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.