Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sixers - Bulls live blog

Saturday, November 29, 2008

2009 NFL Mock Draft

courtesy of
Published by NFL scout Frank Coyle and staff @ Draft

1st Round

1. Detroit * Matthew Stafford QB Georgia
2. Kansas City * Michael Crabtree WR Texas Tech
3. Cincinnati Michael Oher OT Mississippi
4. Oakland * Jeremy Maclin WR Missouri
5. St. Louis * Vontae Davis CB Illinois
6. Seattle Brian Orakpo DE Texas
7. San Francisco Rey Maualuga LB Southern Cal
8. Houston Aaron Curry LB Wake Forest
9. San Diego * Andre Smith OT Alabama
10. Cleveland * Chris Wells RB Ohio St
11. Jacksonville * Taylor Mays FS Southern Cal
12. Buffalo James Laurinaitis LB Ohio St
13. Chicago Michael Johnson DE Georgia Tech
14. Minnesota * Tim Tebow QB Florida
15. New Orleans Malcolm Jenkins CB Ohio St.
16. Green Bay * Jermaine Gresham TE Oklahoma
17. Philadelphia Eugene Monroe OT Virginia
18. Miami Clint Sintim LB Virginia
19. Atlanta * Percy Harvin WR Florida
20. New England * Everette Brown DE Florida St
21. Detroit (Dallas) * George Selvie DE South Florida
22. Denver William Moore FS Missouri
23. Indianapolis * Peria Jerry DT Mississippi
24. Washington * Greg Middleton DE Indiana
25. Baltimore Alphonso Smith CB Wake Forest
26. NY Jets Brian Cushing LB Southern Cal
27. Tampa Bay Jason Smith OT Baylor
28. Arizona * Knowshon Moreno RB Georgia
29. Pittsburgh * Darrius Heyward-Bey WR Maryland
30. Phil (Carolina) Duke Robinson OG Oklahoma
31. New York Giants Derrick Williams WR Penn St.
32. Tennessee Alex Mack OC California

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hurricanes Halt Flyers' Six-Game Win Streak

by Bob Herpen
The Phanatic Magazine

Sergei Samsonov’s goal with 1:07 remaining in overtime lifted the Carolina Hurricanes to a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Center.

Samsonov followed a dump-in on the left wing from linemate Matt Cullen, collected the puck near the circle, cut in front of Flyers defenseman Matt Carle and stuck a forehander past goaltender Martin Biron.

"You try to get as much speed as you can to avoid the pokecheck," Samsonov said of his winning goal. "Once I got to the net, I had more room than I thought, so I just tried to squeeze one by."

For the former Calder Trophy winner, it was only his second goal of the season, one which halted Philadelphia’s season-best six-game win streak.

Patrick Dwyer netted his first career goal and Tuomo Ruutu also tallied for Carolina, which snapped a three-game losing streak. Cam Ward made 24 stops to register his eighth win of the season.

Jeff Carter scored his league-best 16th goal in defeat for Philly, which still has registered a point in its last nine games (7-0-2). Joffrey Lupul also lit the lamp while Biron stopped 28 shots in suffering his first non-shootout defeat since November 8.

Carter’s power-play goal momentarily reversed momentum late in the second period and knotted the game, 2-2.

With Ruutu in the box for interference, Carle set up at the right point and dished low to Lupul at the edge of the left circle. His pass to the slot found Carter for a nifty backhander to put the winger temporarily one ahead of Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek for the league lead.

Each side wasted a power-play chance in the scoreless third period.

Both clubs appeared to have a holiday hangover, playing relatively passionless, systematic hockey until the Flyers got the first break of the contest late in the opening 20 minutes.

Lupul picked up his eighth goal of the season – a power-play marker – with a bit of luck. Carter dished to Lupul, who was 20 feet from the net along the goal line and his attempted pass across to Scott Hartnell hit the stick of Hurricanes defenseman Jonio Pitkanen and deflected high over Ward.

The home club had several golden opportunities to seize control of the game early in the second period, but Ward was brilliant to stop breakaways by Scottie Upshall and Carter.

On Carter’s rush, he had three-quarters of the ice alone on a short-handed break, but after several stick fakes pushed a weak backhander on goal which Ward brushed aside.

In addition, the orange and black – sporting their new retro third jerseys – had a goal taken away from them early in the period.

Mike Richards finished off a 4-on-2 break for a goal which would have put the club in control 2-0 at 5:32, but the play was apparently whistled dead some time before due to a bench minor penalty.

Carolina then snapped back with a pair of goals 1:08 apart to take a 2-1 advantage.

First, Dwyer earned his first career goal by setting up a screen in front of Biron and tipping in Pitkanen’s wrister from the slot at 15:00. Then, Ruutu’s off-balance prayer from the bottom of the right circle sailed through traffic, off the left post and into the net.

"We had some great opportunities that we didn't capitalize on," Flyers head coach John Stevens said. "We let them hang around and because of that, they end up winning the hockey game."

Phils sign local pitcher

The Phillies have agreed to a contract with 32-year-old righthander Mike Koplove to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.

Koplove played his high school ball at Chestnut Hill Academy and his college ball at the University of Delaware.

He has appeared in only seven major league games since 2005, when he went 2-1 with a 5.07 ERA in 44 appearances for Arizona.

In 222 career appearances, he has pitched 254 2/3 innings, going 15-7 with a 3.82 ERA with 175 strikeouts, 103 walks, and an average of 1.312 walks/hits allowed per inning pitched.

Wasted Talent

When I think about Stephon Marbury's career, I can't help hearing Lorenzo "the bus driver" from 'A Bronx Tale' in my ear.

For those of you who may have overlooked this gem of a film, 'A Bronx Tale' is the 1993 directorial debut of the brilliant Robert De Niro. The movie is set in New York City during the turbulent 1960s and follows the path of a young man guided by two distinctly different father figures, played by De Niro and Chazz Palminteri.

In one of the better scenes, Lorenzo (De Niro) tells his son Calogero (played by Lillo Brancato Jr.), "The saddest thing in life is wasted talent."

The enigmatic Marbury has evidently never seen the film.

Professional sports is filled with underachievers like Marbury. Guys with unbelievable talent that throw it away on vices ranging from to women to drugs to plain old fashioned hubris.

I'm not sure if stupidity qualifies as a vice but if it does, Stephon should be headed to the next anonymous meeting with the other 12-steppers intent on turning their lives around.

Stephon Marbury has not played this season and has been at odds with new coach Mike D'Antoni.
Marbury has not played this season and has been at odds with new coach Mike D'Antoni, who had planned to use the Brooklyn native in a very limited role since...well...Marbury is a jackass.

Few blamed D'Antoni for wanting to go with guys with far less talent, and the early results were promising. The Knicks were finally turning things around, albeit slowly, and dreaming of the day they could make a run at LeBron James.

New York's roster situation changed dramatically last week when they began clearing cap space for the inevitable run at LeBron and dealt guards Jamal Crawford and Mardy Collins. So, D'Antoni needed Marbury, if only for a few games.

Instead of looking in the mirror, taking self-inventory and recognizing a chance to prove everyone who thinks he is a lost cause wrong, Marbury balked at playing and ripped the well-regarded D'Antoni in the process.

"I wouldn't trust him to walk my dog across the street," Marbury reportedly said of D'Antoni.

Personally, I think the canine would relish spending time with D'Antoni over Marbury if it had a choice.

The Marbury era in New York is mercifully coming to an end and the Knicks finally suspended the petulant one on Friday.

It was a toothless penalty considering the former All-Star guard was docked one game's pay and an additional 1/110th of his massive $21.9 million dollar salary for refusing to play against the Pistons.

"A player's central obligation is to provide his professional services when called upon," Knicks president Donnie Walsh said in making the announcement. "Because he refused the coach's request to play in the team's last game, we had no choice but to impose disciplinary action."

Marbury's central obligation is to himself.

Always has been. Always will be.

Wasted talent indeed.

Jean-Gilles has broken ankle

Andy Reid confirmed Friday that guard Max Jean-Gilles does have a broken ankle and will have surgery early next week. Reid describe the injury as similar to what Shawn Andrews had his rookie.

Meanwhile, Andrews has returned to Philadelphia and trainer Rick Burkholder and Reid are expected to meet with him today.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Samuel, Buckhalter are doubtful

The Eagles will likely face the Cardinals on Thanksgiving without starting cornerback Asante Samuel or backup running back Correll Buckhalter. Both are listed as doubtful.

Samuel has a neck injury and Buckhalter has a knee injury.

Starting running back Brian Westbrook is questionable with knee and ankle problems.

Papa battling cancer again

6ABC sports director Gary Papa, 54, revealed to an awards dinner last Thursday night that he is battling prostate cancer for the third time.

Papa was initially diagnosed in 2004, then again in 2006.

Runyan on GMA

Eagles right tackle Jon Runyan and his family were featured on Good Morning America earlier today. The family shared a
couple family recipes while celebrating Thanksgiving a little earlier than usual, since Jon will spend Thursday playing the Arizona Cardinals.

Click to watch...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's DMac's turn

On how he found out that he was named the starter for the game vs. Arizona:

“(Jokingly) I was told by the janitor. Me and him have a pretty good relationship around here. It was a pretty good conversation that we had.”

On whether he’s confident that he can play at a high level:

“I know I will. I think the rest of the guys know that as well. You look at the things that have happened, and it’s kind of uncharacteristic of me and I know that. It’s something that you have to battle through, playing the position. Not everyone goes through a perfect season. Some guys go through a little drama at the beginning, some go through it at the end. It’s unfortunate that I’m going through it right now, but it’s easy to bounce back from it. That’s the way that I’m going to continue to approach this and I look forward to making changes this week.”

On whether sitting out the 2nd half at Baltimore helped him clear his head:

“I don’t think so. A lot of it is, you’re a competitor. It’s no different, really, than basketball or baseball. If you’re a little off, you keep shooting. That’s the way I feel like you get out of a little drought, if you continue to keep firing, things are going to turn out for the better. That’s going to be my approach, but we all need to go in there with a little different mindset, of obviously, taking care of the ball. It’s nothing to the fact that I’m going to be gun-shy or anything. I’m going to stay aggressive, just keep playing ball and having fun in the process.”

On the confidence level of the other players on the team in him:

“I think, at this particular point, you have to still have confidence in yourself first before you look around to someone else. You have to ask yourself, ‘Are you doing your job to the fullest?’ That’s something that I continue to do and I’ve been doing throughout my career. Also, to have the understanding that, if I elevate my game to another level, then everyone else will begin to follow. You have to put pressure on yourself individually to go out and be that guy to turn things around; to make that big play to put us all in position to win the game. If all 53 guys do that, then we don’t have any problems. We’re in a situation right now where it’s must-win and we have to turn this thing around, on the offensive side, and take pressure off of our defense and special teams and get back to the way we were playing.”

On the point when struggles become more a matter of “father time” than just a slump:

“I don’t think it’s ‘father time.’ You look at what [Tennessee QB] Kerry Collins and [New York QB] Brett [Favre] and [Arizona QB] Kurt Warner and what those guys are doing. Then, you look at guys in my age bracket, so to speak, we have [Indianapolis QB] Peyton [Manning], and [New England QB] Tom’s [Brady] not too much younger. The list goes on of guys that are in the 30-and-over crew. You go through some droughts. Peyton didn’t start out this year as well as he wanted to, it’s unfortunate what happened to Tom, and [Jacksonville QB] David Garrard’s not playing as well as he wanted to. What I have to do is just make sure that I do the right things coming into Thursday’s game, playing against a tough Arizona team; take care of the football and get us in great position to score points.”

On being on a short leash for the rest of the season and when the last time he had an experience like this was:

“Never. I wouldn’t even look at it like I’m on a short leash. I don’t think that’s a way of looking at it. I think a lot of people can make assumptions of what happened in the past game, but I look at it as me just playing football and doing what I’m supposed to do at the position. Everything will take care of itself.”

On how he balances making big plays with being careful with the football:

“It’s just being smart with the ball. If you have that opportunity to go downfield and you see that, maybe, they’re running even, or whatever it may be, and you have the opportunity to pick up the first down by hitting the check-down, hit the check-down. Use your legs to pick up the first down, keep the chains moving, because what that does is it provides confidence for the offensive side, knowing that, ‘okay we’re running positive plays, we’re moving the chains, and we’re putting ourselves in the red zone.’ Again, keep that same mentality. If there’s an opportunity to throw a touchdown pass or check it down, whatever is smarter at that particular time, do that. I think it’s something that you learn as you continue to be in this league and in that position and you try to be steady with it.”

On whether his relationship with Andy Reid can still be the same:

“I think it can, but I think, in that situation, that wouldn’t be the decision that I would make. I still have the same relationship that I’ve had. Will it continue on? I hope so. I guess that is something that you’d have to ask Andy. I’m fine.”

On whether he feels that Reid looks at him differently:

“I didn’t say that at all. Again, I say the relationship is where it was and where it should be. But, asking me that question, I guess you have to ask Andy that same question.”

On whether the game vs. Arizona could easily turn into a shootout:

“It could. It could turn into a shootout, but I think our defense is going to do a great job with their offense and their weapons that they have on their offensive side. If we get things rolling the way we’re supposed to, it could possibly get to that. We hope it doesn’t, but we’ve been in it. We’ve been in it versus the Cowboys and the Giants. The Giants played them well last week and we have to do the same things; keep that same approach that they had and be able to come out with the win.”

On whether he took a bullet for the struggles of the entire offense by sitting out the 2nd half at Baltimore:

“That would be something you’d have to ask Andy and anyone else. I’m not the only one who’s a problem, I guess, on the offense, but if I had to be the one to sacrifice for it, then that’s what had to go.”

On breaking out after struggling early in the 2003 season and what he can take from that experience:

“I just kept firing. I kept giving the guys opportunities to make plays and not feeling that I had to make every play possible. That was the attitude that I had earlier this year and is something that we have to get back to. You show trust in the guys that you will put the ball there and you expect them to bring it down. It’s something that they know it, I know it as well, and we look forward to getting it going on Thursday.”

On his statement that he wouldn’t have taken himself out of the game at Baltimore and whether it has caused him to think differently of Andy Reid:

“No. As a competitor, you wouldn’t take yourself out. Like I said, it’s just like a scorer in basketball. If you’re off, you keep shooting. That’s what I’m going to continue to do and I expected to do that going into that second half against Baltimore. Down 10-7, we’re not out of reach and we know that just a couple plays here and there and we’ll be winning the game. It didn’t happen, obviously, that I didn’t go back in. It was a decision that was made by Andy and I just went along with it and tried to root on my team.”

On whether it will be hard to not look over his shoulder:

“No, not at all.”

On the lowered expectations for this team and whether that creates less pressure:

“Not at all. We put pressure on ourselves, so we really don’t have any more room for added pressure on our shoulders. We expect the best from our team. What we’ve shown so far is not the best. We have to get it done now. We have to start now and it starts against Arizona. There’s nothing that we can do about the Baltimore game, at this particular point, or any of the other losses. It has to start right now. If it starts with me, or if it starts with anyone else stepping up and making plays, so be it.”

On whether he’s concerned about the team’s running game with injuries to RBs Brian Westbrook and Correll Buckhalter:

“(Jokingly) Maybe I’ve just got to go to tailback and run. When you look at the situation with our running backs being a little banged up, that’s just more for myself, the tight ends and the receivers to make sure that we’re efficient. And, whoever’s asked to run the ball, make sure that they see the hole and run through it. Again, as far as pressure is concerned, I don’t look at it as added pressure. I look at it as a situation that I have to do my job and everyone else has to do theirs as well.”

On Arizona’s defense led by LB Karlos Dansby:

“Karlos is a guy that I know pretty well. He’s having a Pro Bowl year. They have a lot of Pro Bowlers on their defense, [SS] Adrian Wilson, [LB] Chike Okeafor is playing well, [CB] Rod Hood, as we know, had an opportunity to possibly make the Pro Bowl last year, [CB Dominique Rodgers-] Cromartie is playing well for a rookie and the list goes on. They’re playing well and they’re playing fast on defense. It’s going to be a challenge for us on the offensive side, obviously, in this situation of trying to kick-start what we started earlier in the year to where we are right now. To get things going with those guys by just making sure that we’re making plays and moving the chains, it’s going to be a challenge, but we’re up for it.”

On what he thinks about his future in football:

“My future is bright.”

On Baltimore players saying he told them that he hurt his knee during the game:

“I never told anybody that I hurt my knee. From what I understand, they assumed that’s why I wasn’t in, in the second half. They thought that I hurt my knee, but there were a lot of assumptions why I wasn’t in the game. I didn’t go into the second half, so I’m fresh now, I’m not sore, and I’m fine.”

Monday, November 24, 2008

Andy speaks

Injury Report:

“Today we have a practice and these players here will not practice: [RB] Correll Buckhalter with a MCL sprain, [CB] Asante Samuel with a stinger, [RB] Brian Westbrook with swelling on the knee and the sore ankle, and [G] Shawn Andrews. Shawn’s still not back here. We will see if he gets back later this week. Everybody else will go through the practice and do what they can do today.”

Opening Remarks:

“Tough loss yesterday. I would like to address the quarterback situation right off. [QB] Donovan McNabb will be our starting quarterback for the Arizona game on Thursday. I mentioned this yesterday, that sometimes you have to take a step back to step forward in a positive way, and Donovan will do that. This has nothing to do with [QB Kevin] Kolb’s performance or Donovan’s performance. I think it was the right thing to do. I would not change my decision on that, on what I did yesterday. Obviously, we have to do a better job with turnovers. Nine turnovers in two games is absolutely ridiculous. That’s my responsibility to get that right and to get, really the rest of the football team right, and I will do whatever it takes to do that. And beyond that, I think it’s important that the players understand that, the coaches understand that, and the people that are around me in this building understand that. Other than that, it really doesn’t matter to me. We have a short turnaround. We have a Thanksgiving Day game. We are practicing today and tomorrow. It’s important that, after I have an opportunity to address the team this afternoon, that we move on from yesterday’s game and we get on with Arizona and we get on quickly with Arizona. They present a very explosive football team. Offensively, you won’t find two better receivers in the National Football League than what they have. They have a quarterback that is a future Hall of Fame player and a couple of running backs that are very good players. Defensively, they fly around and they make plays. They have a safety that is second-to-none, [SS Adrian] Wilson. Karlos Dansby, their linebacker, is a tremendous player. I could keep going on. They have a lot of talent on the defensive side of the football. Special teams, they do a great job on special teams. So, it’s important that, as much as we all want to dwell on this game, that it’s not going to happen. We are going to move on. Learn from it and move on.”

On how long his commitment to McNabb will be:

“Donovan is going out to play, man. That’s what he’s doing. And like I said, sometimes it’s good to step back and look at things from a little different angle. I expect him to go out and play his heart out.”

On whether the short-work week played into his decision to change quarterbacks:


On what gives him the confidence to go forward with McNabb as the quarterback:

“I think I know Donovan McNabb probably better than anybody in this room. I know six turnovers, that’s not Donovan McNabb. That’s not him. That’s not his game. That’s no part of his game. You back up an inch and you evaluate it and should be able to step forward a mile after that.”

On why he thinks McNabb has been playing like this:

“He’ll work through this. He’ll work through this. I have confidence that he’ll work through it.”

On whether McNabb will be the quarterback for the rest of the season:

“As I said here right now, he’s my quarterback. I’m telling you he’s the starting quarterback. If I thought different, then I would start the other guy.”

On McNabb saying that he’s been pressing the past couple of games and whether he thinks that that’s been weighing on McNabb’s mind at all:

“I’m not going to get into all that. I know that I need to coach better, Donovan needs to play better, and the guys around Donovan need to play better.”

On how he plans to balance McNabb working through this slump with the team’s potential to make the playoffs:

“Right now I can’t answer ‘if’s.’ I’m not going there. I’m going with Donovan is going to do it, and that’s the approach that I take.”

On whether he feels he has to start McNabb to keep the rest of the veterans happy:

“No. That’s not what I feel at all. That’s not how I feel at all.”

On whether he is going back to starting McNabb because he doesn’t want to send a message to the veteran players that he’s giving up on the season:

“No. That’s not even – no. I will make every decision that I think is best for this football team. That’s the seat I sit in, and that’s the way that I will approach it, always.”

On whether he has spoken to both McNabb and Kolb today:

“I have, but I’m not going to go into what I’ve spoken to them about.”

On what he thinks benching McNabb accomplished:

“We’ll see. I just think it was, just what I said there, that I think there’s a point where you step back and you look at it, and I felt that that was the right thing to do at that particular time.”

On whether he made the decision to change quarterbacks because he was trying to win the football game:

“I always try to win the game. Before that, I said that I will always do what’s best for the team. Listen, I’ll always do what’s best for the team. You’re not dealing with defense lawyers here, so I’m telling you, you put the whole puzzle together and then you’ve got to start picking things out like you did yesterday. Don’t pick things out, listen to the whole thing here.”

On why he didn’t personally tell McNabb that he wasn’t going to play the second half:

“That’s what we do. That’s how things are. And I really don’t care what anybody else thinks about that. That’s how we do it. And the coach of that player, he tells them, and then I address it afterwards and that’s how it goes.”

On what gives him the confidence to go forward with McNabb as the quarterback:

“I’ve been around Donovan a long time, so I trust that he’ll get his part right and the guys around him will.”

On whether he should have made an exception and told McNabb he wasn’t going to play the second half because of their 10-year relationship:

“No. That has nothing to do with it. I talked to him afterwards, as I did the other quarterback. And that’s how I went about doing it. At that particular time, you’re in a tight time situation, you’re trying to put things together for the second half and that’s how you go about doing it. So, it’s not a matter of disrespecting Donovan or any other player for that matter. It’s what you do and that’s why they have coaches that do those things.”

On what he didn’t see from McNabb that made him decide to go with Kolb:

“Listen, this is a subjective feeling on my part. You can question either way, I understand it. It’s something that I felt like I had to do at that particular time for the football team and for Donovan.”

On whether it concerns him that McNabb might not be well-received by the fans Thursday:

“You can’t worry about all that, man. You take care of what you can control and you get rid of the ‘if’s’ and you play.”

On whether McNabb will have as many snaps as usual in practice this week:

“Donovan is the quarterback. I don’t want to leave here until you understand that. Donovan is the quarterback for this football team.”

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Westbrook is active

Eagles-Ravens inactives

Eagles: QB A.J. Feeley (3rd), RB Lorenzo Booker, RB Kyle Eckel, LB Joe Mays, DE Bryan Smith, G Shawn Andrews, G Mike McGlynn, TE Matt Schobel.

Ravens: QB Todd Bouman (3rd), WR Terrance Copper, WR Marcus Maxwell, DB Evan Oglesby, T Oniel Cousins, DT Brandon McKinney, TE Edgar Jones, DT Lamar Divens.

Fans need to rein in Goodell

Wouldn't it be nice if NFL games were decided by football players on the field?

I have felt for years like a lone voice in the wind decrying the appalling officiating crews that dot Roger Goodell's landscape.

But I always got the same tired, old cliches in response to my criticism: Only losers complain; good teams overcome bad breaks; officials are human, and they make mistakes And let's face it, good teams do overcome bad breaks and officials are human.

Even coaches, who may lose their job over a zebra's ineptness, spout off that nonsense.

And heck, at least I saw light at the end of the tunnel and I could sleep at night secure in the knowledge that when Goodell's hatchet men screwed up the Super Bowl in front of 90 million people, there would be change.

Well, you can forget that; it's becoming increasingly apparent that the NFL couldn't care less about you, the fan, and its own players.

Now, not only are middle-aged men in striped shirts deciding games, men in pinstriped suits on Park Avenue are determining wins and loses.

Look no further than the current StarCaps scandal to illustrate that point.

New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister as well as defensive linemen Charles Grant and Will Smith are among several players facing four-game suspensions after testing positive for the banned diuretic Bumetanide, which was found in the over-the-counter weight-loss supplement StarCaps.

Others tabbed for suspension include Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jackson and the "Williams Wall" in Minnesota, Pro Bowl defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams.

I know what you are saying: Who cares? Suspend the cheaters.

Problem is, the lawyer for the three Saints players has said the NFL's independent drug administrator acknowledged he knew StarCaps contained the banned diuretic and didn't inform the players.

David Cornwell said in an e-mail to the Associated Press that Dr. John Lombardo testified during an appeal hearing on Tuesday that he learned in late 2006 that StarCaps contained Bumetanide.

According to Cornwell, Lombardo's reason for withholding the information from the NFLPA and therefore its players was that "he feared that a specific warning regarding StarCaps could be used as a defense to alleged violations of the steroid policy that involved weight reduction products other than StarCaps."

The league has of course refused to comment on Cornwell's allegations, citing the confidentially of the hearing.

"Public comments during the process are totally inappropriate," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. "We will continue to respect the program's required confidentiality until there is a resolution."

You almost have to feel for Aiello, a nice guy whose main job description includes destroying his own credibility on a weekly basis.

If Cornwell's accusations are true and he would be a fool to make up such a thing, think about what Goodell and his minions did.

By failing to disclose the fact Bumetanide was in StarCaps, they have essentially entrapped players and possibly derailed the season for two possible playoff teams, the Saints and Vikings. Perhaps more importantly, they exposed their own players to significant health risks associated with the unintentional ingestion of diuretics.

At the end of the day, I have no illusions that the NFL will come through this potential scandal smelling like a rose. It always does. The league has an interesting, dysfunctional, almost abusive relationship going on with its followers. No matter how badly the NFL treats you, the fan, it knows you are coming back.

It's like a woman trapped with a bullying boyfriend or a child cowering at the hands of a tyrannical father. They know you are hooked; they know you love this game and you aren't going anywhere as a result. So, with billions of dollars flowing in, where's the impetus for change?

The arrogance of Goodell and the league is so astounding that it enables the omnipotent sports giant to contradict things the rest of us see with our own eyes, and make up clandestine behavioral rules that aren't explained to the outside world.

The CIA calls it plausible deniability and the NFL does it better than any covert agent ever could.

Often, the NFL will point to a game in which it admitted a faux pas and trot out Mike Pereira to calmly refer to it while defending the same ineptness in games where it changed the outcome.

It starts simply enough. When a blown call has no impact on the outcome of a game, the NFL gratuitously admits its mistake; however, when a call directly affects a result, the league spins tales taller than the Empire State Building.

When a player like Pacman Jones gets suspended for off-the-field issues, the league has no problem leaking its position. When the circumstances are far more cloudy like the StarCaps scandal, the leagues hides behind the confidentiality clause and refuses to talk about its decision-making.

Can anyone explain to me why Matt Jones, arrested on cocaine charges a few months ago, is playing every Sunday and fat guys trying to lose weight are about to be put on the shelf for a month?

I know Aiello won't.

I know Goodell can, but he chooses not too.

As a member of the media, I have access to endless charts, graphs and tables that conveniently tell me how popular the NFL is and that's the problem.

Until you, the fan, start fighting back and ignoring a league where the outcome is as likely to be determined by these middle-aged men as the players who perform on the field, nothing will change.

Like an addict, the NFL has to admit there is a problem before it can fix it.

It's your job to make them admit their problems and rein in the sports world's only dictator -- Roger Goodell.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Westbrook is questionable

Status Report



G Shawn Andrews (back)



RB Brian Westbrook (knee, ankle)



S Sean Considine (rib), S Brian Dawkins (groin), S Quintin Demps (rib), LS Jon Dorenbos (shoulder), T Jon Runyan (knee)

Soulmates holding tryouts

The ArenaBowl XXII Champion, Philadelphia Soul will be holding open auditions for their 2009 dance team, the Soulmates.

The Soulmates are looking for energetic dancers who can both entertain and act as ambassadors for the Soul organization. Potential Soulmates will be judged on technical dance skills, showmanship, public speaking and presentation.

WHERE: Hilton Philadelphia Airport

4509 Island Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19145


WHEN: Sunday, November 23

8:30 am: Registration begins

9:00 am: Tryouts begin

CONTACT: Heather Poole, Director of Marketing and Community Relations

215-636-0421 ext. 162 (o)

215-435-2245 (c)

Phils hire new bench coach

The Philadelphia Phillies hired Pete Mackanin as their bench coach on Friday.

Mackanin replaces Jimy Williams, who resigned shortly after the team won the World Series.

Mackanin, 57, served as a scout for the New York Yankees this past year. He had managed the Cincinnati Reds for the final three months of the 2007 season, guiding the team to a 41-39 mark.

In 2005, Mackanin also was interim manager for the Pittsburgh Pirates for the final 26 games of the season.

Also Sam Perlozzo, the former manager of the Baltimore Orioles who was hired by the team last week, was named the third base coach.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Utley, Feliz both need surgery

Phillies All Star second baseman Chase Utley and third baseman Pedro Feliz are both expected to undergo surgery in the next week.

Utley will have hip surgery next week and will not be able to do any baseball activity for three to four months.

Feliz needs surgery on his back and has benn scheduled for a lumbar discectomy next Thursday. The procedure will be followed by an eight-to-12 week rehabilitation program.

Flyers recall Kalinski

The Philadelphia Flyers recalled 6’1”, 185-pound forward Jonathon Kalinski (kuh-LIHN-skee) from their American Hockey League affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms, on Thursday.

Kalinski, 21, has recorded two goals and three assists for five points and 16 penalty minutes in 16 games for the Phantoms this season.

Over the last two seasons (2007-08 and 2008-09), Kalinski has posted eight points (2G,6A) and 20 penalty minutes in 21 career AHL games with the Phantoms. He signed an entry-level contract with the Flyers on March 30, 2008.

He turned professional at the conclusion of his third season with the Minnesota State University at Mankato Mavericks. Kalinski recorded eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points and 56 penalty minutes in 39 games for the Mavericks during the 2007-08 season. He was second on the team in shots (112) and third in penalty minutes (56).

In three seasons for Minnesota State (2005-06 through 2007-08), Kalinski registered 29 goals and 27 assists for 56 points and 201 penalty minutes in 106 games. A native of Bonneyville, Alberta, Kalinski was selected by the Flyers in the sixth round (152nd overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

He posted 27 points (17G,10A) and 74 penalty minutes in 37 games for the Mavericks during the 2006-07 season. He tied for the team lead in goals with 17 and his four shorthanded goals led the team (tied for second in the NCAA and tied school single-season record). After registering 11 points (4G,7A) in 30 games during his freshman season, Kalinski was named MSU's Most Improved Player for the 2005-06 season.

Phils move to MyPHL17

The Phillies are moving from the CWPhilly to myphl17 for the next three seasons. 

The team announced channel 17 will air 45 regular season games and three exhibition games.

“As an independent
station, they have the ability to provide prime time coverage that will be
complemented with the right balance of advertising and marketing support and
we’re excited to have them on board again as our television rights holder," Phils executive Davis Buck said.”

This is the third time with Channel 17 for the Phils.  Their games aired from
1971-1982 and 1993 - 1998.

The remainder of the games will continue on Comcast SportsNet.

Red Carpet Event for Phils World Series DVD

There will be a red carpet event for the premiere of the official
Phillies-Tampa Bay World Series DVD at  the Bridge Cinema De Lux, Monday,
November 24 at 7:30.

Bill Giles, David Montgomery, Ryan Madson, Milt Thompson, Harry Kalas, Scott
Franzke, The Phillie Phanatic, and the Phillies Ballgirls are scheduled to appear.

To order tickets, go to  The cost is $25,
which includes a complimentary copy of the DVD.

The film will also be screened the same night at Bala, Montgomeryville, The
Ritz in Voorhees, and The Anthony Wayne movie theaters.  Cost is $10, but no

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sapp rips DMac

Warren Sapp and Phil Simms of Showtime's "Inside the NFL" are the latest to rip Eagles QB Donovan McNabb.

WARREN SAPP: "…when I heard him say it I almost passed out. I thought, 'This will follow you for the rest of your career.' Your legacy in the league, Donovan, will be throwing up in the Super Bowl, Rush Limbaugh and now 'I didn’t know they were ties in the NFL.'"

PHIL SIMMS: "It makes me sad; I can’t even laugh about it because he is a tough player, a good player. I believe, and a lot of people get mad when I say this, I think he is going to go to the Hall of Fame one day. He is probably going to throw for over 40,000 yards…. But you are right, you know how we are in life now and with TV, it’s perception. And these perceptions that have been put out there are going to stay with him until he wins a Super Bowl."

Eagles make practice squad move

The Philadelphia Eagles today announced they have signed DT Babatunde Oshinowo (Ba-ba-TOON-day OH-shi-no-who) to the practice squad. He replaces LB Andy Studebaker, who was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs.

The 6-foot-1, 304-pound Oshinowo spent the 2008 preseason with the Washington Redskins before being released on August 24. He spent the final three games of 2007 on the Chicago Bears active roster, playing in a reserve role in one contest against Green Bay on December 23. Prior to being signed to the 53-man roster, Oshinowo spent the previous 12 weeks on the Bears practice squad.

Oshinowo originally was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 6th round of the 2006 NFL draft. He was on the Browns 53-man roster for three games that season and made his NFL debut in the finale against Houston (12/31), where he totaled two tackles. Oshinowo spent the other 14 weeks on Cleveland's practice squad.

A four-year letterman and three-time Academic All-Pac-10 selection at Stanford (2002-05), Oshinowo played in 44 games with 34 consecutive starts. He compiled 145 career tackles, 15 sacks, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles for the Cardinal. He was born on January 14, 1983 in Naperville, IL, where he attended Neuqua Valley High School.

SJU basketball signs three

PHILADELPHIA - The Saint Joseph's University men's basketball program has signed three scholastic standouts - Carl Baptiste, Justin Crosgile and Carl Jones - to national letters of intent during the early signing period, it was announced by head coach Phil Martelli.

Baptiste is a 6-8, 240-lb. forward from Annandale, N.J., and North Hunterdon High School. He averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds per game last season.

Crosgile, from Paterson, N.J., is a 5-11 guard from DePaul Catholic High School. As a junior he averaged 20.5 points and six assists for the DePaul team that went 18-5. In his sophomore season he helped DePaul to a 23-5 record and the Passaic County title.

Jones is a 5-11 guard from Cleveland, Ohio and Garfield Heights High School. He averaged 25 points and six assists as a junior, while helping his team to a 21-2 record.

"I'm delighted and deeply appreciative of the extraordinary work done by assistant coaches Mark Bass and David Duda in securing an outstanding recruiting class, prior to Geoff Arnold coming on staff. Mark and Dave were tireless in their efforts," said Martelli. "The future of the program looks very bright. This class addresses the present needs and the opportunity for growth needed for us to stay among the elite in the Atlantic 10."

Phan radio

Listen to The Phanatic's John McMullen talking NBA on Troy Derengowski's Nightly Sports Report

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

NBA loses a legend

One thing about David Stern's NBA, it's a marketing machine.

Think about it - names like Kobe, LeBron and Shaq are every bit as recognizable around the world as Britney or Madonna.

Pete Newell's name certainly didn't have the same cachet to the general public but inside the game, he was every bit the legend as any of its superstars.

In the coaching ranks, Newell was best known as the college level. where he spent 15 years coaching at the University of San Francisco, Michigan State and Cal-Berkeley, compiling an impressive 234-123 record and leading the Bears to a national championship in 1959.

In fact he was one of only three coaches to have won an NIT, NCAA and Olympic title, joining Bob Knight and Dean Smith.

But Newell, who spent time as the general manager of both the San Diego Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers in the '70s and engineered the trade that brought Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Los Angeles, really made his mark in the NBA while running his world famous instructional basketball camp.

Pete Newell was known for running his world famous instructional basketball camps.
The annual camp for centers and forwards, housed in Los Angeles, Honolulu and most recently Las Vegas, was known simply as "Big Man Camp."

Its origins were humble. Newell was working with Kermit Washington, the former NBA player best known for punching out Rudy Tomjanovich in one of the league's uglier incidents. Under Newell's tutelage, Washington's footwork and overall game rapidly improved and more and more big men started to work with him.

Newell and his camp grew to such a level he became known as "The Footwork Master" and it became standard procedure for every single big man of any significance to stop in for tutelage.

The camp's alumni is a who's who of NBA's players that reached over 200, including superstars like Bill Walton, Hakeem Olajuwon and Shaq himself, who called Newell the "best teacher there is" after working with him.

Needless to say, Newell could have made quite the living on his reputation but from the time he opened the camp in 1976 until his death, he never accepted any money for his services.

"I owe it to the game," Newell once said. "I can never repay what the game has given me."

Newell, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1979. died at 93 on Monday. He had been in bad health since undergoing surgery in 2005 to remove a malignant lung tumor.

"This is obviously a very sad day for the game of basketball, whether you are associated with the NBA, college or high school ranks," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "Pete was a great coach and a great man who had the ability to relate to players and people on every level."

Basketball will never find another like him.

Nobody contributed more to the game and its history than Pete Newell.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Around The Rink

by Bob Herpen
The Phanatic Magazine

We're Going Streaking

On Sunday night, the Flyers extended their win streak over the Atlanta Thrashers to 12 consecutive games with a 4-3 win. In this 30-team league, it's almost impossible to find runs like this between any two clubs.

The last time the orange and black lost to the perching birds was November 18, 2005 in Philadelphia - a game which saw Atlanta rally from a two-goal deficit with two minutes left in regulation and win 6-5 in overtime.

Included in the run is backup goaltender Antero Niittymaki's personal 11-game win streak over the Thrashers, which also encompasses a 10-game run against fellow Finn and Atlanta crease-guard Kari Lehtonen.

Doing him one better is Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood, who holds the longest current streak against one club. His little run against the Tampa Bay Lightning was just extended to 17 in a row. Including last Tuesday's come-from-behind 4-3 road victory, Ozzie has never lost to the Bolts, a perfect 17-0-0 lifetime record.

At one time, the Flyers had quite a few unbeaten runs which lasted decades, mostly revolving around games at the Spectrum. After the infamous incident in January, 1972 where the Blues fought the home fans, the Flyers didn't drop a game to St. Louis until November, 1988 - 34 contests later.

Pittsburgh endured an epic stretch of misery, not earning a win here from January, 1974 until February, 1989, a mind-boggling run of 42 consecutive contests. They did get us back for a while in the mid 90s, but the Flyers also ran off 13 straight home wins over the Pens from March, 1995 until November, 2000.

Another decade-plus long streak came at the expense of the Los Angeles Kings. Philly exited Southern California 21 times from November, 1973 until January, 1985 before they lost a contest at the fabulous Forum.

Those mighty multiple Cup winning Montreal Canadiens set the standard, owning the Detroit Red Wings when both were paired in the Norris Division in the 70s.The Habs, who dominated the NHL from 1973 until 1979, did not allow a Wings win in either city 23 consecutive times (18-0-5) from 1974 to 1978.

Edmonton's Oilers also did a number on the Vancouver Canucks during a three-year stretch in the 1980s. The dynastic offensive machine went unbeaten over the then-doormats of the Smythe Division from March, 1985 through the end ofthe 1987-88 season, a span of 24 games.

News on the streak front is not all good for the home club, though. They have one outstanding blemish which is a 20-year drought in Detroit, the longest in terms of time and in games between two teams in one location currently in the NHL.

November 4, 1988 was the last time the Flyers won at Joe Louis Arena. In a portend of what was to come, the winning goal was scored by Murray Craven late in the third period, as he was hit flush in the face by a stick.

As it stands today, the run of bad luck is 0-13-2 after a 6-3 loss in January, 2006. The last time they managed even a tie on the road was almost 12 years ago. They'll have to wait until St. Patrick's Day to reverse the misfortune.

For Atlanta, its own misfortune may continue twice more this season, on January 21 at the Wachovia Center and February 8 at Philips Arena.

Eating Crow

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman used several media outlets earlier in the month to trumpet the fact that the league showcased an increase in offense.

According to his numbers, as revealed on the NHL Network, goals-per-game in the league stood at 5.9 per contest. That's apparently the best since October,2005.

However, the turnaround was very quick. Each week, the league releases its Three Stars, and for the first full week in November, three goaltenders madethe list: Boston's Tim Thomas, Vancouver's Roberto Luongo and Washington'sBrent Johnson.

That in itself is not the story, but what each did to earn the honor is of note.

Thomas recorded back-to-back shutouts over Edmonton and Vancouver as the B's went on their annual early West Coast trip; Luongo reeled off three straight whitewashes over Nashville, Phoenix, Minnesota and wound up not allowing a goal in over 200 minutes; Johnson posted a goals-against well under two.

Flying in the face of the official numbers from the season's first month are these tidbits: Luongo leads with five shutouts in just 16 starts; There are five goaltenders with GAA's of two or lower - Luongo (1.76), LA's Erik Ersberg (1.95), Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers (1.99), San Jose's Brian Boucher (1.99) and Niklas Backstrom from Minnesota (2.00).

Also, two-thirds of all goaltenders with at least seven starts this year are posting save percentages of .900 or higher, with Thomas at the head of the class at .945.

What Bettman and others who take an optimistic view of the NHL always forget, is that there are so many teams that one can take the same set of statistics and create an entirely alternate view.

Unlike the early going last season and the two prior, no single team has scored more than seven
goals in any one game. Only Atlanta, Buffalo, Calgary and Pittsburgh have reached that total before a shootout.

Through six weeks, just nine clubs (led by Detroit, 3.56) are scoring at a 3.00 goals per game pace or better, with revamped Tampa Bay recording the lowest per game total at 2.01.

Remembering Pelle

On this date 23 years ago, the Flyers won their franchise-record 13th straight game with a 5-4 overtime decision over the New York Islanders. Philly rebounded from a 4-1 deficit in the second period and won when Murray Craven's prayer from behind the goal line deflected off the stick of Isles netminder Billy Smith.

It happened one week after the tragic accident which ended Pelle Lindbergh'slife at age 26.

By now the story behind Pelle's unfortunate end has been passed down among two generations of Flyers fans. The impact he made on those who witnessed games he started is lasting.

Given the fact that his shortened but legendary career never reached its full potential, I think it's a fitting tribute that his jersey remains unofficially retired.

The contest which followed his memorial service on November 14, 1985 was one of the best hockey games I've seen. The Oilers came to town as the second-bestteam in the NHL, and with the best offense. The Flyers on the other hand, were 12-2-0, sported the most points in the league, and put a 10-game win streak on the line.

Two periods flew by with the score tied, 1-1, and rookie Darren Jensen made a handful of great saves in each period. Four Flyers scores, including a pair of early power-play markers, in a wild six-score third period sealed it.

Aside from his performance on the ice, Pelle's legacy can be encapsulated in two simple lessons:

1) Your dreams are always within reach.

2) Don't drink and drive.

Pujols tops Howard for NL MVP

Player Club 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th Points
Albert Pujols St. Louis Cardinals 18 10 2 1 1 369
Ryan Howard Philadelphia Phillies 12 8 6 1 1 2 1 308
Ryan Braun Milwaukee Brewers 2 3 5 5 2 2 3 2 1 139
Manny Ramirez Los Angeles Dodgers 2 4 7 2 3 2 1 2 138
Lance Berkman Houston Astros 2 4 4 1 3 3 4 1 1 126
CC Sabathia Milwaukee Brewers 4 5 1 2 2 3 1 2 121
David Wright New York Mets 2 1 4 3 3 2 5 2 1 115
Brad Lidge Philadelphia Phillies 2 2 4 3 2 3 1 2 104
Carlos Delgado New York Mets 5 1 2 5 2 3 96
Aramis Ramirez Chicago Cubs 2 4 1 1 4 3 1 66
Hanley Ramirez Florida Marlins 2 2 2 1 2 2 5 55
Chipper Jones Atlanta Braves 1 2 4 1 2 2 44
Geovany Soto Chicago Cubs 3 1 3 1 41
Player Club 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th Points
Johan Santana New York Mets 1 1 1 1 2 1 30
Chase Utley Philadelphia Phillies 1 1 1 1 3 2 30
Ryan Ludwick St. Louis Cardinals 1 2 3 1 17
Brandon Webb Arizona Diamondbacks 2 1 14
Adrian Gonzalez San Diego Padres 1 1 1 4 13
Matt Holliday Colorado Rockies 1 1 1 1 13
Prince Fielder Milwaukee Brewers 1 1 1 1 11
Derrek Lee Chicago Cubs 1 1 10
Carlos Beltran New York Mets 1 1 1 10
Tim Lincecum San Francisco Giants 1 1 2 9
Jose Reyes New York Mets 1 3
Jose Valverde Houston Astros 1 3
Stephen Drew Arizona Diamondbacks 1 2
Nate McClouth Pittsburgh Pirates 1 1