There’s no doubt that the Flyers have shown flashes of potential this season. Taking one of the top teams in the NHL to overtime is just the latest example of how the squad has the ability, if not the consistency in performance, to challenge anyone.
But giving the Carolina Hurricanes a game and winning the game are two different things. After the Flyers slumped to yet another loss in their latest losing streak, the question arises: Who is worth keeping in a rebuild? Have any players proven themselves to be the rocks on which this team can build? If so, who are they?
— Inquirer Sports Staff, @phillysport
If you were the Flyers GM, name the players you would make sure to keep on the roster for next season. Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You’ve heard of five-tool players in baseball. Phillies prospect Yhoswar Garcia believes he brings a sixth tool to the table: “I believe I play the game in a very intelligent way. I think about things a lot. I try to stay strong mentally,” he said. The guy nicknamed “The Drone” because of his speed and skill tracking fly balls has all the tools needed for stardom. But after a total of 18 games in low-A ball, he is half-prospect, half-curiosity, even to some player-development staffers. But as one scout marveled, “he does some things on the field that are incredible to watch.”
Off the Dribble
As NBA trade deadline rumors turned into a full-fledged trade, the rest of the league watched with just as much awe as fans and members of the media. In fact, a week later at All-Star Weekend in Cleveland, Ben Simmons and James Harden were still the talk of the NBA.
The Inquirer’s Gina Mizell decided to ask the opinion of NBA All-Stars from around the league, getting the thoughts of Jimmy Butler, Trae Young, and Jarrett Allen.
Why did Simmons want out of this town so badly? Marcus Hayes believes it goes much deeper than mental health. His statements last week indicate that he never felt comfortable in Philly.
Next: The Sixers get some much-needed rest before their next game comes up Friday in Minnesota against the Timberwolves.
On the Fly
Daniel Brière was a heck of a player — the two-time All-Star racked up more than 800 points in 17 NHL seasons (regular season and postseason combined) and won World Championship and World Junior gold with Canada. But many believe Brière’s second act in hockey operations has the potential to be even greater.
On Feb. 8, the Flyers hired Brière, who recently interviewed for the GM vacancy with the Montreal Canadiens, full-time to serve as a “special assistant to general manager Chuck Fletcher.” Olivia Reiner took a look at Brière’s meteoric rise in hockey operations and talked to former teammates, members of the front office and more about why Brière is held so highly in hockey circles.
On the ice, it was more bad news for the Flyers, who lost a heartbreaker, 4-3 in overtime, to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Flyers were the better team for large stretches, but goals from Gerry Mayhew, Patrick Brown, and Oskar Lindblom were not enough as the club dropped its fifth straight.
The flip side of more Americans’ going to play abroad is that it’s inevitable that they will have to face each other at some point, forcing fans to decide whom to root for. In a particular case this week, it’s Hershey’s Christian Pulisic against New York’s Timothy Weah, playing for their respective club teams, Chelsea and Lille, in Champions League competition. Jonathan Tannenwald offers his take on that and all the other soccer action on TV this week.
Worth a Look
Fabulous freshman forward: Talya Brugler is having a standout season at St. Joseph’s University in her initial year with the squad.
Five Eagles possibilities: Josh Tolentino breaks down the team’s top options at pass rusher on the free-agent market.
Fire coach Juwan Howard? Marcus Hayes doesn’t think Michigan should make it happen, but neither does he want to see Howard on the bench again this season.
Check out the latest odds and informative tidbits from Ed Barkowitz in his latest sports betting column.
We compiled today’s newsletter using reporting from Jonathan Tannenwald, Olivia Reiner, Scott Lauber, Nicholas Klingman, Marcus Hayes, Josh Tolentino, Giana Han, Gina Mizell, Ed Barkowitz, and Keith Pompey.