Monday, December 31, 2012

Lurie, Roseman speak Reid, Eagles' future 12/31/12

Some select quotes from Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie about the now-departed Andy Reid during Monday's press conference.

"History will focus on exactly what he will accomplish and what the team accomplished. I look forward to the day we will all welcome him back and introduce him into the Eagles Hall of Fame because that is inevitable."

"He was excited about the future of this franchise, and he wanted to stay."

"Someone's going to get one heck of a football coach."

"I think if you had to point to anything; it's when you've had as much success as we've had and are so close to winning a Super Bowl at some stage you have an opportunity to think that the next move, even if it's not consistent with all of your previous moves, will be the one that gives you the chance to win the Lombardi Trophy. I think that in the last year or so, last couple of years, we've done things that have not been as consistent. They've been more scattered in terms of decision-making."

"There's nobody who wants to win more than I do. Once you've experienced the success we've had with the division titles and all of that stuff. It makes you just realize that there's nothing more that you want than a Super Bowl and deliver that for our fans. That's the important thing."

And those from GM Howie Roseman:

"The bottom of it was they felt we need to have better chemistry. We needed to have guys who felt better about everyone around them and that's going to be a goal of ours. We want to put a roster together of guys who really love to play together and have each other's back. You saw a lot of heart. A lot of people, a lot of our players are hurting. A lot of these players, all they know is Andy (Reid) and the coaches we have here."

"(The quarterback) and the coach are obviously the two most important things for any franchise."

Team USA rebounds with rout of Slovakia

After dispiriting one-goal losses to both Russia and Canada, Team USA rebounded in their group-play finale on Monday morning and whipped Slovakia by a 9-3 count.

Local product and BC sophomore Johnny Gaudreau came alive, posting two goals and one assist, while Vince Trochek also added two markers and a helper. Jim Vesey added three assists and a whopping 16 players registered at least one point.

The Americans came out firing, tallying five times in the opening 20 minutes on tallies from Jake McCabe, Gaudreau, Cole Bardreau, Mike Rielly and Jacob Trouba.

John Gibson made 26 saves on 29 shots.

Matus Matis picked up a pair of goals and Richard Mraz added a score for Slovakia, whose goaltenders Adam Nagy and Patrik Romancik were strafed for nine goals on 40 shots.

Team USA faces a Wednesday matchup against the Czech Republic from Group A to kick off the medal round.

Reid era comes to an end in Philadelphia

After 14 seasons, Andy Reid is no longer the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

"Andy Reid won the most games of any head coach in Eagles history and he is someone I respect greatly and will remain friends with for many years to come,” said team owner Jeffrey Lurie in a statement issued Monday morning. "But, it is time for the Eagles to move in a new direction. Coach Reid leaves us with a winning tradition that we can build upon. And we are very excited about the future.”

Reid finished up in Philadelphia with a 130-93-1 mark in the regular season, the all-time winningest coach in franchise history. He also led the team to six NFC East titles and a 10-9 postseason record which included nine playoff berths, fifth appearances in the NFC Championship Game and one Super Bowl berth following the 2004 season.

"The search for the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles will begin immediately," added Lurie.

Early candidates for the vacant position are Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien and Oregon's Chip Kelly, both of whom have been the subject of wild speculation the last week.

"We have to get back to having a core group of guys who are Eagles that bleed green, that are passionate about this city, that are passionate about playing here and really, genuinely care," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said at a Monday press conference following the Reid announcement. "When you bring in players from other places, you think that maybe they are good fits but you don't know until they're here. It affects the chemistry and part of that is because we were so close for so long that we were desperately trying to win a championship and you've got to do it the right way.

Reid's year-by-year breakdown:

1999 -- 5-11 (5th place NFC East)
2000 -- 11-5 (2nd)
2001 -- 11-5 (1st)
2002 -- 12-4 (1st)
2003 -- 12-4 (1st)
2004 -- 13-3 (1st)
2005 -- 6-10 (4th)
2006 -- 10-6 (1st)
2007 --  8-8  (4th)
2008 -- 9-6-1 (2nd)
2009 -- 11-5 (2nd)
2010 -- 10-6 (1st)
2011 -- 8-8 (2nd)
2012 -- 4-12 (4th)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Eagles pummeled by Giants in Reid's presumptive finale

Special to the Phanatic

East Rutherford, NJ -- It's all over but the announcement for Andy Reid's tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles.

While an official word on Reid's status will come on Monday, it didn't take the sting out of a season-ending 42-7 defeat at the hands of the New York Giants on Sunday afternoon.

Eli Manning threw a career-high five touchdowns passes despite windy conditions for New York (9-7), the front-runner in the NFC East for most of the season, which was eliminated from postseason contention when the Chicago Bears upended the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon. A 2-5 stretch coming into Week 17 proved too much for the reigning champions to overcome, though a pair of rookies showed promise heading into next season.

Rueben Randle caught two TD passes, while fellow rookie David Wilson caught another from Manning, who finished with 208 yards on 13-of-21 passes.

"It hurts. Each year you want to make the playoffs to give yourself an opportunity to win a championship," Manning said of the early offseason. "I'm disappointed we didn't play up to our abilities each week."

Ahmad Bradshaw gained 148 yards from scrimmage and ran for a touchdown in finishing off the Eagles' 4-12 campaign -- the worst in Reid's 14-year tenure in the City of Brotherly Love and fewest wins since a 3-13 season under Ray Rhodes in 1998.

Michael Vick, in his first start since suffering a concussion against the Cowboys in Week 10, completed just 19-of-35 attempts for 197 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the loss.

The Eagles can opt out of Vick's hefty contract in the offseason, leading many to speculate his days, like Reid's, are numbered in Philadelphia.

"I'll meet with (owner) Jeffrey (Lurie) tomorrow and we'll talk," Reid said of his future after the tumultuous season ended. "I've loved the Philadelphia Eagles. I've loved every minute I've had the chance to coach them. ... There will be better days ahead."

However, Howard Eskin from 94 WIP confirmed late in the contest that an official announcement on Reid's dismissal will occur on Monday morning.

The Giants, losers of five straight at home and seven of eight overall against their division rivals, dominated from start to finish on Sunday.

A surprise onside kick on the opening kickoff was recovered by Philadelphia, but the momentum lasted all of five plays when Vick's intended pass for Brent Celek sailed high and into the arms of Giants safety Stevie Brown, who returned the interception 48 yards to the Philadelphia 26.

After three runs by Wilson gained 23 yards, Manning hit Randle off a play- action fake for an early 7-0 lead.
Randle, a second-round pick out of LSU who had one touchdown catch coming in, got in his second of the day just four minutes after his first when he beat Nnamdi Asomugha down the left sideline and hauled in Manning's 38-yard bomb.

Following another quick punt by Philadelphia, Bradshaw picked up 41 yards off a wheel route before Manning hooked up with Wilson for a 15-yard TD and a 21-0 lead with 1:18 still to go in the opening quarter. New York had scored a combined 14 points in losses at Atlanta and Baltimore coming into the game.

Philadelphia converted a pair of fourth-down chances early in the second, including a 4th-and-1 try from the New York 7-yard line when Vick hit Jeremy Maclin for the team's only touchdown.

New York responded with another TD to cap a 10-play, 73-yard drive. A pass interference penalty in the end zone on Asomugha set up Bradshaw's 1-yard score with 6:26 remaining in the half.

On the ensuing Eagles possession, Alex Henery missed wildly to the left on a 28-yard field goal attempt. It was the first time the second-year kicker missed from inside 30 yards in 18 career chances.

New York forced a turnover on downs near midfield with 17 seconds left in the half, leaving enough time to add to its already comfortable cushion. Manning first hit Domenik Hixon for 30 yards, and Victor Cruz got behind the secondary on the next play for a 24-yard score and a healthy 35-7 advantage at halftime.

A 14-play, 88-yard drive that spanned the third and fourth quarter and ate up nearly 10 minutes put the finishing touches on the laugher. Midway through the final frame, Manning set his personal best by rolling to his right and finding Henry Hynoski at the pylon for the fullback's first career score.

Notes...Despite setting a personal mark, Manning fell 52 yards shy of his fourth straight 4,000-yard passing season ... Bradshaw ran for 107 yards and 16 carries to accomplish the second 1,000-yard season in his career ... Brown finished the season with eight interceptions, one behind league-leader Tim Jennings of Chicago ... Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks was active despite being questionable with a knee injury, but did not record a catch ... LeSean McCoy gained 106 yards from scrimmage for the Eagles ... Under Reid, the Eagles finished 130-93-1 (.583) and reached the postseason nine times.

MOTO: Reid out, announcement to be official on Monday

Speculation turned to confirmation late in the Philadelphia Eagles' 42-7 season-ending loss to the New York Giants on Sunday's radio broadcast.

94 WIP sideline reporter Howard Eskin revealed that Birds owner Jeffrey Lurie and Andy Reid met over the weekend to discuss the future, and that Reid has indeed coached his last game here.

A press conference to make the move official has been scheduled for Monday morning at the NovaCare Complex.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

BC beats Alabama-Huntsville; York tops Mason for most NCAA wins

by Bob Herpen
Phanatic Hockey Editor 

The Boston College Eagles beat Alabama-Huntsville by a 5-2 count on Saturday night in opening-round action of the Mariucci Classic in Minneapolis, but that's not the big story.

It's a day for celebration as the inevitable finally occurred: Jerry York claimed his 925th career victory and became the NCAA's all-time winningest head coach, surpassing Ron Mason for the honor.

“Coaches coach and we play to win trophies,” a typically focused and humble York said immediately following the contest. “We came back from a long layoff and we wanted to advance to a game with Minnesota tomorrow. We’re excited about that. . . . I’ve always been about team. I haven’t really sought individual goals.”

York came into the season with 913 victories, and it was a lock that the record would fall into his hands some time this season. However, with his defending champs on an early-season tear, the record appeared ready  to be set before Christmas.

Boston University and Providence College threw a spanner into the works, as the former beat BC and York on November 30 so that York only tied Mason the following night, while the latter rallied to forge a 3-3 deadlock on December 7 to stall the festivities until action during the semester break.

Here's a quickie rundown of the scenario from Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna.

As for the game itself, the #1 school in the country seized control early on, with Cam Spiro, Bill Arnold and Danny Linell tallying in the first period. Brendan Silk added a second-period marker and Steven Whitney lit the lamp in the third. Parker Milner made 26 stops, while Kevin Hayes added a pair of assists.

“We just wanted to do it for coach,” said Milner, who showed little rust after a three-week layoff. “For all the positive energy he gives us day in and day out, we kind of owed him that win.”

The victory, and perhaps another in the Mariucci finals on Sunday against host Minnesota, came without the services of super sophomore Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau is representing Team USA in the World Junior Championships in Russia.

Jeff Vanderlugt and Craig Pierce tallied for UAH. John Griggs took the loss after being punctured for four goals on only 10 shots in just under 22 minutes of action. Gregg Gruehl finished up by yielding one score on 22 shots.

“It was almost the opposite,’’ said forward Pat Mullane when asked if pursuit of the milestone interfered with normal preparations. “I think it motivated us. He’s given us a great opportunity to play for Boston College, and everyone in the room understood that we owed it to him to get it for him as soon as possible. It’s very special to be a part of.’’

Heading into Sunday evening's matchup, York holds a 458-224-61 record in the midst of his 19th season on The Heights, and his career mark stands at 925-559-95 since 1972 when he arrived at Clarkson University.

NHL makes new proposal, fuels more "end to lockout" speculation

On Friday, the National Hockey League submitted a 300-page proposal to the NHLPA, outlining further changes in what could be a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

According to a piece on the league's website:

"In light of media reports this morning, I can confirm that we delivered to the Union a new, comprehensive proposal for a successor CBA late [Thursday] afternoon," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement Friday afternoon. "We are not prepared to discuss the details of our proposal at this time. We are hopeful that once the Union's staff and negotiating committee have had an opportunity to thoroughly review and consider our new proposal, they will share it with the players. We want to be back on the ice as soon as possible."
The League's new offer is reportedly contingent on a 2013 regular season at least 48 games in length starting no later than Jan. 19.
The NHL and NHLPA have been without a CBA since Sept. 16 and the original 2012-13 schedule has been cancelled through Jan. 14.
While the League appears to have stuck to some of the terms from the offer it submitted to the NHLPA earlier this month -- including the proposal for a 10-year CBA with a mutual option to reopen negotiations after eight years -- there are numerous reports that the NHL moved on three key issues: contract length, compliance buyouts, and annual-salary variance.
According to those reports, the NHL is now offering to have contract lengths be capped at a maximum of six years (seven for teams who sign their own free agent provided that player has been on the team for the equivalent of one full season). The League previously proposed a five-year maximum term.
The new offer also reportedly includes a provision that would allow teams to have the ability for a one-time compliance buyout prior to the start of 2013-14 season. This option was not included in any of the NHL's previous proposals. Reports say the buyout would not count against the salary cap of the team initiating the buyout, but a portion of the buyout would be factored into the formula that determines the players' share of hockey-related revenue (HRR).
According to the reports, the NHL also increased the percentage that a players' annual salary can vary year-to-year to 10 percent, up from the 5 percent in earlier proposals."

Before the speculation runs rampant that this new proposal stands a good chance of ending the lockout, which reached Day 106 on Saturday, the NHL has set a "drop-dead" date of January 11 for the union to accept the offering under the threat of cancelling the entire 2012-13 season.

Both sides are scheduled to have a face-to-face meeting in New York City on Sunday.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Temple-Detroit men's hoops postponed

Friday's men's basketball game between the Detroit Titans and Temple Owls, which was scheduled to be held in Philadelphia, has been postponed due to prevailing weather conditions.

According to the Gazelle Group, which was sponsoring the contest as part of its Gotham Classic series, Detroit was unable to safely fly to the Northeast because of snow conditions in the Midwest combined with heavy winds in the Philadelphia region.

The game is expected to be rescheduled at a yet to be determined date.

Temple was coming into the matchup off an 83-79 upset victory over then-No. 3 Syracuse at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

Team USA opens WJC slate with a rout

The weather outside in Ufa, Russia is frightful: temperatures in the teens Fahrenheit and dropping, with light snow falling and low, gray skies.

The hockey inside was heart-warming, at least as far as Team USA is concerned. The Americans opened up their 2013 World Junior Championship slate with an 8-0 waxing of Germany.

Riley Barber and Alex Galchenyuk both posted a goal and two assists in the rout, which saw the Red, White and Blue kids score in the opening seconds of both the first and second periods. Shayne Gostisbehere, a Flyers draft pick who plays for Union College, registered a power-play marker at the 6:33 mark of the second frame.

Seth Jones added a goal and a helper, along with a game-best plus-five rating and six shots on net.

John Gibson and Jon Gillies combined to stop all 26 shots. Deutschland's netminder Marvin Cupper was torched for all eight goals on 46 shots in defeat.

America's quest for Gold continues on Thursday morning, with a match against host Russia which is scheduled for 9 a.m. (ET) on NHL Network. That will be a prime indicator of the team's fitness, heading into a Sunday morning meeting with their Group B co-leaders, Canada. The Canadians ripped Germany, 9-3, on Wednesday.

Trust the Canadians to provide all your WJC needs, found over here.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Christmas Eve Centenary

Today is Christmas Eve.

It is also Day 100 of the third lockout due to labor disputes in Gary Bettman's tenure as Commissioner of the National Hockey League.

But on to more cheerful things, a link compilation to keep you busy for the next two days, leading up to the resumption of hockey on Boxing Day as the World Junior Championships begin.

Nick Cotsonika from Yahoo! puts his own spin on a Christmas classic.

One of the classiest men to ever wear an NHL sweater is slowly recovering this Holiday season.

Some memories, courtesy of, of a time when the league thought nothing of scheduling games on both December 24 and 25.

And a preview of the upcoming tourney concentrating on Team USA.

Some kids just never learn, and one Canadian is going to pay the price for rough play.

Finally, another take on Jolly Old St. Nick.

Foles out with broken hand; Vick in for finale

Special to the Phanatic 

Philadelphia,  PA --  More bad news as the 2012 season slowly slides into oblivion with one game remaining.
Eagles rookie quarterback  Nick Foles  has been ruled out of Sunday's  season-finale against  the New  York Giants with a broken right hand.

Foles  injured  his throwing hand sometime  in the first half of last Sunday's 27-20 home loss to the Washington Redskins.

"Nick will obviously not play this week," Birds head coach Andy Reid said on Monday. "This  was something that showed up on the MRI this morning, it wasn't present on the X-ray."

Over  seven games this season, Foles, the University of Arizona product, threw for 1,699 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions.

Michael Vick is expected to start in place of Foles at MetLife Stadium six days from now.

"There's a pretty good chance Michael will be the starter," Reid said. "That's what  we're looking  at right now. That's  the direction I'm going as we speak right now."

Vick  was replaced by  Foles after suffering a concussion in the midst of a Week 10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys and has been inactive since.

Over  nine games this season Vick completed 185-of-316 passes for 2,165 yards, 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Vick has also rushed for 307 yards and a touchdown, while losing 10 fumbles.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The vote is in: NHLPA cleared to disband

By a margin of 706-22, the National Hockey League Players' Association has voted to authorize its executive board to file a "disclaimer of interest," meaning that once the paperwork is filed, the union can decertify itself.

There is no word yet on whether the necessary step will be taken, but with just one more shot at negotiating through the Holiday season before an expected cancellation of the entire 2012-13 schedule, time is of the essence.

Should that move be made, the union would cease to exist and the players would form a trade association, a similar path the NFLPA took in the Spring of 2011 while it was embroiled in a labor dispute with owners. At that time, the players used their new status to file an antitrust suit against the NFL.

Extra Points: Potential Pagano return is welcome news | NFL - The News Tribune

Extra Points: Potential Pagano return is welcome news | NFL - The News Tribune

John McMullen talks NFL with TSN690

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Phantoms' Holmstrom has knee surgery

More injury news for the Adirondack Phantoms.

Already dealing with another concussion suffered by defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon, the AHL club learned on Thursday that forward Ben Holmstrom will be out for the next 4-to-6 months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament on his right knee.

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren confirmed that it was one of the more serious tears, roughly 90 percent. 

The 25-year-old Colorado native totaled just two goals and eight points in 22 games for ADK this season.

Close to the Edge: NHL cancels more games

The National Hockey League took another step towards the inevitable, announcing on Thursday the cancellation of its regular-season schedule through January 14.

The latest announcement came six days after the league revealed it had filed a class action complaint in  federal court on Friday, just hours  after the NHL got  wind that  its Players'  Association would  ask its executive  board to proceed with a vote to file a disclaimer of interest. That is  a precursor to decertify the union  in order to proceed with class action and antitrust lawsuits.

No further talks between factions have occurred since a second go-around with federal mediators failed last week. No further progress on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement has been made since both sides met in a round of intense talks in New York two weeks ago.

That brings the total number of contests  lost to the lockout that started September 16 to 625 -- more than one half of all games originally planned -- which included the 2013 Winter Classic and All-Star Weekend.

A take-it-or-leave-it negotiating stance by the owners at every step has left only two final options: either reach a deal by the end of the first week of January and play a truncated slate, or proceed with the cancellation of the entire 2012-13 season.

According to multiple sources, there have only been two conversations in the last week.Sportsnet's Chris Johnston revealed that the NHLPA has until January 7 to respond to the league's class-action suit, so there's your unofficial "drop dead" date.

The open vote on the disclaimer of interest is set to close on Friday.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Amaro speaks 12/18/12

On the day when pitcher John Lannan and third baseman Michael Young were officially introduced as members of the Philadelphia Phillies, club GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. opened himself up to a bevy of questions about the present and future reshaping of the five-time NL East champions who were dethroned by Washington last season.

The following is a repost from Todd Zolecki's blog:

QUESTION: Are you still searching for a corner outfielder?

ANSWER: As far as the outfield situation is concerned, we’re still trolling through the possibility of adding another piece there. And we’re also considering the possibility of a double platoon. That’s a possibility as well. We’ve done some things that have helped our club at a couple of different levels. I don’t think the process of trying to help improve our club stops until the end of the season. It’s very possible that we have the answers internally. I feel comfortable with the way our club is today and if there’s a way to improve it, we’ll try to do that.

QUESTION: Have an update on Roy Halladay‘s offseason?

ANSWER: Doc’s done very well. He’s going to start throwing off the mound here very shortly. Dubes (Rich Dubee) has seen him throw a couple times, at least long toss. I guess he’s working down there with Kyle Kendrick pretty extensively. He’s doing well, but we don’t know what kind of Doc we’re going to get until Doc’s down firing in spring training. But he’s feeling pretty good so far.

QUESTION: How is Chase Utley doing?

ANSWER: He’s done very well this offseason. (Head athletic trainer) Scott Sheridan’s visited him once and he’s probably going to go see him again. He’s taking ground balls pretty much every other day. He didn’t take a whole lot of time off. One of the things I think we’ve all learned, including Chase, that it probably behooved him to continue to work and do things to be able to keep his joints going, keep his knees going. He’s actually done very well. We have to be cautiously optimistic that he’s going to be back and playing. He hasn’t played games in spring training the last two years, but we’re cautiously optimistic that he’s going to be ready to go. We’ll probably monitor and have a discussion prior to spring training about how he’ll be utilized and such during the spring. I think he’s feeling like he’s raring to go and hopefully he’ll be ready to go April 1.

QUESTION: Are you comfortable with amount of right-handed power in lineup?

ANSWER: I am. I’m obviously going to miss Chooch (Carlos Ruiz) in the first part of the season. That’ll be a bit of an issue for us. Would we like to add more power to the lineup? Sure. Again, it’s more about production than power. I think we have guys who can produce, Michael (Young) being one of them obviously. I think there’s other guys we have —  Jimmy (Rollins) as a switch hitter. Depending on how the outfield is constituted, I think we’ll figure it out. I think everyone thinks we’re so left-handed heavy, but the fact of the matter is we’re heavy in the middle of the lineup, left-handed depending right now on our three and four guys. But that can change and a lot of it depends on how Charlie (Manuel) puts his lineup

QUESTION: You mentioned being cautiously optimistic regarding Chase. Was there concern he might not be able to come back?

ANSWER: When a guy is down for two years and doesn’t play full seasons in the two years prior you have to be a little concerned. But we think Chase has learned and we have learned to manage whatever he’s got going on in his knees pretty well. I think he has a pretty good understanding of it, we have a pretty good understanding of it and I think he’s going to be fine. But you just never know. Obviously he’s got knee issues. Hopefully he’ll be able to put himself in the position – we think he’s put himself in the position to be ready to go out of the chute this spring. But that remains to be seen. We’ll see what happens.

QUESTION: How is Ryan Howard doing?

ANSWER: I think Ryan right now, he’s been in the process of still getting 100 percent strength, he was never really at 100 percent, I don’t know how close he’ll be when spring starts. But typically it takes a full year to gain your full strength capacity with an injury like that, and I think he’s getting closer to that. From what Ryan was doing prior to his wedding and his honeymoon, he was doing well. I think he continued that program when he went on his honeymoon. We’ve been monitoring him and he’s seemed to be doing well. We’ll find out more once he gets back.

QUESTION: Do you think there are upgrades available among outfielders on the free-agent market?

ANSWER: Yeah, I think there are some guys that can help us, but there are also guys on the trade market we’ve looked into. We’ll see what works for us.

QUESTION: Are you reluctant to give up a first-round pick for a free agent like Nick Swisher?

ANSWER: If we think it’s the right guy to sign we’ll sign him. I mean, a lot of it depends. First-round picks are important, but at the same time if we feel like short term, long term we should go that route … we’re still trying to figure it out.

QUESTION: Do you have to stay under the luxury tax?

ANSWER: I haven’t been given any ultimatums as far as that is concerned, but there is a limit to where we want to be right now. I also think it’s important to give ourselves a little flexibility for the trade deadline in case we want to do some things there, too. Not just dollar-wise, but personnel-wise, too. We’re looking at all possibilities to improve the club and if we can do it and we think it’s the right thing to do we’ll move on it.

QUESTION: Do you feel you have more assets in the farm system now than before?

ANSWER: I mean, I like our guys. I like our depth, especially our starting depth that we’ve created. Ethan Martin and Adam Morgan and (Jonathan) Pettibone. Jesse Biddle is starting to come along. There are quite a few guys starting pitching wise that we feel pretty good about and that’s a plus. A lot of our guys depth-wise that we talked about in our bullpen, they finally got a chance to start pitching at the big-league level. We’re creating some depth pitching-wise. Position-player wise I think it’s endemic in some regards that it’s tough to find them. I think we had some guys that stepped up this year. Zach Collier played great in the Arizona Fall League, well enough for us to worry about losing him in the Rule 5 draft, so we protected him. Cody Asche, Tommy Joseph, who we traded for, Freddy Galvis. So we have some guys I think who can make an impact pretty soon with our ballclub and we still don’t know what we have out of Domonic Brown. He’s a guy who could do a lot of damage at the major-league level. So we have some guys who are young who we think will help us at some point and fortunately with some of the moves we’ve made, we haven’t disrupted too much of that.

Lannon signing official

Courtesy of the Philadelphia Phillies

Left-hander John Lannan has agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Phillies, Senior Vice President & General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced today.  The contract includes performance bonuses.

            Lannan, 28, went 4-1 with a 4.13 ERA in six starts for the Washington Nationals last season.  He also made 24 starts for triple-A Syracuse, going 9-11, 4.30 ERA in 148.2 innings.  Since the beginning of the 2011 season, Lannan is 13-13 with a 3.77 ERA in 39 major league starts.

            “Clearly we have a familiarity with John and his past performance and success in this division helps us add depth to our rotation,” said Amaro.

            Originally selected by the Nationals in the 11th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, Lannan is 42-52 with a 4.01 ERA in 134 career games (all starts).  A native of Long Beach, N.Y., Lannan has made at least 30 professional starts in each of his last five seasons (2008-12), averaging 187.2 innings per season over that span.

Union to open 2013 season against Sporting KC

The Philadelphia Union will kick off their fourth year and the 18th season of Major League Soccer on Saturday, March 2, 2013 when the club hosts Sporting Kansas City at PPL Park. 

The Union travel to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park to take on the Colorado Rapids for the club’s next match on March 9.

Times, broadcast information and the complete 2013 regular season schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.  Each club will again play 34 games during the regular season

Holiday Four Packs are currently on sale, each containing four home opener tickets in one of four sideline sections (102, 112, 122, 132) as well as the choice of either four holiday ornaments, two Union scarves or two t-shirts with Philadelphia Union written in Hebrew. Order by noon on Friday, Dec. 21 to receive a certificate in time for the holidays at

Monday, December 17, 2012

Eagles statements on Garrett Reid death findings

On Monday, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli announced his findings in the investigation of Garrett Reid's death in August.

The 29-year-old Reid, son of Eagles head coach Andy Reid, was found unresponsive in his dorm room at Lehigh University on August 5 and died the same day. Morganelli confirmed what had been reported at the time, that Reid was found with syringes and vials of an unknown liquid, found to be different kinds of steroids. However, there was no findings that Reid distributed such to Eagles personnel.

"As you all know, my son Garrett battled addiction for many years. While there were some victories along the way, it ultimately was a battle that he lost and that cost him his life. Our family feels the pain of that loss every day," Coach Reid said in a Monday statement.

"Today’s report saddens me greatly, but only confirms the troubles Garrett encountered in the final years of his life. As parents, we were encouraged by his apparent progress but, like many addicts, he was able to conceal the signs of relapse.

"Jeffrey Lurie, the Eagles organization and the people of Philadelphia have been remarkably supportive of my family throughout our ordeal. I am confident that my son’s decisions did not affect our football team in any way. I cannot apologize enough for any adverse appearances that my son's actions may have for an organization and a community that has been nothing but supportive of our family."

Lurie responded with his own statement a short time later: 

"The news today on Garrett Reid's possession of steroids is disappointing. It's clear the conduct in which he apparently engaged runs counter to the values and principles mandated for everyone associated with our organization. We have spoken with the league office and have pledged our full cooperation with their requests should there be any. While we remained saddened by the tragic end of a young man's life and know how hard this must be for the entire Reid family, we are extremely confident that Garrett's actions were unknown to those around him and did not involve our football team.

"The NFL has a rigorous drug testing program for its players. It is a matter of record that none of our players has tested positive for any of the steroids mentioned in the district attorney’s report."

Rhule formally introduced as new football coach at Temple

Philadelphia, PA -- Matt Rhule was officially introduced as Temple University's next head men's football coach on Monday afternoon.

Rhule takes over for Steve Addazio, who bolted North Philly for the job at Boston College back on December 4. The 37-year-old spent the past season as the assistant offensive line coach with the New York Giants.

“It is with tremendous pride and anticipation for the future that my family and I are coming home to Temple University. I am honored and thankful that Bill Bradshaw along with Presidents Englert and Theobald have entrusted me with the privilege to serve Temple as its head football coach, and I am impressed with their vision for the future,” said Rhule.

“I had the privilege of spending six wonderful seasons at Temple University in a myriad of roles. and it was during that time that I realized Temple was home. When the opportunity came to return and serve the Temple student-athletes and the greater University community as a whole; I knew it was right. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and look forward to continuing the program's upward momentum as a member of the BIG EAST Conference.”

Rhule spent six seasons as a member of Temple's football staff, first under Al Golden, then under Addazio through the end of last season.  Under Golden, Rhule was promoted to offensive coordinator in the spring of 2008 and also coached quarterbacks.  He coached the defensive line in 2006 and served as the quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. With Addazio, he was promoted to co-offensive coordinator after serving as the assistant offensive coordinator and tight ends coach as well as the recruiting coordinator in 2011.

“We had a diverse and talented pool of candidates and an overwhelming amount of interest in the Temple football head coaching position, but one person distinguished himself from the rest -- Matt Rhule,” said Temple AD Bradshaw. “Matt is the perfect person to take the Temple football program to the next level. He is an outstanding recruiter and in his six years at Temple was responsible for bringing many of the players that helped the program win its first bowl in 32 years. He is one of the top young minds in the profession, and has a total understanding of the game. And clearly he is someone who loves Temple, and is already ingrained into the Temple community.”

Rhule will be in charge of a program which elevated itself from one kicked out of the Big East in 2004, to a powerhouse in the MAC, to one now vital in a renewed Big East affiliation.

Despite a 4-7 finish this past season, the Owls finished 26-12 from 2009-11, including their first bowl appearance since 1979 in the EagleBank Bowl against UCLA in Washington, DC in '09 and a win in the New Mexico Bowl last December.

Extra Points: Three's Company in NFC East |

Extra Points: Three's Company in NFC East |

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Temple football presser on Monday

Temple University has called for a 2 PM press conference on Monday, at which time it is expected that Matt Rhule will officially be installed as the Owls' new head football coach.

Phillies invite 9 to spring training

The Phillies have signed nine players to minor league contracts with invitations to major league spring training as non-roster players.

·         Andres Blanco, INF – In 120 games for triple-A Lehigh Valley last season, Blanco, hit .235 with 14 doubles, one triple, 10 home runs and 40 RBI.  The 29-year-old, who appeared exclusively at shortstop with the exception of one game at second base, finished second on the team in home runs, runs scored (47) and games. For his major league career, Blanco has spent parts of six seasons with the Royals (2004-06), Cubs (2009) and Rangers (2010-11).  A native of Urama, Venezuela, he was originally signed by the Royals as an amateur free agent in August of 2000.

·         Josh Fields, INF – Fields spent all of last season with triple-A Albuquerque in the Dodgers minor league system where he hit .322 with 32 doubles, five triples, 13 home runs and 71 RBI in 133 games.  He led the club in hits (158) and runs scored (96) and finished third in RBI. In addition, Fields, who turns 30 tomorrow, appeared at five different defensive positions in 2012, third base, first base, second base, right field and left field. Originally a first-round selection (18th overall) of the White Sox in the June 2004 draft, the Ada, Okla. native has spent parts of five seasons in the majors between the White Sox (2006-09) and Royals (2010).

·         Cesar Jimenez, LHP Jimenez pitched to a 2-2 record with a 5.75 ERA in 23 appearances for triple-A Tacoma in the Mariners minor league system in 2012. Despite spending time on the disabled list with a left forearm strain, the 28-year-old averaged 8.41 strikeouts per nine innings (38 SO, 40.2 IP). He is currently pitching for Cardenales de Lara in the Venezuelan Winter League. Born in Cumana, Venezuela, Jimenez was originally signed as an amateur free agent by Seattle in July of 2001. He has spent parts of three seasons in the majors, all with the Mariners (2006, 2008 & 2011).

·         Steven Lerud, C Lerud spent the majority of last season with double-A Reading where he hit .235 with seven doubles and seven RBI over 35 games.  The 28-year-old had his contract selected by the Phillies in late August and made three starts for the club. A native of Reno, Nev., Lerud was originally selected by the Pirates in the fourth round of the June 2003 draft and joined the Phillies as a minor league free agent last December.

·         Jermaine Mitchell, OF – Mitchell batted .252 with 15 doubles, 11 triples and 38 RBI in 108 games for triple-A Sacramento in the Oakland Athletics organization last season, where played all three outfield positions.  The Naples, Tex., native ranked second in the Pacific Coast League in triples in 2012 while finishing second on his club in both runs (75) and stolen bases (15).  Mitchell, 28, was originally selected in the fifth round of the June 2006 draft by Oakland out of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

·         Michael Martinez, INF/OF – Martinez, 30, split the 2012 season between the Phillies and triple-A Lehigh Valley.  Due to a foot injury suffered in spring training, he began his season in June. In 45 games at the major league level, Martinez hit .174 with two home runs and seven RBI. Defensively, he appeared five different positions for the Phillies making a total of 34 starts, 14 at second base, eight at third base, six at shortstop, four in right field and two in center field. Martinez was selected by the Phillies in the 2010 Rule 5 draft.

·         Zach Miner, RHP – The 30-year-old Miner was a non-roster invitee to Royals spring training in 2012 but finished the year in the Tigers minor league system.  He spent the majority of the season with triple-A Toledo where he went 2-0 with two saves and a 2.50 ERA in 23 relief appearances. Miner also appeared with double-A Erie and the Gulf Coast League Tigers.  A native of St. Louis, Mo., he was originally selected by the Braves in the fourth round of the June 2000 draft. For his career, Miner has spent four seasons in the majors, all with Detroit (2006-09).

·         Pete Orr, INF/OF – Despite making the Phillies Opening Day roster for the second straight season, Orr spent the majority of the 2012 season with triple-A Lehigh Valley.  In 81 games for the IronPigs the 33-year-old batted .258 with 13 doubles, two triples, four home runs and 33 RBI. With the Phillies, Orr hit .315 with five doubles, a triple and seven RBI.  The Ontario, Canada native was originally signed by the Braves as an amateur free agent in July of 1999.

·         Humberto Quintero, C Quintero, 33, spent parts of last season in the Royals, Marlins and Brewers organizations. He began the year with Kansas City where he hit .232 with 12 doubles, one home run and 19 RBI in 43 games.  Quintero also appeared with triple-A New Orleans in the Marlins minor league system and triple-A Nashville in the Brewers system in 2012. Through his first 16 games for Aguilas del Zulia in the Venezuelan Winter League, he has hit .304 with one home run and 7 RBI. For his major league career, Quintero has spent parts 10 seasons with the Padres (2003-04), Astros (2005-11) and the Royals (2012). The Maracaibo, Venezuela native was originally signed by the White Sox as an amateur free agent in January of 1997. 

Union get Conor Casey

The Philadelphia Union selected forward Conor Casey in Stage Two of the Major League Soccer Re-Entry Draft on Friday.

Casey previously played six seasons in Colorado and one in Toronto (2007) scoring 50 goals and adding 16 assists.  Per MLS and club policy, terms of the deal will not be disclosed.

Casey, 31, rebounded from a torn Achilles tendon suffered during the 2011 season to appear in 18 matches for the Rapids in 2012. He scored two goals and added three assists. Casey was instrumental in leading Colorado to an MLS Cup title in 2010, where he was named MLS Cup MVP. He was also made an MLS All-Star in the same season.

"Conor makes us a better team,” said Team Manager John Hackworth.  “He has proven that he can be one of the best forwards in this league and for the National team.  Our staff believes that Conor still has many goals left in him."

In addition, Casey has 20 caps (appearances) with the U.S. Men’s National Team; his last appearance was on Jan. 23, 2010 in a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Honduras. Before being acquired by Toronto in 2007 via allocation order, Casey played for German Bundesliga side, FSV Mainz 05.

Born in Dover, New Hampshire, Casey was raised in Denver, Colorado.

Comcast-Spectacor to run Boardwalk Hall

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ  – The Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority (ACCVA) has selected Global Spectrum to manage and operate Atlantic City’s historic Boardwalk Hall as well as the Atlantic City Convention Center, effective in early 2013. The ACCVA board voted to approve the new contract for Global Spectrum, a Philadelphia-based subsidiary of nationally recognized sports and entertainment leader Comcast-Spectacor, in a meeting on Thursday.

“Atlantic City has long been regarded as one of America’s most popular vacation resorts and a sought-after destination for groups, meetings and conventions, drawing millions of visitors from around the world to its top-notch facilities,” said John Page, Chief Operation Officer, Global Spectrum. “We are proud to add the Atlantic City Convention Center and the famed Boardwalk Hall to our growing client roster and look forward to working with the ACCVA to create exciting opportunities and the best possible experience for anyone looking to DO AC.”

Global Spectrum’s commitment to enhancing the consumer experience has made it the fastest growing firm in the public assembly management field. In addition to Boardwalk Hall and the Atlantic City Convention Center, the company manages more than 100 other public assembly facilities around the world. Nearly 20-million people attended more than 11,000 events in Global Spectrum venues last year, which include Citizens Bank Park and the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia as well as Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, New Jersey.

“We are excited to welcome Global Spectrum and their outstanding team to our destination,” said Jeffrey Vasser, President, Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority. “Global Spectrum’s exceptional reputation, high-level of customer satisfaction and marketing expertise will allow the ACCVA to maximize opportunities for both facilities as well as the community at large, and will enable Atlantic City to continue expanding its reputation as a first-rate cultural, sport and entertainment resort.”

Opened in May of 1997, the Atlantic City Convention Center offers nearly 500,000 contiguous square feet of space, occupying a site of nearly 31 acres. As one of the East Coast's largest convention facilities, it regularly attracts prestigious public shows and conventions. Boardwalk Hall, which was originally constructed in 1929, underwent a dramatic three-year, $90 million renovation and restoration completed in 2001 that transformed the historic Hall into a modern special events arena capable of seating 14,500. It has been touted as one of America’s premier entertainment venues, known for high profile concerts, family shows, and sporting events.

St. Joes's signs Bembry to LOI

PHILADELPHIA - Swingman DeAndre Bembry has signed a National Letter of Intent during the early signing period, to join the Saint Joseph's Hawks in the 2013-14 academic year.

Bembry, a 6-6, 195-lb. wing player from Carteret, N.J., is entering his senior season at The Patrick School (formerly St. Patrick's) in Elizabeth, N.J.

Last season, Bembry averaged 18.2 points per game for St. Patrick's, which went 16-10.

"DeAndre is a winning basketball player. He has multiple skills along with a long list of qualities, as described by his coaches, of being a tremendous teammate and having a great understanding of the game," said Hawks coach Phil Martelli. "We're excited about adding DeAndre to the mix of talents and character guys on our team next year."

Union to play ehibition in Jacksonville over next 3 years

The Philadelphia Union will be coming to Jacksonville’s EverBank Field to play a preseason exhibition match for the next three years, Mayor Alvin Brown announced. 

On Feb. 15, 2013, the Union will host another MLS Team, to be announced in the near future, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m.  There will be a free youth clinic at 5:30 p.m.  Tickets are on sale at the box office at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena and online at

“We are proud to announce our partnership with Philadelphia Union and introducing Major League Soccer to the Jacksonville community,” Brown said.  “Soccer continues to grow throughout the country and Jacksonville has shown a strong interest in the sport, setting an attendance record for the Southeast with more than 40,000 at the United States Men’s National Team match earlier this year.”

“We are excited to play in front of the people of Jacksonville and look forward to establishing a long-term relationship with the city of Jacksonville and its fans,” said Nick Sakiewicz, Philadelphia Union CEO & Operating Partner.

In addition, Sea Best Seafood will be the presenting sponsor of the event for all three years.

“Sea Best Seafood is proud to help bring this event to Jacksonville,” said Mark Frisch, Sea Best Seafood Vice President for Marketing.  “Jacksonville has shown that it supports soccer and we look forward to this becoming a long-term partnership with Major League Soccer.”

This match is the latest addition to the Union’s action packed preseason tilt, which includes their first ever participation in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic, February 9-23

Soul season tix on sale now

Philadelphia Soul single-game tickets went on sale Dec. 12.

The nine home games, including the home opener on Saturday, April 20 against the Cleveland Gladiators, will be accompanied by various themed nights and exciting opportunities for fans and families.

This year’s home schedule includes eight Saturday games and one Friday game.  Saturday games at 7:05 p.m. and the Friday game will kick off at 7:35 p.m.

“The excitement and anticipation for a great season continues to grow as we look to kick off a run at ArenaBowl XXVI,” said Soul VP/COO, John Adams.  “After a tremendous run at the title last season, we are re-loading the roster to ‘finish the job’ in 2013.  A winning team combined with our fantastic entertainment experience makes the Soul a tremendous night out for the family.”

The Soul will kick off the season with a re-match of ArenaBowl XXV in Phoenix against the Arizona Rattlers on CBS Sports Network on Saturday, March 23. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"Catholic Seven" to leave Big East

Representatives from the seven Catholic affiliated institutions who do not field Division I football programs made their feelings known on Saturday, sending notice to the Big East that they intend to depart the conference.

Engineering their exits will be Georgetown, Villanova, St. John's, Providence, Marquette, DePaul, Seton Hall.

“The basketball institutions have notified us that they plan to withdraw from the BIG EAST Conference," said conference Commissioner Mike Aresco in a vague Saturday statement. "The membership recognizes their contributions over the long distinguished history of the BIG EAST.  The 13 members of the Conference are confident and united regarding our collective future.  We have a strong Conference with respected national universities, and are working together to forge the future.  We have a variety of options, and are looking forward with great partnership, collegiality and optimism.”

Georgetown, Providence, St. John's and Seton Hall were charter members of the Big East for its 1979 inception. Villanova joined one year later, while Marquette and DePaul were added in 2005. 

NHL files suit, lockout to be contested in courts

The lockout, which has reached its 91st day on Saturday, has now moved onto the courts, thanks to a class action suit filed by the National Hockey League against the NHLPA on Friday.

The league has also filed an unfair labor practice charge against the National Labor Relations Board, charging the players' union with bad faith in negotiating and subverting the process of collective bargaining.

These motions were prompted by news that the union will vote this weekend on authorizing the NHLPA Executive Board to issue a "disclaimer of interest" in representing players during further Collective Bargaining Agreement discussions.

"The NHLPA has just received a copy of the National Labor Relations Board charge and has not yet been served with the lawsuit," the union revealed in a statement. "However, based on what we’ve learned so far, the NHL appears to be arguing that Players should be stopped from even considering their right to decide whether or not to be represented by a union. We believe that their position is completely without merit."

Confused? You're not the only ones.

Don't expect the Phanatic hockey staff to fully understand what's going on either. It's best that we simply report what happens, not the nuances of how, because that can become very tangled with legalese. Nonetheless, keep it here as the news will unfold this coming week.

Phillies make additions to staff

The Philadelphia Phillies inked a pair of pitchers in the last 24 hours, agreeing to terms on a two-year deal worth $12 million to reliever Mike Adams and agreeing to a one-year pact with former Washington starter John Lannan.

Adams went 5-3 with a 3.27 earned run average in 61 appearances last season with the Rangers. In eight seasons with the Brewers, Padres and Rangers, the 34-year-old right-hander is 18-15 with a 2.28 ERA in 358 appearances.

Lannan, a lefty who became the odd-man out in a stacked Nationals rotation, was signed for $2.5 million, according to 

The 27-year-old went 4-1 with a 4.13 ERA in six starts for the NL East champions last year, also going 9-11 with a 4.30 ERA in 24 starts at Triple-A Syracuse. In a six-year pro career, the Long Island native has gone 42-52 with an ERA just over four per game in 134 starts.

Friday, December 14, 2012

New Rhule: Temple close to naming new head football coach

Temple University may not have to go far, in distance or philosophy, to fill its vacant head football coaching position.

According to the Philadelphia Daily News on Friday, sources indicate that former offensive coordinator Matt Rhule -- who spent six years on the Owls' staff before leaving this season to take a post with the New York Giants -- can be named to the position as early as Monday.

Rhule is believed to be one of only two men considered for the post, along with former Temple defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio, who left with Al Golden when the latter became Miami-Florida head coach.

Steve Addazio, who finished 13-11 in his two seasons as head coach, departed to take the same job at Boston College on Dec. 4.

Top 10 Flyers goaltending performances (non-Parent division)

by Bob Herpen
Phanatic Hockey Editor

The Phanatic presents the fourth in an occasional series recalling the best and worst events in Philadelphia Flyers history. It continues with a look at the times the man in the crease helped the club turn in some memorable performances.

It's difficult to cull 45 years' worth of quality goaltending into 10 spots, but good thing there have been enough dates to choose from.
The one catch in this post? Performances by Bernie Parent, arguably the greatest man to guard the crease, won't be considered because we are sure to come up with 10 that just involve him.

10. March 4, 2012: Flyers 1, Capitals 0 – Ilya Bryzgalov begins his early March assault on the rest of the NHL with a 34-save masterpiece at Verizon Center. It came without reliable defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who was forced out after playing 248 consecutive games. Bryz stops Alex Ovechkin in each of his game-high seven shots on net, as well as a Mike Knuble breakaway in the second period off a fluke deflection of a pass which headed the opposite direction.

9.  December 6, 2005: Flyers 1, Flames 0 (SO) -- Three days after participating in their first-ever shooutout in Nashville, the Flyers encounter their first-ever shootout at home, in their first double-zero performance through 65 minutes since an October, 2003 game at San Jose when ties were still part of the standings. Antero Niittymaki stops 28 shots in regulation, then all three Calgary chances in the breakaway round, to seal the victory. Mike Richards beats Miikka Kipruoff for the winner.
8.  January 24, 1968: Flyers 2, Maple Leafs 1 -- In their first year of existence, ANY points expansion teams could take from the Original Six clubs at home or on the road went a long way towards establishing the legitimacy of the growth of the NHL, which had doubled to 12 teams the previous October. Philadelphia, which was atop the West Division by a comfortable margin, put Doug Favell in the net at Maple Leaf Gardens and he didn't disappoint, making 46 saves against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

7.  January 11, 1976: Flyers 4, Central Red Army 1 -- Lost in the overall triumph of Good over Evil and the sardonic nature of the NHL's Bad Boys being the only ones to beat the Mighty Soviets on their tour of North America in '75 and '76, is that Parent did not start or play in this Game of All Games. Wayne Stephenson was the beneficiary of some brilliant defensive strategy by head coach Fred Shero as the visitors only squeezed off 13 shots; still, the USSR was so talented, it only needed a handful of shots, with quality chances attached, to beat most teams across the globe. For Mr. Stephenson, all he had to do with the eyes of the world were watching was not screw it up, and he only let in one score, to Viktor Kutyergin, before shutting the door.

6.   October 9, 1986: Flyers 2, Oilers 1 -- As the Orange and Black celebrated the start of its 20th NHL season with a pregame ceremony at the Spectrum, one fact they could not escape was that their opponents were the two-time Cup champion Edmonton squad which was eliminated in the second round by Calgary after ripping the league for 426 goals. To face them was not Vezina Trophy runner-up Bob Froese, but rookie Ron Hextall. All the 22-year-old did was make 21 saves, and stoned the visitors after Jari Kurri's goal at the 2:08 mark of the first period. A career and legend was born.

5.  January 22, 1983: Flyers 1, Islanders 0 – Bob Froese had all of four games of NHL experience when he was tapped to make the start against the three-time defending Stanley Cup champions on a Saturday evening at Nassau Coliseum. Forget that one of those starts was a shutout, six days earlier, at Madison Square Garden where he needed to make just 16 saves. This was the first true trial by fire for the St. Catherine's, ON native. He acquitted himself well, stopping all 31 shots and outdueling Billy Smith -- who allowed a blue-line goal from Darryl Sittler for the lone score.

4.  Ron Hextall and John Vanbiesbrouck: January 7-13, 1999 -- A shutout streak so nice, they thought they'd do it twice. On the heels of the original run of scoreless hockey mentioned below, this one came during the latter stages of a 15-game unbeaten streak in December and January and while coming up just short of a franchise record for whitewashing opponents, was still pretty damned impressive at 256:18.

This one started in the latter stages of a 3-3 tie in Edmonton four days prior to the first goose egg, then stretched out to home victories over the Islanders (5-0), Hurricanes (2-0), expansion Predators (8-0) and a final one in Washington (3-0) before concluding three days later in the first period of a loss to Toronto. Hexy and Beezer even shared a clean sheet in the decision over Carolina.

3.  Ron Hextall and Garth Snow: December 14-21, 1996 -- In a time when the NHL hadn't yet totally slid down the abyss created by the neutral-zone trap, the Orange and Black put together one of the most impressive runs in franchise history during their 17-game unbeaten streak which carried them from average to best club in the NHL from Thanksgiving to New Year's.

After holding Hartford scoreless for the final 22 1/2 minutes of a 3-2 home win on December 12, Hextall and Snow blanked Hartford (4-0) on the road, then Boston (6-0), the Islanders (5-0) and St. Louis (4-0) in turn. It was the highlight of a 17-game unbeaten streak which stretched into 1997, and didn't end until a Sergei Krivokrasov goal early in a December 22 game at Chicago. In the end, it added up to a still-standing franchise mark of 265 minutes, eight seconds of fruitless attack from the opposition.

2.   February 8, 1972: Flyers 3, Canucks 1 – It's one thing when a goalie drops to the ice due to fatigue or dehydration. It's quite another when a serious medical issue impairs his play. In the days before hockey players were finely-tuned athletes, pretty much anything went in the offseason until the rigors of training camp got them back into shape. Bruce Gamble was no different.

A long-time smoker, Gamble suffered his way through a 30-save performance at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver.  Out of concern for the 33-year-old crease guardian, play was halted twice before resuming. Gamble ended up vomiting after the game, looked like "death warmed over" on the flight to California, and a diagnosis of a heart attack was made a day later in Oakland. His career was officially over, and Gamble passed away at age 44 in December of 1982. 

1.   January 25, 1986: Flyers 1, Blues 0 – On a Winter Saturday night at the old Arena, rookie back-up Darren Jensen makes 48 saves, 24 in the third period alone, to help the Patrick Division leaders pull out a victory. The 25-year-old British Columbia native, who stoned seven chances from Hall of Famer Joe Mullen and six from cannon-armed defenseman Rob Ramage, participated in just nine more NHL games -- all with Philadelphia.

Three weeks earlier, the Blues used stifling defense to deal the O&B a 2-1 loss to end an otherwise successful five-game holiday road trip. In a season defined by the death of Pelle Lindbergh, this was the best performance of the season by any of the three goaltenders who suited up in 1985-86, the highlight of a trying season from a goaltending standpoint despite eight total shutouts, as well as the high-water point of Jensen’s brief NHL career.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

SJU's Kanacevic draws two-game suspension

Saint Joseph's forward Halil Kanacevic has been suspended for two games as a result of an obscene gesture during Tuesday's loss at Villanova.

"The tradition of the Philadelphia Big 5 and the reputation of Saint Joseph's University are greater than any one game or any one player," stated SJU Director of Athletics Don DiJulia in a Wednesday statement. "In a meeting earlier today with myself and Coach Martelli, Halil was appropriately remorseful and accepting of this sanction. We have reinforced the expectations of our student-athletes, on and off the court." 

The 6-foot-8, 256-pounder is averaging 8.1 points per game and tied for team-best in assists per game with 3.6. He totaled four points, seven rebounds, four assists, five turnovers, two blocks and two steals in a 65-61 Wildcats victory.

"There is no place for obscene gestures or personal outbursts directed at anyone," said Hawks head coach Phil Martelli. "We have always sought to conduct ourselves in a respectful manner to our University and to our opponents, and this behavior was unacceptable and inexcusable, even in the heat of the moment."

Kanacevic was spotted on television extending middle fingers towards the Villanova student section after connecting on a three-point shot in the second half which gave the visitors a 50-47 advantage.

"My actions were wrong and embarrassing and I strongly regret them. I made a mistake and I accept total responsibility for my behavior," Kanacevic said. "I am sorry for the harm caused to my teammates and coaches and my actions were unbecoming of a member of our community. I sincerely apologize to both universities and to everyone who saw the game."

The ban will be in effect for games with Fairfield on December 22 and Iona on December 28, and Kanacevic will not participate in practice and any team activities for one week, with the exception of the team's annual Christmas charity event.

The junior and Staten Island native can return to practice and team activities on December 19 and will be eligible to play in the Hawks' New Year's Eve game at Drexel.

Extra Points: Cameron's exit means more heat on Flacco

Extra Points: Cameron's exit means more heat on Flacco

Hawks come up short, fall to Villanova

Villanova, PA -- Halil Kanacevic missed two key free throws in the final seconds and committed a crucial turnover, while James Bell hit the go-ahead triple in the midst of a St. Joe's meltdown, as Villanova ground out a 65-61 decision over the Hawks in the Holy War on Tuesday night.

With the plucky Jesuit school holding a 61-60 lead, Kanacevic bricked both of his attempts, and on the next trip down the floor, Bell connected from long distance to give the hosts a two-point edge.

Then, coming out of a timeout, Kanacevic was in charge of the inbounds pass along the right sideline, and, boxed in, attempted to bounce the ball off a 'Nova defender's leg, but the pass ricocheted back off his own leg for a change of possession.

"It's a numbers game. Eighteen turnovers with a veteran group and 68 percent from the foul line," said Hawks head coach Phil Martelli. "In the past few games we've had more turnovers than assists and we have too many skilled players for that to be the case. Not only the turnovers, but some of the decisions just weren't there." 

Ronald Roberts was forced to foul on the ensuing possession, and Bell sank the deciding shots from the charity stripe.

Villanova (6-4) improved to 2-1 in its Big 5 slate, following a 77-74 overtime loss to La Salle on November 25 and a 68-55 win over Penn last Saturday. Bell and JayVaughn Pinkston totaled 12 points each, while Achraf Yacoubou added nine points and seven boards.

Langston Galloway paced all players with 22 points thanks to 6-for-10 shooting beyond the arc and Carl Jones added 16 points with five assists and two steals for St. Joseph's (5-3), which won't have another city series game until January 19 in the Palestra against the Quakers.

The visitors scored the first five points of the contest, but 'Nova countered with a 10-3 run to take a slim lead.

A trey from Darrun Hilliard extended the Wildcats' edge to 17-11 before seven in a row restored the St. Joe's edge. Galloway's two from the line capped another surge and left the Hawks up 24-19, and after Jones sank two from the line with 1:57 left in the first half, the City Line squad held a 31-26 lead.

But Villanova struck back with the final seven points before intermission on a free throw from Tony Chennault then back-to-back triples from Bell and Ryan Arcidiacono.

The Wildcats led by five early in the second half, but the Hawks rallied to take a 50-47 lead on a Kanacevic trey with 9:50 remaining. Following the play, Kanacevic appeared to give the middle finger to the Villanova student section, who lustily booed each successive time he touched the ball for the rest of the night. Momentum swung once again in the hosts' favor as Pinkston's three-point play punctuated six in a row from 'Nova to make it a 53-50 game with 8:12 to play.

Galloway's sixth and final shot from beyond the arc produced a 61-56 advantage for St. Joseph's with 2:13 showing, then Bell converted two free throws and Daniel Ochefu connected on a layup for a one-point spread inside the final 30 seconds.

“I think this is the third time he’s done that this year. I can’t remember the games, but I know that he has done it a lot already. The kid’s got guts, he really does and he does all the little things for our team, he’s a leader for our team, a lot of guts and I do love having him on our side," said Villanova head coach Jay Wright about his junior guard.