Thursday, December 29, 2011

An Update

Apparently, the Flyers have been listening to me. At the end of the second period the Flyers are up 3 to 1. As we all know, this is the worst lead in hockey. But I like to think that they'll stick it out and win a big game away in Pittsburgh.

Can the Flyers Turn it Around?

The Flyers are in a tailspin. No doubt about it. They have lost 4 of 5 games, and those games have been embarrassing. And this latest loss, a 5 to 1 dubbing by the Tampa Bay Lighting, really shines some light on some problems the Flyers are having as of late.

Ilya Bryzgalov can be an outstanding goaltender. The problem is, when he isn't outstanding, he's awful. And he tends to be streaky. So if a team can catches the Flyers at the right time, they can eliminate them in a 7 game series. Is Bobrovsky the solution? Maybe a stopgap solution, but the Flyers need more consistent play out of Bryzgalov, and they need him to bounce back after games, not get into a rut.

The Flyers can have a prolific offense. The problem of late has been a lack of offense when they get down early. The beginning of the season was marked by a team you could never count out, a 3 to 0 deficit was nothing for this team. Unfortunately, the opposite has been true of late. The Flyers let in a couple of early goals, and they just roll over and play dead. That is not a good omen for the upcoming Winter Classic, but it is an even worse omen for a team that has playoff aspirations.

So what can the Flyers do reverse this trend? Simple. Win. They need solid play from Bryzgalov. But if he lets in a couple of early goals, they can't roll over and just take the thrashing. They need to fight back, and score. And score a lot. Show Bryzgalov that a couple of goals is nothing for one of the most prolific offenses in the NHL. And that will get him his confidence back. So that's the cure.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

All I Want for Christmas...

My Christmas list for Philadelphia sports.

The Philadelphia Union:
The Union need a striker besides Le Toux to step up. I don't care who it is. Mwanga, Martinez, or maybe Torres can step up and score some goals. The Union had a staunch defense last season, allowing the second fewest goals in the MLS. Only the Cup winning Galaxy allowed fewer goals. And the Union could score. When Le Toux could score. And despite the fact that he proved he was not a one hit wonder with his production this season, the Union need another threat to score if they want to improve on last year's finishing spot.

The Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers need to stop getting injured. I think the team as constructed is an offensive juggernaut, with the speed needed to go deep in the playoffs, the brawn to push back when they get shoved, and the youth to not worry about where they'll finish. But they need some luck on the injury front. Giroux is back, which is key for this team, but injuries have been the Achilles heel for this team all season, and they can't afford many more injuries.

High School Sports
The list of sports and teams is too long to make a wish for every team, so I'll wish for this. I hope the winter sports can live up to the excitement and success Philadelphia area fall sports had. Philadelphia loves a champ, and we had quite a few in the fall. I would love to see some more in the winter too!

College Basketball
Nothing is more fun than exciting Big 5 games. And with a resurgent St. Joe's, a potent Temple Owls, and a resilient LaSalle squad, Big 5 basketball couldn't ask for more. And neither can I.

So Merry Christmas to all my readers! And i hope you all got what you want for Christmas, and I hope Philly sports do too.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Eagles Season is Over

The Eagles season is done. And I know I don't talk Eagles very much. But when the Giants beat the New York Jets, it officially ended the Eagle's season, and in my mind, it should end Andy Reid's career as the Eagle's head coach. Reid has had 13 seasons to take this team to the top, and for a while he came close, but he could never seal the deal. And the team has been headed down for the past couple of seasons.

And that is why Andy Reid doesn't deserve another shot. 13 years is more than enough time to take a team to the Super Bowl, and to win one. If you haven't accomplished that goal in 13 seasons, its time to part ways. That's not saying that Andy Reid is a bad coach. But listen to the same record 13 times, and eventually you get tired of the song.

So Andy, it's been fun. We had some good times, we had some rough times. You won a lot of games. You answered no questions in press conferences. You were brusque with fans, and secretive to the end. But its time to go. And if the Eagles finish the season 8-8, I know you'll be back. But that doesn't mean you deserve the 14th chance.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Flyers vs. Rangers: The Winter Classic Preview

  The Flyers head to New York tonight to lace up the skates for a Winter Classic preview. It's a good warm up for a team that seems to be hitting its stride with its star Claude Giroux back in the lineup. Despite being in 4th in the Atlantic division, the Rangers are a mere 2 points behind the first place Flyers.
  This game is a homecoming for current Flyer Jaromir Jagr.  Having played for multiple teams in his career, he is most well known for his time as Penguin, and his less than stellar time as a Ranger. However, he seems to be a rejuvenated player since he has returned from the KHL. And being a line mate with Claude Giroux has made the tandem one of the most fearsome in hockey.

  So this game is a preview for a more important game. but more importantly, its a test. Can Claude Giroux and his head hold up in a game against a physical division rival? Can the rest of a young and fast Flyers team live up to the expectations we have come to have for them? It's an important game, because it is a litmus test for a game hockey fans around the world will be watching.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Manchester City vs. Stoke City Recap

Top of the table Manchester City faced off against a hot Stoke City, who had won 4 matches in Premier League play in a row.  Unfortunately for Stoke, though, the hot streak was not enough. Manchester City dominated every aspect of the match, The scoreline says it all, 3 to nil. Possession was dominated by Man City, 76% to 24%. And Stoke was severely outclassed.

Sergio Aguero had a fantastic game, notching two goals in the contest. Despite a solid defensive effort from Stoke, who for a time looked as though they were going to be able to pull off something spectacular, it was not to be. Manchester City simply had too much talent on the offensive end of the pitch for Stoke.

So where will Stoke go from here? Currently sitting at 8th in the Premier League, and 3 points behind Newcastle, Stoke next faces Aston Villa. A victory here would a huge 3 points for Stoke, while Newcastle faces Bolton. Stoke needs 3 points to keep pace with Newcastle, and can only hope for a loss to take a share of 7th place in the table.

Too Soon?

   It was a picture perfect return for Claude Giroux. A 4 point night in his first game back. A goal and 3 assists, including a beauty to Jaromir Jagr. The Flyers played well behind their returning assistant captain, winning 4-1 on the road. It was a good sign for the Flyers, who have struggled the last couple of games.

   Giroux left the lineup on Dec. 10th, after he took a knee to the head in the game against the Lightning. He missed 4 games, and the final 2 games of that stretch the Flyers really missed him. They took a brutal beating at home to Boston, losing 6-0. After that loss they traveled to Colorado, and lost in the shootout. Even though they played better in Colorado, it was still a tough loss for the Flyers.

   But with Giroux back, the Flyers had new life. They played a much cleaner game, took better shots, and looked like a team to be feared. They scored 4 goals, and scored in every period. They looked like the offensive juggernaut that they had been with Giroux at the helm. So is it too early for Giroux to come back? Will he reinjure himself the same way Sidney Crosby has in Pittsburgh? Only time will tell.

But I'm glad he's back.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Welcome To Underground Philly

This blog is a companion to the podcast, Underground Philly.  I'll be posting stories to accompany the podcast here, and any updates for the podcast.  If you have any stories you want to hear, feel free to comment here, or on twitter, just search for @ugroundphilly. Also, check us out on facebook, just search for Underground Philly.