Monday, August 17, 2015

Briere retires from NHL

PHILADELPHIA - Former Flyers star Danny Briere, known for his standout playoff performances, announced his retirement as an NHL player on Monday after a 17-year professional career that included 973 games.

“After taking a few weeks to think about it, it’s time to hang them up and spend a little more time at home with the family,” Briere said.  “I’ve been very, very fortunate to have a chance to play with some great organizations, but at this point the family becomes a priority. 

"The Flyers are where I played the bulk of my career. I’ve had a great time in Philadelphia and have been very, very fortunate to have the chance to play here. I would like to thank Mr. Snider, Paul Holmgren and Peter Luukko along with the coaches, staff, the fans and all my teammates. It’s been a great ride in an area that I still call home.”

Briere, 37, recorded 307 goals and 389 assists for 696 points with the Phoenix Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, Flyers, Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche. 

The native of Gatineau, Quebec was originally a first-round selection (24th overall) of the Phoenix Coyotes in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, which came following an exceptional 1995-96 junior season for Drummondville of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

On July 1, 2007, upon the opening of free agency, the Flyers signed Briere to an eight-year contract.  He finished second on the team in scoring in 2007-08, recording 72 points (31G, 41A) to help a revitalized Flyers squad rebound from its worst season ever to a trip to the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals.

Briere led the Flyers in scoring that playoff season with 16 points (9G, 7A) as they took out the third-seeded Washington Capitals in seven games and the first-seeded Montreal Canadiens in five games.

Briere lost all but 29 games of the 2008-09 season to a nagging abdominal injury, but still recorded 25 points (11G, 14A) in those 29 games.  In 2009-10, Briere put up 53 points (26G, 27A) in 75 games, but his greatest contribution that season came in the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Final.  Briere led the NHL and set a new franchise record with 30 points (12G, 18A) in 23 games, eclipsing the record of 28 set by Brian Propp in 1987.  Four of the 12 goals were game-winners.

The 2010-11 season was Briere’s best regular-season performance as a Flyer.  He recorded his fourth and final career 30-goal season, putting up 34 goals and 34 assists for 68 points in 77 games while representing the team at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game.  He put up another seven goals in 11 playoff games before the Flyers fell to Boston in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.  After a 49-point season in 2011-12, Briere put up another stellar playoff performance with 13 points (8G, 5A), including an overtime game-winner in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. New Jersey.

Following the shortened 2012-13 season, the Flyers exercised a salary cap compliance buyout of Briere’s contract.  He then signed with Montreal, where he posted 25 points (13G, 12A) in 2013-14 and had one final impressive playoff run, posting seven points (3G, 4A) in 16 postseason games. 

Briere recorded 68 points (36G, 32A) in 62 career playoff games with the Flyers, giving him an average of 1.10  points per playoff game.  He is one of just five Flyers to average more than one point per playoff game (minimum five games), joining Peter Forsberg (1.33, 6 GP), Ken Linseman (1.29, 41 GP), Eric Lindros (1.14, 50 GP), and Claude Giroux (1.07, 57 GP).  The 68 points rank him eighth in playoff scoring on the Flyers All-Time List, and the 36 goals rank him seventh in franchise history.  His nine career playoff game-winning goals rank him second in franchise history behind only Rick MacLeish (10).

Over the course of his entire NHL career, Briere recorded 116 points (53G, 63A) in 124 career playoff games.  The 53 goals tie him with Jeremy Roenick and Bill Barber for 45th on the NHL’s All-Time List. 

Union play to 3-3 tie with Chicago

Chester, Pa. – After Wednesday night´s big win in the U.S. Open Cup, the Philadelphia Union faced Chicago Fire again in PPL Park Sunday night and played to a 3-3 deadlock.

After a sloppy first 20 minutes for the Union, in which Kennedy Igboananike scored for Chicago in the 10th minute, Philadelphia found an equalizer in the 21st minute with Fernando Aristeguieta´s header from Cristián Madiana´s corner kick.

Fabinho made the score 2-1 in the 31st minute scoring a stunning goal from Maidana’s second assist of the evening.

The Fire tied the game in the 54th minute, and both teams battled to take the lead. Sebastien Le Toux scored his 51st goal in MLS play in the 90th minute giving the Union the 3-2 lead. Maidana´s third assist set Le Toux up on the left side of the area and the Frenchman drove a hard shot into the bottom right hand corner of the goal.

The Fire equalized in the second minute of added time with Igboananike´s second goal of the night.

With the three assists, Maidana broke the club record for most assists in a single season with 14. Le Toux previously held the record with 12 assists in the 2013 season.  Maidana is now the first in the league for assists in the 2015 season.

The Union will play again this Saturday, Aug. 22, to face the Montreal Impact at 8:00 p.m. in Saputo stadium.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Quick Hits: Eagles-Colts edition

PHILADELPHIA – The first preseason game of any NFL season can be a tedious exercise, a necessary eight-to-10 play evil for the veterans — at least the ones not named Sam Bradford — and an opportunity for young unknowns to catch the eye of a coaching staff that regards them only as a useful body to abuse in the 90-degree heat of an August practice.

With Tim Tebow and his national fan club overblowing every single thing the former Heisman Trophy winner does, the third-team quarterback competition was the obvious storyline during Sunday’s 36-10 Eagles rout of the Indianapolis Colts. But, here’s the other areas you should have been paying attention to:

HOLDING DOWN THE FORT: With Zach Ertz gone until at least Week 1 of the regular season, an optimistic timetable if his core-muscle injury was indeed sports-hernia surgery as most surmise because Dr. William Myers was involved, the young tight ends behind Brent Celek become far more important.

Second-year man Trey Burton steps into the backup role for now and serves as more of a versatile h-back because he can line up in the backfield or in the slot. At just 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, however, Burton isn’t moving many off the ball as an in-line blocker. He can play a gloried fullback role, however, and had a few nice lead blocks against the Colts, while he also got behind the Indy defense on Philadelphia’s first offensive play but Mark Sanchez badly hung the football, resulting in an incompletion.

The Birds, meanwhile, brought in three rookie free agents at the position to ostensibly fight for a practice squad spot, a reality that could turn into a regular roster spot for at least  a few weeks as Ertz convalesces. Michigan State product Andrew Gleichert, Central Florida alum Justin Tukes and ex-UTEP starter Eric Tomlinson are all two-way tight ends in the Celek-mode rather than difference makers in the passing game. Tomlinson was the clear winner on Sunday, hauling in 5 catches for 61 yards.

THE YOUNG RECEIVERS: For all the talk about the ceiling of players like Nelson Agholor and Josh Huff, the only proven commodity among the Eagles’ young receiving corps is Jordan Matthews and the second-year wideout needs to step up as the true No. 1 on this team, a notion that is undermined by the coaching staff which has pigeonholed the ex-Vanderbilt star as a slot option.

Matthews caught two passes for 44 yards on five targets in limited action against the Colts and was lost in the shuffle due to the highlight-reel athleticism of Agholor, the team’s 2015 first-round pick. The former Southern California standout basically lived up to his scouting report. Like advertised, he’s a sudden athlete who can really stick his foot in the ground and go as evidenced by his brilliant 34-yard catch-and-run TD reception on a shaky Sanchez throw.

"It felt like a pass that I was targeted on in practice," the rookie said. "Good habits on the practice field carried over to the game. Sanchez and I connected on multiple hitches in practice and it wasn't any different today."

Agholor's also inconsistent, though, and needs to eliminate the drops (he had two Sunday) and mental mistakes.

"I need to just work on just finding the ball and not looking who is throwing the ball," he admitted. "I think my eyes just went to the quarterback. At the end of the day , I like the fact that (the drops) happened today. It's a good thing to learn from."

YOU’RE UP: Chip Kelly said all four entrants in the ongoing right-guard competition still have a chance but as expected Andrew Gardner got the nod in Game 1 and it’s his job to lose now if he can hold off the comeback attempt of John Moffitt.

Matt Tobin and Julian Vandervelde have taken a step back in the four-way competition and have an uphill battle to get back in the mix. Gardner was solid if unspectacular against the Colts and if the leader in the clubhouse continues that narrative, it’s his gig.

MARCUS MATTERS: Travis Long’s ACL injury created a vacuum behind starters Brandon Graham and Connor Barwin at outside linebacker. The Birds believed Long was ready to take the next step and step into Graham’s former role as the third edge player from last season when Trent Cole was still around.

The Long injury seemed like good news for former 2014 first-round bust Marcus Smith but Bill Davis and Co. are still wary of counting on the former Louisville pass rusher and are moving Vinny Curry outside in order to get his pass-rushing skills on the field more. As a 280-pound defensive end, though, it’s hard to imagine Curry being able to play in space consistently.Conversely, Smith may have changed the thought process on him at least a little bit against Indianapolis with his best effort as a professional, including one series where he assisted on a run stop, was solid in coverage and got after Matt Hasselbeck with a solid pass rush. If you didn’t know the back story of No. 90, you might have thought he was a true, three-down linebacker.

SAFETY HELP?: To the surprise of no one Earl Wolff wasn’t dressed Sunday, meaning special teams stalwarts Chris Maragos and Chris Prosinski were the top two options behind starters Malcolm Jenkins and Walter Thurmond at safety. That’s a level of depth that’s just not acceptable in this league, making the position the one spot to focus on at the final cutdown for a potential waiver wire pickup …. unless Ed Reynolds continues to show up.

The former fifth-round pick out of Stanford hasn’t exactly been Philadelphia’s best practice player but he showed up big on Gameday with a pair of interceptions and three PBUs.

"It felt amazing," Reynolds said. "It made me feel like I was back in college again. That was my thing in college -- to go out there and be a ball-hawk and give our offense more opportunities. It felt good."

Granted, Reynolds' heroics weren't against ex-Cardinal teammate Andrew Luck, TY Hilton and Frank Gore but his nose for the football shouldn't be dismissed because the Eagles are desperate for any help at the position.

"I just need to be conistent," Reynolds surmised. "It can't just be his one week. I need to show up this week, then show up the week after that, and hopefully carry it over into the regulaqr season and then into the playoffs."

PARKEY PANIC:Under any circumstances, it was going to be hard for Cody Parkey to live up to his impressive rookie season.

There was plenty of good against the team that originally signed him as a rookie free agent out of Auburn last season, including a 48-yard field goal in the third quarter but there was also plenty of bad, as he misfired on one of the now extended PAT tries as well as a 34-yard FG attempt.

Philadelphia fans were a little spoiled with Parkey’s performance last season and you can expect a bit of  market correction this time around.

TEBOW TIME: Kelly’s assertion that Tim Tebow is not a gimmick and rather a true signal caller in this league foreshadows his ultimate intent when it comes to the third spot. The Eagles would love to trade Matt Barkley in order to hand the job to Tebow and as injuries continue to pile up around the league that remains the most likely scenario.

If nothing materializes, however, Kelly would be forced to cut Barkley in order to move toward Tebow, a reality that would be much easier if the popular former Hesiman Trophy winner is at least competent in the preseason.

If the battle were a true competition, Barkley wins going away in Week 1 and was by far the Eagles’ most impressive signal caller against Indianapolis, finishing 12-of-20 for 192 yards with an interception. He’s gotten some of the arm strength back that has been missing since his shoulder injury at Southern California and while he’ll never be Brett Favre, Barkley belongs in this league.

You probably can’t say the same for Tebow, who still has the terribly elongated throwing motion and mechanics that remain subpar. Meanwhile, despite the talk of Tebow being a great runner he’s not exactly Michael Vick when tucking the football, although he set off his acolytes with a 7-yard TD run late. Overall Tebow finished 6-of-12 for 69 yards and added another 15 on the ground with the TD.

-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for You can reach him at or on Twitter @jfmcmullen

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Eagles continue to evaluate right guard

It's been a cast of thousands at right guard for the Philadelphia Eagles during training camp.

The loss of both veteran starters from last season, Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis, is keeping some awake at night but the Birds are confident in what's on hand.

Veteran Allen Barbre is locked down as the replacement for Mathis next to Jason Peters on the left side but Matt Tobin, Andrew Gardner, John Moffitt and Julian Vandervelde have all gotten looks with the No. 1s at right guard.

Vandervelde, a fifth-round pick out of Iowa in 2011, got the first opportunity between Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson on Sunday during the team's open practice at Lincoln Financial Field.

"It can be difficult," Johnson admitted after practice on Sunday when asked about the revolving door next to him, "but, it's also good because you can get a feel for who is there and give the staff the feedback it needs.

"We have a lot of talented players so everything will be fine."

Tobin, who is also a former Hawkeye, was thought to be the heir apparent entering camp but it's clear Chip Kelly and Co. are hedging their bets thus far, hoping someone seizes control.

“It’s an ongoing battle," Kelly said Saturday. "If it (had to be done)  today, we would have had one guy just jump out in the first four days of practice and we could set it. We’d love to have it done sooner than later, but we want to make sure it’s the right guy and the right fit.”

Tobin started two games when Herremans was injured last season but struggled due to an ankle injury. Gardner then took over and started six contests but it's clear that the coaching staff thinks Tobin has the higher ceiling as a player, at least among the younger, untested options.

Moffitt is a bit of a wild card, a former third-round pick of Seattlewho has had serious off-field issues.

“We’re giving everybody ample opportunities,” Kelly claimed. “There’s a huge difference between our training sessions and a game. You can get all jacked up about someone and say, 'Oh, my God' and then you go out against the Colts and he’s not as good as you thought he was.

“That evaluation won’t be made until we get at least a couple (preseason) games under our belt.”

Eagles' Shepherd carted off

Eagles rookie cornerback JaCorey Shepherd was carted off during Sunday's open practice at Lincoln Financial Field.

Shepherd seemed to injure his right leg after a collision with veteran running back Darren Sproles during a 7-on-7 drill. The Kansas product, who has been in the mix as a potential starting nickel back, was seen flexing his right knee as he was driven off.

Eagles not worried about Kiko

PHILADELPHIA - On Saturday Chip Kelly claimed he wasn’t concerned about Kiko Alonso’s concussion because the young linebacker does not have a long or persistent history of head trauma.

Defensive coordinator Bill Davis seconded that thought process before the team's open practice at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been through a training camp as a coach where the inside ‘backer (unit) doesn’t get thin at some point,” Davis claimed. “I don’t know what it is about training camps, but when that happens, it’s nice to have the depth we have.”

Alonso is still working through the NFL's concussion protocol  but Davis doesn't see a lingering issue.

“Kiko’s fine, it was just one of those things,” said Davis. “I’ve been coaching linebackers my whole career and its just part of that position, we have a great protocol, so it’s not an issue, Kiko’s doing great, he won’t miss a beat.”

Alonso is expected to start at inside linebacker next to veteran DeMeco Ryans after being acquired in the offseason trade that send Shady McCoy to Buffalo.

Fans are silly

PHILADELPHIA - Maybe the dumbest trend of the NFL preseason this year has been fans paying for flyovers over their perceived rival's practices.

Sunday it was grammatically-challenged Cowboys fans, with the aid of Greg Hardy, doling out for this gem: "We Still Dem Boyz. #SacksComin" high over Lincoln Financial Field.

Timing being everything, the first cross came just as the National Anthem was being performed on Military Day as the Eagles honored members of the armed forces.

Following the conclusion of the anthem, the 30,000 or so Eagles fans assembled with a "Dallas Sucks" chant.

Its fans probably do but before your grab that moral, and education, high ground know there is a group of Eagles fans planning to fly a banner over Cowboys practice with a "We Got DeMarco :)"  banner.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Flyers reunite Porter with Hakstol

The Flyers have signed left wing Chris Porter to a one-year, two-way contract, according to general manager Ron Hextall.

Porter, 31, appeared in 24 games with the St. Louis Blues last season where he recorded one goal and one assist for two points. He has spent his entire NHL career with St. Louis, appearing in 173 regular season games where he has recorded 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points over parts of six seasons. He has also recorded five points (2g-3a) in 15 Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Blues.

Porter has also played seven seasons in the American Hockey League with the Blues affiliates, the Peoria Rivermen (2007-2013) and Chicago Wolves (2013-14) where he has recorded 55 goals and 85 assists for 140 points in 322 career games.

Prior to that, he spent four years at the University of North Dakota (2003-07) where he posted 42 goals and 51 assists for 93 points in 175 games. At North Dakota, he played three seasons under current Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol, and appeared in the NCAA Frozen Four in his final three years. He also played with current Flyers center Chris VandeVelde for one season (2006-07).

A native of Toronto, Porter was originally selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the ninth round (282nd overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Fans can get a jump on reserving tickets ahead of the public single-game on sale in September by purchasing an 11-game membership now. Call 215-218-PUCK or visit

Union trade for D Creavalle

CHESTER, Pa.  – The Philadelphia Union have acquired defender Warren Creavalle from Toronto FC in exchange for a second round draft pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft.

Creavalle, 24, was originally the No. 37 pick in the '12 SuperDraft by the Houston Dynamo. He made 54 appearances for Houston in three years before getting traded to Toronto FC for the No. 1 spot in the MLS allocation rankings on July 23 of last year.

Since joining Toronto, Creavalle has played in 24 games, making 15 starts, while scoring two goals. In his MLS career, he has five career goals in 78 appearances.

“Warren’s versatility will be a great addition to our group,” Union technical director Chris Albright said. “He’s a young player who has played a lot of games in our league and we look forward to him contributing immediately.”

In '15, Creavalle played and started each of Toronto’s first four games at right back. In all, he’s made 14 appearances with eight starts this season. He scored the game-winning goal against San Jose Earthquakes on May 30 during a 3-1 win and Toronto has gone 7-5-2 in games he’s played. The versatile fullback also has experience playing defensive midfielder.

In college, Creavalle appeared in 73 career games and recorded eight goals and 10 assists. He played two years at Furman University before transferring to the University of Central Florida. At UCF, he was a Third-Team All-American selection in 2010 and was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list heading into his senior season.

Friday, August 07, 2015

O'Brien searching for ways to improve Texans

South Texas held its collective breath Tuesday when it was reported that the projected centerpiece of the Houston Texans’ offense, running back Arian Foster, will need surgery for a groin injury suffered in the team’s first padded practice of the year. first reported that Foster will probably be headed to short-term injured reserve and an NFL source confirmed that likelihood to Today’s Pigskin, a scenario which would put the dynamic back on the sidelines for at least eight weeks.

A significant injury to a high-profile player is going to be the lede in any NFL city but the oft-injured Foster’s latest setback has overshadowed some interesting developments surrounding the Texans and second-year head coach Bill O’Brien’s efforts to get his team back in the mix with AFC South heavyweight Indianapolis.

Continue reading at

Ravens' denials add another layer to 'Deflategate'

You don’t have to be Alex Jones to conjure up a conspiracy theory when it comes to the Baltimore Ravens and their influence on DeflateGate. After all John Harbaugh and Chuck Pagano are as thick as thieves and the former was hopping mad after being shown up by Bill Belichick’s alignment hijinks a week prior to the AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts.

Tuesday’s release of documents by the NFL Players Association provided a number of interesting nuggets, not the least of which was the confirmation that Harbaugh’s Ravens did indeed tip off the Colts about concerns over kicking balls in the divisional-round postseason encounter between the Ravens and Patriots. From there it doesn’t exactly take a Jerry Fletcher-like leap to assume a vengeful Harbaugh also tipped off his good friend and former defensive coordinator about possible football deflation, a narrative the Ravens attempted to quash on Wednesday.

Continue reading at

The hero in St. Louis

St. Louis Rams special teams coach John Fassel was kidding himself if he thought the reporters waiting for him to speak at Rams training camp on Monday wanted to chat about Greg Zuerlein, Johnny Hekker, the returners or any of his core coverage guys.

As important as special teams can be to winning a football game, it’s not exactly the sexiest aspect of the profession so when Fassel, the son of ex-Giants coach Jim Fassel, took the podium, coverage and blocking schemes weren’t on the docket.

“How was your summer?” one scribe awkwardly asked.

Read the rest at

Chip Kelly’s real problem

PHILADELPHIA – If perception is indeed greater than reality, Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly has a problem.

That issue, however, isn’t racism

Brandon Boykin was the latest to take aim at the motives behind Kelly’s personnel decisions, hours after the slot cornerback was dealt to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a conditional 2016 fifth-round draft choice.

Boykin texted his thoughts on the deal to a Philadelphia-area reporter, Derrick Gunn, who, like Boykin, is an African-American. Boykin told Gunn that Kelly is “uncomfortable around grown men of our culture,” not exactly an exercise in subtlety especially after the veiled racism chargers coming from other ex-Eagles employees like LeSean McCoy and Tra Thomas.

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John McMullen talks Eagles training camp on 97.3 ESPN FM:

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

The numbers don't work out for Travis Long

Travis Long
PHILADELPHIA - Chip Kelly claims the numbers are in Sam Bradford's favor.

“Our research in terms of dealing with guys with two ACLs, there’s a 10-to-12 percent chance of re-injury,” Kelly said to reporters earlier this summer. “So that’s an 88-to-90 percent chance that they’re going to be successful.”

Those odds didn't work out for emerging outside linebacker Travis Long, who has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee for the second straight year.

Long was injured in practice Monday, the second day of training camp. The second-year pro out of Washington State missed last season after damaging his ACL in the final preseason game. He also tore his right ACL during his senior year in college, making this his third ACL tear overall.

The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Long was in the mix to be the main backup behind starters Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham. His injury gives new life to last year's disappointing first-round pick, Marcus Smith, and it's now conceivable Mychal Kendricks moves outside due to the Eagles embarrassment of riches at ILB.

Eagles interest in Bradford extension is nothing new

Bradford tests his knee at camp
PHILADELPHIA - In the nothing-has-really-changed department the Eagles have interest in extending quarterback Sam Bradford, according to ESPN's Ed Werder.

While painted as breaking news, Philadelphia's interest in locking up Bradford past 2015 has always been on the table but the logical conclusion for the Eagles is hardly one Bradford will embrace and that's the issue.

Of course the Birds would like to get their oft-injured starting QB under a deal that is salary-cap friendly for the franchise but Bradford, as the last big-money bonus baby under the old CBA, is used to big money and realizes if he has a good season in Chip Kelly's quarterback-friendly offense, he stands to make a monster payday after raking in just under $13 million this season.

If that scenario plays out, Bradford could command well over $15 million in '16 and those are numbers the Eagles would be crazy to touch at this point even though the University of Oklahoma product was ready for team drills at the start of training camp as advertised.

In fact Bradford has taken every first-team rep through the first two days of camp ahead of veteran Mark Sanchez with Monday's practice being key because it indicated Bradford bounced back from the first workout with little problem.

Bradford, though, remains fresh off the second ACL surgery of his career and has also had issues with a high-angle sprain while with the Rams.  He also underwent shoulder surgery in college with the Sooners.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Piper dead at 61

Roddy Piper
Legendary pro wrestling heel "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (born Roderick George Toombs) has passed away at the age of 61.

He died of cardiac arrest in his sleep Thursday night in Hollywood, CA.

Piper was the key foil for Hulk Hogan during the national expansion of the then-World Wrestling Federation in the mid-1980s. He and "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff teamed against Hogan and "A-Team" star Mr. T in the main event of the first Wrestlemania.

“Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved my millions of fans around the world,” said WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon. “I extend my deepest condolences to his family.”

Piper, much like Dusty Rhodes, who also passed recently, was known as one of the great promo men in wrestling history, and also faced Mr. T in a boxing match at Wrestlemania II, as well as Adrian Adonis at Wrestlemania III.

While most know Piper for his work in WWE, he was also a legend in a number of the old territories, namely Portland, Los Angeles, Mid-Atlantic and Georgia Championship Wrestling.

Piper was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005 and also has some success as an actor, most notably in John Carpenter's "They Live."

Piper is survived by his wife, Kitty, and four children.

Sixers get Wallace, draft consideration

PHILADELPHIA - That sure was a short homecoming.

The Sixers sent Mount Laurel native Jason Thompson back west Friday, trading the big man to the world champion Golden State Warriors for veteran forward Gerald Wallace and a draft consideration.

Wallace, a 14-year veteran, has appeared in 832 career regular season games, averaging 12 points, six rebounds, two assists and over one steal in 30 minutes per game. He has also appeared in 33 career playoff games.

A first-round pick (25th overall) in the 2001 NBA Draft, Wallace was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star Team and earned NBA All-Defense First Team honors during the 2010 season.

Wallace has finished the season in the Top 10 in steals per game five times and steal percentage four times during his career.

Like most veterans, however, he probably has no real role in this Sixers organization.

Is Tebow really in play for the Eagles?

Tim Tebow
By John McMullen

PHILADELPHIA — There are a host of now ex-Eagles who can confirm Chip Kelly doesn't like players who speak out of turn.

"I look at it from the Navy SEALs' point of view: 'I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor do I seek recognition for my actions,' " Kelly told Philadelphia-area reporters earlier this summer when describing his insular personality and coaching style.

When now-Seahawks cornerback Cary Williams expressed displeasure on how hard Kelly's up-tempo practice regimen can be on the players, it wasn't a matter of if the veteran cornerback was leaving Philadelphia, it was a matter of when. And when so-called "big" personalities like DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy went off script, they felt the wrath of Kelly, resulting in their new addresses.

If you want to be in Philadelphia these days you must buy in to Kelly's vision and part of that is letting those deputized to talk handle the heavy lifting when it comes to the media. After any open Eagles practice you will see team leaders like center Jason Kelce and linebackers Connor Barwin and DeMeco Ryans holding court as extensions of what Kelly wants released to the public.

Brandon Graham isn't one of those trusted mouthpieces but he is Philadelphia's best pure outside pass rusher and an emerging playmaker who got a big-money, four-year extension in the offseason, one that was at least partially fueled by the interest of the NFC East rival Giants.

Graham didn't say anything disparaging about his organization or Kelly so his future employment isn't at risk but he did offer up some information the coach probably wanted kept under wraps on the possible impact of polarizing quarterback Tim Tebow, the perceived fourth-stringer when the Birds open training camp on Sunday.

“Tim Tebow is going to shock a lot of people, because he is going to make the team,” Graham, a University of Michigan alum, told Detroit-area radio host Lauren Beasley recently. “And I think he will play a lot.”

In most NFL cities Occam's razor would be applied here (the simplest answer is usually the correct one). And what does a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end know about the inner workings of Kelly's quarterback plans anyway?

It's conceivable Graham just likes Tebow personally or perhaps the former first-round pick is just a poor talent evaluator who can't see the mechanical issues that were still on display during offseason work, most notably Tebow's elongated throwing motion and sometimes laughable footwork.

But, this is no longer the B.C. age of the NFL (Before Chip) and if any coach has a plan for the former Florida Heisman Trophy winner it's going to be the guy who believes his football program should be run like the Navy SEALs.

Tebow's skill set of speed and strength could be maximized in Philadelphia where Kelly's offense is a simplistic one based on the read-option and tempo. There is no asking the quarterback to make Peyton Manning-like progressions from receiver to receiver. It's one-read and go, and that first outlet is picked by the sideline not the signal caller.

In theory that scales down the decision-making and makes anticipatory throws, something Tebow struggles mightily with, off the table in what some have called a quarterback-proof offense.

Furthermore, it's not all that far-fetched to speculate that Sam Bradford might tear his ACL getting out of his car at the NovaCare Complex Sunday and you know that four-interception game from Mark Sanchez is right around the corner. So, only Kelly punching-bag Matt Barkley stands between Tebow and the roster spot which could spur opportunity.

Most have speculated that chance would only be as a red-zone threat or a two-point specialist but the only certainty about the Eagles quarterback position is the uncertainty.

So maybe Brandon Graham knows a little more than we think and you can bet Chip will have a little talk with him about that.

Flyers extend Voracek

PHILADELPHIA - The Flyers signed right wing Jakub Voracek to a multi-year contract extension on Thursday.

The 25-year-old Voracek just finished up his seventh NHL season by leading the Flyers with 81 points (fourth in the NHL) and 59 assists (second in the league). Meanwwhile his 22 goals ranked third on the team.

It was a career year for Voracek, who set new career highs in points (81), assists (59), power-play goals (11), power-play points (33), game-winning goals (tied - 3) and penalty minutes (78). He was also awarded the Bobby Clarke Trophy as the team’s Most Valuable Player for the second time in his Flyers career (2012-13), and was named to the NHL’s postseason First All-Star Team becoming the first Flyers to earn an NHL postseason All-Star honor since the 2000-01 season (G - Roman Cechmanek, 2nd Team All-Star) and the first time a Flyers earned First Team All-Star since the 1997-98 season (LW - John LeClair).

A native of Kladno, Czech Republic, Voracek was named captain of the Czech team in the 2015 World Championships, where he led the team with 10 points (3g-7a) in 10 games, which was also a career high for him in international play.

Voracek was originally acquired by the Flyers on June 23, 2011 from the Columbus Blue Jackets along with the Blue Jackets’ first round pick at eighth overall (Sean Couturier) and third-round pick at 68th overall (Nick Cousins).

He has recorded 85 goals and 153 assists for 238 points in 290 games as a Flyer, and since the start of the 2012-13 season, Voracek has led all NHL wingers in assists (122) and is third in overall point production (189).

He has also recorded three straight seasons of playing every game and is the current “iron-man” leader for the Flyers, appearing in 226 consecutive games played. He has missed only four games as a Flyer (290 of 294) and has appeared in 531 out of a possible 540 games played since his first NHL game on Oct. 10, 2008.

In seven seasons in the NHL, Voracek has recorded 124 goals and 248 assists for 372 points in 531 games for the Flyers and Blue Jackets (2008-11). He was drafted in the first round (7th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by Columbus.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Soul playoffs headed to 97.5

PHILADELPHIA  – The playoff run of the 2015 AFL East Division Champion Philadelphia Soul will be broadcast live on 97.5 FM The Fanatic.

Joe DeCamara, host of The Fanatic’s 6-10 p.m. Weekday Show, including the weekly Ron Jaworski Show on Wednesdays from 6-7 p.m, will provide play-by-play.  Soul General Manager, Tom Goodhines will provide color commentary.

Games to be broadcast on The Fanatic include the first round playoff game, which is set for Saturday, August 15 at 5 p.m. as they host the No. 4 seed of the Conference (TBD) at the Wells Fargo Center.  With a Soul victory, the Soul will host the American Conference Championship game on Sunday, August 23 and will face the winner of the first round game featuring the No. 2 and No. 3 seed in the American Conference.

Should the Soul make the ArenaBowl Championship game on Saturday, August 29, the Soul would host that game in Philadelphia should they be the higher seed of the teams competing in the game.

“We have a championship caliber football team this year with a great opportunity to bring Philadelphia a second championship in our 10 seasons of play,” Soul Chief Operating Officer, John Adams said.  “We are thrilled that our playoff run will be shared in Philadelphia with a championship caliber radio partner.”

97.5 FM The Fanatic is home to both college and professional sports, including Temple Football as well as the Philadelphia Flyers and Philadelphia 76ers.

“We have a great relationship with Soul owner Ron Jaworski and now we look forward to this opportunity with his team,” 97.5 The Fanatic’s program director Matt Nahigian said.  “We want to be the station that brings Philadelphia’s next championship to the airwaves.”

 The Soul host the New Orleans VooDoo in their last regular season home game this Sunday, August 2 at 4 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Union ship Williams to Houston

CHESTER - The Philadelphia Union have shipped defender Sheanon Williamsto and an international spot to the Houston Dynamo in exchange for general allocation money and future considerations.

Williams, 25, was the longest-tenured member of the Union, joining the team during its 2010 expansion campaign. He arrived on Aug. 31 of that season and started in eight games at just 20 years old.

From then on the now-veteran was almost a permanent fixture in the lineup, starting 92 games from 2011-2013, including both of the club’s playoff games in 2011. In 2015, he had played in 17 games, starting 15 of them. He is particularly known for his powerful throw-ins which often set up legitimate scoring opportunities for Philadelphia.

“Sheanon has represented the club well during his time here and we wish him the best of luck in Houston,” Union technical director Chris Albright said. “However, this allows us the flexibility to make additional moves both short and long term.”

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

CONCACAF Gold Cup Final sells out

MIAMI – The Confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) has announced that all tickets have been sold for the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2015 Final, which will be played this Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

More than 66,000 fans are expected, making the Final likely to establish an all-time high for the largest crowd ever to attend a soccer match in Philadelphia, besting the previous record of 57,305, for a Real Madrid vs. Philadelphia Union exhibition match at Lincoln Financial Field in 2011.

Tickets for the Third-Place game of the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2015 are still available via That match will be played at PPL Park in nearby Chester, PA, on Saturday, July 25 at 4 p.m. ET.

The Gold Cup semifinals – to be played this Wednesday evening, July 22, at a sold-out Georgia Dome in Atlanta -- will feature the United States vs. Jamaica and Panama vs. Mexico in an historic double-header set to determine the finals weekend’s matchups. The games can be seen in the United States on the Fox Sports 1, UniMás and UDN, and can be heard on Fútbol de Primera radio network.
Organizers encourage fans with tickets to the Final in Philadelphia to arrive early to enjoy Futbol Fiesta, the interactive fan-zone starting at 3:30 p.m. at HeadHouse Plaza in the north end of Lincoln Financial Field. Parking lots will open at 2:30 p.m., and stadium gates will open at 6 p.m. -- all times local. The Gold Cup Final will be televised nationally on the Fox Sports and Univision family of networks, and can also be heard on the Fútbol de Primera radio network.

With Sunday’s sellout -- the sixth of the tournament, joining Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Kansas City and Atlanta – the 2015 Gold Cup ticket sales will surpass 500,000, placing this edition among the most successful tournaments in CONCACAF history.  

John McMullen on Eagles & NFL on 97.3 ESPN FM:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Eagles made a mistake in acquiring Sam Bradford

By John McMullen

PHILADELPHIA - Every transaction in the NFL is essentially a cost-benefit analysis. You try to determine the upside of a potential move, and weigh that against what it takes to get it done.

From a traditional general manager's perspective, the Eagles acquisition of oft-injured quarterback Sam Bradford didn't make a lot of sense from both a football and financial context.

On one hand. Chip Kelly certainly does like Bradford's skill set because he gave up a quarterback who put up better numbers while being paid significantly less in Nick Foles, and added a second-round draft choice on top of it. Meanwhile, the Eagles' football czar also reportedly fended off Cleveland's overtures in the form of a first-round pick or Johnny Manziel for the former No. 1 overall pick.

However, Kelly also tried to load up the U-Haul with everything from Bradford, draft picks and proven veteran players in a thinly veiled attempt to acquire Marcus Mariota, and he has also refused to give Bradford anything resembling a viable extension offer to this point.

"I'm not 100 percent confident in anything," Kelly said earlier this offseason when asked about Bradford and his future. "No one is ... We're going to put together a team. We think Sam has a great skill set. The
research our doctors have given us in terms of the guys coming off (ACL) injuries in terms of their recovery rate is 90 percent, so we feel real confident in that."

Confidence is good but what is the ceiling here for the Eagles?

NFL Media created a bit of a stir on Monday by reporting that Bradford, the presumptive Week 1 starter, plans to play out the final year of his massive rookie deal rather than sign an extension.

The spin from the Bradford camp being that he is "betting on himself."

Of course, that narrative assumes Philadelphia has more than a passing interest in signing Bradford to anything other than a bargain-basement deal right now, rather specious logic.

After all the phrase "betting on one's self" intimates you have a viable option and that's simply not the case for Bradford, who is owed nearly $13 million in 2015 and has played just seven games over the past two campaigns due to back-to-back ACL tears over a 20-month period.

The Eagles had to take the wait-and-see approach but the real problem here stems from an eventual outcome that paints Bradford as successful in 2015.

Think about it?

If he's a disaster ... no problem, you wash your hands of a bad trade and move on to the next candidate at the position. But if Bradford's really good, anything short of the University of Oklahoma product turning into Tom Brady and piloting Philadelphia to a Super Bowl championship, a scenario even the most ardent Kelly acolytes would have a tough time picturing, is an issue.

Let's say the Eagles remain stuck at 10 wins but take a step forward and win a playoff encounter behind a healthy Bradford who throws for over 4,000 yards and 35 TDs in Kelly's supposed quarterback-proof offense. That's a pretty high ceiling for this player and a scenario still not worthy of investing significant money and time into because of Bradford's prior history in St. Louis. However, it's also an end game which will not allow the Eagles to just walk away unfettered.

More than ever, it's obvious Kelly's envisioned long-term answer at the position now calls Nashville home, and his Plan B has no discernible exit strategy absent Bradford's failure as a player.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sixers sign pint-sized PG Pierre Jackson

PHILADELPHIA - The Sixers have signed Pierre Jackson to a partially guaranteed four-year contract.

The 5-foot-10 point guard has been playing playing with the Sixers playing in the NBA Summer League in an effort to prove he was healthy after an Achilles injury last summer.

The Sixers originally drafted Jackson with the 42nd overall selection out of Baylor in 2013 but he was traded that night, along with Jrue Holiday, to the New Orleans Pelicans for the rights to Nerlens Noel. A year later, the Sixers reacquired Jackson on a draft night deal that sent Louisville guard Russ Smith to New Orleans.

The dynamic Jackson averaged 29.1 points for the Idaho Stampede of the D-League in 2013-14 before injuring himself that summer in Sixers' first Orlando Summer League game.

Temple promotes Mapp to Director of Men's Basketball Operations

PHILADELPHIA - Raheem Mapp, who has worked with the Temple University men's basketball program in various capacities since 2006, has been promoted to Director of Men's Basketball Operations.

Mapp earned both his bachelor's (2009) and master's (2013) degrees in sport and recreation management from Temple and just completed his fifth year as the program's Administrative/Video Coordinator.

"Raheem is the ideal person to serve as our Director of Basketball Operations," said Temple coach Fran Dunphy. "He has worked with Temple Basketball for the last decade, and did an exceptional job as our video coordinator the last five years."

In his prior role, Mapp coordinated all video functions, including breaking down game film and overseeing film exchange program, while assisting in the program's day-to-day operation.

"I am thankful to Coach Dunphy for not only this opportunity, but for providing an avenue to start my career upon graduation," said Mapp.  "I am so fortunate to be from Philadelphia, earn two degrees and work for the best university in Philadelphia. Temple Basketball has been my family for the last nine years, and I look forward to continuing to work hard for the Cherry and White."

While attending Temple as an undergraduate student, Mapp served three seasons (2006-09) as a manager of the men's basketball team before working in the office during the 2009-10 season to help fill the void left by the departure of then-Assistant Director of Basketball Operations Dwayne Killings (now an assistant coach).

A Philadelphia native, Mapp worked with the basketball team at his alma mater, Central High ('05), helping Coach Haviland Harper during his team's run to the 2005 Public League Championship. While at Central High, he also served as a bat boy for the Philadelphia Phillies for three years (2003-05) and did some video work for the club during the 2007 season.

Union drop friendly to AFC Bournemouth

CHESTER - English Premier League side AFC Bournemouth dominated the Philadelphia Union en route to a 4-1 win in an international friendly at PPL Park Tuesday. A

AFC Bournemouth scored the first goal of the game in the 20th minute as Joshua King sent the ball into the top corner passed Union goalkeeper John McCarthy. The second Bournemouth goal followed six minutes later from Callum Wilson's strike.

The Union tried to make it a game in the 35th minute with Richie Marquez´s header from Sheanon Williams' cross but Bournemouth regained its two goal lead in the 62nd minute after Marc Pugh capitalized on Tokelo Rantie's assist.

The final goal came in the 85th minute after Fred fouled Marc Pugh in the box. Tokelo Rantie scored his first goal of the night as he sent the penalty into the top left-hand corner of the goal.

The Union return to MLS action on Saturday in Toronto.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Flyers name Gordan head coach at Lehigh Valley

PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they have hired Scott Gordon as head coach of their American Hockey League affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. In addition, Flyers GM Ron Hextall announced that Riley Cote will return as an Assistant Coach of the Phantoms.

“We are extremely pleased to add Scott to our organization as head coach of our top affiliate in the Lehigh Valley,” said Hextall. “He brings in a proven track record of success and knowledge as a coach at all levels, and we are confident he can help develop our prospects through our system, as well as lead the Phantoms back to the Calder Cup playoffs.”

Gordon, 52,  most recently served as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs for three seasons (2011 to 2014) under Ron Wilson (2011-12) and Randy Carlyle (2012-2014). Prior to joining the Maple Leafs, Gordon spent parts of three seasons as the head coach of the New York Islanders from 2008 to 2010 where he compiled a record of 64-94-23 in 181 regular season games.

Gordon was hired by the Islanders after parts of six seasons with the Providence Bruins of the AHL where he had a 221-141-20-27 record in 409 games. He led the Bruins to the Calder Cup Playoffs in five of his six seasons behind the bench. In his final season with Providence, Gordon led the Bruins to a 55-18-7 record and a league-leading 117 points during the regular season. He was the recipient of the Louis A. R. Pieri Memorial Award, presented to the AHL’s Coach of the Year following that season.

Prior to coaching in the AHL, Gordon was head coach of the Roanoke Express of the East Coast Hockey League and led the team to consecutive first-place finishes in their division while compiling an 82-42-16 overall regular season record.

NFL talk with Sharp and Benning

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Union extend loan on Aristeguieta

CHESTER, Pa. – The Philadelphia Union have picked up the option to extend Fernando Aristeguieta on loan from FC Nantes.

The 23-year-old Venezuelan international forward joined the club on a half-year loan prior to the beginning of the 2015 MLS Regular Season and will now be with Philadelphia until at least the end of the calendar year. He will remain on the club as a Designated Player. Per club and league policy, additional details were not disclosed.

“Fernando is a player we believe in and we’re happy to keep him as a part of our group,” Union technical director Chris Albright said. “We look forward to him getting back on the field and contributing as we push for the playoffs.”

Aristeguieta has played and started in 11 games this season, scoring three goals. He started in each of the club’s first five matches in 2015, as well as seven out of the first eight, but has since been derailed with injuries. In addition to a broken hand that the forward played through, he has recently been battling a left ankle contusion that has sidelined him since a 3-0 win over Columbus Crew SC on June 3.

At Nantes, Aristeguieta made 45 appearances and scored nine goals after joining the club in January 2013. He helped the club secure promotion immediately in 2013 by scoring seven goals in seven appearances during the second half of the season. The following season, playing in Ligue 1, Aristeguieta made 28 appearances and scored two goals.

Prior to joining Nantes, Aristeguieta played for Caracas from 2009-13. There, he made 71 appearances and scored 31 goals for the club, finishing in the top five in scoring in Venezuela’s Primeria Division each of his last two seasons. His final season for Caracas in 2012-13, at just 20 years old, Aristeguieta scored 14 goals, second best in the league. He then made the move to Nantes.

At the international level, Aristeguieta has made 12 appearances and scored one goal for Venezuela. His lone goal came against El Salvador on Aug. 7, 2011 in Washington, D.C. Most recently, Aristeguieta made the preliminary roster for the 2015 Copa America Tournament, but was one of the final cuts. He last featured for Venezuela in 2014 for their World Cup Qualifying campaign, making five appearances for La Vinotinto, including a start against Colombia on March 26, 2013.

Union to play Red Bulls in U.S. Open Cup quarters

CHESTER, Pa. – The Philadelphia Union will play New York Red Bulls on Tuesday, July 21, at Red Bull Arena in the quarterfinals of the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

The match is set to kick-off at 4 p.m. due to the International Champions Cup taking place at Red Bull Arena later that night.

“We are happy that it’s been decided to play this match on the originally designated U.S. Soccer date of July 21, but are very disappointed about the 4 p.m. kick off for our fans that were planning to travel,” Union CEO and Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz said. “We have worked cooperatively with U.S. Soccer to obtain a block of tickets and will be providing round-trip bus transportation to any Union fans that wish to attend the game. There is a limited supply of 500 tickets that will be made available on a first-come, first-serve basis.”

The Union reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup for the third in time in four years by defeating Rochester Rhinos 0-0 (3-1) in the Fourth Round, and D.C. United, 2-1, in the Round of 16. It’s the first time the Red Bulls have reached the quarterfinals since 2011 and they did so by defeating a pair of NASL teams, Atlanta Silverbacks 3-0 in the Fourth Round, and New York Cosmos 4-1 in the Round of 16.

U.S. Soccer also announced the three other quarterfinal fixtures last week. Chicago Fire will host Orlando City SC on Wednesday, July 22. The winner of that game will travel to play the winner of the Union-Red Bulls match in the semifinals. On the other side of the bracket, Real Salt Lake will host L.A. Galaxy on Tuesday, July 14 and Sporting Kansas City will host Houston Dynamo on Tuesday, July 21.

The semifinals are then slated for Aug. 11-12, with the final coming on either Sept. 29 or 30.

The Union will be providing bus transportation for the first 500 fans interested in traveling to Harrison, N.J. for the match. The road trip, which includes round trip bus transportation, a game ticket and light food and beverage  will be $10 and can be purchased through

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Bruno walks away from Innes

PHILADELPHIA - Five months of ratings success wasn't enough for veteran radio host Tony Bruno, who is walking away from WIP due to his problems with co-host Josh Innes.

The odd couple of Innes and Bruno proved to be an afternoon ratings juggernaut, dominating the drive time competition over at 97.5 The Fanatic and  long-time afternoon kingpin Mike Missanelli.

The marriage was a strange one to begin with as it was obvious about the only thing the 63-year-old Bruno had in common with the twentysomething Innes was a deep dislike for Missanelli, who often belittled Bruno was he was at 97.5.

"The format and industry in general no longer provide me joy and satisfaction, even after reaching number one in p.m. drive in record time in my hometown," Bruno said in a statement posted on his website.

Most believe Bruno did not like Innes' confrontational style with the website Crossing Board claiming Bruno's breaking point was the way Innes mocked an obviously inebriated caller.

Sources told The Phanatic Magazine that the real turning point was Innes going after former FOX29 traffic babe Kacie McDonnell, describing the now Kansas City-based reporter as a "cleat chaser," something Bruno, who counts McDonnel as a friend, was very uncomfortable with even though Kacie's dating resume certainly invites that kind of speculation.

For what it's worth Bruno denied both claims.

"I did not quit in haste because I "hated" or couldn't work with Josh Innes," Bruno said, according to "In fact, I feel at peace knowing what I'm doing is right. I totally understand that my radio career in Philadelphia is over and can live with that. I have no desire to look for another radio or TV

Innes, however, admitted he and Bruno were never close saying on-air that "we didn't talk a ton, maybe we didn't prep enough."

Bruno had been off the air for the past several days with substitutes working with Innes, who has been clearly uncomfortable after being muzzled by operations manager Andy Bloom from talking about the rift which began when a number of tweets calling for Innes to be fired were re-tweeted by Bruno before being deleted.

Innes often retweets criticism from disgruntled listeners like a badge of honor and a source claims Bruno believed he could do the same and that there was no underhanded motive coming from Bruno's end.

The same source claims Innes, while talented, is extremely insecure and took the retweets as an attempt to undermine him at WIP.

"The modern world of radio and social media has sucked the fun out of doing this due to "factions" whose sole attempt is to provoke "wars" or have listeners "take sides" to anger or distract the process of doing radio every day," Bruno claimed.

That seems like a direct shot at Innes, who has been very vocal in criticizing Missanelli from Day 1, a tactic that has resulted in short-term success. And to be fair Missanelli employed those same tactics, albeit more tempered, when he took aim at Howard Eskin years ago.

Innes actually disappeared from his show for a bit Wednesday before returning and announcing Bruno's departure. He was then joined by Bloom, who made sure to let his listeners know where Bruno's allegiance lies.

"Missanelli will continue to lose to Josh no matter what, and that’s the best part of this," Bloom said, reading an excerpt of an email sent to him by Bruno.

Bloom is the real culprit here because he hedged his bet on Innes, a witty broadcaster who dwarfs his competition in the talent department but is very controversial and willing to talk about things most others will shy away from.

Pairing Innes with anyone from the old school was not going to work in the long run and Bloom should either run with what he has or go back to the run-of-the-mill Philly broadcast, something a source at WIP called "all-violation radio," a slam at the pandering style of Missanelli and his good friend, former WIPer and current 97.5 morning host Anthony Gargano.

Sixers sign Okafor

PHILADELPHIA – The Sixers have rookie center Jahlil Okafor under contract.

Okafor (6-foot-11, 270) was the third overall pick by Philadelphia in the 2015 NBA Draft.  He was an early entry candidate for the draft following a standout freshman season at Duke, during which he helped lead the Blue Devils to a 35-4 mark and the National Championship.

A consensus First Team All-American, Okafor averaged 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.4 blocks.  He was named the 2015 ACC Player of the Year and the USBWA 2015 National Freshman of the year, while also being selected as a finalist for the Wooden and Naismith National Player of the Year awards.

Okafor is also a three-time gold medal winner while playing for Team USA during the 2011 Under 16 FIBA Americas, the 2012 Under 17 World Championships and the 2013 Under 19 World Championships.

Last night, the 19-year-old had a game-high 20 points along with nine rebounds and two blocks in his debut at the Utah Jazz Summer League.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Penn State-Vermont to clash in Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff

PHILADELPHIA - Penn State and the University of Vermont will clash on the ice during the Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff at Wells Fargo Center on Sunday, November 29.

Penn State will be entering its fourth year as an NCAA Division I ice hockey program and its third year in the Big Ten Hockey Conference. The Nittany Lions finished 18-15-4 last season, including a run to the quarterfinals in the Big Ten Tournament. Head Coach Guy Gadowsky earned Big Ten Coach of the Year for the team’s achievements, which included the program’s first national ranking.

Vermont finished the 2014-15 season with a mark of 22-15-4 including post-season play in the Hockey East playoffs for the ninth time in the last ten seasons. Vermont advanced to the semi-finals of the Hockey East playoffs. A program-record 15 athletes from the 2014-15 squad were named to the Hockey East All-Academic Team.

The Nittany Lions won the third College Hockey Faceoff by a score of 4-2 after overcoming a two goal deficit, claiming the all-time series lead 2-1 against Vermont.

Penn State trio land on Maxwell, Bednarik Watch Lists

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.– Penn State football landed three players on the preseason watch lists for the Maxwell Award and the Bednarik Award Tuesday.

Junior quarterback Christian Hackenberg and redshirt sophomore wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton were among the candidates for the Maxwell Award for the National Player of the Year, while senior defensive tackle Anthony Zettel is a nominee for the Bednarik Award for the National Defensive Player of the Year.

Penn State is tied for the national lead among all colleges and universities with its seven Maxwell Award winners. The Nittany Lions' four Bednarik Award recipients are the most of any school in the nation.

The Maxwell Award, named in honor of Robert W. "Tiny" Maxwell, has been given to America's College Player of the Year since 1937. Maxwell's contributions to the game of football were extensive, including time as a player, a sportswriter and an official.

The Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995. Chuck Bednarik, former standout at Penn and with the Philadelphia Eagles, is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame's Class of '69 and the NFL Hall of Fame's Class of '67.

Entering the season poised to become the top passer in Penn State history, Hackenberg capped his sophomore season by breaking or tying nine PSU single game bowl records. He has stated all 25 career games under center and enters the season ranked No. 3 in career passing yards (5,932), attempts (876) and completions (501), and is No. 4 in career total offense (5,770). He is one of just eight Nittany Lions to amass over 5,000 passing yards and is the only Penn State signal caller to break the 400-yard mark in a game, throwing for a school-record 454 yards in a victory over UCF at the Croke Park Classic in Dublin. Ireland. In 2014, Hackenberg led the Big Ten with 20.7 completions per game, ranking 23rd nationally, and finished second in the conference and 39th nationally with 2,977 passing yards.

Hamilton earned third-team Freshman All-America accolades from Athlon Sports last season after leading the Big Ten and ranking 28th nationally with 6.3 receptions per game. His 82 receptions set the school record for catches by a freshman and rank No. 2 on the all-time charts behind Allen Robinson’s school-record 97 catches from 2013. He became the third straight Penn State wide receiver to lead the Big Ten in receptions and was named second-team All-Big Ten following his first season on the field. His 899 yards also set the PSU freshman record, while his 14-catch effort vs. Ohio State are the most catches in a game by a Nittany Lion in program history.

After moving from defensive end to defensive tackle in 2014, Zettel enjoyed his most productive season on the field in the blue and white. A fourth-team All-America selection by Athlon Sports and an All-Big Ten first-team pick by both the coaches and media, Zettel logged career-best totals with 17 tackles-for-loss and 8.0 sacks. His 16.0 career sacks rank tied for No. 15 in Penn State history and his 27.0 career TFLs are just five shy of entering the top-15 in the PSU record books.

Zettel was the only FBS player to rank among the national leaders in sacks and interceptions per game in 2014. The athletic defensive lineman nabbed three interceptions, the most by a PSU defensive lineman since at least 1959, to tie for the team lead in the category and added one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and eight pass deflections.

The Nittany Lions open the 2015 campaign on the road against Temple at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Saturday, September 5 at 3:30 p.m.

Flyers re-up deal with 97.5

PHILADELPHIA – The Flyers have renewed their broadcast partnership with Greater Media Philadelphia, including 97.5 The Fanatic, which will continue as the flagship station of the Flyers Radio Network as part of a multi-year agreement.

The partnership will continue the Flyers broadcast schedule on both 97.5 The Fanatic (WPEN) as well as rock station, 93.3 WMMR-FM through the 2015-16 season and beyond.  Games will also include pre-and post-game shows on both networks surrounding the live game broadcasts.

As part of the agreement, all Greater Media Radio stations, which also include 102.9 FM WMGK and 95.7 FM WBEN, will remain promotional partners with the Flyers. First partnering in 2012 as Greater Media’s first local professional team, the Flyers frequently host special promotions with Greater Media shows such as 97.5 The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli Show and WMMR’s Preston and Steve Show.

“We are thrilled to renew this important partnership with Greater Media,” said Flyers Chief Operating Officer Shawn Tilger. “The promotional support, both for the team as well as for our corporate partners has been invaluable. We are excited to continue the momentum of the first three years of this partnership.”

“We are proud to be the radio home of the Flyers for years to come,” added Greater Media’s Vice President/Market Manager John Fullam. “The Flyers are extraordinary partners.  The Fanatic and WMMR are thrilled to connect passionate Flyers fans with their team all season long.”

Veteran play-by-play broadcaster Tim Saunders and color commentator Steve Coates will return in their roles for the 2015-16 season.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Champs: U.S. Women take World Cup

World Cup champs
VANCOUVER - Delran's Carli Lloyd netted the fastest hat trick in Women's World Cup history as the U.S. Women's National Team defeated Japan 5-2 at BC Place  to become the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Champion.

In the first 16 minutes of play the USA took a 4-0 lead on the three Lloyd goals as well as another from  Lauren Holiday, the wife of ex-Sixer Jrue Holiday en route to becoming the first three-time FIFA Women's World Cup winner.

Japan ended the USA's record-tying shutout streak at 540 minutes by scoring in the 28th minute. The Asian nation built a bit of momentum early in the second half as Julie Johnston's defensive clearance instead sent the ball into the USA's net. However, Tobin Heath responded two minutes later to make it 5-2 and complete the highest scoring Final (seven goals) in FIFA Women's World Cup history.

Loyd and goalkeeper Hope Solo were awarded the Golden Ball and Golden Glove, as the best player and the best goalkeeper at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, respectively. It was the second straight Golden Glove award for Solo (she also won it in 2011) and the first for Lloyd. Lloyd became the second American to win the award, joining Carin Jennings, who won it in 1991.

The USA is now the only country to win three Women's World Cup and the country to score the most goals (five) in a WWC Final - no other team has scored more than two.

The WNT will return to the USA for a pair of friendly matches against Costa Rica on Aug. 16 and Aug. 19 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, respectively, before embarking on their nationwide celebration tour.

Goal Scoring Rundown:

USA - Carli Lloyd (Megan Rapinoe), 3rd minute: Playing a short corner kick on the ground, Megan Rapinoe sent a ball straight through several Japanese defenders to the middle of the six yard box. Carli Lloyd stormed from the back of the box to time her arrival with the ball perfectly and finished with a left-footed strike to score the fastest goal in FIFA Women's World Cup Final history. USA 1, JPN 0

USA - Carli Lloyd, 5th minute: Two minutes later, another set piece play led to a U.S. goal. Lauren Holiday stepped up to take the free kick from the right side of the box and sent a shot to the middle of the box that was flicked on by Julie Johnston through a forest of players before Carli Lloyd found it right in front of the net and tapped it in with the inside of her right foot for the second goal of the game and he fifth of the tournament. USA 2, JPN 0

USA - Lauren Holiday, 14th minute: The sequence began with Tobin Heath, who sent a pass from the midfield intended for Alex Morgan but had the ball intercepted by Japanese defender Azusa Iwashimizu. Iwashimizu tried to head it out of danger but instead directed the ball up in the air. It came down right in front of Lauren Holiday, who volleyed it in stride with her right foot to net her first goal of the tournament. USA 3, JPN 0

USA - Carli Lloyd, 16th minute: Carli Lloyd intercepted the ball in midfield and touched it past a Japan player. Crossing the midfield line, she launched a shot that caught Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori out of her net. While Kaihori got a hand to the ball, she could not keep it from bouncing off the post and into the back of the net, thus completing the fastest hat trick in Women's World Cup history. USA 4, JPN 0

JPN - Yuki Ogimi (Nahomi Kawasumi), 28th minute: Nahomi Kawasumi played a great ball from the right channel, spotting teammate Yuki Ogimi inside the box. Ogimi evaded a challenge from Julie Johnston, swiveled around and sent a curling shot beyond the reach of Hope Solo for the Japan's first goal of the match that ended the USA's record-tying shutout streak. USA 4, JPN 1

JPN - Julie Johnston (own goal), 52nd: Julie Johnston tried to clear a free kick attempt with a header that bounced across the face of goal and nestled inside the far post of Hope Solo's net for Japan's second score of the game. USA 4, JPN 2

USA - Tobin Heath (Morgan Brian), 54th: Japan's goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori  punched a Lauren Holiday corner kick clear to the right side. Kaihori's punch wasn't strong enough and the ball landed at Morgan Brian's feet. Brian cut the ball back into the middle where Tobin Heath used the inside of her foot to one-time Brian's perfect ball into the back of the net for the final score line. USA 5, JPN 2 (FINAL)

Thursday, July 02, 2015

John McMullen talks Eagles and NFL off season

Hinkie crowns Kings, gets shooter in Stauskas

PHILADELPHIA - Is Sam Hinkie actually moving forward?

The love-him-or-loathe-him Sixers general manager delighted his followers on Wednesday night by taking advantage of the Sacramento Kings in a Vlade Divac salary sump.

The Sixers acquired shooting guard Nik Stauskas, power forwards Carl Landry and Jason Thompson, a 2018 protected top-10 pick and the right to swap first-round picks in 2016 and 2017 in a late-night deal with Sacramento.  The Kings in turn will receive the rights to two of  last week’s second-round draft picks who were set to remain stashed overseas for the time being in Arturas Gudaitis (47th) and Luka Mitrovic (60th).

“I’m excited to start a new chapter in Philly! #The MarathonContinues,” Stauskas tweeted out after YAHOO! Sports reported the deal.

"Thank you to the whole Kings organization for drafting me and helping me start my NBA career. The city and fans were awesome," the University of Michigan product also tweeted.

The move clears significant salary-cap space for Sacramento, which is believed to be targeting players like Portland swingman Wesley Matthews, and Dallas guards Rajon Rondo and Monta Ellis.

The Sixers reportedly wanted Stauskas in the 2014 draft and were set to take the 6-foot-6 marksman with the second of two first-round picks at No. 10 overall but when the Kings selected him two spots earlier Hinkie grabbed guard Elfrid Payton and traded him to the Orlando Magic for Dario Saric’s draft rights.

Stauskas wasn't all that impressive during his rookie season, averaging 4.4 points and shooting 36.5 percent from the field.  He did, however, get better as the season progressed, connecting on 48 of his final 149 three-pointers.

In Philadelphia he will be given every opportunity to create space for post players like the incoming Jahlil Okafor as well as Nerlens Noel and possibly Joel Embiid, depending on the big man's health situation.

The other two players are more typical Hinkie pickups, the next round of so-called gypsies that Brett Brown is asked to incorporate for short periods or not at all.

The 6-foot-11 Thompson is a local product out of Lenape High School in South Jersey as well as Rider before being taken by the Kings as the 12th overall pick in '08. The big man averaged a career-low 6.1 points and 6.5 rebounds last season and was deemed expendable after Sacramento drafted Willie Cauley-Stein last week.

The 6-foot-9 Landry scored 7.2 points and snared 3.8 rebounds per game and is currently recovering from wrist surgery.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Neuvirth in the fold to back up Mason

In the first hour of the free-agent period, the Flyers shored up their crease, signing journeyman netminder Michal Neuvirth to a multi-year deal.

According to multiple reports, Neuvirth's deal is worth $3.25 million over two years, which represents a slight pay cut.

The 27-year-old Czech Republic native will serve as  the backup to  Flyers starter Steve Mason. It's a chance to regain form from earlier in his career as a touted prospect in the Washington system. He finished just 7-20-4 with a .914 save percentage and a 2.98 goals-against average over 32 games split between the Sabres and Islanders last season.

Over  seven North American campaigns with the  Capitals,  Sabres and  Islanders, Neuvirth  has posted a 66-63-17 record with a .912 save percentage and 2.73 GAA. He went 6-17-3 with the NHL-worst club in Buffalo, but three of his six wins were shutouts. There's a strange parallel here, as Tommy Soderstrom, in his final season as a Flyers goalie in 1993-94, won six games all year but two by shutout.

Neuvirth once held the starting job with the Caps, and appeared in as many as 48 games in one season back in 2010-11 where he won a career-high 27 games. That could bode well for Mason, whose nagging injuries and heavy workload the last few seasons required a backup with greater health, youth and experience.

Hextall alluded to just that in saying: “He’s a proven goalie. One of the attractive things for us with a backup goalie is, God forbid, if something happens to Mase [Steve Mason], he can carry the load and he’s done that in the past. We think we brought in a real good goalie who is going to give us a solid backup and probably play more than the typical backup."

That should put to rest any questions whether Rob Zepp could -- or should -- be elevated to an NHL backup position. As of this moment, he's still the nominal starter for the Phantoms. Zepp made a memorable debut before Christmas, eventually finishing two stints in the NHL with a 5-2-0 record, but his goals-against was .288 and his save percentage worked out to 88.8 percent -- indicators that success at the next level may be elusive.

Ray Emery, who was brought back to sub for Mason on two straight one-year deals, departs the franchise for a second time after going 19-23-9 with two shutouts and a GAA approaching three-per-game over 59 appearances.

According to Dave Isaac of the Courier Post, the Flyers are now roughly $4.11 million under the salary cap. They can spend $11.255 the rest of the summer, thanks to the 10 percent overage that's allowed before opening night.

That number does not include the $1.3 million qualifying offer Ron Hextall gave to restricted free agent Michael Del Zotto earlier this week.

Later in the evening, per multiple beats, Hextall indicated he's done moving pieces but will be amenable to taking more money off the salary cap -- something which becomes more important the closer it gets to the end of summer. 

Union advance in U.S. Open Cup

Chester, Pa. – Despite playing a man down, the Philadelphia Union recovered from a one-goal deficit to top their Eastern Conference rivals D.C. United 2-1 in the Round of 16 in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Tuesday night.

The Union went down a man early in the first half as forward C.J. Sapong was shown a straight red card in the 24th minute.

D.C. United capitalized shortly afterwards with a strike from Jairo Arrieta in the 27th minute.

Eric Ayuk equalized in the 56th minute, scoring from Sheanon Williams´ cross. The winning goal came in the 79th minute, with Fabinho scoring a spectacular goal from Cristián Maidana´s assist.

With the win, the Union move to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup with the next game set for July 21 or 22.

USWNT top Germany, heads to World Cup Final

MONTREAL, Canada - Delran's Carli Lloyd scored on a penalty pick and assisted on another goal as the U.S. Women's National Team topped FIFA No.1-ranked Germany 2-0 at Olympic Stadium to advance to the Final of the 2015 Women's World Cup.

It will be the fourth World Cup final appearance for the USA.

The first half was a balanced affair with both teams pressing and having opportunities to get on the board yet neither was able to capitalize. In the second half, things got going when U.S. defender Julie Johnston was called for a foul inside the penalty box in the 59th minute for pulling down Alexandra Popp. Celia Sasic stepped up to take the penalty kick but missed wide left to keep the game scoreless.

Almost ten minutes later, Alex Morgan got fouled in the box and it was the USA's turn to attempt a PK. Lloyd confidently netted the shot to give the USA the lead before assisting on Kelley O'Hara's 84th-minute strike - the first of her international career - to secure the U.S. win. 

Hope Solo and the USA back line continued to shut down opponents and has now kept a scoreless streak for 513 straight minutes (a span of more than five-and-a-half matches)  in this year's World Cup, the longest clean sheet streak in U.S. World Cup history.

It was Solo's 10th clean sheet in World Cup play, tying Brianna Scurry's record for shutouts in World Cup competition. The 10 clean sheets in a World Cup are not only a U.S. record, but also a FIFA Women's World Cup record.

The WNT will vie for its third Women's World Cup title on Sunday, July 5 at 4 p.m. PT, when it takes on the winner of the other Semifinal between England and Japan, which will be determined Wednesday, at BC Place in Vancouver, Canada.

The tournament Final will be broadcast live on FOX and Telemundo.

Goal Scoring Rundown:

USA - Carli Lloyd (penalty kick), 69th minute: Germany's Annike Khran was called for a foul against Alex Morgan in the box, prompting the referee to point to the penalty circle. Carli Lloyd stepped forward and sent former FIFA Women's World Player of the Year Nadine Angerer the wrong way as she blasted her shot into the left side of the goal. USA 1, GER 0

USA - Kelley O'Hara (Carli Lloyd), 84th minute: Meghan Klingenberg played a great ball from th outside of the area to Carli Lloyd inside the right side of the Germany box. Lloyd made a strong move to the endline and played the ball across the face of goal where Kelley O'Hara tapped it in with her right foot to finish the opportunity cap a sterling team move by the USA with her first career WNT goal. USA 2, GER 0 (FINAL)

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:

GER- Nadine Angerer, 7th minute: A corner kick from Megan Rapinoe went to the middle of the six-yard box by the near post where Julie Johnston was in great position to head it home. Germany's goalkeeper Nadine Angerer was well placed to come up with a huge save and get the ball out of danger.

USA - Hope Solo, 8th minute: Alexandra Popp had a clear shot at goal from the left side of the USA box, sending a ball to the near post. However, Hope Solo was prepared and jumped high to deflect the ball over the crossbar for a Germany corner.

GER - Nadine Angerer, 15th minute: Alex Morgan split two defendersas she broke into the Germany box from midfield. Morgan sent a shot straight towards Angerer, who made a solid stop with her foot to deflect the shot away.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Brind'Amour, Watson to make Flyers HOF; Timonen also on deck

The 24th and 25th members of the Philadelphia Flyers Hall of Fame will be enshrined next season, with one obvious name yet to be recognized and a dark-horse candidate from the club's initial glory years set to take his place with the greats.

Rod Brind'Amour and Jimmy Watson will be feted in separate ceremonies, with the former's night on Nov. 23 against Carolina and the latter on Feb. 29 when Calgary comes to town.

“Jimmy Watson and Rod Brind’Amour are two players who played the game in a way that truly epitomized Philadelphia Flyers hockey," said Flyers Chairman Ed Snider. "They were hard-working team leaders both on and off the ice who played with a lot of intelligence, grit, and determination. This is a very deserving honor for both of them, and I couldn’t be happier to welcome these outstanding men into the Flyers Hall of Fame."

Brind’Amour was acquired from the St. Louis Blues with Dan Quinn in exchange for Ron Sutter and Murray Baron on September 22, 1991 -- an absolute steal and perhaps then-GM Russ Farwell's best deal during his four seasons as Flyers GM couched between two Bob Clarke eras. He spent parts of nine seasons with the Orange and Black from 1991-2000, which included a career-high 97-point season in 1993-94 and seasons of 87 points in 1995-96 and 86 points in 1992-93.

The burly and fitness-dedicated Canadian also served as temporary captain when Eric Lindros was sidelined due to a Grade III concussion late in the 1997-98 season and was more often than not wearing the "A" for alternate captaincy throughout his tenure here. Unfortunately, the end of his time in Philadelphia was shrouded in vicious rumors regarding his wife and Lindros, and the man for whom he was dealt in January of 2000 -- Keith Primeau -- saw his career end much earlier than anticipated.

“It was a tremendous honor and privilege to play as long as I did for one of the best franchises in all of sports,” said Brind’Amour. “To be recognized in this way is hard to put into words but something I will cherish for the rest of my life. I thank the Flyers organization for this tremendous honor.”

In 633 career games with the Flyers, Brind’Amour recorded 235 goals and 366 assists for 601 points. He currently places ninth overall and fourth among centers in points; 10th overall and fourth among centers in goals; seventh overall and fourth among centers in assists; 12th overall and third among centers in games played; eighth overall in shorthanded goals (18); and ninth overall in power play goals (75).

Watson played his entire NHL career here, 613 games over parts of 10 seasons from 1973 until 1982.
Drafted 39th overall in 1972, he joined his brother Joe, an original Flyer.

“I am absolutely thrilled and humbled by the whole thing,” said Watson. “This is a tremendous honor and I am very excited to be a part of the Flyers Hall of Fame. Gosh, it is amazing how it all evolved but here we are and I am extremely proud to be getting inducted. What a wonderful honor.”

Watson went on to play on both Flyers championship teams and most importantly became a five-time NHL All-Star with quiet, dedicated play.

He finished his injury-shortened career with 38 goals and 148 assists for 186 points and a plus-295 rating, including a plus-65 season in 1975-76 and a plus-53 season in 1979-80. The career plus-minus total is the fifth-best in Flyers history. 186 points currently rank 10th among defensemen in the club record books, while the Delaware County resident sits 15th overall in team history in games played and fifth among blueliners.

From the inception of the hall in the Spring of 1988 through April of 1993, multiple honorees were celebrated within a season and on one night only.

Beginning in 1994 and lasting through a lag in the early part of the last decade, only one person was selected for induction at a time. Last season, with the dual enshrinements of Eric Lindros and John LeClair along with a separate night for Eric Desjardins, the franchise is moving towards bulk celebrations.

Despite his exclusion from the 2015 Hockey Hall of Fame class announced on Monday, it shouldn't be a stretch to think Mark Recchi will be next up for consideration.

And if one of the Watson brothers has made it, there should be room for a pair of key cogs in the wheels of two Stanley Cup victories: the late Ross Lonsberry -- an expert checker, short-handed threat who provided scoring punch -- and Bob "Hound" Kelly -- who was the heart and soul if not the motor which kept the club's work ethic in action.

Not to be outdone, the Flyers will also have Kimmo Timonen return when the defending-champion Chicago Blackhawks come to Philly on Oct. 14. The 40-year-old Finn retired mid-month having won his elusive Stanley Cup, and departed the city in late February after eight years ranking third in points (270) and 10th in games (519).

Sixers' Okafor set to play in Summer Leagues

PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia 76ers announced their invitees for the team’s mini-camps in preparation for both the Utah Jazz Summer League and the Samsung NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

Jahlil Okafor, who was the third overall pick by Philadelphia in the 2015 NBA Draft, is expected to see action in both leagues.  Fellow draft additions Richaun Holmes, the 37th overall pick, and J.P. Tokoto, the 58th overall pick, are scheduled to compete in the Utah league only.

Returning Sixers Jerami Grant and Furkan Aldemir are anticipated to participate in the Utah league while JaKarr Sampson is slated for the Vegas league.  Jordan McRae, whose rights the Sixers acquired in the 2014 NBA Draft, and Arsalan Kazemi, whose rights Philly acquired in the 2013 NBA Draft, are both scheduled to play in the Vegas league.

A civics lesson courtesy of the Vikings' Josh Robinson

By John McMullen

Time for a civics lesson courtesy of the NFL and embattled Minnesota Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson.

Robinson has been excoriated in the court of public opinion in recent days for his perceived anti-gay tweets in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex couples having the right to marry.

To many, the most objectionable of the 24-year-old’s thoughts was when he compared allowing two gay men to marry to allowing a man to wed his own 6-year-old child. The rebukes were swift and harsh forcing Robinson to delete the tweet and issue an apology.

Read the rest at

Pronger headed to hockey Hall of Fame

PHILADELPHIA - The Hockey Hall of Fame announced that former Flyers captain Chris Pronger will be a member of the 2015 induction class. 

Pronger is one of seven individuals who will be officially enshrined at the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Toronto on Monday, November 9. 

“We would like to congratulate Chris on his very deserving election into the Hockey Hall of Fame,” said Flyers president Paul Holmgren. “Prior to his career being cut short by injury, he was one of the greatest defensemen of all time. Chris played the game with a skill and tenacity that was second to none.  We are extremely proud of Chris and his accomplishments and wish him and his wife Lauren, along with their wonderful children, Jack, George and Lila, all the best.  Well done!”

Pronger was the 18th captain in Flyers history, serving in the role from September 16, 2011 to January 15, 2013.  He joined the Flyers on June 27, 2009 in a trade from Anaheim at the opening night of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and went on to help the club reach the Stanley Cup Final in the 2009-10 season.  Pronger appeared in 145 games for the Flyers over three seasons, during which time he posted 15 goals and 77 assists for 92 points and a plus-30 rating, along with 133 PIM.

In addition to his time with the Flyers, Pronger also played for Hartford, St. Louis, Edmonton and Anaheim, the latter of which he helped win the Stanley Cup in 2007.  Pronger also won two Olympic gold medals with Team Canada, in 2002 and 2010, won both the Hart Trophy and Norris Trophy in 2000 while with St. Louis, and was a five-time NHL All-Star.  Over 18 seasons, Pronger collected 157 goals and 541 assists for 698 points in 1,167 games, along with a career plus-183 rating and 1,590 PIM.  He also scored 26 goals and added 95 assists for 121 points in 173 career playoff games.

Pronger becomes the 11th person to be inducted into the player category after spending a portion of his career playing for the Flyers.  He also becomes the fourth former Flyers captain to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, joining Peter Forsberg, Bob Clarke and Bill Barber. 

Flyers trade Rinaldo to Bruins; re-sign VandeVelde

PHILADELPHIA - The Flyers traded veteran center Zac Rinaldo to the Boston Bruins for a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

Rinaldo, 25, recently completed his fifth season in the Flyers organization.  In 2014-15, he recorded a goal and five assists for six points in 58 games, along with 102 PIM.

Rinaldo was selected by the Flyers in the sixth round (178th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and started his professional career in 2010 with the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, then the Adirondack Phantoms.  He made his NHL debut with the Flyers during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

In 223 career regular season games for the Flyers over four seasons (2011-2015), Rinaldo recorded eight goals and 16 assists for 24 points, along with 572 PIM.

Philadelphia Flyers also signed center Chris VandeVelde to a multi-year contract extensionl.

The 28-year-old is coming off a breakout season in which he recorded nine goals and six assists for 15 points in 79 games.  Prior to 2014-15, he had never appeared in more than 18 games in any of his previous four NHL seasons, and had posted a goal and three assists over 46 NHL games.

VandeVelde recorded six goals and an assist over a 10-game stretch from January 12 to February 5, including a three-game goal-scoring streak.  He also tied a career high with five shots on goal Feb. 15 in Buffalo. He was honored by his teammates at the end of the season with the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the Flyers’ most improved player from the previous season.

VandeVelde originally signed a minor-league contract with the Flyers in the summer of 2013 and was signed to an NHL deal that December.  He signed another one-year contract with the Flyers last July.

A native of Moorhead, Minnesota, VandeVelde played four seasons at the University of North Dakota for current Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol before beginning his professional career with the Edmonton organization in 2010.  He was originally drafted by the Oilers in the fourth round (97th overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.