Philadelphia Sports have gotten a little more interesting since the Olympics. The Flyers acquired a defenseman to upgrade the blueline, but does it put them in cup contention? There’s also speculation of a Desean Jackson trade or release, will it happen? Finally the Phillies will be diving in to the regular season in 3 weeks, but will Ryan Howard get back his power stroke or at least hit 25 home runs this season? Dave and Randy tackle the tough one’s this week.
The Andrew MacDonald trade puts the Flyers in cup contention
RANDY JOBST: FACT- The Flyers needed something to cement their playoff seeding and give them a chance once the postseason starts up. I believe Andrew MacDonald is that something. Keep in mind that Steve Mason and Ray Emery are a solid one-two punch at goalie, the forward depth is solid and Claude Giroux is playing like a man on a serious misson(YOU HEAR THAT TEAM CANADA!). I’m not saying this is the Cup favorite now, but I like their chances against a four or five seed. That could leave them with a second round match up against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sidney Crosby is losing sleep on the very idea.
Sometimes a team just needs that one spark to get them over the hump and into contention. Remember the Stanley Cup Playoffs doesn’t play out like the NBA Playoffs do. If you get in with some momentum and can score a lot of goals, you have a chance.
DAVE BENNETT: FACT – The Philadelphia Flyers have definitely improved their defense with the addition of Andrew MacDonald. Overall this has been a solid team in terms of record going 32-17-7 since starting the year 1-7. They have definitely struggled at times and have to come from behind in quite a bit. This is a good and bad thing, but is a harness-able asset in the playoffs. This group has shown great maturity in sticking with their game even under comeback conditions. If you look at their solid play and the added maturity of playing in tough situations can only propel you further in the playoffs. Andrew MacDonald improves a team like this on the back end and solidifies cup contention status. Now they just have to keep up the tough and relentless play.
Desean Jackson will be traded this offseason
DAVE BENNETT: FICTION – This is a media generated story to stir up nothing as far as I’m concerned. I usually like to read what Geoffry Mosher has to say on CSNPHILLY.COM but what’s being pitched as issues with Desean seem unfounded. He’s made one statement at the year end basically in reference to he guarantees in his contract, not his overall take-home pay per year. His current contract only guarantees him $750,000 this season. With a cap hit of $12.5 Million it’s the perfect restructuring opportunity. NEWSFLASH! This contract was drawn up with the intention of being reworked in this season anyway.
Another angle is why would you get rid of a guy who had 82 receptions for 1,332 yards and 9 touchdowns. What about his durability concerns. Let’s get rid of that BS right now. He’s played, in 6 seasons, 16 games twice, 15 games twice, 14 games and 11 games. Can we stop complaining about his durability now. I’m pretty sure he’s played more games than a large number of receivers bigger than him, and Desean put up better numbers than most every year.
RANDY JOBST: FICTION – I want anyone who doubts DeSean’s future here in Philadelphia, at least for the 2014 season, to read my next sentence very carefully. DESEAN JACKSON WILL NOT BE TRADED IN 2014! Now there’s always a possibility that someone offers a ridiculous offer for his services, but you can be sure that the Eagles are certainly not shopping Jackson right now. His deep speed and elite quickness make this offense pop. Riley Cooper gets one-on-one matchups and Ertz has more freedom over the middle, not to mention all the running lanes that are available because of the opposing safeties playing so far back.
DeSean held out once in 2011, but came back on his own in early August. He spoke about getting more guaranteed money on his contract last January. My point is that DeSean will not become a problem until he becomes a problem. Right now he is a valuable piece to this offense.
Ryan Howard hits 25+ Home Runs this season
RANDY JOBST: FACT – Ryan Howard will get his 25 homers this season, but don’t expect a whole lot more than that. Howard isn’t an elite player anymore. Injuries have slowed him down and most veteran pitchers have figured out how to pitch to him. His strikeout totals are going to be sky high once again. That being said, the power is still there. 25 homeruns isn’t asking that much for a natural power hitter if he stays healthy, which I believe he will.
DAVE BENNETT: FICTION – I don’t expect Ryan Howard to amount to much this year. The book as been written, studied and implemented on how to keep Howard irrelevant. throw anything that curves, drops or slides and he’s done and done. Coupling that with his disappointing health and, even when playing, approach at the plate. Frankly this will come down to a platoon type situation when Ryne Sandberg will be sick of Howard not being able to hit lefties. One other prediction Howard plays less than 115 games this year, making it even tougher to get to 25 home runs.