Mo Cheeks (40.8%)

South Bracket:

(1) Reggie White (91.0%) over (9) Troy Vincent (9.0%)
(4) Ryan Howard (77.5%) over (5) Pete Rose (22.5%)
(3) Donovan McNabb (72.8%) over (6) Pelle Lindberg (27.2%)
(2) Charles Barkley (79.5%) over (10) Jerome Brown (20.5%)



The Two O’Clock Number

Bill Barber's Hall of Fame plaque. He basically looks the same today, actually.

– The number of Hockey Hall of Famer Bill Barber. He spent his entire 12-year NHL career here as a Philadelphia Flyer, and of course, he won two Stanley Cups here as well. He scored 883 points in those 12 seasons. 

Tonight at the Wells Fargo Center, he’ll receive his No. 7 banner that hung for years in the Spectrum. Here’s part of what he told the media earlier this week about that ceremony.

I can’t thank the Flyers enough for where I am today and being part of it.  I have always been proud to have a longevity of being part of them there for 30 straight years and not having to change teams as a player, which I took a lot of pride in.  I believe in honor and all of the good things that go along with staying with one team.  I was very privileged to be drafted in ’72 and come in to Philly and spend my career here.  It’s been great.





Help BSH Vote For The Bobby Clarke Trophy

Tried my best to crop Ryan Parent out of this picture.

Each year, the Philadelphia Flyers hand out a few team awards, as voted on by the media, and this year, we have the honor of holding a ballot. We’re passing our vote along to you. We’ve already voted on the Barry Ashbee Trophy and the Yanick Dupre Class Guy Memorial Award.

Today, it’s the last vote — for Team MVP, or the Bobby Clarke Trophy. 

After the jump, we’ll go over some of the top nominees. The poll is also after the jump.

Jeff Carter

Very quietly, Carter is having the season he’s been known for. 35 goals is already the second best season he’s ever had in terms of goal production, and we still have six games to go in the regular season. Sure, if he didn’t miss 106 shots so far this season he’d probably be closer to his best season ever (46 goals), but that’s just an unfortunate truth with Carter at this point. He’s not that accurate. Aside from that, there’s not much to gripe about. 

He’s a goal scorer. He scores goals. Without him, where are the Flyers?

Claude Giroux

If you take G out of the Flyers lineup, you don’t only lose his 25 goals, but you also lose a sizable chunk of offense from all the other players. He leads the team with 46 assists, and if he wasn’t around, it’s unlikely that James van Riemsdyk would be having such a strong season either.

He’s one of those guys that makes everybody around him better (cliche, sorry). Where would the Flyers be without him?

Andrej Meszaros

His addition to the third pairing has been extremely valuable. Without him, that unit isn’t anywhere near the level of play that they’ve performed at all season. Sean O`Donnell does cover up for his mistakes at times, but we’d be lying if we said Mez wasn’t the more versatile player. He hasn’t replaced Chris Pronger during No. 20′s two injured reserve stints this year, but his presence in the lineup has certainly cushioned the blow.

Chris Pronger

Just going to re-post this chart from Eric’s story the other day

Corsi_trends_and_the_pronger_effect_medium

Yeah, he’s important. 

Mike Richards

Mike isn’t having one of the better offensive years of his career, but he still has 21 goals and 41 assists. Not a slouch at all. And of course, he’s always strong in his defensive zone. Without him, Andreas Nodl might not still be on the team. Without him, there is no shutdown line to … um, shutdown the opposition’s best. 

Richards can score here and there, but that’s not where his real value comes from. It might not be flashy, but where would the Flyers be without Richie?

Kimmo Timonen

Simply put, Timonen has been the best defenseman on the team by just about every metric this season. He’s a work horse, he plays injured just about every single night and he’s a hell of a leader (intangibles!). He plays tough minutes, in all situations and is certainly the most underrated player on the team. Where would the Flyers be without him, especially in the wake of the Pronger injuries?

Poll
Who should get our vote for the Bobby Clarke Trophy?
Sergei Bobrovsky
3 votes

Danny Briere
15 votes

Jeff Carter
28 votes

Claude Giroux
261 votes

Ville Leino
2 votes

Andrej Meszaros
20 votes

Chris Pronger
14 votes

Mike Richards
21 votes

Kimmo Timonen
82 votes

446 votes

| Poll has closed





Roy Halladay On the Importance of Chase Utley’s Leadership to the Phillies

Chase.Utley.dugout.Charlie.Manuel
Chase Utley may not be on the field on Friday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park when the first pitch of the 2011 season comes out of Roy Halladay’s hand, but No. 26 will be in the dugout sitting alongside Charlie Manuel and the rest of his teammates. The importance of the quiet leader’s presence can’t be underestimated, at least according to the 2010 Cy Young Award winner.

“The fact that he’s here is big for this team. I know at some point he’s going to go do his rehab stuff, but as good as he is on the field…” Roy Halladay said on Wednesday after the team’s final On-Deck Series tune up in Philadelphia when asked about what Chase Utley means to the Phillies .

Doc continued, “The best part about him is his demeanor off the field, his demeanor in the clubhouse, his work ethic. Guys see that. Even now, watching guys come in and see him doing his rehab, it’s a huge presence in the clubhouse. I’m really glad that he’s here doing that and not in Florida doing that because I think he’s a big part of this team whether he’s on or off the field. He still contributes when he’s not playing. I’m definitely glad he’s here. We’d love to have him on the field, but you can’t underestimate the kind of influence that he has on the clubhouse.”

As many fans of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia know, the force is strong in Chase Utley. His mere presence is felt by even the greatest pitcher in the game. If Roy Halladay recognizes and appreciates Chase Utley trying to work his way back to the baseball field, imagine the kind of impact it can have on some of the greener guys on the club.

Fans in attendance on Friday won’t get to hear Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir, but Chase will be there. His teammates are well aware of that fact.



Harry Kalas Statue to Stand at Citizens Bank Park


In a press release from the Phillies, they have announced the acceptance of the Harry Kalas statue built by Larry Nolan:

The Phillies have gratefully accepted the fan-funded gift of a 7½-foot bronze statue of Harry Kalas for placement at Citizens Bank Park, Mike Stiles, Senior Vice President, Administration and Operations, announced today.  The statue was presented to the Phillies as a gift from Dear Harry, Inc., a fan-based group organized solely to create a statue dedicated to the memory of the Phillies Hall of Fame broadcaster.  The sculptor, Lawrence J. Nowlan, has received important commissions for public sculpture across the country and overseas.

“A group of us from the Phillies went to the Laran Bronze Foundry in Chester to see the statue for the first time a few weeks ago,” said Stiles.  “We were very impressed.  It’s a wonderful likeness of Harry that really captures his spirit.  There are interesting details that I don’t want to give away.  I think fans will be very excited to see this statue of Harry at the ballpark.

“The Phillies are very grateful to all the fans who contributed to this effort, as well as to Larry Nowlan for his impressive work.  We accept the gift, with gratitude, in honor of the memory of our beloved colleague and friend, Harry Kalas.”

Details about the location of the statue at the ballpark and date and time of the unveiling have yet to be determined.

Tonight at McFaddens, there will be a pre-Opening Day celebration that was originally meant to be a fund-raiser. Here are the details for tonight’s party down at the ballpark, we hope you can make it out.

The party starts at 8pm with dollar beers for the first two hours. Mr. Greengenes will be providing the music and local celebrities will be tending bar. Also, King Bee Memorabilia will be running an auction to help raise money for the Harry Kalas statue project which is almost complete. We hope to see you there!

Come to the party