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Flyers Ready to Run for “THE CUP”

In Philadelphia Flyers on January 31, 2012 at 10:34 am

With 48 games played and 34 remaining the Flyers come out of the All Star break in a nice position. They’re in 2nd place in the Atlantic Division 3 points behind the dreaded Rangers. What’s in the Flyers favor is that they play 7 of the next 9 games in the friendly confines of the Wells Fargo Center. The 2 road games are at the Rangers February 5 and at Detroit, 1st in overall points with 67, on February 12th. During those 7 games the Rangers and Penguins come in as well as Nashville, the Devils, Islanders, Maple Leafs and Sabers. Obviously the 2 games against the Rangers will be important especially if it’s a 4 point swing either way. We will know an awful lot about this team after this 9 game, 3 week stretch.

The team is presently 29-14-5 and has done it with a ton of injuries throughout the 1st half of the season. Chris Pronger is lost for the season, Claude Giroux, Shane Couturier, Braydon Shenn, James Van Riemsdyk, Jaromir Jagr and now Danny Briere have missed games due to injuries. Only Scott Hartnell, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Matt Carle, Max Talbot and Andrej Meszaros have played in all 48 games.

The scoring leaders at the break are Giroux 18 goals, 37 assists, 55 points (18-27-55). He is 2nd in the league in scoring and 4th in assists. Hartnell 25-19-44 with 13 power play goals which is tied for the league lead. His 25 goals tie him for 6th in the league. Jagr 12-22-34. Kimmo Timonen 2-29-31. Rookie Matt Read 15-16-31. Read is 1st in goals by a rookie and 3rd in total rookie points and rookie +/-, and Briere 13-17-30.

The problem has again been inconsistency in the goal. The job belongs to high price off season acquisition Ilya Bryzgalov but he doesn’t seem to want to keep it. He is 18-10-4 with a 2.99 GGA (goals against average) with 1 shutout. Sergei Bobrovsky has done a real nice job as a fill in. Bob is 11-4-1 with a 2.42 GGA. At some point Head Coach Peter Laviolette will have to make a decision on his #1 net minder will be going in to the playoffs. If it were today the answer looks pretty clear, it’s Bob. There’s a long way to go and goalies can get hot and carry teams to Stanley Cup Championships so I’m sure this will play out for another 20 games or so.

The Flyers need to get and stay healthy, be consistent in the goal and continue their aggressive play without any major slumps. I feel this team can make a deep run in to the playoffs and if the goaltending is great WIN THE CUP!!!!

The Word of the Day – ATTITUDE

In The Word of the Day on January 31, 2012 at 3:49 am

ATTITUDE

“Attitude is a magnet. What you think is what you attract”

Anonymous

Philly Broadcast Legends

In Misc Philly Sports, Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Philadelphia Flyers, Philadelphia Phillies on January 30, 2012 at 8:06 am

Philly Pressbox originally published this article on January 30, 2012. We’ve been asked to republish it several times by our readers so here it is. We hope you enjoy it. Feel free to comment.

With the passing of Penn State legendary coach Joe Paterno this week it was somewhat lost in the news of the passing of a Philadelphia legend Andy Musser. Musser was often below the radar in the Phillies broadcast booth from 1976 – 2001that was full of larger than life personalities but Andy was a true professional, a gentleman and a man that could broadcast any sport and do a great job of it. Many people know Andy from those Phillies years but he also broadcasted the Eagles from 1965-68 and the 76ers from 1965-71. That’s 34 Philadelphia sports season in the books for Andy. Great Job!!

Andy’s passing made me think about the broadcasters that we’ve had in Philadelphia over the years. Do you realize that if you were born after 1955 you had never heard a Phillies game that was not broadcasted by a Hall of Famer? When I first started watching and listening to Phillies baseball it was Bill Campbell, Rich Ashburn and By Saam. All are HOF members in their own way. Campbell as a broadcaster in the Basketball HOF, Ashburn as a player in the Baseball HOF and the legendary By Saam as a broadcaster in the Baseball HOF. Saam called Phillies games from 1939-49 and again from 1955-1975. Campbell was replaced by Harry Kalas and another 38 years of broadcasting from a Baseball HOF member. Add to that the one year stints of Hall of Fame players Robin Roberts in ’76 and Mike Schmidt in ’90 and “The Box” was loaded with All Stars. Another long time member of “The Box” is Chris Wheeler who just completed his 34th season with the Phillies as well as Musser and his 25 years.

Moving on to the Flyers, people my age learned the game of hockey by Hall Of Famer Gene Hart. Hart was a Flyers broadcaster the initial 67-68 season and then full time from 1971-1992. Who will ever forget Gene calling the games of the Broad Street Bullies and the Stanley Cups? The Hart legacy lives in with his daughter Lauren singing the National Anthem and God Bless America at all home games. Here’s an interesting Flyer broadcast fact for you, during the 1970-71 season Flyers Sunday games were broadcast by former Phillies 1st baseman and later National League Commissioner Bill White. White was the first black to announce an NHL game. The Chief, Bobby Taylor spent 16 seasons, Gary Dornhoefer 14 and now Jim Jackson has been bringing us games since 1993. Maybe HOF will be in JJ’s future one day.

The Eagles Merrill Reese, although not a Hall of Famer at this time, has been broadcasting games on radio since 1977 and does he do a great job? How many of you have turned down the TV to listen to Merrill do the play-by-play along with his many color commentators, Herb Adderly, yes the HOF player, Bill Bergey, Stan Walters and now Mike Quick call the game the way it should be called. Tracing way back to 1940 By Saam was doing the games up until 1955, minus the 50 and 51 seasons when Bill Campbell took over. Campbell called the games until 1964. In ‘64 Saam was back for one last year working with Campbell and former Eagle Tom Brookshier. Musser took over from 1965–1968. Charlie Swift covered from 1969-77 and Reese joined Swift in 1977 until now. What a run of great announcers! Did you know that future Baseball HOF broadcaster Jack Buck did Eagles games in 1961? Anyone who was able to go to games at Franklin Field and the early days at The Vet will never forget the booming voice of PA announcer Matt Goukas Sr. who handled the duties from 1953-1985. Goukas was legendary! His call of 2nd down and niooooooon (2nd & 9) is still in my head after all this years. Amazingly enough when Goukas retired Dan Baker took over and he has been the PA voice of the Eagles ever since not to mention handing the same duties with the Phillies since 1972 and doing Big 5 basketball from 1977-1989. Baker has been a busy man in Philadelphia.

Speaking of PA announcers we can’t forget “The Zink”, Dave Zinkoff. Zink was with the Philadelphia Warriors and then the 76ers from 1946-1985. Zink had many favorites but “Dipper Dunk” for Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Errrrrrrrrrrving and Moses Maaaaaaaaaaalone have to be at the top of the list. Of course we can’t forget Bill Campbell again. Campbell along with his work with the Eagles and Phillies called Warriors games from 1946–1962 and 76ers games from 1972-1981. Andy Musser followed and Mark Zumoff has been holding it down since 1994.

There can’t be another city that can say that they’ve had a run with broadcasters and announcers that Philly has had. From Saam to Campbell to Ashburn to Kalas to Musser to Hart to Goukas to Zinkoff to Baker to the present day guys of Reese, Wheeler, Zumoff  and Jackson it’s been quite a run. The bar has been set very high.

As Gene Hart would say, “Good Night and Good Hockey”!!!

The Word of the Day – DREAMS – Mastandrea

In The Word of the Day on January 30, 2012 at 8:02 am

DREAMS

“Go after your dream, no matter how unattainable others think it is”

 Linda Mastandrea

Philly Pressbox Weekly Sports Update – 1/22-28

In Misc Philly Sports on January 29, 2012 at 8:40 am

A quick review of Philly Sports for the week of January 22

  •   We lost Joe Paterno – RIP
  •   We lost Andy Musser – RIP
  •   We said goodbye to Brad Lidge. 2008 was a great season. There’s nothing like being perfect.

We said goodbye to Wilson Valdez. No more 19th inning pitching wins.

Phil Knight –Enough said!!

We found greatness in Penn State, Kenny Jackson, Charlie, Pittman, Jimmy Cefalo, Todd Blackledge, Chris Marrone, Michael Robinson, Michael Mauti, Lauren Perrotti, Jeff Bast, Susan Welch, Kurtis Cleckner and Jay Paterno, Sue Paterno and the Paterno family.

The Phils welcome Juan Pierre. Could he be the leadoff hitter we need?

Congrats to Flyers Claude Giroux, Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell for making the NHL All Star team. Especially Hartnell making his 1st appearance in his 11th season.

Claude Giroux goes to the All Star break 2nd in the league in points

The Flyers go to the All Star break in 2nd place in the Atlantic Division 3 points behind the Rangers.

The 76ers finished the week 3-1 and lead the Atlantic Division by 4 games.

Congrats to Shady McCoy, Jason Peters and Jason Babin for making the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. A special shout out to former Eagle David Akers for another trip to Honolulu.

Temple (15-5) whipped St. Joe’s (13-9), 78-60 at the Liacouras Center. I wish those games were still at the Palestra.

Drexel is 17-5 and has won 9 in a row.

Penn is 11-9 and has won 3 in a row.

LaSalle is 16-6 and has won 3 in a row.

Villanova lost to Marquette falling to 11-12.

STADIUM FUN – WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

In Stadium Fun on January 28, 2012 at 2:09 pm

JFK Stadium, The Spectrum, Veterans Stadium – Philadelphia – 1972

In my opinion there’s never a bad time to talk about different things with sports over your favorite beverage, whether it be a cold adult beverage or an ice cold Coke or glass of iced tea. A buddy and I got into a great conversation about stadiums that we’ve been to watch games, either professional or college. We were throwing out some pretty neat places. I decided to try to put them all on paper and see how it sorted out. I’ll ask you to click the “comment” button at the bottom of this article and add your list. I bet by the time we get through we will have covered some pretty amazing places and brought back a lot of memories. So her ya go.

College Football

JFK Stadium, Franklin Field, Veterans Stadium, Lincoln Financial Field, Beaver Stadium, Heinz Field, Delaware Stadium, Villanova Stadium, Miche Stadium – Army, Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium – Navy, Byrd Stadium – Maryland, The Orange Bowl and Sun Life Stadium – Miami, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Florida, Doak Campbell Stadium – Florida State, Notre Dame Stadium, Raymond James Stadium – USF, Ohio Stadium – Ohio State, Memorial Stadium – Illinois, Neyland Stadium – Tennessee, Spartan Stadium – Michigan State, Citrus Bowl –  Orlando, RFK Stadium – Washington, Bobby Dodd Stadium – Georgia Tech, Ram Stadium – Shepherd, Kutztown Stadium. There are many other D2 stadiums my son coached in and my nephew played in that I won’t add. I’ve been inside Bryant-Denny Stadium – Alabama, Legion Field – Birmingham Alabama, Jordan Hare Stadium – Auburn, Tiger Stadium – LSU, Michigan Stadium – Michigan and Faurot Field – Missouri but have never seen games there.

 

Baseball

Connie Mack Stadium, Veterans Stadium, Citizens Bank Park, PNC Park – Pittsburgh, Memorial Stadium and Jacobs Field in Cleveland Indians, Old Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium in New York, Fulton County Stadium – Atlanta Braves, Tropicana Field – Tampa, Pro Player (Sun Life) Stadium – Miami, The Ballpark at Arlington – Rangers, Wrigley Field – Cubs, Camden Yards – Orioles

 

Pro Football

Franklin Field, Veterans Stadium, Lincoln Financial Field, Tampa Stadium, Raymond James Stadium – Tampa, Sun Life Stadium – Miami, FedEx Field – Washington, AllTel Stadium – Jacksonville, Heinz Field – Pittsburgh, New Orlleans Super Dome – was in the building but didn’t see a game there.

 

College Basketball

The only one that matters – The Palestra, Spectrum, The Pavilion – Villanova, O’Connell Center – Florida, John Paul Jones Arena – Virginia, Charlotte Coliseum, Thompson-Boling Arena – Tennessee, Cole Field House – Maryland

 

Pro Hockey

Spectrum, Wachovia Center, Florida Fair Grounds and Ice Palace – Tampa, Mellon Arena – Pittsburgh

 

Pro Basketball

Philadelphia Convention Center, Spectrum, Wachovia Center, Orlando Arena, Madison Square Garden – Didn’t see a game there.

 

NASCAR

Daytona Motor Speedway – Daytona 500 and Firecracker 500, Pocono Raceway – Pocono 500, Charlotte Motor Speedway – World 600, Dover Speedway – Dover 500  

That’s the best I could come up with of the top of my head. I’ll probably think of some place that I missed but that’s it for now. Feel free to “Comment” so everyone can see the rest of the list.  

 

 

 

 

The Word of the Day – RESPECT – Spurrier

In Joe Paterno, The Word of the Day on January 27, 2012 at 6:09 am

 

“I have the utmost respect and admiration for Joe Paterno. I’ve coached around 300 college games and only once when I’ve met the other coach at midfield prior to the game have I asked a photographer to take a picture of me with the other coach. That happened in the Citrus Bowl after the ’97 season when we were playing Penn State. I had one of our university photographers take the picture with me and Coach Paterno, and I still have that photo in the den at my house. That’s the admiration I have for Joe Paterno”

Nike CEO Phil Knight at Coach Paterno’s Funeral – Don’t Miss It

In Joe Paterno on January 26, 2012 at 8:02 pm

For those of you that did not see Nike CEO Phil Knights speech at Coach Paterno’s funeral today you must see this. I know who Phil Knight is and what he does and that he has a bunch of money that supports the University of Oregon athletic program. What I didn’t know was that Phil Knight had the same hero that a lot of us have had. This is great, Enjoy!!

WE ARE PENN STATE!!!!

 

 

The Real Joe Paterno by Rick Reilly

In Joe Paterno on January 26, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Paterno & Taliaferro Joe Hermitt/The Patriot-NewsAdam Taliaferro and Joe Paterno in 2010, 10 years after the player and coach had formed a strong bond in the wake of Taliaferro’s horrifying spinal cord injury.
THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY RICK REILLY AND APPEARED ON ESPN.COM. It’s another great JoePa article that I wanted to share. Also, the photo above was provided by Joe Hermitt of The Patriot News. I’m only sharing and had nothing to do with writing the article.
 
 

 Maybe you will never be convinced Joe Paterno was a good man who made one catastrophic mistake, but do you have time for just one story? In 2000, Penn State freshman defensive back Adam Taliaferro had his spine crushed when tackling an Ohio State player. He lay on that September field paralyzed and panicked. The first person he saw when he opened his eyes was Paterno, who died Sunday at 85. “He could see I was losing it, but his eyes stayed totally calm,” Taliaferro remembers. “And I remember that familiar, high-pitched voice, going, ‘You’re gonna get through this, Kid. You’re gonna be OK.’ And I just trusted him. I believed it.” Taliaferro wound up in a hospital bed in Philadelphia, everything frozen solid below the neck. Doctors said he had about a 3 percent chance of walking again. And every other week, Paterno would fly to Philly to see him. “He’d bring our trainer and a couple of my teammates,” Taliaferro says. “Nobody in the hospital knew he was there.” Paterno would tell him all the dumb things his teammates and coaches had done lately. Pretty soon, Taliaferro would be laughing his IVs out. “I can’t tell you what that meant to me,” says Taliaferro, now 30. “I’m stuck in that hospital, and here’s Coach Paterno bringing a piece of the team to me, in the middle of the season. How many coaches would do that?” 

One midnight, Taliaferro moved a toe and the first person his dad called was Paterno. His dad held the phone to Adam’s ear and Paterno said, “You’re gonna prove ’em all wrong, Kid!”  From then on, every visit, Paterno wanted to see Taliaferro move something new. “I got to where I wanted to be ready. A finger, a hand, whatever. I wanted to perform for Coach Paterno.” One day, five months into it, Paterno walked in and said, “What’s new, Kid?” Taliaferro swung his legs over the bed, stood and extended his hand to shake. “I’ll never forget his eyes,” he says. “They were already huge behind those Coke-bottle glasses, but they got even bigger.” Paterno gave him a 10-second hug and then said, “Kid, ya make me proud.” 

A man is more than his failings.

 I learned a lot about Paterno when I wrote a story about him in 1986 for Sports Illustrated. I’ve learned a lot about him since. He was a humble, funny and giving man who was unlike any other coach I ever met in college football. He rolled up his pants to save on dry cleaning bills. He lived in the same simple ranch house for the last 45 years. Same glasses, same wife, same job, for most of his adult life. He was a man who had two national championships, five undefeated seasons, and yet for years he drove a white Ford Tempo. In 46 years as a head coach, he never had a single major NCAA violation. He was the only coach I’ve ever known who went to the board of trustees to demand they increase entrance requirements, who went to faculty club meetings to hear the lectures, who listened to opera while drawing up game plans. He was a Depression kid who wouldn’t allow stars on helmets or names on jerseys. And he hated expensive tennis shoes. He’d see a player wearing Air Jordans and say, “It’s not the sneakers, Kid, it’s the person in them.” One day Taliaferro wore an entirely different pair into his office, a pair of “Air Paternos” he’d made himself. “He freaked out,” Taliaferro remembers. “He was about to call Nike. He thought they were real!”

Paterno Nikes

Courtesy of Adam Taliaferro
 
As a gag, Taliaferro made these sneakers to show Paterno. They represented everything the coach did not stand for.

If a player was struggling with a subject, Paterno would make him come to his house for wife Sue’s homemade pasta and her tutoring. One time, he told a high school blue chipper named Bob White he wouldn’t recruit him unless he agreed to read 12 novels and turn in two-page book reports to Sue. They were the first books he ever finished. White wound up with two degrees and a job at the university.Paterno was other things, too, like controlling and immovable. He lingered as head coach when he promised time and again he wouldn’t. And when he needed to follow up on what he’d been told about Jerry Sandusky and a child in the shower in 2002, he failed miserably.

 But he followed up for thousands of others.

 Even though Taliaferro would never play football again, Paterno stayed on him to keep moving. “I came to Penn State to become a lawyer,” he told him. “But I never made it. You could, Kid. You’re smart.” He got the fully recovered Taliaferro a summer internship with the NFLPA in New York and, before you knew it, Taliaferro was a corporate lawyer in Cherry Hill, N.J. He successfully ran for local office there and is now running for the Penn State board of trustees, where he wants to help his school heal from a scandal Paterno made worse with his neglect.

 “The last three months, I’ve just wanted to go up on a rooftop and shout, ‘I wish you knew him like I do!'” Taliaferro says. “I know, in my heart, if he’d understood how serious this situation was, he’d have done more.”  I believe that, too. But if you don’t, I respect that. I only ask this: If we’re so able to vividly remember the worst a man did, can’t we also remember the best?


Follow Rick on Twitter @ReillyRick

The Word of the Day – GOALS – Williams

In The Word of the Day on January 26, 2012 at 6:17 am

GOALS

“A man has to have goals- for a day, for a lifetime- that was mine, to have people say, there goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived”

Ted Williams

     

 

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