Monday, October 31, 2011

Eagles, Reid stay perfect following bye, rout Cowboys

Eagles, Reid stay perfect following bye, rout Cowboys

Cards' La Russa calls it a career

La Russa announces his retirement - Baseball Wires -

Mackanin gets interview in Boston

Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin is scheduled to interview for the Boston Red Sox managerial position.

New BoSox general manager Ben Cherington confirmed the interview with the Boston Globe.

Mackanin has been an interim big-league manager twice, with Pittsburgh in 2005 (12-14 record) and Cincinnati in 2007 (41-39). He also was a manager for 13 seasons in the minor leagues.

Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona was fired after Boston's historic September collapse.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lawrence wins in Chester

CHESTER, PA (October 30, 2011)—This past Friday night, WBC #14 ranked Heavyweight in the world Franklin “Yah Yah” Lawrence dropped Raymond Ocheing three times in just over one round to score a second round stoppage in the main event of a card promoted by Joey Eye Boxing Promotions.

Lawrence dropped Ocheing two times in the final minute of round two and finished Ocheing off with a flurry that sent Ocheing down on the bottom rope just thirty-one seconds into round two and the fight was waved off.

After the bout, Lawrence called out every Heavyweight from Johnathan Banks to the Klitschko Brothers
In the co-feature, Derrick Webster remained undefeated in capturing the BAM Light Heavyweight title with an entertaining six round unanimous decision over Teneal Goyco.

Webster landed many precise combinations that offset the attempted big shots of Goyco.  Goyco got through a couple of times but Webster showed time and again why he is one of the top prospects in the Super Middlweight/Light Heavyweight divisions.

The show also featured an explosive forty-second knockout from Lightweight Joey Tiberi and a second round stoppage by popular pro debuting Light weight Alex Barbosa.

The show was rounded out by exciting Welterweight Anthony Young, who scored two knockdowns of durable Kywame Hill in winning his pro debut.

8 ROUNDS HEAVYWEIGHTS—Franklin Lawrence (17-2-2, 12 KO’s) 231 lbs Indianapolis, IN TKO 2 (:31) over Raymond Ocheing (25-15-3) 246 lbs of Nairobi, Kenya

6 ROUNDS—BAM LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE—Derrick Webster (11-0) 168 ½ lbs of Glassboro, NJ U DEC over Teneal Goyco (4-3) 171 ½ lbs of Philadelphia, PA…scores were 60-54; 59-55 & 59-55

4 ROUNDS BANTAMWEIGHTS—Alex Barbosa (1-0, 1 KO) 121 lbs of Philadelphia TKO 2 (2:30) over Brian Gonzalez (0-2) 119 lbs of Puerto Rico

4 ROUNDS WELTERWEIGHTS—Anthony Young (1-0) 145 lbs of Atlantic City, NJ U DEC over Kywame Hill (1-9) 145 lbs of Philadelphia, PA...scores were 40-34; 40-34 and 40-33

4 ROUNDS LIGHTWEIGHTS—Joey Tiberi (6-1, 5 KO’s) 135 lbs of Newark, DE TKO 1 (:40) over Mike Maley (4-9) 137 lbs of Whiting, IN

Union drop first ever playoff game to Houston

By John McMullen

CHESTER (The Phanatic Magazine) - Houston withstood a furious Philadelphia push in the final minutes to earn a 2-1 win in the first of a two-legged aggregate Eastern Conference semifinals set at a chilly PPL Park.

MVP Candidate Sebastien Le Toux  scored the Union's lone goal in the franchise's first ever Major League Soccer playoff game.

Peter Nowak loves to mix and match. In fact, the Union team manager might be MLS' version of Tony La Russa. Sometimes all those moving parts work and sometimes they don't. Tonight, they seemed to breed indecision early costing Philadelphia dearly as it heads to South Texas with the season on the line.

With usual starting forward Veljko Paunovic out with a strained right hamstring Nowak decided to go with defense at midfield, starting Stefani Miglioranzi and using a five-man backline for the majority of the opening

The decision failed to pay dividends as Houston, which caught fire down the stretch, posting a 4-0-2 record in its final six regular season games to claim second place in the East, tilted the pitch for much of the opening half as Philadelphia proved to be very shaky in its own end.

An early yellow card on Gabriel Farfan proved disastrous for the Union when Brad Davis' brilliant set piece found Andre Hainault, who headed it past Faryd Mondragon in the fifth minute to give the Dynamo a 1-0 edge.

Farfan's brother, Michael, had his back seconds later, however, by finding a streaking Le Toux behind the Houston defense. A nifty pass put the ball right on the Frenchman's left foot and the red-hot Le Toux guided it past Tally Hall for his 12th marker in 14 games dating back to the regular season.

Calen Carr took the air out of the building in the 30th minute, sneaking behind Carlos Valdes and slotting it past Mondragon for what proved to be the game-winner.

To show just how out of sorts Philadelphia was in the opening half, three of the its defensive-minded players, Gabe Farfan, Miglioranzi and Sheanon Williams, picked up yellow cards while the Dynamo, which tied Sporting KC for the most goals off set pieces in MLS this season, had four corner kicks to the Union's zero.

Nowak didn't push the panic button at intermission, bringing out the same Starting XI but went to a 3-5-2 attack with Danny Califf and Valdes holding things down on the backline. Crowding the midfield seemed to give the Union more possession time but real scoring chances were rare as most of the whistles coming from referee Jair Marrufo went the Dynamo's way.

Things changed when Nowak finally pulled the plug on Miglioranzi in the 62nd minute, bringing in Jack McInerney to give the Union more firepower. Roger Torres replaced Justin Mapp in the 68th and Freddy Adu spelled Mwanga in the 76th to put two more offensive pieces on the pitch.

It was too little, too late, however, as the Dynamo managed to hold on to their precarious advantage despite of host of Union opportunities.

Torres nearly found the top right-hand corner off a free kick in the 74 minute, Adu blasted a left-footer just over the goal in the 82nd minute and McInerney's header found the crossbar in the waning moments.

The final death throw came in stoppage time when Hall plucked Valdes' header out of the air to send Philadelphia to the Lone Star State down a goal in aggregate.

The second leg of the series is scheduled for next Thursday in South Texas.


*Attendance was 18,539.

*Houston had never beaten Philadelphia before in four regular season matchups over the past two seasons.

*Paunovic started 12 of the last 14 regular season games.

*Mapp was able to go despite struggling with a quad strain.

*While this was the Union's playoff game, six players -- D Danny Califf, MF Brian Carroll, Mapp, Adu, Miglioranzi and Le Toux -- have a combined 27 playoff berths, seven title appearances and five championships.

*Phillies star shortstop Jimmy Rollins was at the game.

Scoring Summary:

HOU -- Andre Hainault 1 (Brad Davis 1) 6
PHI -- Sebastien Le Toux 1 (Michael Farfan 1) 7
HOU -- Calen Carr 1 (Brian Ching 1) 30

Misconduct Summary:

PHI -- Gabriel Farfan (caution; Reckless Foul) 4
PHI -- Stefani Miglioranzi (caution; Reckless Tackle) 17
HOU -- Danny Cruz (caution; Reckless Tackle) 27
PHI -- Sheanon Williams (caution; Reckless Foul) 39
HOU -- Adam Moffat (caution; Reckless Tackle) 40
PHI -- Brian Carroll (caution; Tactical Foul) 65


Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall, Andre Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Corey Ashe, Danny Cruz (Je-Vaughn Watson 64), Adam Moffat, Luiz Camargo, Brad Davis, Calen Carr (Will Bruin 76), Brian Ching (Carlo Costly 71).
Substitutes Not Used: Colin Clark, Hunter Freeman, Jermaine Taylor, Tyler Deric.

Philadelphia Union -- Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Gabriel Farfan, Michael Farfan, Brian Carroll, Stefani Miglioranzi (Jack McInerney 62), Justin Mapp (Roger Torres 68), Sebastien Le Toux, Danny Mwanga (Freddy Adu 76).
Substitutes Not Used: Morgan Langley, Kyle Nakazawa, Amobi Okugo, Zac MacMath.

Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee's Assistants: C.J. Morgante; Corey Rockwell
4th Official: Jasen Anno
Time of Game: 1:54
Attendance: 18,539
Weather: Clear and 45 degrees

Friday, October 28, 2011

Video: UFC on FOX Primetime: Velasquez vs Dos Santos

Phillies provide injury updates

The Phillies have provided the following medical updates:
  • First baseman Ryan Howard (ruptured left Achilles) had his stitches removed on October 25 and has progressed to partial weight bearing. He has begun a rehabilitation program in Philadelphia.
  • Third baseman Placido Polanco (sports hernia) had a follow-up exam with Dr. William Meyers on October 26 and is continuing his rehabilitation in Miami.
  • Left-hander Cole Hamels had stitches removed from his left elbow (loose bodies) on October 27 and is continuing his rehabilitation program in Philadelphia. He had a follow-up exam for his hernia surgery today with Dr. Ernest Rosato and has been cleared to progress back to his off-season program as tolerated.
  • Right fielder Hunter Pence (sports hernia) continues his rehabilitation program in Philadelphia. He will have a follow-up appointment with Dr. Meyers next week.
  • Right-hander Jose Contreras (right forearm strain) was seen by Dr. Michael Ciccotti on October 20 and will begin isometric forearm strengthening next week. He is on track to progress to regular strengthening in the beginning of December and initiate throwing at the beginning of January.
  • Ross Gload (hip) was evaluated by Dr. Bryan Kelly in New York on October 18. Dr. Kelly did not feel an arthroscopic procedure was warranted at this time. Gload was set up with an off-season rehabilitation program.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sloppy Jets outlast sloppier Flyers, 9-8

by Bob Herpen
Phanatic Hockey Editor

Rather than try to come up with a clever, or all-encompassing opening paragraph which might require the ability to stare a hole into this computer screen for an indefinite period before inspiration strikes, I will share some fragmented thoughts I had running through my mind regarding Winnipeg's mind-boggling 9-8 win over the Flyers tonight.

  • A thousand monkeys tapping away at a thousand typewriters for their collective lifetimes had a better shot at creating the Great American Novel before being able to bang out a game story this bizarre.
  • I laughed. I cried. I threw up in my mouth more than once.
  • The riot act isn't enough for both teams. Maybe "Protect and Survive," or selections from the U.S. Constitution will do.
  • No team that blows leads of 5-1 and 6-2 deserves to win.
  • No team that rallies from deficits of 5-1 and 6-2 deserves to lose.
  • However, if you come back from a four-goal deficit and can't hold a lead in the third period, you should be summarily executed like in some Central American banana republic complete with blindfold and last cigarette.
If you can snap out of the funk you're no doubt experiencing from a defeat which was snatched from the jaws of victory, realize that you've been a part of history for better or worse. Besides the Jets and Flyers burying themselves in an avalanche of poor defense and more consecutive red lights than Atlantic Avenue in Ventnor, the following occurred:
  • The clubs combined for 17 goals, which is a single-game record between these two franchises. The previous high was 11.
  • The 17 total goals also matched the most in a single game between the Flyers and an opponent. Philly won a 9-8 game in Calgary on February 27, 1982, took a 13-4 decision against Pittsburgh on March 22, 1984 and also won an 11-6 game in Detroit on February 23, 1988.
  • It was the most goals any team claiming the Winnipeg moniker scored against the Orange and Black since the first edition of the Jets took a 9-6 decision at the Spectrum on October 23, 1993.
  • The eight scores were the most the Flyers have ever recorded in a loss, eclipsing the seven in a 10-7 loss in Game 5 of the 1989 Patrick Division Finals in Pittsburgh, and an 8-7 loss to Tampa Bay last November 18.
Ultimately, a three-goal burst in a 1:53 span which capped a five-goal turnaround was wasted as Andrew Ladd beat Ilya Bryzgalov with 1:06 left in regulation for the deciding score.

Bryzgalov, who was the focal point of the comeback from a 6-2 hole, ended up four goals on 10 shots and did not suffer the loss. But his insertion for starter Sergei Bobrovsky -- who did get saddled with the loss after giving up five goals on 15 shots, kick-started a rally which electrified the announced crowd of 19,588.

Nik Antropov scored in front after Tim Stapleton won a right-circle faceoff just three seconds into a Danny Briere interference call and Winnipeg was up by a 5-2 count at the 4:39 mark of the second period.

Cue the goalie change, and minors to Johnny Oduya and Ladd 44 seconds apart gave the Flyers a 5-on-3 edge. Claude Giroux made the most of the two-man advantage, sliding home a cross-ice dish from Kimmo Timonen at 6:25.

Even after Evander Kane converted an Antropov pass from in close for a power-play score at
10:39, there was a sense of the storm to come.

Kenndal McArdle was sent off for hooking at 12:08 and Philly drew within 6-3 as Timonen's point shot changed direction off Scott Hartnell's stick, then Briere's arm at the left side of the crease.

It was a 6-4 game with Kane in the box for shooting the puck over the glass in the defensive zone. A moribund arena was finally shaken to life at 16:41 when Matt Read carried down the left wing and threw a shot on net which Ondrej Pavelec kicked away. A Jets defenseman quickly cleared the disc, but it caromed off the skate of the onrushing Max Talbot, hit the near post, rebounded off Pavelec's back and trickled over the goal line.

Then, the three-goal burst early in the third pushed the home team into the lead, forced Pavelec from the game, and sent fans into a frenzy.

First, it was Briere on the doorstep off a Braydon Coburn pass that once again exploited the superhighway near the Winnipeg crease to bring the Flyers within 6-5 at 1:09.

Then, at 2:23, Andreas Lilja's left-point shot was stopped by Pavelec, but the rebound popped into the air, where an inexplicably uncovered Read settled the puck and slid it home at the left post. That finally caused Claude Noel to rescue his starter from further embarrassment.

Chris Mason came on, but James van Riemsdyk netted his first of the contest only 39 seconds later as he, too, was all alone but stationed at the right post to tap in a Briere pass across the blue paint.

The crowd -- and those in the press box -- hardly had time to catch our breath and realize the Flyers were ahead 7-6 before the game was tied as Alex Burmistrov had all day to send home a spinning Antropov pass from in close just 28 seconds later.

Incredibly, the pendulum swung back the other direction only 61 seconds after the tying tally, as Mark Stuart rifled home a Stapleton offering from the left circle on a rush. And things seemed destined to fall apart around Mason with 12:18 remaining, when Jakub Voracek roared in alone down the right wing, but the 35-year-old Alberta native confidently kicked aside the opportunity.

It proved to be some kind of invisible trigger for Jets coach Noel, as Pavelec suddenly reclaimed his crease with roughly nine minutes remaining.

Nonetheless, Philadelphia kept the pressure on and forged an 8-8 deadlock with 3:39 remaining after Timonen threaded a pass from the right-wing boards at the outer edge of the circle all the way to van Riemsdyk for a tip-in on a half-open net.

But all the good feeling went for naught in the final stages. Scott Hartnell came out like his hair was afire, and Jaromir Jagr made one of his frequent falling spells look marvelous on a great lead pass for a tip-in and 1-0 lead just 4:10 into the contest.

Then the wheels fell off as Winnipeg responded with three straight against Bobrovsky. Randy Jones -- a former Flyers defenseman who is still maligned by this fanbase -- picked up his first of the season just after the midway point of the first period to tie the game, Jim Slater put the Jets ahead at 13:39 and Kyle Wellwood expertly redirected a Tobias Enstrom drive in the slot at the tail end of a Lilja interference call at 18:37.

The worse got worser in the second when Tanner Glass received an Enstrom offering and placed it past Bobrovsky at 3:39 for a 4-1 Winnipeg advantage.

Notes: A total of 28 players recorded at least one point (15 by Winnipeg)...Briere (2G, 2A) and Timonen (4A) led all scorers with four points, while Glass (1G, 2A), Antropov (1G, 2A) and Wheeler (3A) paced the victors...There were 17 goals but only 12 total penalties...Atlanta/Winnipeg has won five straight games in Philadelphia, and has won eight of the last nine meetings overall since February of 2009...The Thrashers/Jets franchise tied an all-time high for goals in one game, first set in a 9-0 win at Carolina on November 12, 2005...Zac Rinaldo, recalled from Adirondack of the AHL prior to the game after Braydon Schenn went down with a broken foot for 4-6 weeks, managed to record seven hits in just 6:45 of ice time...Erik Gustafsson also was recalled and Schenn was moved to long-term injured reserve...Stapleton, Bryan Little and Enstrom all notched a pair of assists...Van Riemsdyk added an assist for a three-point night...Both clubs are off until Saturday, when the Jets continue a seven-game road swing at Tampa Bay and the Flyers stay home to host the Hurricanes.

Flyers-Jets Preview

The last time the Winnipeg Jets graced the City of Philadelphia, they failed to score a goal.

If that wasn't enough, Bob Clarke pulled off a trade with the St. Louis Blues which netted the Flyers one Dale Hawerchuk -- then the Jets' all-time leading scorer.

The deal was necessary to replace the offense lost when "Legion of Doom"er Mikael Renberg went down with a stomach-muscle pull which cost him much of the final one-third of the season.

That was March 16, 1996.

The game was played at the now-demolished Spectrum. Ron Hextall closed the doors with 17 saves, while John LeClair, Shjon Podein and Pat Falloon provided the offense in a 3-0 victory.

Six days later, the Jets topped the Flyers by a 4-1 count in the now-demolished Winnipeg Arena. Craig Janney scored a pair of goals, and none other than discarded former backup Dominic Roussel earned the win with 25 stops.

It put the capper on the all-time series, won by Philadelphia 29-16-2, including an 18-6-0 mark on South Broad Street.

Enter the Winnipeg Jets version 2.0, formerly the Atlanta Thrashers.

Once the Orange and Black's (and Antero Niittymaki's) personal whipping boys, the new Jets have beaten Philly in seven of the last eight meetings over the last two seasons.

It's a stunning turnaround for the initerant franchise, which prevously lost 14 straight games to the Flyers and 17 of 18 from February of 2004 until February of 2009.

Included in the new run of success is a four-game winning streak in the Quaker City, a streak which will be likely to continue if the home team plays in a similar manner as their recent run of three losses in five games has indicated. Atlanta's Winnipeg comes in with a 6-13-2-1 record here since arriving in the NHL in 1999.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Union could be without Paunovic for playoff opener

Veteran Union forward Veljko Paunovic continues to be hampered by a right hamstring strain and is questionable for Sunday's playoff game against Houston at PPL Park.

“Veljko is training with us, but it’s not in full capacity,” manager Peter Nowak said Wednesday. “It’s tough to say [whether he will be available]. Those kinds of injuries, you never know how it’s going play out. I don’t think it was anything major or that you would say that he’ll be out the whole series. I’m not a doctor; I’m trying to find out what’s going to be the best recipe for [his return].”

The 34-year-old Paunovic, who missed the regular season finale against the New York Red Bulls with the injury, joined the Union on June 13 and went on to score three goals with three assists while starting 16 of the 17 matches he played.

“He was an integral part of this,” Nowak said. “He’s an experienced guy. It’s always good motivation for the young kids. He’s with us in the locker room so I’m sure they’re going to get good advice from him.”

Erving in dire financial trouble

NBA Hall of Famer and Sixers legend Julius Erving plans on placing his 1983 championship ring up for auction in an effort to fend off creditors.

Erving is currently in the midst of severe financial difficulties, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The paper reports that the Georgia Primary Bank filed a lawsuit against the former Sixers star on October 18, claiming that he owes more than $200,000. stemming from a credit line of $1 million that was loaned to "The Erving Group Inc. of Atlanta" back in April of 2009.

Other items Erving is planning to auction off include his ABA championship rings from 1974 and 1976 with the New York Nets, Most Valuable Player trophies from both the NBA and ABA as well as several game-worn jerseys. The minimum bid for the Sixers championship ring will be $25,000.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Eagles to induct Allen, Johnson in team's Honor Roll

The Eagles will induct cornerback Eric Allen and defensive coordinator Jim Johnson into the franchise’s Honor Roll at halftime of their upcoming game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, October 30.

Allen played with the Eagles from 1988-94 after the team made him a second-round draft pick out of Arizona State. He recorded 34 interceptions, tied for most in Eagles history with Bill Bradley and Brian Dawkins, and holds the team mark with five interceptions returned for touchdowns. A three-time All Pro selection, he and Troy Vincent are the only Eagles cornerbacks to be selected to the Pro Bowl five times. Allen was part of the great 1991 Eagles defense that became only the fifth defense in NFL history to rank first in the NFL in fewest total yards allowed, fewest rushing yards allowed and fewest passing yards permitted.

Johnson was one of the NFL’s most innovative and successful defensive masterminds. He served as the team’s defensive coordinator from 1999 until his death in 2009 and his aggressive style kept Philadelphia at or near the top of the NFL in nearly every major defensive category during his tenure. From 2000-08, Johnson's units ranked second in the NFL in sacks (390), 3rd down efficiency (34.0%) and red zone touchdown percentage (43.9%), and fourth in fewest points allowed (17.7 per game). During his 10-year stay in Philadelphia, the Eagles earned seven playoff berths, five trips to the NFC Championship game and one Super Bowl appearance (following the 2004 season).

As the Eagles’ defensive chief, Johnson's defense produced 26 Pro Bowl selections: Brian Dawkins (7), Troy Vincent (5), Jeremiah Trotter (4), Hugh Douglas (3), Lito Sheppard (2), Asante Samuel (1), Trent Cole (1), Michael Lewis (1), Corey Simon (1), and Bobby Taylor (1).

Allen and Johnson will join 33 other members of the Eagles Honor Roll: C/LB Chuck Bednarik, owner Bert Bell, LB Bill Bergey, S Bill Bradley, DB Tom Brookshier, T Bob Brown, DT Jerome Brown, RB Timmy Brown, WR Harold Carmichael, QB Randall Cunningham, head trainer Otho Davis, executive Jim Gallagher, E Bill Hewitt, QB Ron Jaworski, QB Sonny Jurgensen, HB Ollie Matson, WR Tommy McDonald, RB Wilbert Montgomery, head coach Earl “Greasy” Neale, E Pete Pihos, WR Mike Quick, E Pete Retzlaff, C Jim Ringo, T Jerry Sisemore, QB Norm Van Brocklin, HB Steve Van Buren, head coach Dick Vermeil, T Stan Walters, DE Reggie White, T Al Wistert, C Alex Wojciechowicz, and the 1948 and 1949 NFL Championship Teams.

Solution hard to see on visor issue

by Bob Herpen
Phanatic Hockey Editor

So the debate rages on across North America this morning.

Flyers captain Chris Pronger suffers a potentially serious eye injury when struck by the follow-through of Toronto forward Mikhail Grabovski, and suddenly the world wants visors mandatory in the National Hockey League.

Only the critics are forgetting one thing: do the players themselves really want it? And that's the only thing that counts.

The tenor of discussions of that very point took very telling turns last night.

Comcast SportsNet hockey analyst Rick Tocchet (who played from 1984-2002), when asked whether he thought visors should be mandatory, instead dodged the question and stammered some nonsense about how he never did want to wear one. But Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren, in postgame comments, made it clear that not only would Pronger be required to wear a visor, but also that Holmgren thought Pronger would now want to wear one after going through this ordeal.

That remains to be seen, for even necessary change will not come easy to an 18-year NHL veteran who has refused to wear protection over his face for his entire hockey life.

Constant replays of the gruesome incident last night called to mind the more horrific occurrence late in the 1999-2000 season. That's when Ottawa's Marian Hossa took a nine-iron-type swing with his stick and connected full-force with Leafs defenseman Bryan Berard's face. The energy of the blow exploded the inner contents of Berard's right eye onto the ice in a viscous red flow. It was widely accepted that Berard's career was finished.

In typical fashion, reactions from all corners of hockeydom poured in. It's time to get players to wear visors.

But it never caught on.

Dozens of hits and misses have come and gone, all with the same reaction and not action.

Hockey players are creatures of habit, and you're not going to tell a full-grown man who has made his way in the sport since he could walk that he's going to change his ways. That's the only logical end to talk that the NHL should implement a mandatory visor rule.

Besides, the NHL Players' Association is too strong these days. There's no Alan Eagleson in cahoots with the league to grease both sides to get the helmet rule of 1979 passed without argument. And there are no doubt players reps' who oppose any imposition. That's the key issue: whether the league and the PA can work out a solution that won't ruffle any feathers. Good luck with that.

And why not use Berard's example as Devils' Advocate?

After all, the 1997 Calder Trophy winner only missed a little over one NHL season before returning to play for six more years. Berard underwent seven separate eye operations in just under a calendar year in order to correct his vision to 20/400 -- then the league minimum for clearance to return to the ice. He also turned in his injury settlement, totaling $6.5 million, which was his presumed going-away present for time served.

Of course, a decade on, any player who suffers this misfortune can look at Berard's example, just dip into the vast fund their contract affords and contact their friendly neighborhood ophthalmologist or eye surgeon for an eventual fix.

That's the wrong message of course, but making millions of dollars to play a game tends to cloud one's judgment no matter how young or old. I only wish I had the means to maintain such a blind spot.

So, in the wake of such stubborn opposition, I think the league shouldn't do a thing about it.

Let the players hash it out amongst themselves -- give them the power they've complained that NHL is taking away by changing the rules about fighting. Whoever abides will have a greater shot at survival. Whoever doesn't, assumes the risk of losing their livelihood. It's no time for Gary Bettman to play nanny when each individual locker room has 25 big boys who are capable of making their own choices.

On the local front, never mind that the Flyers already boast three players (arry Ashbee, Bernie Parent and Ian Laperriere) who have seen their careers ended due to eye injuries.

Never mind that Brian Propp nearly had his vision permanently altered due to a Lindy Ruff high stick in 1986 -- and that he never played another professional game without a face shield. Let Pronger decide for himself, and the rest of the locker room for themselves.

Forget that the league's owners and GMs are trying to protect their investments. Give the players the opportunity to forge their own destinies whether they can foresee the consequences or not.

And as it always does, let the talk die down until the next bombastic event turns the tide of debate somewhere else.

Soul add beef from Dallas

PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Soul have signed a pair of offensive linemen, Zipp Duncan and Christian Johnson to the team’s 2012 roster.  Both players attended Kentucky and toiled for the Dallas Vigilantes last season.

Seven former members of the Vigilantes – including former head coach Clint Dolezel, who is the Soul’s assistant head coach and offensive coordinator -- have now signed with Philadelphia.

 “These are two very significant signings for us,” said Soul general manager Tom Goodhines.  “Zipp and Christian are important pieces as we build a solid offensive line to protect our quarterback.  Both guys bring winning attitudes that will be contagious for the entire team.”

Duncan is a former tight end converted into an offensive lineman.  During his four seasons at Kentucky (2005-08), he played in 38 career games while starting 26 consecutive games.  He was a First-Team All-State as a senior at Elizabethtown, KY high school, including being a three-year starter and receiving three consecutive selections on the All-District and All-Area teams.

 Johnson appeared in three games last season with Dallas.  During his time at Kentucky (2005-08), he appeared in 36 games while earning the starting nod 15 times.  His high-school career at West Potomac, Alexandria, VA included earning All-Metro honors for the District of Columbia Area, and a two-year All-District pick.

“Zipp and Christian are both big bodies that will keep our quarterbacks off the turf,” said Soul head coach Doug Plank.  “Their familiarity with and understanding of their blocking schemes in Clint’s offensive system will be a major plus for us.  Our coaches and front office continue to show we are ‘all in’ this season with the goal of winning the ArenaBowl.”

Soulmate tryouts set for Nov. 6

PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Soul will have an open call tryout for the 2012 Soulmate Dance Team to be held on Sunday, November 6 at the Wyndham Hotel, 1111 Rte 73 North, Mount Laurel, NJ ( starting at 9 a.m.

The open call audition registration will take place at 9 a.m. with the audition beginning promptly at 10 a.m.  Participants must be a high school graduate, at least 18 years of age by November 6, 2011 with a valid photo ID.  Dancers are required to wear two-piece dance wear including a midriff top, lycra shorts, appropriate footwear and bring a full body picture and headshot.

Dancers will be taught a routine and do not need to prepare their own.  Experienced dancers, as well as beginners, are encouraged to audition.  Applicants will be judged on dance ability, appearance, personality and attitude.  The open call audition will be closed to the public.

Dancers that make the first cut will be required to attend a boot camp the following week.  Following the boot camp, there will be a round of semi-finals and one-on-one interviews.  The Finals will be held Wednesday, November 16 at Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia.  A total of 20 dancers will make the squad for the 2012 season.

Fee for the tryout is $25, however, participants that pre-register at will received a $5 discount.  Online pre-registration accepts credit cards and PayPal or dancers can pay cash at the door on the day of the event.

Those seeking additional information about the auditions or pre-register should e-mail the Soul at or visit the official team website at

Sixers jettison Nash, Ford

The NBA lockout has taken two more casualties.

The Sixers let go of two of their scouts -- John Nash and Chris Ford

Nash was the team's GM from 1986 to ‘90 and returned to the organization in a reduced role for the 2006-07 season.

Ford, who attended Holy Spirit in South Jersey and Villanova, was the Sixers' head coach for 30 games during the ill-fated 2003-04 season and often clashed with Allen Iverson. He replaced Randy Ayers, and the team went just 33-49 that season.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Holmgren on Pronger

Following Monday's 4-2 win over Toronto, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren addressed questions surrounding Chris Pronger's eye injury:

Q: Did he go to the hospital?

A: “No, our eye doctor came here. He’s going to see the eye doctor every day for the next four days. We think after that time that he’ll be out of, we don’t want to say danger, but if everything goes ok and if the swelling goes down, he should start on some kind of an exercise program shortly after that, and we’re hoping he’ll be able to rejoin the team within ten days to two weeks. And skating-wise, not necessarily playing wise.”

Q: Is there a prognosis on it?

A: “Well, not really. The prognosis is that he was hit on the side here and there’s a lot of swelling around his eye and the hope is that the blood doesn’t build up there and create issues. That’s why he’s going to be on bedrest here for the next four days.”

Q: Which doctor?

“Doctor Goldman.”

Q: Holmgren, when this happens, what will be the course of action?

“Well, when Chris comes back, he’ll be wearing a visor. We made it mandatory in the American Hockey League and it’s not an issue. Obviously some of these players have been around a long time and for whatever reason they don’t want to wear them. I think the improvements on the visor over the last few years, compared to what it was ten or 15 years ago, are tremendous. Other than getting a little sweat in there and some water on the visor, I don’t think it’s a big issue.”

Q: Did he lose his sight at all?

A: “No. It was blurred.”

Q: Because of the salary cap right now, I don’t know if you guys can afford to bring somebody else up or are you comfortable with Lilja, Walker and…

A: “We have players we can use. We’ll be fine.”

Q: But he was obviously in a lot of pain?

A: “He wasn’t in the mood to talk. I think he was very scared, and rightly so. When something like that happens to your eye, you’re worried and you don’t know what’s going on, but I think he settled down over a period of time and was fine.”

Q: Did you think Toronto was a little careless with their sticks tonight overall?

A: “It’s a fast game, and things happen quickly. The first six games you could say we were careless with our sticks. It’s a freak accident, and obviously a very scary accident.”

Jagr, Hartnell break out of slumps but Pronger suffers eye injury as Flyers down Leafs

Two players facing criticism for two different reasons led the charge in Monday's 4-2 Flyers victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Jaromir Jagr broke his seven-game scoreless string to open his Philadelphia career by scoring a pair of breakaway goals and Scott Hartnell also tallied twice, but the victory was undercut by a potentially-serious injury to a key player.

Team captain Chris Pronger was felled early in the contest when he was struck flush in the right eye by the follow-through of a shot by Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovsky.

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said after the game that Pronger will be on complete bed rest for the next three days and will be further evaluated. He will be out of the lineup roughly 2-to-3 weeks. Upon his return, Holmgren stated that the team will require him to wear a face shield.

Pronger now joins the gruesome brotherhood in Orange and Black, one which includes Barry Ashbee, Bernie Parent, Brian Propp and Ian Laperriere.

In the wake of the unexpected setback, the 39-year-old Jagr put together his best game here, while Hartnell -- for one game at least -- shook off the swirl of criticism which all but had him traded.

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 24-of-26 shots and outduelled his counterpart Jonas Gustavsson, who let in all four scores on 30 shots after being pressed into service due to an injury to normal starter James Reimer.

After Phil Kessel opened the scoring with his NHL-best ninth goal of the year at the 6:11 mark, the Jagr of old -- the one which tortured this city during his Penguins tenure -- appeared.

Taking a Claude Giroux dish up the middle, the slinky Czech slid by a defender inside the Toronto zone and stuck a shot far side on Gustavsson with 3:38 to play in the opening period.

Hartnell put the Flyers ahead to stay with 4:14 left in the second when he dug around the Leafs crease for the rebound of a Danny Briere shot.

Giroux and Hartnell paired up once more for a two-goal Philly cushion in the third period, when the formerly shaggy-haired winger chipped a pass over Gustavsson short-side to make it 3-1 at the 8:34 mark.

Though David Steckel cut Toronto's deficit to one when he managed to legally fight off a rebound and muscle it into the net from the right side of the crease three minutes later, Jagr again flashed his trademark flair.

This time, Hartnell's long lead pass from inside his defensive zone hit Jagr in stride and he
cruised in alone, scoring in the same manner and in the same location as his first tally.

Notes: Hartnell posted his 200th and 201st points in a Flyers uniform...Jagr notched his 114th multi-goal effort, most among active players...Briere recorded his 600th NHL point...Brothers Luke (TOR) and Brayden (PHI) Schenn faced each other for the first time in a regular-season contest, marking the first time since November 29, 2006 (Jussi and Kimmo Timonen/Predators-Flyers) that it occurred in Flyers history.

Phillies decline options on Lidge, Oswalt

The Phillies have officially declined their 2012 options on Brad Lidge and Roy Oswalt. No surprise there.

Reuben Amaro, however, said we will remain in contact with reps for both players.

Karpecy pulls out of title bout

CHESTER, PA — Tommy Karpency has pulled out of this Friday night’s Pennsylvania State Light Heavyweight title bout with Tony Ferrante, and Gerald Nobles' bout with Joseph Rabotte has been elevated to the main event at Harrahs in Chester.

Karpency has to take himself out of the bout due to a tooth infection which caused him to miss important days of training.

“I am very disappointed” said Ferrante. “I have been waiting for this fight for about five months.  Hopefully my promoter Joey Eye will be able to put thing together as I know this will be a great fight”

Taking the place on the card will be a eight round Heavyweight battle between rising contender Franklin “Yah Yah” Lawrence battling veteran Raymond Ocheing.

That Heavyweight bout is added to the return of Nobles (26-1, 21 KO’s) after a four year hiatus and he will battle Rabotte (13-18-1, 3 KO’s)

Lawrence (16-2-2) of Indianapolis, Indiana is one of the hottest Heavyweights in the world. He has one four straight by knockout over Lance Whitaker, Jason Estrada, Jason Gavern and Marcus Rhode.

On the strength of the wins, Lawrence is now ranked number fourteen by the WBC.

Ocheing of Nairobi, Kenya has a record of 23-14-3 with eighteen knockouts.

He has fought some good competition such as Timo Hoffman, David Long and Amir Mansour.

In a six round Super Middleweight bout, Derrick Webster (10-0, 6 KO’s) of Glassboro, NJ battles Teneal Goyco (4-2, 2 KO’s) of Philadelphia, PA

In a four round Lightweight bout, Joey Tiberi (5-1, 4 KO’s) of Newark, Delaware will take on Mike Maley (4-8, 3 KO’s) of Whiting, Indiana.

Sean Beckles of New York will make his pro debut against Maurice Amaro (1-4) of Philadelphia in a four round Light Heavyweight bout.

Alex Barbosa of Philadelphia will make his pro debut against Brian Gonzalez (0-1) of Puerto Rico in a four round Bantamweight fight.

Anthony Young of Atlantic City will make his pro debut against an opponent o be named in a four round bout.

Tickets are now on sale for $100 (VIP); $65 (Ringside) and $45 (General Admission) and can be purchased at the Harrahs Chester Gift Shop; By calling Joey Eye (267-304-9399); David Feldman (610-291-0806); 800-480-8020 or on

Soul draw 200 to open tryouts

PHILADELPHIA  – The Philadelphia Soul concluded a successful open tryout on Saturday drawing over 200 perspective players to the Philadelphia Eagles’ NovaCare Complex in South Philadelphia.

Athletes from as far away as Virginia, Louisiana and Texas, as well as local college representation from Delaware State, Penn State, Rowan University, Temple and West Chester College were in attendance. 

The day was also highlighted by the participants being welcomed by former Philadelphia Eagle and from “Invincible” fame, Vince Papale.

“We were extremely impressed with the level of talent that came to the tryout,” said Soul head coach Doug Plank.  “The players were talented and the entire Soul organization did a great job with the large amount of athletes that showed up.  It was also an honor to have Vince be a part of the event.  He is an inspirational story and added to the excitement of this memorable day for these young athletes.”

The Philadelphia Soul are also hoping that the event will prove to be fruitful for the team in 2012.

“We will continue to review the film and plan on announcing the signing of at least two training-camp invitees within the week,” said Soul general manager Tom Goodhines said.  “The turnout was outstanding and we knew that the level of talent would be high in this area.”

Union to host Houston in first playoff game

Chester, Pa. – After finishing the regular season in third place in the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia Union will host their first ever MLS Cup playoff game against the Houston Dynamo on Sunday, October 30th at PPL Park. 

Kickoff is tentatively set for 4:00 p.m. EST but is subject to change. 

The club will travel to the Dynamo’s Robertson Stadium on Thursday, November 3 for the second leg of the Conference Semifinals. Definite kickoff times and a television schedule for both games will be announced at a later date.  The team scoring the most total goals over the two games will advance to the Eastern Conference final.

"We've worked very hard all season to get to the playoffs and we are very excited for this new challenge but our job is not over yet," said Philadelphia Union Team Manager Peter Nowak. “This is the first conference semifinal for many of our players but we do know that Houston will come out strong and we need to be ready for it."

Individual tickets for Sunday’s match are available at or by calling comcastTIX at 800-298-4200.  To purchase discounted group tickets (15 or more), call 877-21-UNION (877-218-6466)

The Union (11-8-15) are 2-0-2 all-time against Houston, having tied both games at PPL Park and winning both games at Robertson Stadiu

Serrano stays undefeated in Atlantic City

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ -Raymond Serrano remained perfect as he scored an exciting ten round unanimous decision over Angel Rios at the Tropicana Casino & Resort.

The card was promoted by Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing and was the first show on Azteca America's new televised boxing series "Boxeo Azteca"

Serrano boxed very well early as he was very pinpoint with his punches. He was very adept with his right hand and body attack. Rios drew oohs and Ahhs in round four as he winged and connected with two big right hands that Serrano took well.

Rios tried to apply tremendous pressure but time and again Serrano was able to cut off Rios with solid combination's that kept the Bronx, new York native on the receiving end of his flurries..

Rios took some great shots and the two exchanged furiously down the stretch that brought the boisterous crowd at the Tropicana to their feet.

Serrano (17-0) won by scores of 100-90; 99-91 and 98-92.. Rios is now (9-8).

Popular Heavyweight Vinny Maddalone (34-7, 25 KO's) thrilled his throngs of fans by taking out Journeyman Mike Sheppard just eighty-two seconds into their ten round Heavyweight fight.

Maddalone took out Sheppard with a left to the body that sent Sheppard folding up on the canvas. Sheppard is now 20-13-1.

Jason Escalera (12-0, 11 KO's) dropped Mickey Scarborough (6-4) three times in round one and finished him off with a ripping right hand in round two to remain undefeated in their scheduled six round Super Middleweight bout. The time of the stoppage was thirty seconds into round two.

Doel Carrasquillo (16-18-1, 14 KO's) battered Shamone Alvarez (21-5) and scored a fifth round stoppage in a scheduled eight round Welterweight bout.   Carrasquillo dropped Alvarez in rounds one and two with some punishing combinations. Alvarez began to score and move on Carrasquillo in rounds three and four. In round five Carrasquillo ripped a right hook that sent Alvarez down for a third time. Carrsqullio then pounced on Alvarez and ripped off six unanswered blows before referee Lindsay Page stopped the bout at 1:16 of round five.

Heavyweight Chazz Witherspoon (29-2, 21 KO's) took out an overmatched Tyson Cobb (14-3) in round three of their scheduled eight round Heavyweight bout.   Witherspoon dropped Cobb with three times in round two with hard combinations. The third knockdown came from vicious body punch at the end of the round. Witherspoon didn't waste time as he landed a booming right that sent Cobb plummeting to the canvas as 1:07 of round three .

Friday, October 21, 2011

Union ink radio deal with WIP

The Philadelphia Union have signed a deal with CBS RADIO’S SportsRadio 610 WIP, giving the Union their first ever radio partner. 

Beginning in 2012, SportsRadio 610 WIP will broadcast live 17 of Philadelphia Union’s matches, either home or away, as well as partner with the team to produce a weekly one-hour soccer show which will run through the end of the season in November.  Fans can hear game action and the weekly programming on-air, online at or via the app available on a variety of mobile devices.

In conjunction with their local television partners, the Union will now have one of the broadest media partnerships in Major League Soccer.

“We are thrilled to have developed this partnership with WIP, the preeminent sports radio station in the Greater Philadelphia area,” said Philadelphia Union Executive Vice President Dave Rowan.  “Our fans have been asking for us to be on the radio for both games and daily Philadelphia Union talk radio coverage so this partnership was a major priority for us.  We are truly honored to be a part of WIP’s already great programming.”

“Soccer is exploding in the Delaware Valley,” said Marc Rayfield, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, CBS RADIO Philadelphia.  “PPL Park is filled every game and the fans are as enthusiastic as any in professional sports. We are proud to help expand the team’s reach and the sport's popularity throughout the region.”

Also serving as the flagship station for the Philadelphia Eagles, Philadelphia Flyers and the Philadelphia 76ers, Sportsradio WIP is one of the first all-sports formatted stations in the nation; having broadcast the format for over 25 years in Philadelphia.

Video: The sad story of Scott Hall

Both sides to blame in latest NBA blowup | & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper

Both sides to blame in latest NBA blowup | & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper

Watch Locked in the Cage 9 from South Philly tonight at 7 pm

Live Video app for Facebook by Ustream

Union drop regular season finale to New York, wait on playoff seeding

Harrison, NJ — The Philadelphia Union fell 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls on Thursday night, concluding their 2011 regular season with a 11-8-15 record.

The Union will now await their playoff seeding and hope that either the Columbus Crew or Houston Dynamo fail to win this weekend, which would give the Union a top three seed in the East, a wild card bye, and a home playoff game.

Dane Richards emerged as the hero for New York at Red Bull Arena as his 7th-minute header — which was credited as a Faryd Mondragón own goal — stood as the game-winner.

New York dominated possession in the first half, as the Union struggled to create chances.

The Red Bulls broke through early when Richards found space in the six-yard box and sent his header off a pinpoint Solli cross into the post. The ball then rebounded off Mondragón’s back before trickling over the goal line and into the net.

New York almost made it 2-0 in the 16th minute, when the striking duo of Richards and Luke Rodgers combined to force Mondragón into a fantastic reaction save. Rodgers played a perfectly weighted pass for Richards, who used his pace to get away from the Union defense, but Mondragón parried it away for a corner.

In the 42nd minute, Mondragón came up big again when Stephen Keel’s forward pass found Rodgers, who flicked a pass to the onrushing Lindpere. The Union captain flew off his line to make a sprawling save and keep Philadelphia in the match.

After struggling to get going offensively in the first 45, the Union made two changes at the break. Danny Mwanga and Freddy Adu replaced Amobi Okugo and Zach Pfeffer to try and spark Philadelphia's offense.

Just two minutes after coming on, Mwanga did just that, cutting in from the left flank before unleashing a strike that flew wide of Frank Rost’s left hand post.

Philadelphia piled on the pressure in the final 30 minutes in search of an equalizer, with the Union’s best effort coming off a Le Toux free kick that Valdes appeared to head home for an equalizer. However, the center back was judged to be in an offside position.

The loss snapped Philadelphia's club record eight-game unbeaten run.

Scoring Summary:
NY -- own goal (Faryd Mondragon) 8

Misconduct Summary:
NY -- Teemu Tainio (caution; Reckless Foul) 29
PHI -- Brian Carroll (caution; Reckless Tackle) 55
NY -- Luke Rodgers (caution; Dissent) 66


Philadelphia Union -- Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Gabriel Farfan, Amobi Okugo (Freddy Adu 46), Zach Pfeffer (Danny Mwanga 46), Brian Carroll, Justin Mapp (Roger Torres 70), Sebastien Le Toux, Michael Farfan.

Substitutes Not Used: Jack McInerney, Stefani Miglioranzi, Kyle Nakazawa, Zac MacMath.

New York Red Bulls -- Frank Rost, Jan Gunnar Solli, Stephen Keel, Tim Ream, Roy Miller, Dax McCarty, Rafael Marquez, Teemu Tainio, Joel Lindpere, Luke Rodgers (Juan Agudelo 89), Dane Richards.

Substitutes Not Used: Stephane Auvray, Mehdi Ballouchy, Corey Hertzog, Matt Kassel, Carlos Mendes, Bouna Coundoul.

Referee: Mark Geiger
Referee's Assistants: -Eric Proctor; Daniel Belleau
4th Official: Drew Fischer
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-59-degrees
Attendance: 25,044

Soul re-sign veteran LB Perkins

PHILADELPHIA  – The Philadelphia Soul re-signed linebacker Brandon Perkins for the 2012 season. 

Perkins played in 17 games with the Soul last season and was No. 4 on the team in tackles (51.5), No. 2 on the team in sacks (5.5), and No. 1 on the team in fumble recoveries (3).

“We are very excited about bringing Brandon back,” said Philadelphia general manager Tom Goodhines.  “He will enjoy playing in a high-tempo, hard-hitting style of defense that Coach Plank is implementing.  After adding a lot of pieces on offense, our focus will now shift to the defensive side of the ball and we will continue to add the best talent possible.”

Prior to playing with the Soul, the former Kansas Jayhawk played one season with the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz (2010) and registered 14.5 total tackles, two and a half sacks, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery.  Prior to playing in Oklahoma City, Perkins played two seasons with the Los Angeles Avengers (2007-08).  His best season came in 2008 with the Avengers where he recorded a career-high with 52.0 total tackles, adding five sacks, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles.

As an AFL rookie in 2007, he was a mainstay for the Avengers at the "mack" linebacker spot.  Perkins finished the year with 31.0 total tackles and one interception.  Perkins also saw some action on offense as a receiver in the "jumbo" package the Avengers used periodically near the goal line.

“After his 2011 season, we had Brandon rated as one of the top linebackers in the Arena Football League,” said Soul head coach Doug Plank.  “He is very athletic and makes plays from wall to wall.  He is a perfect fit for our new defensive philosophy.  I look forward to his leadership on and off the field.”

One of the best pass rushers in school history, Perkins played in 46 games for the University of Kansas (Lawrence, Kan.).  He finished his collegiate career with a total of 20.0 quarterback sacks, tying him for No. 3 on Kansas’ all-time chart.  As a senior in 2005, Perkins set a Jayhawk single-game record with five sacks versus Louisiana Tech.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Caps hand Flyers 5-2 defeat, important lessons

by Bob Herpen
Phanatic Hockey Editor

Maybe the Philadelphia Flyers thought they would all be like Tuesday's rout in Ottawa of the hapless Senators.

Whatever expectations were on the table, the Washington Capitals completely wiped them out. Bruce Boudreau's club featured better talent, a better gameplan, and most importantly, better execution on Thursday night.

The Caps extended their franchise-best start to 6-0-0 and sent the Flyers to their first regulation defeat of the young season behind 40 saves from Tomas Vokoun and a pair of scores from Alex Ovechkin.

Already up 2-1 entering the third against a home team showing signs of something -- whether it was lack of focus or fatigue or the unsettling realization that the visitors were a team to be reckoned with -- the Caps put home three daggers to lock up the contest.

First, it was veteran defenseman Hamrlik, whose left-point floater sailed by numerous bodies before settling in the net to Ilya Bryzgalov's left at 2:23.

Chris Pronger took a tripping penalty seconds later and Ovechkin made him pay with a rocket shot from between the circles off a Nicklas Backstrom dish that came with a Flyers defender draped all over his left side.

It was 5-1 for Washington 54 seconds later, as Joel Ward tallied his first goal of the season on a nifty deflection of a low point drive from Jeff Schultz.

Sean Couturier picked up his second tally in as many games in garbage time, though it was a gritty effort to tap the puck home through a mass of players atop the crease.

It might have been a slightly worse outcome, had the Capitals caught a break late in the second period.

Ovechkin drove the net after shaking off Matt Carle in the slot, and while trying to put home a Backstrom rebound, made contact with Bryzgalov's mask with his knee. Backstrom eventually followed the play as a trailer and managed to elevate the disc over the goalmouth scrum, but it was quickly waved off due to incidental contact.

That proved to be the lone bright spot for Washington in the middle period, as Vokoun was forced to make 14 stops.

On two occasions, a Flyers forward had the Czech goaler down along the ice to the right side of the crease and failed to elevate the puck high enough to hit the net.

It was a frustrating replay of many missed scoring opportunities over the last several seasons, when forecheckers rushed the net within a five-foot radius and tried to slide the puck into non-existent space.

Each side took well into the opening 20 minutes to feel each other out, and despite shots being even at 11 apiece, it was not a typical caution-to-the-wind start.

It did end with the Capitals ahead by a 2-1 count, but the Flyers got the jump thanks to some alert play in the defensive zone.

During a 4-on-4, Wayne Simmonds pressed Alexander Semin at the left point, and his poke check worked the puck loose into the neutral zone for a streaking Claude Giroux. Philly's leading scorer pulled Vokoun so far out of position on a deke that he had a half-open net to deposit his sixth goal of the season with 5:35 left.

But Scott Hartnell threw a pass right to Mathieu Perreault inside the final two minutes, and his shot slowed and changed direction off Braydon Coburn's stick and crossed the goal line inside the near post at 18:40.

Just 68 seconds later, Backstrom worked out of the right corner and stepped in front, fooling Bryzgalov -- who ended with 23 stops -- long enough to dish across for an easy score by Ovechkin.

Notes: Washington improved to 8-1-2 in its last 11 trips to Philadelphia...Ovechkin's pair of scores gave him 37 points (22G, 15A) against the Flyers in his six-plus year NHL career...Kimmo Timonen became just the third Finnish-born defenseman to reach the 900-game plateau in the NHL, joining Teppo Numminen (1,372) and Jyrki Lumme (985)...Former 2009 first-round pick of the Kings, Brayden Schenn, made his NHL debut on Thursday, finishing with a minus-3 in just over 11 minutes of ice time.

Flyers-Capitals preview

Once upon a time more than 25 years ago, the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals battled for supremacy in the old Patrick Division.

The Caps were supposed to be the heir apparents to the fading Islanders (4 Cups/5 straight Finals berths) dynasty, but Mike Keenan had other ideas.

Washington featured established stars like Mike Gartner, Larry Murphy, Dave Christian, Bob Carpenter and Rod Langway, while Philly was stocked with a new crop of young kids sprinkled with some veteran presence and a European goaltender.

But Keenan was the engine that made it all perform at mega speed. He simply outclassed and outcoached counterpart Bryan Murray, and the Flyers took three straight division titles from 1985-87 with the Caps finishing second all three years.

During that era, the Flyers went 5-1-1, 5-2-0, and 5-1-1, respectively against the Capitals, winning virtually all significant regular-season meetings at the Spectrum and the Capital Centre.

Now, the script seems to be repeating itself, as Bruce Boudreau's 5-0 Capitals -- once again provisional Stanley Cup favorites with such luminaries as Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green and Mike Knuble -- take on the 4-0-1 Flyers, a young and uncertain roster flecked with veteran flair and led by Peter Laviolette.

Washington, for years a notoriously sluggish-starting club, has never before opened up with five straight wins in any season. Its previous record was 4-0-0 in both 1991-92 and 1997-98.

Philadelphia, on the other side, has gone unbeaten in a year's first five games since a 3-0-2 beginning in 2002-03. A win or loss beyond regulation will tie the 1995-96 squad, which started that campaign with five victories and a tie.

Last season, the Orange and Black went 2-0-2 against the Red menace, and all four matchups were decided beyond regulation. However, the Capitals are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games on South Broad Street.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Flyers recall Schenn

The Flyers have recalled enter Brayden Schenn from their American Hockey League affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, and have loaned LW Zac Rinaldo and RW Harry Zolnierczyk to Adirondack.

Schenn, 20, has recorded four goals and four assists for eight points in four games for Adirondack so far this season, incluidng a hat trick on October 14 in a 6-3 win vs. Bridgeport.  He departs the AHL as the league’s leading scorer among rookies, and is tied for second overall in scoring in the league.

Rinaldo, 21, has appeared in all five games for the Flyers so far this season.  He recorded 28 PIM and also picked up his first NHL point with an assist on Oct. 18 at Ottawa.

Zolnierczyk, 24, scored his first NHL goal in his one game with the Flyers on Oct. 18 at Ottawa.  He has recorded a goal and three assists for four points for Adirondack this season, all of which came in a four-point night last Friday in the 6-3 win over Bridgeport.

Gumbel's race-related charges are way off base | NBA (AP) | Sports News and Videos on the Dal...

Gumbel's race-related charges are way off base | NBA (AP) | Sports News and Videos on the Dal...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Flyers crush hapless Sens; Read, rookies make their mark

by Bob Herpen
Phanatic Hockey Editor

On certain occasions, a blind prediction may have some grains of truth to it.

Such was the case of TSN's Bob McKenzie, who, when recently pressed for his Calder Trophy candidate, blurted out Philadelphia's Matt Read via Twitter.

Read repaid that trust in spades on Tuesday night, ending up with a career-best four points on a goal and three assists, as the Flyers snapped a seven-game losing streak in Ottawa stretching over nearly four years with a 7-2 decision over the hapless Senators.

Claude Giroux and Max Talbot added a goal and helper each for the Flyers, who earned their first win in Canada's capital since November 24, 2007.

Sean Couturier and Harry Zolniercyk registered their first NHL goals as Philadelphia opened up a season without a regulation loss in its first five games since going 3-0-2 to kick off Ken Hitchcock's first year at the helm in 2002-03.

Sergei Bobrovsky's first start of the year was a solid one, as the Russian halted 21-of-23 shots.

Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson scored for the Senators, who stumbled to their fifth loss in six contests.

Alex Auld was pulled after one period, giving up four goals on 10 shots to take the loss. Craig Anderson finished by allowing three scores on 20 shots.

Read put the Flyers on the board at the 6:20 mark of the opening period, when his sharp-angle chance from along the goal line on the right wing beat Auld under the crossbar.

Wayne Simmonds doubled the advantage on a power play at eight minutes even, lifting a loose puck over a goalmouth scramble from between the circles.

It was 3-0 for Philly at 16:17 on the front end of a four-minute advantage as Giroux ripped a shot from the right wing over Auld's opposite shoulder, and Talbot provided a four-goal margin with one minute left.

The visitors survived four Ottawa power plays, including a brief two-man edge, but couldn't finish the second period by maintaining a 4-0 lead.

Daniel Alfredsson -- the calm veteran captain in his 16th season -- fed Spezza for a tap-in at the right side of the crease with 61 seconds remaining.

James van Riemsdyk tipped in a point blast on a power play with 4:35 left in the contest, and Couturier deposited his initial score 36 seconds later for a 6-1 game.

Zolniercyk capped the Flyers scoring inside the final minute with a nifty deke of Anderson before chipping the disc up high on the backhand.

Karlsson blew a shot home with 20 ticks left to end another disappointing tilt for the Sens.

Notes: This was the most decisive win for the Flyers in Ottawa since a 7-2 final on
January 3, 1998...Philadelphia last tallied at least seven times on the road in a 7-4 victory at Los Angeles last December 30...Ottawa also gave up seven at home on October 13 in a 7-1 loss to Colorado...Prior to the contest, the Flyers recalled Zolniercyk from Adirondack of the AHL...Tuesday's win marked the first time since October 5, 2000 (6-3 win over Vancouver) that two Flyers rookies -- Justin Williams and Petr Hubacek -- notched their first NHL goals
in the same game ...On this date in 1984, Philadelphia tied a still-standing franchise record for goals in one game in a 13-2 demolition of Vancouver at the Spectrum.

Eagles bring back RB Harrison

The Lions and Eagles have agreed to a deal that will send Ronnie Brown to the Motor City for Jerome Harrison and a 7th round pick.

This will be Harrison's second stint in Philadelphia. He was originally acquired by the Eagles in a 2010 trade with the Cleveland Browns for running back Mike Bell on October 13. He went on to rush for 239 yards on 40 attempts (6.0 average) and one touchdown in eight games (one start), adding eight receptions for 43 yards.

In 2009, Harrison led the Browns with 194 carries for 862 yards and five touchdowns, and tied for the team lead with 34 receptions for 220 yards and two touchdowns. Over the final three games of the season, he amassed a league-high 561 rushing yards and five touchdowns, including a 286-yard effort on 12/20/09 at Kansas City, which ranks as the third-highest single-game rushing total in NFL history, trailing only Adrian Peterson (296 yards on 11/4/07 vs. San Diego) and Jamal Lewis (295 yards on 9/14/03 vs. Cleveland). The 28-year-old Harrison also holds Cleveland’s team record with 39 carries on 12/27/09 vs. Oakland.

Originally a fifth-round draft choice of the Browns in 2006, Harrison played collegiately at Washington State, totaling 2,800 yards and 25 touchdowns in 22 games after transferring from Pasadena City Junior College. A native of Kalamazoo, MI, Harrison was a team captain and an honorable mention All-America performer at Kalamazoo high school. 

Sixers unveil new marketing plan

PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia 76ers new Chief Executive Officer Adam Aron announced today a new marketing campaign for the team that embodies the city of Philadelphia and defines the essence of the Sixers and its fan base:


“This new Sixers tagline is more than just words to me, our ownership group and our organization – it is a pure encapsulation of the Sixers identity,” Aron said. “As we start a new era of 76ers basketball, we are determined to make these all-important principles the centerpiece of our franchise and the foundation on which we will operate.”

Aron added, “The words contained in our new slogan have been circulating around the Sixers for many years. It is no coincidence that we are reaching deep into the heritage and tradition of the 76ers. After all, over the years, the Sixers have been one of the NBA’s most elite teams.”

The tagline is just one part of a new and aggressive marketing campaign that will center around the following principles:

PASSIONATE: Sixers fans and all of Philadelphia sports fans are among the most passionate in the country, in a city known for its affinity towards professional and collegiate sports.

INTENSE: Philadelphia 76ers Head Coach Doug Collins intense and inspired leadership mirrors the intensity of our team, our organization and our fan base as the Sixers strive to play exciting, winning basketball.

PROUD: The 76ers are one of the most successful franchises in the history of the NBA:

-          The 2,610 regular-season wins are the third most wins in NBA history.

-          Have made 46 playoff appearances, the third most appearances in NBA history.

-          Won five Eastern Conference titles, the fourth most in NBA history.

-          Three-time NBA champions, tied for the fifth most titles in NBA history.

-          Featured 13 Hall of Fame members and 98 All-Star selections.

Sixers officially announce price cuts

PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia 76ers new Chief Executive Officer Adam Aron announced today that the team will significantly reduce single-game ticket prices of over 8,800 seats at the Wells Fargo Center for the upcoming 2011-12 season.

A new single-game ticket pricing structure will be implemented throughout the arena, when individual tickets go on sale. As a result, the price of 8,847 seats in the lower and upper bowl will be lowered. In total, approximately 51% of the seating in the open lower and mezzanine bowls will be reduced.

“We are committed to providing our fans with the most entertaining in-game experience in the NBA, and also one of the most affordable,” Aron said. “At the Sixers, we want to be on the side of the fan, so in these tough economic times when family budgets are strained, we decided to dramatically lower ticket prices, in many cases lowering ticket prices in half. We want to make the Philadelphia 76ers as accessible to our fans as possible. As a result, price should not be an obstacle that prevents basketball fans from enjoying the Sixers in person.”

Aron added, “We want to see 76ers fans at the Wells Fargo Center. On game nights, come to the arena. Guys and girls, bring a friend. Parents, bring your kids. And what a show you will see when you do. The Sixers are intent on transforming the fan experience and creating a happening on game nights that will get all of Philadelphia talking.”

As three examples of the new lower prices, fans can sit in the Lower Bowl for as little as $29. Last year, the lowest price for lower level seating was $54. And even some ticket prices on the side of the court in the Lower Bowl have been reduced – as this season Baseline Seats in rows 11-23 are priced at $89 and $59. Last season, those same seats were all $101. 

Price reductions will be especially evident in the Mezzanine Bowl. Prices for seats in rows 8-15 on the center red line, and encompassing 10 full sections of the Mezzanine Bowl, have been set at $20 for the new season. The same seat last year was $45.

Note that ticket prices will be slightly higher for newly designated Select Games ($5) and Choice Games ($10).

Stefanski out as Sixers GM

Philadelphia - The Sixers' new ownership group announced that general manager Ed Stefanski will not be back with the team.

Team president Rod Thorn will remain with the organization and be in charge of basketball operations, being called the "captain of the ship" by majority owner Joshua Harris.

"We were lucky enough when we bought the team to have two fantastic people doing one job," Harris said. "We are going to stay with Rod. There are no current plans to replace Ed."

Stefanski, who was originally hired as the Sixers president and general manager in 2007, already had his role reduced when Thorn arrived in Philadelphia last season. He recently interviewed for the general manager job with the Toronto Raptors.

Video: SIxers owner Joshua Harris

New Sixers get Jiggy Wit It -

New Sixers get Jiggy Wit It -

Lindros could return to Philly for Winter Classic

by Bob Herpen
Phanatic Hockey Editor

This will no doubt be one of those "sit down before your read" stories for Flyers fans of a certain age...

No marquee player in Flyers franchise history is the subject of more intense scrutiny or polarized opinions than Eric Lindros.

Last seen in Orange and Black in May of 2000, the now 38-year-old — 19 years removed from his rookie campaign – has been estranged from the organization since his 2000-01 holdout which eventually led to then-GM Bob Clarke shipping him to the New York Rangers for three players.

The native of Oshawa, Ontario was last heard from in September of 2008, in a brief videotaped message to the fans during the club’s final appearance in the Spectrum.

Many have wondered if The Next One could ever be welcomed back to the fold.

On Tuesday, an interview surfaced from The Hockey Writers, one which just so happens to be conducted with Philly’s Prodigal Son of the 1990s. In the body of the piece comes this little exchange, which will set the hearts of all Lindros fans aflutter with possibilities:

Q: There have been some rumors going around in Philly that you’ve been invited to play in the Winter Classic Alumni game. Is there any truth to that?

Eric Lindros: I talked with [Flyers GM] Paul Holmgren about a month or five weeks back and we chatted about it. That’d be great if I could see Mikael Renberg again, and Johnny LeClair. I haven’t seen Johnny in a couple of years. That would be a lot of fun. Also possibly we could set up something along the lines where we could do something for CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia), maybe have a lunch or do something along those lines. We could bring in hockey fans and chat a little bit about what we’re up to and sign a bunch of stuff.

Q: So have you made a decision to definitely come down for that or is it still up in the air at this point?

Eric Lindros: I haven’t talked to Paul since we initially spoke a couple of times but it sounds like a great time.

While it doesn’t really smack of a confirmation -- unlike the rush to act like it is by certain members of the professional online community -- it does leave the door open not only for Big 88 to return, but for the entire Legion of Doom to be reunited for the Alumni Game which will take place on New Year’s Eve.

This would be a HUGE step for the club to recognize a brief, but important renaissance which took place between 1995 and Lindros’ controversial concussion in March of 2000. It is well past time.

That era, defined by Lindros as much as the Flyers’ exciting, but ultimately futile, attempts to restore glory to the franchise, has gotten little publicity in the intervening years.

When the club chose to release its Top 10 games during its 40th Anniversary celebrations, all of the Lindros Era was passed over. In the introductory video to that 2006-07 season, the 90′s consist of Mark Recchi’s single-season team-record 120th point in 1993, Rod Brind’Amour’s power-play goal in Game 2 of the ’97 Finals, Eric Desjardins’ OT score in Game 1 of the ’95 Eastern semis against the Rangers…and a brief flash of Lindros after scoring an unidentified goal.

It was not nearly enough to honor a brief but fantastic ride which did, in fact, include many great players and moments that had nothing to do with the hulking center who was constantly overshadowed by his meddlesome father/agent.

Whatever occurred in the past, this is excellent news. The Phanatic first got wind of the situation from sources at the home opener last Wednesday. It definitely set off our radar despite what could be termed as ridiculously hyperbolic build-up to the actual secret.

But frankly, it’s not a stretch to think that something of that magnitude could include Lindros, as he’s the one piece to this team’s historic puzzle that has been conspicuously absent.

Full list of new Sixers' owners

-Joshua Harris, Wharton Grad and Apollo Management LP c0-founder
-David Blitzer, Wharton Grad and Blackstone Group
- CEO Adam Aron, Abington native and former head of Vail Resorts
- Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, the West Philly native Hollywood star and his actress wife
- Martim Geller, New York financial adviser
- David Heller, investor
- Travis Hennings, also works for Harris' Apollo Management
- James Lassiter, film producer who's worked closely with Will Smith
- Marc Leder, Sun Capital Partners, also a Penn grad
- Jason Levien, pro sports agent
- Michael Rubin, owner of Fanatics, the NBA-NFL-MBL-NHA-NCAA sports gear distributor, and founder of eBay GCI Commerce, of King of Prussia
- Handy Soetedjo, Indonesian investor
- Erick Thohir, Indonesian investor
- Art Wrubel, New York real estate investor, Penn grad

New owner of the 76ers Joshua Harris

Joshua Harris

Video: Official Highlights From Team Philly (The Chosen League) Vs. DC (The Goodman League)

Wildwood's Mussachio puts aside grieving for USBA title fight

Wildwood, NJ—Fighting in a 20-foot boxing ring may seem a rough way to make a living, but after what Chuck Mussachio has been through this year, it may seem like a piece of cake.

     It’s been a rough 2011 for the 32-year-old college grad-turned teacher-turned bartender, who challenges Garrett Wilson, of Philadelphia, PA, for Wilson’s USBA cruiserweight title in a scheduled 12-round contest on Saturday evening, Nov. 19, at Bally’s Atlantic City.

     In his last match Dec. 4 at Bally’s, Mussachio earned an eight-round decision over Theo Kruger, of Port Charlotte, FL.  That victory boosted Mussachio’s record to 17-1-2, 5 K0s, and he should have been moving onto bigger and better fights.  Things don’t always turn out the way you want.

     “Since my last fight I have had a few misfortunes take place in my life,” Mussachio said.  “In addition to losing my job (elementary school guidance counselor), I also lost my uncle, Robert Stipa.  He was in my corner for each of my professional fights and he died unexpectedly on Jan. 12.  He was 53 years old.  A few months later, on May 16, I lost my closest friend in the world, Adam Franz, also unexpectedly.  He was 31.  After my friend’s death, I decided to take some time away from the gym.  My head was not into boxing and this is not a sport you can do halfway if you want to be successful.

     “For the next few months I focused my time and energy on not only trying to find a job for the 2011-2012 school year, but also on helping to counsel my grieving family and friends.  Sometime in September I was presented with this fight (Wilson).  I thought about it and realized that I am not finished boxing yet.  I still have ‘miles to go before I sleep’ as Robert Frost once wrote and if I take any more time off it’s going to be really tough to get back into shape.

    “I accepted the fight and training has been going great.  For the first time since I can remember I don’t have to watch what I eat.  I actually have to gain weight for this fight.

     “Between those two unexpected deaths, my family, friends and I were, and still are, heavily grieving.  I have decided to dedicate this fight to the memory of those I lost.”

     A pro since 2005, Mussachio has built his record against  foes like Richard Stewart of New Castle, DE, Tony Ferrante and Andre Hemphill, both of Philadelphia, PA; Willis Lockett, of Takoma Park, MD; Carl Daniels, of St. Louis, MO.  His only loss came via 10-round decision against world-rated Tommy Karpency, of Adah, PA, in 2009 in Morgantown, WV.

     “I got head-butted in the second round against Karpency,” Mussachio said.  “It was above my left eye and I couldn’t see out of that eye for three rounds until my cut man was able to stop it.  I felt I lost the fight in those three rounds.  Had I not gotten head-butted, I’m confident I would have beaten him.  Being that it was not intentional, I chalk it up to being part of the sport of boxing.  Just my luck that my opponent in the biggest fight of my career, at the time, had a head the size of a barstool.  It was a close fight right up to the end.”

     Mussachio started boxing when he was 15.  He got his Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education at Lock Haven University, located in central Pennsylvania approximately 30 miles from Williamsport and State College.

     At Lock Haven, Mussachio joined the college boxing team.  He was NCAA runner-up as a freshman (1999) and sophomore (2000).  As a junior, he won the NCAA championship at 185 pounds and again as a senior at 175 pounds.

     “I wanted to win it in two different weight classes so I dropped down a weight class in 2002,” he said.

     After Lock Haven, Mussachio went to the United States Olympic Education Center in Marquette, MI, where he boxed for Al Mitchell.  While he was there, he received his Masters Degree in Guidance Counseling from Northern Michigan University.

     “There were about 20-25 of us up there who were selected by coach Mitchell to train in the center,” Mussachio said.  “I shared a room with former world (WBA junior middleweight) champion David Reid, who was one of the coaches.  I also shared a room with world (WBC/WBO junior welterweight) champion Tim Bradleyand a handful of other Olympic hopefuls and current top professional contenders.”

     When he came home in 2004 with over 100 amateur fights on his resume, Mussachio decided to give the pros a shot, making his debut April 2, 2005 in Atlantic City, NJ, by knocking out Karim Shabazz, of Brooklyn, NY, in three rounds.

     “My father, Al, has been my trainer since I was 15,” Mussachio said, “with the exception of my time in Lock Haven and Northern Michigan.  He was an amateur out of the legendary Passyunk Gym in South Philadelphia.  He and his father would sneak off to the gym every chance they got.  My grandmother—his mother—had no idea what they were doing.  When she finally found out, she told my dad that he either had to quit boxing or move out of the house.  At 17, he couldn’t move out so he was forced to give it up.

     “My father was an undercover narcotics cop in Philadelphia before he was injured on the job and forced to retire.  He and my mother, Annette, also from South Philly, decided to move to Wildwood in the mid-1970s.  They had my sister, Alanna, and me and this is where we have been ever since..

     “All my life, until 2005, my father owned and managed the Southern New Jersey branch of Wise Potato Chips for 30 years.  My parents also owned and operated a seasonal business which was a bakery by morning and an ice cream parlor by night.  With my father operating a snack-food business and my mother running the bakery/ice cream parlor, I wonder why my sister and I don’t weigh 450 pounds each.”

     Using his college degrees, Mussachio worked as an education teacher at Wildwood Middle School for more than three years.  He also was as a guidance counselor at Middle Township High School for one year, then was laid off due to budget cuts.  He was hired as an elementary guidance counselor at Ventnor City Elementary, but budget cuts again cost him his job.

     Along the way, he has worked as a bartender, currently at The Concord Café in Avalon, NJ.

     “Nancy Barnabei owns the café, along with four other businesses in Wildwood,” Mussachio said.  She has been one of the most organized and professional bar owners I have ever worked for.  When I signed to fight (Wilson) on Nov. 19, she accommodated my work schedule to coincide with my training.  I could not have hand-picked a boss to be any more supportive of my career than Nancy has been.

     “The patrons know about my boxing career, but it is not a rough crowd.  It is more of a neighborhood ‘Cheers’ type of setting.  We have mostly regulars between 40 and 80 years old.  They are very supportive of my boxing career and some have purchased tickets to come and watch me win the USBA belt on Nov. 19.”

Escalera & Alvarez headline undercard at Trop

Two members of the Star Boxing stable will be on display Saturday as welterweight Shamone Alvarez and super middleweight Jason Escalera will be featured as part of a big night of boxing at the Tropicana Casino & Resort.

The card, promoted by Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing will be headlined by undefeated Jr. welterweight Raymond Serrano taking on Angel Rios in a ten round bout.

In a second main event, popular heavyweight Vinny Maddalone will take on Mike Shepperd in a ten round bout.

The main bouts will be televised live across the country on Azteca America.

Alvarez will take hard punching Doel Carrasquillo.

Alvarez (21-4, 12 KO's) has been a staple in his hometown of Atlantic City as this will be his fifteenth appearance on the Boardwalk. He has been right on the cusp of being a top contender in the loaded welterweight division with wins over undefeated fighters Mohammad Kayongo, & Edward Gutierrez as well as contenders Jose Luis Cruz, Terrance Cauthen and Alexis Camacho.

Carrasquillo of Lancaster, PA is a grizzled veteran with over 34 fights (13KO's) who has fought of the top fighters's in the Jr. welterweight & welterweight divisions. The list of Carrasquillo's is opponents is impressive to say the least as he has shared the ring with the likes of Mike Jones & Mike Arnaoutis just to name a few. Carrasquillo is known as a rugged puncher who has pulled off upsets over undefeated prospects Wayland Willingham and Denis Douglin

Escalera will take on Mickey Scarborough in a six round Super Middleweight bout that features fighters with seventeen combined wins with sixteen coming via knockout.

Escalera (11-0, 10 KO's) of Union City, New Jersey is one of the top prospects in the division and posses tremendous knockout prowess. In his last bout, Escalera stopped the durable Mustafah Johnson in two rounds in his Star Boxing debut.

Scarborough (6-3, 6 KO's) of Kansas City will be looking to spring the upset and he has shown in previous bouts that he has knockout power as all of his wins have come early.

Fans in attendance can also witness an eight round Heavyweight bout that will feature contender Chazz Witherspoon (28-2, 20 KO's) of Paulsboro, NJ taking on Ty Cobb (14-2, 8 KO's) of Wichita Falls, Texas.

Sixers sale officially approved

The sale of the 76ers to a group headed by billionaire Joshua Harris has been approved by the NBA Board of Governors.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Forbes previously reported that Comcast-Spectacor would sell the team for between $300-330 million, with the price likely to be closer to $300 million.

Harris, the co-founder of Apollo Global Management, agreed to purchase the team back in July. The deal does not include the Wells Fargo Center or the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers, which are still owned by Comcast-Spectacor.

"This is one of the hardest business decisions I've ever had to make," said Comcast-Spectacor chairman Ed Snider in a statement. "The Sixers are family, and it is very difficult to say goodbye to an organization of great people with whom we have worked so closely over the last 15 years."

Comcast-Spectacor, led by Snider, originally bought the Sixers from Harold Katz in 1996.

"Over the last 15 years, a number of different individuals or entities have inquired about purchasing the Sixers, and to be honest, I was not looking to sell the team," Snider added. "But in discussions with Josh and his partners, it became clear that this was an offer that made sense for the franchise and for the future of Comcast-Spectacor."

Harris, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's prestigious Wharton School of Business, is joined in the new ownership group by David Blitzer, a senior managing director of The Blackstone Group; and Jason Levien, a former NBA player agent and Sacramento Kings executive.

"On behalf of my partners, I genuinely want to thank Ed Snider and Comcast- Spectacor for choosing us to steward the Philadelphia 76ers, a storied NBA franchise," said Harris. "We are excited to be writing a new chapter in Sixers lore."

The 76ers will remain a tenant of the Wells Fargo Center and the team will have a long-term cable broadcast agreement with Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.

"Knowing that the 76ers will continue to play at Wells Fargo Center and that our game television broadcasts will continue on Comcast SportsNet, our new ownership group looks forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Comcast-Spectacor for many years to come," Harris added.

Last season, the Sixers finished 41-41 under head coach Doug Collins and lost to Miami in five games during the opening round of the playoffs.

The 76ers have lost their last four playoff series and have just one postseason series victory since Allen Iverson led the team to the NBA Finals in 2001.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pierce takes home another MAC Offensive Player of the Week honor

Temple junior RB Bernard Pierce was named the Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors for the East division, the MAC announced on Monday.

In Saturday’s 34-0 shutout win over Buffalo, Pierce broke five school records.  He became Temple’s all-time career leader in touchdowns (rushing + receiving) and broke his own single-season mark for TDs and points scored. He now has 44 touchdowns (43 rush + 1 rec) in his career.  Pierce re-wrote his own season record for TDs and now has 18 touchdowns in a season (previous record was 16 from 2009). He also re-wrote his own season record for points scored (96, which he shared with Brandon McManus in 2009) and now has 102 points this season. He tied Paul Palmer with 264 career points.  Pierce finished the game with 152 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries.

Pierce eclipsed the 100-yard mark in rushing for the 14th time in his career and fifth time this season. 

For the second consecutive week, Pierce and fellow junior RB Matt Brown each rushed for 100 yards.  It marked the 11th time in school history that two backs rushed for 100 yards in a game, and they are the only tandem to do it three times.  They also did it last week at Ball State and in 2010 at Buffalo.

After seven games, Pierce leads the Owls (and the MAC) with 844 yards and a national-best 17 touchdowns on 164 carries. He is the Owls’ and MAC’s top scorer with 102 points.

In this week’s national statistics, Pierce is No. 1 in rushing touchdowns (17), No. 2 in scoring (14.57 ppg), and No. 8 in rushing (120.57). Over the last three seasons, Temple is 17-1 when Pierce carries the ball at least 18 times per game.

Pierce also earned Honorable Mention national running back of the week accolades on Sunday from the College Football Performance Awards.

The MAC honor is the seventh of Pierce’s career and his third this season. He earned the honor on Sept. 5 and Sept. 26. Pierce is the second Owl (fourth time) to earn recognition this season as senior LB Stephen Johnson earned Defensive honors on Oct. 10.

In other Temple news, The College Football Performance Awards honored junior PK/P Brandon McManus  as National Punter of the Week honors, while Pierce earned Honorable Mention national running back of the week.

In Saturday’s 34-0 shutout of Buffalo, McManus made two field goals (28 yd., 23 yd) and four points after touchdown to extend his consecutive streak to 28 makes.  McManus also kicked off seven times for 433 yards, averaging 61.9 yards per kickoff.  He also punted three times for 178 yards (and a career-best 59.3 average), two of which landed inside the 20, also a career best.

In seven games, McManus second in team scoring with 52 points. He leads the MAC with a perfect 28-of-28 in PATs.  In his first season with the added duty of team punting, McManus has punted 20 times for 966 yards. Seven of those 20 landed inside the 20, while 11 were longer than 50 yards.

This is McManus’ third consecutive weekly honor from the CFP.

Also, Phil Steele has release his mid-season honors, recognizing four Temple football players as All-Americans and nine players as members of his 2011 Mid-Season All-Mid-American Conference teams.

Named to the All-America teams, as well as All-MAC first team, were Pierce, senior DE Adrian Robinson, senior TE Evan Rodriguez and senior LB Tahir Whitehead (Newark, N.J.).

Pierce earned Third-Team All-America accolades, while Robinson, Rodriguez, and Whitehead were Honorable Mention selections.

Second-team All-MAC accolades went to senior OL John Palumbo and junior DB Justin Gildea.

Earning third-team All-MAC recognition were senior OL Pat Boyle, junior KOR Matt Brown and senior S Kevin Kroboth.

Review, Football Injury Case List Confirm Unusually High Rate

By Matt Chaney

for The Phanatic Magazine

Amid the second autumn of America’s neo-campaign for Safer Football, the extreme sport is lethal as ever in 2011 and on pace for its worst year in decades, confirms a review of casualty reports online.

As usual, teenagers constitute the large majority of football victims, among at least 60 cases of catastrophic injuries striking players since February—fatalities and survivors of subdural hematoma, stroke, paralysis, cardiac arrest and more emergencies—documented by this writer through search of Google banks under numerous Boolean word commands.

See my annotated list of survivor cases for this report.

Comparing football numbers of a year ago, 41 catastrophic cases are logged for all of 2010 by the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research, a think tank funded by football organizations that compiles data recognized as authoritative.

And there’s more football mayhem online this year, including at least 5 survivor cases of heatstroke or heat-related illness that should meet criteria for inclusion in the National Center survey, results to be posted online next spring by the University of North Carolina.
Heatstroke fatalities are included in annual catastrophic data, for example, while worst-scenario survivors can sustain brain damage if body cooling does not commence soon enough.
See my annotated list of survivor cases below.
Meanwhile, life-threatening cases of football 2011 nevertheless unqualified for National Center statistics involve conditions such as a teen player’s ruptured femoral artery and another’s destroyed kidney, resulting of collisions, along with blood clots in two players following major knee injuries. Still another developed blood clots following surgery on groin muscles, sending him back to the operating table. This athlete, Nermin Delic at the University of Kentucky, underwent a third surgery related to blood clotting, removal of a rib.
Reports of at least 125 emergency cases in football this year are available online, with the large majority involving ambulance or life-flight transport.

My numbers are likely conservative, too, given limitations of this review including the following: a) online databases do not include a significant portion of daily print and broadcast news; b) magazines and newspapers increasingly charge subscription rates for online access, especially small-market or rural publications; c) many online news pages are taken down after short posting; d) Google does not access all daily news online; e) and an unknown amount of football survivor cases are publicized in scant detail or not at all [although burgeoning social media are closing much of the blackout, with blasts of texts, Tweets and Facebook posts, for example, as emergencies occur at football sites].

Even football fatalities slip by reviewers employing electronic search, like one collision death in 2010, youth-league player Quadaar White, 15, whose case remains omitted from the National Center report online.
I focus here on survivor players of grave football injuries in 2011, based on my list of 61 cases online already, with 11 weeks remaining in the calendar year.

My documented cases include about 45 that appear strong for meeting catastrophic criteria of the National Center, pending follow-up and qualification by lead researcher Dr. Robert Cantu, the Boston neurosurgeon and NFL expert on brain trauma

That 45 catastrophic number would almost double Cantu’s survivor tally of a year ago.

Cantu and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell team to champion “safer football”—an old term first employed for so-called game reform a century ago—through rule changes, penalty enforcement, “concussion testing,” statutory law and “behavior modification” of players that allegedly teaches “proper” hitting without head contact.

In 2010, first year of the modern campaign, Dr. Cantu logged 24 survivors of catastrophic injuries in football, including 13 who made so-called complete recoveries. His 2009 report lists 42 survivors, while he gathered 59 such cases in 2008, the high mark for the National Center’s posted reports since 1984.
In coming days I’ll solicit injury researchers and other experts for their responses to my review, including Dr. Cantu.
For additional notes on the list below, foremost and repeating, it does not include football fatalities in 2011, like 16-year-old Ridge Barden, lineman for Phoenix High School in New York, killed on Oct. 14 by subdural hematoma of "blunt force" trauma incurred that Friday night in a game upstate. The teen is American football's third collision death confirmed by autopsy this year [thus far I have found reports of 16 deaths of players, mostly teenagers but including a 7-year-old, to likely qualify for Dr. Cantu’s confirmation as football-related fatalities, along with an additional 3 or 4 meriting his consideration].
For football survivor cases, The National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research classifies such casualty as either non-fatal, involving “permanent severe” functional disability, or serious, with no permanent functional disability.
Beyond the list below, search online for additional cases of serious football injury that could qualify as catastrophic in 2011, such as spinal bruising and transient paralysis and head injuries causing comatose states longer than concussion.

And check out the National Center’s website,, for information and context—if not injury qualifications that altogether jibe—among reports on decades of the catastrophic events ever-looming, for tackle football and more contact sport of modern America.

Survivors of Catastrophic or Grave Injury in American Football, Cases 2011
From reports retrieved in Google Search through October 15, 2011

Online Report of Comatose Youth Player, Age 5, American Football 2011

Sept. 29, circa: Unnamed “Tiny Mite” player, 5-years-old, Hawaii, reportedly fell comatose at a hospital following a head injury. Child was injured while participating in division of Oahu Pop Warner football for ages 5, 6 and 7, Brianne Randle reports for KHON-TV. Oahu doctor Josh Green said, “Five might be a little young. I’m concerned about it.”

Online Reports of Brain Hemorrhage and Surgery, American Football 2011

March 19:  Logan Weber, 21, Iowa, offensive guard for Coe College, experienced severe headaches while stretching for weightlifting. Weber was hospitalized within 24 hours for brain bleeding linked to “arteriovenous malformation,” or AVM, a congenital condition. Surgery was performed to insert a shunt and Weber was hospitalized for 20 days. He has recovered but no longer plays football, serving instead as student coach for the Coe team. Source: Cedar Rapids Gazette.

Aug. 5:  Brennan Barber, 17, South Carolina, defensive lineman for Mid-Carolina High School, was injured by a reported “routine” helmet hit during a scrimmage and collapsed minutes later. Surgery was performed for brain bleeding. Barber began walking three days later and was released from the hospital within a week. He is undergoing therapy and is expected to make strong recovery. Source: The State.

Sept. 2:  Tucker Montgomery, 17, Tennessee, receiver/linebacker for Tri-Cities Christian School, injured in helmet-to-helmet contact running the football during a 6-man game. Surgery was performed for brain bleeding. On Oct. 3, a hospital spokesman reported Montgomery remained comatose with a “very, very long road to recovery.” Sources:, Johnson City Press.

Sept. 10:  Dominic Morris, 21, Nebraska, running back for Chadron State College, injured by reported “glancing” contact from an opponent’s facemask during a game. Surgery was performed on brain bleeding that had caused a blood clot. “Following the operation… Morris was alert and showed no signs of any ill effects from the injury,” states a CSC release. Morris was discharged from hospital on Sept. 12 for recovery at home in California. Sources: Chadron State College, Omaha World.

Sept. 16: Robby Mounce, 17, Texas, running back/receiver for Community Christian School, suffered brain bleeding during a 6-man game and collapsed. Surgery was performed. Mounce, an honors student, remains under critical care while undergoing therapy in a rehabilitation facility. Progress is slow and a long recovery is expected. Sources: KDFW-TV, Mineral Wells Index, and Janet Mounce on

Sept. 16:  Zeth Shouse, 17, Nevada, tight end/defensive end for Elko High School, suffered brain bleeding during a game and collapsed. Multiple surgeries were performed.  Shouse, an honors student, remained hospitalized in a coma on Oct. 8. Source: Reno Gazette-Journal.

Sept. 16:  Adrian Padilla, 17, California, safety for Oxnard High School, collapsed following head contact during a game. Surgery was performed for brain swelling of a reported severe concussion. Padilla was released from hospital on Oct. 4 and attended the Oxnard football game days later; he walked onto the field for the opening coin flip wearing street clothes and protective helmet. Padilla told media he suffered a concussion in football two weeks prior to the Sept. 16 injury. The teen, with more surgery pending, is continuing schoolwork at home for remainder of the semester. Sources: Ventura County Star, Concussion Inc. blog, and

Sept. 16:  Adam Ingle, 17, Kansas, quarterback/linebacker for Valley Center High School, was injured in helmet-to-helmet contact during a game. Surgery was performed for brain bleeding. Family members say Ingle likely was concussed three days before game injury, during football practice, but the player did not inform anyone of his headaches, reports blogger Irvin Muchnick. Ingle is progressing well at home and attending school events, but lengthy recovery is expected. Sources: Concussion Inc. blog, Wichita Eagle, and

Sept. 30:  Bobby Clark, 17, Idaho, lineman/linebacker for Priest River Lamanna High School, collapsed while leaving the field during a game. Surgery was performed for brain bleeding. District superintendent Mike McGuire said Clark might have mentioned headaches in the week leading to his injury, unbeknownst to coaches and school officials. At least 9 players on the team have been diagnosed with concussion this season, among 45 players in the small school, officials say. A local TV station reports Clark was among 3 concussion cases diagnosed on the team the night he was airlifted for emergency surgery. The teen remains hospitalized in critical care but a ventilator was removed and he is alert and improving, undergoing physical therapy, his mother reports online. A long recovery is expected. Sources: Julie Clark on, WASWX-TV, Spokane Spokesman-Review, and Bonner County Daily Bee.

Sept. 30:  Shelton Dvorak, 17, Nebraska, fullback/linebacker for Pierce High School, collapsed during a game. Surgery was performed for brain bleeding. Dvorak was released from ICU a week later and entered a rehabilitation center, where he’s progressing markedly, including solo walking, exercising—such as free lunges, squats—eating and conversing with visitors. But swelling remains along with complications like headaches, and Dvorak faces more surgery. Sources: Dvorak Family on, Lincoln Journal Star and Norfork Daily News.

Sept. 30:  Dillon Lackhan, teenager, Arizona, senior lineman/linebacker for Valley Christian High School, suffered brain bleeding of a headshot during a game. Surgery was performed and Lackhan was conscious within a few days, eating and conversing. “Dillon shows positive signs for recovery, but a long-term prognosis is not clear,” stated school athletic director Marlin Broek, in an Oct. 6 email to sportswriter Richard Obert. Sources:, and East Valley Tribune.

Oct. 13:  Unnamed teenager, California, sophomore player for Los Angeles High School, collapsed during a junior varsity game. Surgery was performed for a brain hemorrhage and the teen remained hospitalized in critical condition the following day, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Online Reports of Vessel Rupture and Stroke in American Football 2011

Sept. 6:  Connor Laudenslager, teenager, Pennsylvania, senior offensive/defensive tackle for Line Mountain High School, was stricken of a blood clot at beginning of indoor practice, causing stroke. Laundenslager, 6-foot, 270 pounds, was hospitalized for emergency brain surgery then made “remarkable progress,” said coach Mike Carson. A Sept. 30 report states Laudenslager could be cleared to resume football this season. Sources:, and Pottsville Republican Herald.

Sept. 23:  Dylan Mercadante, 16, Vermont, receiver/defensive back for Montpelier High School, suffered a ruptured blood vessel in his neck during the second half of a game, causing strokes. The injury possibly stemmed from contact on his team’s first kickoff of the game. Coach John Murphy said Mercadante passed a “concussion test” administered by athletic trainer Jennifer Lahr before his collapse and she still attempted to sideline the player; Lahr said the player reentered the game against her command, reports sportswriter Anna Grearson. Mercadante spent a week in ICU then was moved to a rehabilitation facility, where he remains. Long recovery is expected. Source: Barre-Montpelier Times Argus.

Online Reports of Brain Bleed or Swell, No Surgery, American Football 2011

Feb. 14:  Neiron Ball, 19, linebacker for the University of Florida, experienced headaches following a workout and was hospitalized the following day for a burst blood vessel of the brain linked to a congenital malformation of arteries known as AVM. Ball was released from ICU after five days and in March began “radial” treatment described as a non-intrusive procedure, similar to radiation for cancer. Ball is not playing football this season. A relative says Ball is healthy but his football future remains uncertain. Sources: Orlando Sentinel and

Aug. 19:  Alan Mohika, 17, Hawaii, quarterback for Damien Memorial High School, was injured by contact during a game, rose and walked off, then fell into seizure. Mohika suffered brain bleeding and was hospitalized in ICU for a reported severe concussion. No surgery was necessary and the teen was discharged from hospital after five days. Mohika, who returned to school in mid-September, reportedly sustained a concussion last year and isn’t playing football this season. He hopes to return to sports. Sources: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, and

Sept. 9:  Matt Ringer, 15, California, running back for Central Catholic High School, suffered an apparent concussion during a tackle. Later he was hospitalized for a detected brain bleed, although fully conscious. No surgery was necessary and Ringer was released from hospital within 48 hours. He is not playing football this season, but apparently recovery is strong thus far. Source: Modesto Bee.

Oct. 7:  Jadon Adams, 16, Kansas, running back for Beloit High School, collapsed during a game and was hospitalized for brain swelling. Doctors sedated Adams as treatment and discontinued the drugs as swelling subsided within 24 hours, determining that no surgery was necessary. The teen has not fully regained consciousness while making inconsistent responses to verbal and physical stimulation, but family members see positive signs in his eye openings and body movements. And he was moved from ICU into his own room a week after injury. Doctors are unsure why Adams remains mostly unresponsive, but they believe his brain swell wasn’t caused by a football collision, reports journalist Gary Demuth. “They felt a previous problem, perhaps with the addition of the football game, could have caused this health issue to surface,” said Steph Barret, a nurse and friend of the player’s family. Several specialists are examining Adams. “Based on his CAT scan, he should be sitting up and talking,” Barrett said. Sources: Salina Journal and Steph Barrett on

Online Reports of Skull Fracture, American Football 2011

April 2:  Lamont Baldwin, 17, Washington, D.C., touted receiver for Carroll High School, suffered a fractured skull and other injuries in a four-player collision during  private camp without pads and helmets in Virginia. Baldwin was hospitalized in ICU for two days and could not return to school for the remaining semester, facing months of recovery. When injured, Baldwin was a top college prospect reportedly being recruited by several major programs. Baldwin is not playing football presently, and available information is limited. Doctors were optimistic for Baldwin’s return to football as of last report in April: Washington Post and

Online Reports of Spinal Fracture With Surgery, American Football 2011

May 7:  Rob Marrero, 31, Pennsylvania, semi-pro player for the Mountain Top Reapers, suffered a broken neck and severed spinal cord during a game. Friends reported after surgery that Marrero is paralyzed permanently from chest down. Marrero, married and a father of two, continues treatment and therapy. Source: Lehighton Times News.

May 27:  Jeremy Bingham, 34, Arizona, fractured cervical and thoracic vertebrae during a game in pads and helmets between alumni of two local high schools. He was injured colliding with another player. Doctors diagnosed no paralysis in Bingham and surgery was performed to stabilize the C7 and T1 vertebrae. Bingham is married and the father of four. Sources: Eastern Arizona Courier and the Bingham Family on

Sept. 23:  Corpio Dennard, 16, Alabama, receiver/running back for Saks High School, suffered a broken neck during a game while a tackler grabbed from behind, pinning his arms and sending him into ground headfirst. Dennard experienced no paralysis and walked to the sidelines, but coaches did not return him to the game. The next day his mother sent him for a doctor’s exam and Dennard was hospitalized, with X-rays showing fractures in his 5th and 6th cervical vertebrae. Surgery was performed on Sept. 25, for stabilizing the spine with plate and screws. “The doctors that saw him were just amazed that he got up and walked off the field,” coach Clint Smith told reporter Joe Medley. Dennard said, “If I had gone back in the game, I don’t know where I’d be right now. I’d probably be paralyzed or even dead.” Dennard has begun 6-to-12 months rehabilitation and doctors expect he can return to sports, although probably not football. Source: Anniston Star.

Sept. 29:  Luis Morales, teenager, Texas, junior player for Vega High School, suffered fracture of the C6 vertebrae while colliding with bleachers during a junior varsity game. Reports state the teen is paralyzed from waist down while hardly moving his arms. Surgery was performed in Texas, and Morales was flown to California for specialized rehabilitation on Oct. 13. Sources: Amarillo Globe-News, High Plains Observer and

Oct. 7:  Porter Hancock, teenager, Utah, running back/linebacker for South Summit High School, suffered a broken neck and paralysis while making a tackle in a game. “Porter finished off the tackle. It was nothing big,” said South Summit coach Jerry Parker. “He turned his head the wrong way.” Surgery on Oct. 8 removed two discs and inserted a stabilizing plate. Hancock remained paralyzed from chest down as of news reports on Oct. 10. Prognosis is uncertain. Sources: Deseret News, Salt Lake Tribune, Park City Record,

Online Reports of Spinal Fracture, No Surgery, American Football 2011

Note: Football cases of spinal fracture often involve no displacement of vertebrae or puncture of spinal cord, resulting in no paralysis or other acute alert, and in fact unknowing victims can function normally for long periods after injury, including playing tackle football. For such injury that is diagnosed and treated, practically complete recoveries are frequent. Among severe or catastrophic injuries in tackle football, diagnosed spinal fracture without displacement qualifies among least serious types. Some injured players rehabilitate and return to full contact in the same season, even quickly, such as a few high-school players this year. For this section, available details are fewer and less precise in some cases.

June 25:  Evan Gray, teenager, California, senior running back for Poway High School, fractured three vertebrae in a fall during pass-league competition. Following rest and rehab, Gray returned for Poway’s football season but is currently sidelined with a reported fractured kneecap. Sources: Damian Gonzalez on and Poway News Chieftan.

Aug. 9:  Jeff Wozniak, teenager, Indiana, sophomore quarterback for Morton High School, suffered fractured vertebrae and neck bones and a bruised spinal cord in practice when “hit under his chin during a drill and driven backward,” initially leaving him paralyzed, reports sportswriter Steve Hanlon. Doctors fitted Wozniak with a steel halo head brace, requiring drilling of screws but not open surgery. In ICU he progressively regained feeling and motor function and in two weeks left the hospital for a rehabilitation facility, where he was also released after two weeks. He continues outpatient therapy and hopes to play football again. Source:

Aug. 10, circa:  Mario Crawford, 21, Virginia, running back for Old Dominion University, sustained fracture of the C1 vertebrae in a preseason practice, striking his helmet on a medicine ball in a drill. Doctors could not determine a diagnosis for two weeks, until CT scan revealed the injury. Crawford expects to wear a neck brace 6-to-8 weeks and will not return to football this year, according to The Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot.

Aug. 15-20:  Devin Mahina, adult, Utah, redshirt sophomore tight end for Brigham Young University, sustained a fractured vertebrae in a preseason scrimmage. Initially the injury was not diagnosed and Mahina practiced football for about 10 days, until doctors found it by CT scan on Aug. 30, sidelining him for the year. At last report, Mahina will wear a neck brace until further evaluation. Sources: Deseret Sun and Salt Lake Tribune.

Aug. 26:  Dustin Newman, teenager, Alabama, junior player for Pike Liberal Arts Academy, sustained a fractured thoracic or T5 vertebrae during a kickoff. He will wear a neck brace until about November’s end. Sources: Troy Messenger and

Sept. 1:  Kellen Bernard, 15, Texas, running back/linebacker for Palmer High School, sustained a fractured lumbar vertebrae on a hit while returning a punt. He reportedly had temporary paralysis and at last report was expected to recover. Sources: Ennis Daily News and WFAA-TV.

Sept. 2: Jerram Rojo, 17, Texas, quarterback/linebacker for Marfa High School, was injured running the ball in a game, his heading striking ground. He walked off the field then was hospitalized, where a CT scan revealed fracture of the C6 vertebrae. As of diagnosis, Rojo would wear a neck brace for six weeks then be examined for possible surgery, Sterry Butcher reports for

Sept. 2, circa:  Sam Scholting, teenager, Missouri, junior offensive tackle for Mexico High School, suffered a broken vertebrae and was expected to be sidelined six weeks, coach Nick Hoth told The Mexico Ledger.

Sept. 9:  Frank de Braga, teenager, Nevada, senior running back/safety for Fallon High School, suffered a fractured T3 vertebrae and brain concussion while making a tackle. Initially unconscious, the teen had movement before transport to hospital, where he spent the overnight under observation. De Braga was cleared to return to play two weeks later and remains in the Fallon lineup, according to The Lahontan Valley News.

Sept. 10:  Brian Tyms, 22, Florida, receiver for Florida A&M University, sustained a fractured vertebrae during a game. He returned to football and played in a game on Oct. 1. Sources: Tallahassee Democrat and The Associated Press.

Sept. 11:  Ron Bartell, 29, Missouri, cornerback for the St. Louis Rams, sustained  fractures of the C7 vertebrae in an NFL game. He is recovering wearing a neck brace and will undergo months of rehab, hopeful of playing again, according to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Sept. 16:  Scott Thibeault, teenager, Maine, senior running back/linebacker for Mountain Valley High School, suffered two fractured vertebrae and was expected to miss at least four weeks of play. Source: Portland Press Herald.

Sept. 18:  Nick Collins, 28, Wisconsin, free safety for the Green Bay Packers, ruptured a lumbar disc during collision in an NFL game. Cervical-fusion surgery was performed and Collins faces lengthy rehabilitation. Doctors expect full recovery for normal lifestyle, but Collins hopes to resume pro football. Sources: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and

Sept. 30:  Deangelo Peete, 17, Michigan, linebacker for Livonia Franklin High School, fractured his C1 vertebrae in three places during a helmet-to-helmet collision in a game. He was hospitalized, a head halo brace was fitted to stabilize the injury, and within days Peete was walking. The teen will wear the halo brace for three months, according to WJBK-TV.

Sept. 30:  Cody Ashcraft, teenager, Missouri, senior receiver for Scott City High School, sustained a fractured cervical vertebrae in a game, according to The Southeast Missourian.

Oct. 8:  Chris Thompson, 20, Florida, running back for Florida State University, suffered fractures of the T5 and T6 vertebrae while being tackled in a game and was hospitalized overnight. Thompson is walking and wearing a neck brace for 6-to-12 weeks, then starts rehab. He hopes to play football again, according to The Orlando Sentinel.

Online Reports, Survivors of Heatstroke and Related Illness, Football 2011

July 11:  Jordan Hawthorne, South Carolina, sophomore lineman for Greenville High School, was stricken during morning team workout as local temperature would later reach the mid-90s and about 100-degree index. Hawthorne, listed as 5-foot-10, 200-pound defensive lineman, reportedly passed out but regained consciousness before transport by ambulance to a local hospital, where at last report he spent the overnight in ICU. Source: WPSA-TV.

Aug. 1:  Ciani Davis, 17, Texas, offensive/defensive lineman for his 6-man team at Advantage Academy Charter School, collapsed of heatstroke in morning practice. Paramedics measured 108-degree body temperature for the teen, listed at 6-foot-4 and 350 pounds, and he was placed in medically induced coma for 48 hours. Davis was hospitalized for a week, mostly in ICU, and began outpatient rehabilitation. Sources: WFAA-TV and KDFW-TV.

Aug. 2:  Dustin Snow, 17, Ohio, offensive tackle for Wauseon High School, collapsed during team lunch break after practice. The 6-foot-1, 285-pound teen slipped off a chair, tried to stand up, then a teammate caught his fall. Emergency response resulted in helicopter life-flight to Cleveland, where Snow was hospitalized in critical condition before he began to recover. His father, Bob Snow, said, “It was a nightmare the first 24 hours.” Dustin Snow, a 4.0 student ranked No.1 in his senior class, was discharged from hospital after a week and soon spoke with reporter Bill Bray. “I barely remember [Aug. 2] practice,” Snow told Bray, of the hours leading to his collapse, continuing: “It was severe dehydration. … The first thing I remember I was waking up in the hospital with the [ventilator] tube in my mouth. … I was really freaking out. … I had so much lactic acid in my body that they had to put a room full of fluids in my body. They had seven IV bags hooked up to me at one time. My kidney function was very close to dead as was my liver function. That started to affect all my other organs and my stomach began having problems functioning as well. I couldn’t digest food and it was really bad.” Snow will no longer play football; in addition to his heat illness, he has learned of “an extra bone growth in the back of my head,” discovered during hospitalization, which doctors warn could damage his spinal cord on impact. Sources: Wauseon Reporter and Toledo Blade.

Aug. 10:  Clay Huskey, 14, Alabama, player for Buckhorn High School, collapsed of heatstroke during a water break at afternoon practice. Coaches applied ice to Huskey’s body while awaiting paramedics. The teen was hospitalized for three weeks, including 17 days in ICU, as chronicled on Facebook by a deep thread of relatives, friends and more followers. For about a week Huskey was basically comatose, wracked by high fever and body pain, then had to overcome a lung infection and surgery. Upon his hospital release at day 21, Huskey faced “a lot of physical therapy,” Denise Sisco Shockley reported online, “and he will be out of school another 4-6 weeks, but he is healing. Thank you, God, for answering our prayers!” Sources: Shockley on and WAFF-TV.

Sept. 2:  Clay Callahan, teenager, Ohio, junior lineman for Conneaut High School, was stricken as primarily 100-degree heat and humidity sent six players to local hospitals from a game between his school and Champion High. Callahan was unconscious in critical condition, hospitalized on ventilator for an overnight before discharge after about a week. Candy Oliveira, identifying herself as a relative of Callahan on Facebook, wrote on Sept. 7: “I have been to other high school football games and have seen large ice coolers with towels soaked… . My nephew showed multiple signs of HEAT STROKE prior to his unconsciousness.” Callahan, whom his aunt described as “very lucky,” returned to the Conneaut team for the Oct. 14 game, reports sportswriter Don McCormack. Sources: Ashtabula Star Beacon, WJW-TV, Oliveira on,, and Conneaut Area City Schools.

Online Reports, Survivors of Cardiac Arrest, Heart Attack, Football 2011

May 19:  Teddrick Lewis, 15, Louisiana, player for Breaux Bridge High School, collapsed on the sidelines during a spring football scrimmage. Coach Paul Broussard employed a portable automated external defibrillator, or AED—after having trained in a mock drill with his team and school personnel weeks earlier—to restart the heartbeat and save Lewis’ life. “Because we had a plan in place, we knew exactly what to do,” Broussard said. Lewis was hospitalized for a week and has since recovered for normal activity, but doctors advise he not return to contact sport. Sources: KATC-TV and ZOLL Medical Corporation.

Aug. 22:  Unnamed teenager, Missouri, eighth-grade player for Waynesville Middle School, collapsed of cardiac arrest during afternoon practice. Local fire and ambulance personnel restored the boy’s heartbeat. “The defibrillator devices were absolutely what saved him,” said Mike McCort, of the ambulance district. As of Aug. 26, the teen was hospitalized, according to The Pulaski County Daily News.

Aug. 30:  Ross Palmer, 17, Idaho, receiver/cornerback for American Falls High School, collapsed of apparent cardiac arrest while running wind sprints at practice. Two coaches began CPR while another fetched a portable defibrillator, then they correctly ignored a directive not to use the device, from responding paramedics, reports journalist Patty Henetz. “If [the stricken player] had not been shocked, no way would he have come out of that,” said cardiac surgeon Dr. Brian Crandall. Three days post-incident, surgeons implanted a self-activating stimulator in Palmer’s chest. Henetz reported “if Ross’ heart goes into ventricle fibrillation arrest—quivering instead of beating—the implantable cardiac defibrillator, or ICD, will shock his heart back into action.” Source: Salt Lake Tribune.

Sept. 2:  David Wilganowski, 17, Texas, touted lineman for Rudder High School, collapsed of cardiac arrest during a game. Rudder's certified athletic trainer, Jamie Woodell, revived the heartbeat with an AED and staff performed CPR, saving the teen. Wilganowski was hospitalized 10 days and surgery placed an ICD device in his chest. An honors student, aspiring engineer, Wilganowski is formerly a prized football recruit at 6-foot-5, 240 pounds and athletic. He will not play football again, but Rice University reportedly pledges to honor its scholarship offer. Sources: KBTX-TV, KCEN-TV and Bryan-College Station Eagle.

Sept. 9:  Brett Greenwood, 23, Iowa, former University of Iowa safety just released by the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL, suffered a reported heart attack during an individual workout at his alma mater high school in Bettendorf. Personnel of Pleasant Valley High were present and likely kept the athlete alive until paramedics arrived, media report. School athletic director Randy Treymer said, “The school nurse ran a defibrillator where our athletic trainer was working on Brett. … They kept pushing with the defibrillator and CPR. If they weren’t around, who knows what could have happened?” Doctors placed Greenwood in medically induced coma and on life support, and he was hospitalized in ICU for about two weeks. Greenwood was transferred to a specialized care facility where he remains, reportedly awake, talking and walking. Medical treatment continues and a likely lengthy recovery. Sources: Quad City Times and Daily Iowan.

Sept. 20:  Alex Templeton, 13, Texas, a linebacker for Azle Junior High School, went into cardiac arrest of contact during a game. Templeton chased down an opponent near the sideline, making the tackle from behind, and the opponent’s cleat jabbed his chest. The seventh-grader stood up, looked at the grandstands and collapsed. A coach performed CPR while a nurse who was a spectator administered a portable AED owned by the school; Templeton lay still until the defibrillator restored heartbeat, rousing him. “Seeing the boy spring back to life was an emotional experience for all those involved,” Edwin Newton reported. Templeton is recovering and hopes to play football again in about two years, when doctors might grant permission, but his dad, Matt Templeton, may not: “I don’t want him to play, but we will have to make the decision later,” the father said. Azle school officials, meanwhile, have ordered 11 additional defibrillators, intending to station one for every athletic activity of the district.  Sources: Azle News, WFFA-TV and

Oct. 1:  Ty Egan, 8, Illinois, youth-league player in LeRoy, was sprinting open for a touchdown when he slowed and collapsed, his heart having stopped. An ambulance was on site and medical personnel were watching as spectators, and they scrambled in response. But only oxygen was administered before the grade-schooler revived, resuming normal pulse and heartbeat. An electrophysiologist later told the parents their son was in cardiac arrest and a miracle saved him, not oxygen. Doctors are restricting the boy from all sports except golf in the future, reports Randy Kindred, The Bloomington Pantagraph.

Online Reports, Survivors of Blood Clot, American Football 2011

April:  Nermin Delic, 19, Kentucky, defensive lineman for the University of Kentucky, underwent emergency surgery for a blood clot. The life-threatening condition followed his operation to repair a torn groin muscle, an injury from spring football. “In the second week of April, I was walking to class and my arm was turning blue,” Delic told reporter Drew Brantley. “They told me I had a blood clot. I spent eight days in the hospital. I had some internal bleeding and a two-foot tube down my throat. It made me realize some things.” Soon after, Delic had surgery to remove a rib, and he chose to leave football and the university. In July, however, the 6-foot-5, 260-pound athlete announced he would return to UK and the football program in 2012. Sources: Dalton Daily Citizen, and Lexington Herald-Leader.

Aug. 27:  Jacy Dike-Pedersen, 16, California, fullback/linebacker for California School for the Deaf, experienced difficulty breathing in a scrimmage; two days later, an arm became swollen. Doctors found blood clots in his upper body and Dike-Pedersen entered ICU for drug treatments and then surgery to remove a rib. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound honors student now takes blood-thinning medicine, and he returned to school on Sept. 19, although finished with football this year. If the blood clots clear in the future, Dike-Pedersen might return to football, reports Phil Jensen, The Oakland Tribune.

Sept. 2:  Tyler Story, teenager, Texas, receiver/linebacker for Decatur High School, sustained a severe knee injury in a game; later a blood clot developed and the teen underwent emergency surgery lasting five hours. A family member reported damage to the artery and nerves, and Story stayed weeks in ICU. He was recently discharged from hospital, but surgery for the knee injury is pending. Sources: Wise County Messenger and Jeff Jones on

Oct. 8:  Andrew Gonnella, 21, Maryland, 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive guard for the University of Maryland, suffered a dislocated knee in a game that included compound bone fracture, leading to surgery that night. Three days later, Gonnella had a blood clot and was hospitalized. Sources: Washington Times and Baltimore Sun.

Online Reports of Organ Rupture and Damage, American Football 2011

Sept. 23:  Taygen Schuelke, 17, South Dakota, running back for Newell High School, suffered a ruptured kidney during a game. He was hospitalized in ICU a few days then moved to a regular room to begin physical therapy. Schuelke was released after about a week and is home for a slow recovery. Two years ago, Schuelke fractured his C7 vertebrae in rodeo competition. Sources:  Rapid City Journal and Jan Swan Wood for

Sept. 23:  Luke Bewley, 17, Montana, halfback/linebacker for Hellgate High School, suffered a lacerated kidney while blindsided in a reportedly “clean” but hard hit from a blocker. Bewley was hospitalized in critical condition and surgeons implanted a stint to redirect liquids away from the damaged kidney. He was discharged from hospital within a week and doctors expect a rapid recovery. Bewley aspires to play basketball in the coming season and also return to football next year, reports Jamie Kelly for The Missoulian.

Sept. 24:  Zach Sheffield, 18, Kansas, cornerback for Olathe South High School, sustained a destroyed kidney from contact during a game. This case is among many of 2011 demonstrating how quickly emergency can accelerate beyond anyone’s control at the common football setting—and typically mortal danger threatens a student player. For the Sheffield catastrophic injury, Kansas City Star sportswriter Tod Palmer provides a vivid account available online… Sheffield fell on the run, pursuing a ball-carrier during a Saturday road game, and his twisting body struck the opponent’s flexed knee in impact that damaged his left kidney irreparably. Sheffield trotted off the field, short of breath he later recounted, then collapsed in apparent distress. No one could readily diagnose the problem, including trainers and coaches, and no ambulance was immediately available, so the dying player was loaded into a family automobile. His dad, Bret Sheffield, sped off for an ER five miles away through metro traffic. The father “drove like a man possessed” to make it, Palmer wrote, continuing: “He recalls weaving across a median at one point then speeding down the shoulder on I-435 west, which was backed up because of weekend construction. … Zach described the pain as excruciating, ‘probably a 9 out of 10,’ he said. Doctors could barely move him off the gurney to the CT machine, because the pain was so intolerable. … All the hospital’s medical staff could do was stop the bleeding to the burst kidney, which now felt like an inflating balloon in his abdominal cavity, and wait for his other kidney to begin working double-time.” Surgery removed the destroyed kidney and Zach Sheffield remained hospitalized on Sept. 30, slowly recovering, as Palmer’s report was posted at

Sept. 30:  Derek Wall, 13, Utah, student at Pleasant Grove Junior High School, suffered severe internal injuries from contact during intramural flag football, an after-school program on campus. The injured boy’s father, James Wall, said, “They had to do exploratory surgery on him—he’s got a 10-to-12 inch cut on his stomach now, perforated bowels, his pancreas is bruised, there’s some liquid in his lungs, they had to take out his gall bladder, his appendix. Everything was just kind of bruised up.” A week following the incident, Derek Wall was recovering although unable to eat or drink without help, and would remain hospitalized for weeks longer, reports Emiley Morgan, The Deseret News.

Online Reports of Femoral Artery Rupture, American Football 2011

Sept. 3: Jacob Rainey, teenager, Virginia, touted quarterback for Woodberry Forest School, projected as a top college recruit in 2013, suffered femoral artery burst of a leg during a preseason scrimmage, among contact injuries when he was tackled from behind. Doctors amputated the lower leg on Sept. 10. Sources: The Daily Progress, The Associated Press, and

Matt Chaney is a writer, editor, teacher and restaurant worker living in Missouri, USA. For more information, including about his 2009 book, Spiral of Denial: Muscle Doping in American Football, visit the homepage at