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Philadelphia Flyers Skewer San Jose Sharks in Season Opener 10-04-2017



The Philadelphia Flyers Celebrate Wayne Simmonds goal

Photo by Ezra Shaw via Getty Images

The Philadelphia Flyers owned the San Jose Sharks season/home opener in a manner that warms the heart and soothes the soul.

Keep reading, you’ll cheer, you’ll worry, you’ll get annoyed at Radko Gudas.

Philadelphia Flyers Radko Gudas photo by Gregg Forwerk NHLI via Getty Images

Philadelphia Flyers Radko Gudas photo by Gregg Forwerk NHLI via Getty Images

It’s all happening and you cannot wait to leave the off season behind.  The Philadelphia Flyers first game of the season had it’s up and down moments, but overall was a deeply satisfying way to start things off for the orange and black.  The big talking points come in the way of the hat tricked out win, the power play and penalty kill and the much longed for roster changes.

1st Period

The Philadelphia Flyers Claude Giroux scored the first Philadelphia goal of the season 8:28 into the first period, for the third time as a Flyer, because he is a Captain and a gentleman, assisted by Jake Voracek.

Jordan Weal followed up Giroux’s goal in short order less than 3 minutes later, with Shayne Gostibehere on the assist (isn’t he sweet?), at the 11:16 mark, providing a 2-0 lead over San Jose.

This goal was notably the first of three power play goals scored over the course of the game.

Flyers Coach Dave Hakstol noted of his team on the power play; “We had a real good shooting mentality, scored a couple early by having great net-front presence, one or two passes and putting it to the net.”

Two rapid fire goals from the Sharks Kevin Labanc, at 17:17 and 19:41 (on the power play), respectively, nevertheless eliminated Philadelphia’s 2-0 lead (some say that a 2 goal lead is the most precarious in hockey) to close out the first period with a score of 2-2.

Goal scorer Jordan Weal shared his thoughts on the games opening period; “We got off to a great start, we were putting lots of pressure on them, but then we stared sitting back a little bit.”

The Sharks out shot the Flyers on goal for the first and second periods, 8-11 and 6-13 correspondingly.

This has been an unfortunate and consistent narrative in the Flyers story; not playing a full and even 60 minutes.  Thankfully, Philadelphia realized their mistake and corrected it, especially in the third period with 17 shots on goal versus the Sharks 11, yielding 2 goals and the win.

2nd Period

Wayne Simmonds scored his first goal of the game and season with 2:24 left in the second period, assisted by Shayne Gostibehere and Jakub Voracek.  Consequentially, the second period ended with the Flyers regaining the lead 3-2.

“…He did a lot of other things, and he did them really well, he was a real good power forward tonight.” Philadelphia Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said of Simmonds.

3rd Period

The San Jose Sharks began the third period by again tying the game at 3-3 with Logan Couture scoring on the power play at 3:12, deflected off the skate of Flyer Andrew MacDonald.

However, the remainder of third period as all about Wayne Simmonds, who scored twice; once at 9:27 on the power play and again at 19:24 on an empty net.  Correspondingly, Jakub Voracek and Shayne Gostisbehere and Sean Couturier provided the assists.  These goals resulted in Wayne Simmonds 2nd career hat trick, the other happening April 20th, 2013,  and the first hat trick during the season opener.  In like fashion, good things came in threes for Jakub Voracek and Shayne Gostibehere, who contributed three assists each to the winning effort.  The final tally was 5-3 in favor of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Philadelphia Flyers Wayne Simmonds Scott Dinn NHLI via Getty Images

Philadelphia Flyers Wayne Simmonds Scott Dinn NHLI via Getty Images

Assist machine Jakub Voracek had an honest and grounded philospohy of the game; “It was a really hard game, to be honest. A lot of grind. It’s the first game of the season. We found a way to win the game, which was good. There are 81 to go, so I wouldn’t get carried away.”

Opposing team player usually don’t get much mention here (they have their own writers for that), but as per former Philadelphia Flyers and current commentator Keith Jones, Kevin Lebanc achieved “The Jonesy Hat Trick” by being in the penalty box for three goals scored by Philadelphia.

Captain Claude Giroux & Jordan Weal get a gold star right in the middle of their foreheads while Simmer gets 3 anywhere he wants them.

Giroux’s post game snack is a crispity season opening grilled cheese sandwich of victory, because that is what winners eat.

Click the link below for game video highlights.

The Power Play and Penalty Kill

The Flyers scored three power play goals, which is an accomplishment in itself and a monument to hope given Philadelphia’s power play struggles in recent years.  The team continues to work on it’s power play; “With our power play, both units this year, it’s only a matter of time,” Flyer Wayne Simmonds said. “We kept working on it and we’ll continue to work on it. Today was a pretty good showing.”

Contrastingly, other side of that coin is their penalty killing capabilities, which were tested and over whelmed twice.  The result is two out of three goals scored by the Sharks happened on the penalty kill, of which there were six.  A one out of three ratio can get Philadelphia Flyers in trouble, though the sample size in very, very tiny.

The players seem to be adapting to the rule changes regarding penalties.  Though how they will adapt in the long run is yet to be seen.

Mentioning the Flyers’ defenseman Radko Gudas is a must whilst discussing penalties in this game.  Then chastised.  With 1:06 left in the game, Gudas boarded Shark goal scorer Kevin Lebanc.  This could have allowed San Jose to tie the game since it was a one goal game at this point.  Simmonds netted his hat trick less than 30 seconds later, though fate could have easily been less kind.

The game notwithstanding, intentionally boarding anyone and potentially inflicting a serious, even career ending injury.  Gudas’ past actions, reputation and looking at the incident are making it evident that this is a conscious and successful effort to board Lebanc.  The San Jose Jonesy Hat Tricker is gratefully free of serious injury.  Gudas’ actions make him a liability to his team and out weigh the benefits he provides as the teams main enforcer.  He has shown in previous seasons that he IS capably of being a productive team member who uses force appropriately (Click here to learn more), though these occurrences are few and far between last season.  If he cannot play more inside game parameters, he won’t be playing at all.  Whether it’s due to his “occupy penalty box” movement or sitting on the bench or in the press box when coach Dave Hakstol has had enough.

The Roster

One cannot discuss the Philadelphia Flyers this season with out discussing the changes in their roster. Giroux spent this game as a left winger with Sean Couturier taking his place at center.  Note worthy as this is, there are many roster additions and shakeups that eclipse this change.  One such revelation is filling the second Alternate Captain position left open by the Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s becoming a Las Vegas Golden Knight after the expansion draft.

The slot is occupied in a slightly unconventional manner; by dividing the position between two players by team vote.  The fairly recent acquisition Valterri Filppula (center) will act as an Alternate Captain at home.  Defenseman Andrew MacDonald is the new Alternate Captain for road games.  Seriously.  Andrew MacDonald is the “Away A”, double check if it helps you sleep at night.  But it probably won’t.  Democracy has made some wild things happen.

Philadelphia Flyers Andrew MacDonald photo by Scott Dinn NHLI via Getty Images

Philadelphia Flyers Andrew MacDonald photo by Scott Dinn NHLI via Getty Images

Filppula is a sensible choice for a vote for Alternate Captain (or Alternate alternate captain?) as well as a sensible choice not to be.  He has only been with the team since the trade deadline on March 1st, 2017.  This limits his seniority with the franchise and chemistry building with it’s players.  This may dissuade some from making him an Alternate.  On the contrary, in the 20 games he played as a Flyer last year, he has scored 5 goals and gathered 3 assists.  In the locker room, Filppula is in regards of high esteem, much like MacDonald.  This is valuable in a youth oriented roster.  This may influence players TO make him an alternate.  Sharing the position seems to be a practical and effective compromise.

Where confusion sets in for fans and most of planet Earth, is his partner in Alternate Captain-ing, Andrew MacDonald.  If the Flyers want a defenseman for Alternate, there are not any other real choices. The defensive roster is full of players who have been in the NHL 3 or fewer seasons (including rookies), Brandon Manning and Radko Gudas.  Manning has yet to score more than 3 goals in the 5 full seasons as a Flyer.  Comparing his performance to possible candidate Shayne Gostisbehere’s, who has 7 goals and 32 assists for last year, for example.  This shows there are more productive players.

However, there are players with less experience and that may make other players balk at the idea of giving them the “A”.  Alternately, available defenseman Radko Gudas’ has not demonstrated the leadership skills or decorum an Alternate Captain should possess.  His tally of 437 penalty minutes through out his career would also be a deterrent in elections for many things.  This is up to and including Alternate Captain.  This leaves MacDonald as the last man standing if one seeks a defenseman for the “A”.  Additionally, he is of note as a positive influence of developing young players.  Furthermore, there may be further locker room impact that is apparent to the players but not to fans or other such humans.

Philadelphia Flyers Nolan Patrick in Face Off photo by Scott Dinn NHLI via Getty Images

Philadelphia Flyers Nolan Patrick in Face Off photo by Scott Dinn NHLI via Getty Images

Conversely, less controversial roster changes is the youth invasion with the welcoming of the much anticipated NHL debutante Nolan Patrick. However, he neither acquired any points or gave a spectacular performance.  Though Patrick did win 5 out of 9 face offs and took 3 shots on goal.  Goalie Brian Elliot made his own premier in the orange and black, stopping 32 shots in all.

Brian Elliot Philadelphia Flyers Goalie Photo By Ezra Shaw via Getty Images

Brian Elliot Philadelphia Flyers Goalie Photo By Ezra Shaw via Getty Images

While there was a lot going on and much to discuss, it is still only the first game of the season and how their power play unit roster renovation will truly shape their game over the long run.


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Flyers Remove Statue of Kate Smith



The Philadelphia Flyers have joined the New York Yankees in the removal of ties to singer Kate Smith, whose famous rendition of “God Bless America” was played at both Flyers and Yankees games.

Earlier this week, the Yankees decided to suspend the use of Smith’s rendition, which was played during the seventh-inning stretch, while they investigated allegations of racism against the later singer.

According to a report from the New York Daily News, there are conflicting claims about Smith’s 1939 song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” which
originated in the 1931 Broadway revue “George White’s Scandals” and was considered satire but includes racist language, including the line;
“Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”

The song was recorded by Smith and Paul Robeson, who was black.

The Flyers put out the following statement on Sunday (h/t ESPN):

“The Flyers have enjoyed a long and popular relationship with ‘God Bless America,’ as performed by the late Kate Smith, a woman who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor for her patriotic contributions to our nation.

“But in recent days, we learned that several of the songs Kate Smith performed in the 1930s include lyrics and sentiments that are incompatible with the values of our organization, and evoke painful and unacceptable themes.”

Smith, who was popular during the WWII era, recorded the offensive jingle, “Pickaninny Heaven,” which she directed at “colored children” who should fantasize about an amazing place with “great big watermelons,” among various other treats. 

Smith also endorsed the “Mammy Doll” back in 1939 which was based on a racist caricature of a black woman similar to Aunt Jemima.

“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” a club spokesman said. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”

The odds aren’t good that Smith’s songs will return to their prominent places during sporting events such as they were with the Yankees and the Flyers.

There is a lot of cleaning up to do when it comes to racism in sports, and weeding out songs attached to artists with questionable, and controversial, backgrounds such as Smith’s, is important in pushing forward towards the future.

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The New World of Sports Betting in the United States



Earlier this year a monumental breakthrough was achieved when the United States Supreme Court ruled against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, known as PASPA, allowing each state in the nation to decide if it wants to allows legal sports betting or not.

That led the nation, and all of the states, on a new path, with a lot of lucrative opportunities in an industry that has operated underground for decades.

With casinos and eSports thriving, sports betting adds a brand new element to the gambling industry and presents one of the richest outlets for businesses, the government, and the nation.

There will likely be a boost in employment rates, a growth spike in business, and an influx of money that no longer has to be hidden from the eyes of the government.

As of now, a number of states have already started their journey, and another, Utah, has decided not to act on the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of sports betting, opting to maintain their stance on forbidding sports betting, at least for the time being.

As the world of sports, eSports, and gambling embark on this industry shifting journey, let’s take a deeper look at what has been going down so far, and what is in store for the sports betting industry, thanks to an info graphic from

The info graphic will take a look into the impact that sports betting legalization is expected to make on the nation’s economy.

The info graphic takes into account that the United States’ gambling industry already generates around $28 billion. The legalization of ports betting legalization is expected to increase tat number dramatically.

Additionally, sports betting operations will also result in a higher number of jobs, and the info graphic will provide you with an estimated number of both direct and indirect jobs that will open with the introduction of sports betting.

As the fantasy football season is ready to kick off for many of you, we should start seeing a lot of changes to the sports betting landscape and it will be interesting to see just how companies in fantasy sports navigate through the implementation of these changes.

The future of the sports betting industry seems bright, and there seems to be quite the trickle down effect that will have an immediate benefit to numerous industries.

Whether you’re ready or not, legalized sports betting is on the way, if it hasn’t arrived in your state already, and big things are on the horizon.


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Capitals owner Ted Leonsis Pays for 200 Employees to go to Stanley Cup Final Games



Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis is celebrating the team’s first trip to the Stanley Cup Final for the 1st time in 20 years in a special way.

According to the Washington Post, Leonsis surprised 200 employees of Monumental Sports & Entertainment with tickets and a chartered flight to Vegas for the first leg of the Stanley Cup Final.

The employees were chosen based off how closely they work with the Capitals, as well as seniority, and they received an email last week from a senior VP that had the subject line: “Let’s go to Vegas.”

The selected employees received tickets to Games 1 & 2.

“It’s truly amazing and out of this world,” Omar Castro, a guest relations manager, said.

“I never expected an owner of the company to do this. We get to share in this with them. … He’s thinking of us as part of a family, as part of the experience. There’s no reason for him to do it. All I can say is a big thanks to Ted and his family for the opportunity, and for truly making this into something memorable for all of us here in the company.”

Not only did Leonsis provide tickets, but he also organized two chartered flights and is putting the employees up at the Excalibur.


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