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Archive for May, 2012|Monthly archive page

The Word of the Day – SUCCESS – Zaharias

In The Word of the Day on May 31, 2012 at 8:01 am

SUCCESS

“The formula for success is simple; practice and concentration then more practice and more concentration”

Babe Didrikson Zaharias

 

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FLYERS “STAY OR GO” FAN VOTE

In Philadelphia Flyers on May 30, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Recently Philly.com completed their end of season fan voting for the Philadelphia Flyers. This end of year tradition allows fans to vote which individual players should “stay” or “go” before next season. I always enjoy these because only the rabid fans bother to vote. Presently the voting is taking place for the 76ers so you can log on and cast your votes. When the Eagles voting was completed in January we broke down the results and shared them with you. Following is the link to that article. https://phillypressbox.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/eagles-stay-or-go-fan-vote/ 

Here’s how it works. you go on the site and  Once you’ve voted on the player the current vote result is shown.  There have been between 5000 votes cast so far, (you don’t have to vote for every player). Again, just like with the Eagles we found the results very surprising. Here’s the breakdown.

There were a total of 26 players listed plus 3 goalies, head coach Peter Laviolette and General Manager Paul Holmgren. Of the 26 “position” players 16 were forwards and 10 were defensmen. Using 50% “stay” versus 50% “go” here is the list of forwards that the Flyers fans feel need to “go” before next season. With only 7.7% of the voters voting “stay” Jody Shelley. Shelley was followed by Tom Sestito with 39.8% voting for him to stay. It seems a little unfair for Sestiton when most fans don’t know who he is. The only other forward with less than 50% of the votes, at 49.2% is James van Reisdyke.  Those are three forwards that the fans want to get rid of to get the team over the top.

We also found it interesting which order the fans picked their favorite players that they want to stay. Guess what? Claude Giroux was not on top of the list. Follewing is the list with the percentage of “stay” votes, forwards only. Sean Couturier, 97.7%, Giroux, 97.4%, Branyden Shenn, 94.3%, Max Talbot, 94.2%, Matt Read, 92.9%, Wayne Simmonds, 90.1% Jakub Voracek, 91.0%, Eric Wellwood, 88.3%, Danny Briere, 83.4%, Scott Hartnell, 83.4%, Zac Rinaldo, 59.9%, Harry Zolnierczyk, 56.3% and Jaromir Jagr, 54.3%.

There you have it for the offense. What do you think? I’m actually pretty surprised.

On the blue line there 10 players to vote on and again we were somewhat surprised. The fans have voted to unload four of the 10. The lowest amount of stay votes was Andreas Lilja with 18.2%. He was followed by Pavel Kubina with 18.4%, Matt Carle at 34.0% and Chris Pronger at 42.2%. We’re really surprised that Carle is on this list. He logged the second most minutes by a defenseman in the playoffs and although he had his moments generally played fairly well. For the second straight season Carle has played in every game. He scored 4 goals and added 34 assists with a +4 for the regular season and added 2 goals and 4 assists with a -3 in the playoffs. 

The results on who the fans wanted to “stay” on defense isn’t quite so surprising. Nicklas Grossman led the way with 94.3% of the vote. He was followed by Andrej Meszaros, 91.6%, Braydon Coburn, 91.5%, Eric Gustaffson, 86.9%, Marc-Andre Bourdon, 76.9% and Kimmo Timonen, 71.6.

The take away from this list appears to be that the fans want out with the older players, Lilja is 36 years old, Kubina is 35, Pronger is 37 and injured and Timonen is now 37. As we stated earlier the only surprise is Carle.

That brings us to the goaltenders. There were three to chose from. We’re not sure how Michael Leighton made the list but he did. We can’t say we’re shocked but somewhat surprised by the results. The fans pretty much want to get rid of all of the goalies. Sergei Bobrovski is the only one that made the cut with just 50.4% of the voters wanting him to “stay”. Ilya Bryzgalov received 47.0% and Leighton 19.7%.

The interesting point on the goaltenders is that Bryzgalov kept the Flyers in the playoffs for the most part. He did allow some bad goals in the high-flying Pittsburgh series but he kept the Flyers in the Devils series in spite of the end result. Without Bryzgalov’s outstanding play it would’ve been far worse.

That brings us to the staff, Laviolette and Holmgren. Both received the votes from the fans to “stay”. Holmgren received 87.8% and Lavy 85.4%. Obviously the fans were happy with them.

So there you have it Flyers fans, you have spoken. If it were up to the fans the 2013 team will be without JVR, Shelley, Sestito, Pronger, Carle, Lilja, Kubina, Leighton and Bryzgalov. Who will replace these guys and what will the Flyers do to upgrade for the next run for the cup?

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Phillies Profile – Jake Diekman

In Philadelphia Phillies on May 30, 2012 at 6:32 pm

If you follow the Philly Pressbox (https://phillypressbox.wordpress.com) (@phillypressbox) you’re aware that we did a review and analysis of each Phillies player, Manager Charlie Manuel and the coaching staff leading up to Opening Day 2012.  Now that the season has reached the 50 game mark there have been four additional players that are on the roster that we will get to know. Today we will profile Jake Diekman. 

Jake Diekman –The 6’4″, 200 lb., 25-year-old lefthanded was the Phillies 30th round draft choice in the 2007 amateur draft out of Cloud County Community College in Concordia Kansas. He was called up from AAA Lehigh Valley and made his major league debut on May 15th against the Houston Astros. Jake pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless baseball in that game and picked up the win, 4-3. To date, he has pitched in 7 games, all in relief, has a 1-0 record with a 5.68 ERA. He has struck out 12 and walked 2 in his 6.1 innings of work.

Diekman began his minor league career in 2007 playing in the Gulf Coast League and with Class A Williamsport. He posted a combined 3-4 record with a 2.72 ERA. He started 10 games and relieved in 3. During that first season Diekman started to earn the reputation as a strike out pitcher. He tallied 46 k’s in 51 innings of work. In 2008, Jake split time between Class A Williamsport and Class A Lakewood. He was a full-time started on both teams. He started a total of 27 games and loggged 141.1 innings of work. His combined record was 4-9 with a 5.09 ERA. He totalled 96 strike outs. 2009 saw the move to the bullpen at Lakewood. Diekman pitched in 32 games, 30 of them in relief. His record was 2-0 with a 4.04 ERA and 2 saves. He struck out 52 batters in 55.2 innings of work. By 2010 Jake was spending his fourth season in “A” ball. He was with both Lakewood and Clearwater. The path to the big leagues wasn’t looking very promising, however he pitched well in 2010. He appeared in 45 games, all in relief. He was 2-2 with a 2.91 ERA and 1 save. He struck out 56 batters in 55.2 innings. In 2011, Jake finally got the promotion to AA Reading and again pitched very well. He was 0-1 with a 3.05 ERA in 53 games with 3 saves. He struck out 83 batters in 65 innings of relief. The outstanding 2011 got Diekman promoted to AAA Lehigh Valley to start 2012 and it didn’t take long for him to excel. Before getting the call to the Phillies he had pitched in 13 games with a 1-0 record a 0.59 ERA and 5 saves. He had struck out 22 batters in 15.1 innings. It wasn’t an easy climb for Diekman but it appears that everything has come together.

The promotion to the big leagues was well deserved!! 

Personal Analysis:It will be interesting to see how the Phillies use Diekman at the big league level once he gets comfortable. They presently have Antonio Bastardo and Joe Savory as lefthanded relievers with Bastardo having worked himself back in to the 8th inning slot. That leaves Diekman and Savory as clean up guys. Obviously being a strike out pitcher will be to Diekmans advantage moving forward and will likely put him in position to get big lefthanded hitters out. We look for Diekman to get more work once he gets settled in the big leagues. He’s a good looking, young lefthander with an unusual delivery that has nothing but upside.

Tomorrow we will preview Raul Valdez.

For those that haven’t followed our Phillies Profiles you can see them all in the archives file under “Phillies”.

Feel free to click the FOLLOW button on the bottom right of this page, input your email address and receive your Philly Pressbox posts directly in your email.

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The Word of the Day – EXCUSES – Franklin

In The Word of the Day on May 30, 2012 at 8:36 am

EXCUSES

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else”

Benjamin Franklin

The Word of the Day – PRAISE – Crane

In The Word of the Day on May 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm

PRAISE

“Appreciative words are the most powerful force for good on earth!”

George W. Crane

“View From the Philly Pressbox” – 76ers Game 7, What Happened??

In Philadelphia 76ers on May 28, 2012 at 12:46 pm

 

Well the 76ers overacheiving season has come to an end with their 85-75, Game 7, lose to the Celtics. Most fans know that the 76ers were not really a good enough team to win the NBA title, however, since they made it as far as they did why not win? As we stated throughout we liked the matchup with Boston and thought the 76ers could win the series. We’re afraid that the three remaining teams are just far superior to them. Playing solid defense and not turning the ball over are how the 76ers got to this point but the level of individual talent and team talent was about to catch up to them. With that said, this is a young team that should only get better. All indications are they’re prepared to make a run at some “premier” players and spend the money to get them to Philadelphia. Basketball is a great game and the city has missed it for a long time. Hopefully now is the time for the return!!

Below are the keys we had listed for the 76ers to win Game 7. We’ll review each one and see how they fared.

The Game 7 prediction from the Philly Pressbox

 We’re sticking with the 76ers to win this game 90-83. We’ve liked this series all along and feel the 76ers will win because they play better defense as a team and they have younger players that have played less total minutes than the older Celtic starters.

Result – Obviously we didn’t fare well on our prediction. We did call for the Celtics to score 83 and they scored 85 but that doesn’t help when you’re on the wrong side of the scoreboard.

Following are our keys to the game:

  • ·        Hold the Celtics under 86 points.

Result – As stated above, the 76ers did hold them under 86, with 85. It’s the first game of the series that the winning team scored under 86 points.

  • ·        Be disciplined with the basketball. Commit less than 11 turnovers.

Result – The 76ers committed 15 turnovers. Our feeling was that 11 was the maximum they could commit and it really needed to be less than that. 15 was way too many!!

  • ·        Shoot 75% or better from the free throw line.

Result – The 76ers shot 14-20, 70%, for the game while the Celtics shot 20-22, 91%. Each missed foul shot is like giving away points. 

  • ·        Do not allow Rajon Rondo to get his triple-double.

Result – Rondo got his triple-double. He scored 18 points, had 10 rebounds and dished out 10 assists. The 76ers didn’t have a good answer for Rondo in this game allowing his play to control the tempo.

  • ·        Get off to a strong start and get the Boston fans out of the game.

Result – The 76ers missed 9 of their first 10 shots from the field and fell behind 10-2 early, allowing the fans to get in to the game. They did battle back to tie the score at 20-20 at the end of the 1st quarter but all indications were the 76ers were flat.

  • ·        Win the 3rd quarter. The team that has won the 3rd quarter has won all 6 games.

Result – The 76ers did win the 3rd quarter, 19-14, but still trailed in the game 55-52 at that point.

  • ·        Force the Celtics out of the paint as they did in Game 6.

Result – The Celtics had only 4 offensive rebounds in the game and were kept away from the basket for the most part. The difference in Game 7 to Game 6 was the Celtics made their shots. 

  • ·        Force someone besides Kevin Garnett to beat them. Without Garnett, Rondo and Paul Pierce it gets thin for Boston.

Result – Garnett finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds and Pierce with 15 points and 9 rebounds to go with Rondo’s triple-double. The remainder of the Celtics contributed 34 points and 12 rebounds. Needless to say the big three of the Celtics won the game.

  • ·        Doug Collins has done a nice job all season of rotating in a lot of players and spreading out the minutes. This will allow the 76ers young players to continue to pressure the older Celtics players. The Celtics bench only contributed 5 points in Game 6.

Result – The 76ers couldn’t establish and maintain enough momentum throughout the game to run the Celtics out the building. The Celtics had six players with 20 or more minutes. This was forced because of Pierce’s foul troubles or they would’ve only used five guys. The 76ers also had six players with 20 or more minutes and had two others close to 17 minutes. The fresh legs were there for the 76ers if they could have had some consistency.

Conclusion: The 76ers shot just 35% from the field and 70% from the line. They made  just 5-18, 27.8%, from the 3-point arch and committed 15 turnovers. You won’t win games with that production, especially in a Game 7 matchup against the Boston Celtics. The 76ers youth showed up at times in the 4th quarter when they began randomly launching 3 pointers. It’s always important to get off to a good start on the road and “weather the storm” while the fired up home team and crowd try to gain control. The 76ers didn’t do a good job at that and never seemed to get in synch, even when they tied the score. Jrue Holiday was a solid player in the series but hit only 5 of 17 shots while Lou Williams shot just 2 of 9 including 0 for 4 from the 3 point line. 

It was a good run for Doug Colling and the 76ers. The bar has been raised for 2013. There will be some player movement, likely Andre Iguadala and Elton Brand will be gone. These moves will clear up some salary space allowing the 76ers to be players inthe free agent market. The big question is that, can they or do they want to get in to the Dwight Howard sweepstakes? Why not???   

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“View From the Philly Pressbox” – 76ers – Celtics, Game 7

In Philadelphia 76ers on May 25, 2012 at 5:39 pm

 

 

There is nothing like a Game 7 in any sport, in any round of the playoffs and Saturday night we will get to see the 76ers and Celtics go at it to earn the right to play the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. The national media never gave the 76ers a chance in this series, and still don’t. They’ve credited Boston more with losing the series than the 76ers winning it. If you’ve followed Philly Pressbox you know that we thought that both Chicago and Boston were good matchups for the 76ers. Our feeling before the playoffs ever started was that the 76ers were as good, if not better, than the Celtics, so going to seven games isn’t a surprise. Now they need to win Game 7!!

We have stated every night that the magic number is 86, as in points the 76ers could allow and still win the game. It has played out every time. In the three wins they have allowed 81, 83 and 75 points. In the games they’ve lost they have allowed 92, 107 and 101 points. In Game 6 the Celtics did not score more than 20 points in any quarter and were outscored 42-16 in the paint. The outstanding 76ers defense forced the Celtics to the perimeter where they shot just 3-14, 21.4% from the 3-point line and 33.3% from the field for the game. It wasn’t an off day for the Celtics; it was outstanding defense by the 76ers. The 76ers have done a great job of controlling Rajon Rondo, the key to the Boston offense. Rondo’s numbers are still good for most players, but not for him. Jrue Holiday has taken the game to Rondo and matched him throughout the series. The 76ers cannot let Rondo loose in Game 7. The 76ers have done a decent job of controlling the basketball and not turning it over. In their wins they are averaging 11 turnovers per game. They will need to keep that going in Game 7. They survived some erratic play early in Game 6 before taking control of the game. The big need of improvement in Game 7 will be foul shooting. The 76ers made only 17-28 free throws, 60.7%, while the Celtics made 20-23, 87.0%. If the 76ers hit their free throws they win Game 6 big.  

The Game 7 prediction from the Philly Pressbox

 We’re sticking with the 76ers to win this game 90-83. We’ve liked this series all along and feel the 76ers will win because they play better defense as a team and they have younger players that have played less total minutes than the older Celtic starters.

Following are our keys to the game:

  • ·        Hold the Celtics under 86 points.
  • ·        Be disciplined with the basketball. Commit less than 11 turnovers.
  • ·        Shoot 75% or better from the free throw line.
  • ·        Do not allow Rondo to get his triple-double.
  • ·        Get off to a strong start and get the Boston fans out of the game.
  • ·        Win the 3rd quarter. The team that has won the 3rd quarter has won all 6 games.
  • ·        Force the Celtics out of the paint as they did in Game 6.
  • ·        Force someone besides Kevin Garnett to beat them. Without Garnett, Rondo and Paul Pierce it gets thin for Boston.
  • ·        Doug Collins has done a nice job all season of rotating in a lot of players and spreading out the minutes. This will allow the 76ers young players to continue to pressure the older Celtics players. The Celtics bench only contributed 5 points in Game 6.

 There you have it.  LET’S GO 76ERS!!!!

 

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The Word of the Day – MEMORIAL DAY – Greenwood

In The Word of the Day on May 25, 2012 at 10:43 am

MEMORIAL DAY

“And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free, and I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me and I’ll proudly stand up next to him to defend her still today, ‘cuz there ain’t no doubt I love this land, God bless the USA!”

Lee Greenwood

The Word of the Day – ATTITUDE – Wilson

In The Word of the Day on May 24, 2012 at 10:14 am

ATTITUDE

“You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses”

Tom Wilson

The Word of the Day – PRIDE – Lopez

In The Word of the Day on May 23, 2012 at 10:28 am

PRIDE

“A competitor will find a way to win. Competitors take bad breaks and use them to drive themselves just that much harder. Quitters take bad breaks and use them as reasons to give up. It’s all a matter of pride”

Nancy Lopez

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