(Photo: Rich Pilling/Getty Images)
Remember Ryan Madson’s strategy? Take a one year, $8 million deal in Cincinnati to be their closer and then hit the free agent market next fall and cash in on a lucrative, long term closers contract. Well that plan hit a snag today. A major snag. According to John Fay of the Cininnati Enquirer, Ryan Madson needs season ending Tommy John surgery after tearing the ligament right off of the bone.
Madson, who turns 32 in August, spent the past eight seasons with the Phillies, primarily in the bullpen. Last season, stepping in as the closer for the Phils, Madson went 4-2 with a 2.37 ERA and 32 saves. He was on a one year deal with the Reds after a reported deal with the Phillies fell through.
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(Photo: Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
There are ten regular season games left for the Philadelphia Flyers. Seven of their remaining ten games are against teams currently in the top nine teams in the Eastern Conference. Tonight is one of those games. The Eastern Conference’s third seed and Southeast Division leading Florida Panthers (35-23-13) visit the Wells Fargo Center. The Panthers are coming off of a four game homestand which they took all four games. They beat the likes of the Sabres and Bruins. The Panthers come in hot. The Flyers (42-22-8) are also playing some of their best hockey of the year. They are coming off of a three point weekend and are 8-1-1 in their last ten. Sunday’s games was an enormous boost as the Flyers ended the Penguins 11 game win streak when Scott Hartnell beat Marc-Andre Fleury with .9 seconds left in overtime.
Ilya Bryzgalov continued his stellar play on Sunday making 38 saves and keeping the Flyers in the game despite trailing for the majority of the game. Bryzgalov was named the NHL’s First Start of the Week for the second straight week. Bryzgalov will be in net again tonight. In the past week, Bryzgalov is 3-0-1 with a 1.44 GAA and a .950 SV%. Overall in the month of March, Bryzgalov is 8-0-1 with 1.19 GAA and a .960 SV%. Scott Hartnell has been hot of late. He notched his 34th and 35th goals on Sunday against the Penguins. He is tied for third place in the NHL in goals scored. These two teams met 12 days ago as the Flyers won 5-0 at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Florida Panthers are a very familiar team. Former Flyers Scottie Upshall and Kris Versteeg are both contributing forwards for Florida. In addition to Upshall and Versteeg, Flyers fans probably recognize John Madden, Tomas Kopecky, and Brian Campbell as they all were members of the 2009-2010 Chicago Blackhawks that beat the Flyers in six games in the Stanley Cup Final. In goal for the Panthers, Jose Theodore might be the only goaltender that is equally as hot as Ilya Bryzgalov. Theodore is 4-0-1 in his last five games and boasts a gaudy .953 SV%. He has allowed two goals or fewer in his last four starts and 12 of his last 15 starts.
Puck drops tonight at 7:00 pm at the Wells Fargo Center. The game can be seen on Comcast Sportsnet and heard on 94.1 WIP.
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We hope everyone had a safe and happy St. Patrick's Day. Scott Hartnell lifted the Flyers in overtime this afternoon. There are no words to describe the late game magic the Flyers put on display on national television today. See for yourself as the highlights are below.
Three teams punched their tickets last night to the NCAA Tournament - with Long Island being the most intriguing. The Blackbirds are a high octane offense with two big men in Julian Boyd and Jamal Olasewere that can compete with any frontcourt in the country. The Big East teams on the bubble line all played yesterday with South Florida and Connecticut coming away with the victories. It is pretty obvious that Connecticut will be in the NCAA Tournament, but a win over Villanova will not do much for South Florida. The Bulls will need to win one more to even feel remotley comfortable about their NCAA Tournament status. On the other hand, the loss for West Virginia to Connecticut won't hurt them much as they should be in the big dance come Selection Sunday. The team that is widely in question is Seton Hall after their loss to Louisville last night. I really can't stress enough how confused I am as to why so many people said that loss moved Seton Hall out of the NCAA Tournament. Let's take a look at Seton Hall compared to three other teams that Bracketology outlets like Joe Lunardi has in the NCAA Tournament, after the jump.
Time for another look at the brackets during this outstanding Championship Week. Not much happened at all for teams on the bubble teams, but some teams did clinch automatic bids by winning their conference championships. Tomorrow we will give you a ton of "blind resumes" for teams along the bubble line in order to help make it easier to pick which teams belong. The point of "blind resumes" is to remove the name of the team in order to not create a bias towards said team, or the conference that they are in. That fun game will be in tomorrow's bracketology post.
Four teams won automatic bids yesterday into the NCAA Tournament - Harvard (Ivy League), Detroit (Horizon League), South Dakota State (Summit League) and Western Kentucky (Sun Belt Conference). Let's take a quick peak at the first three teams on that list and how they may fare come NCAA Tournament time. No offense to Western Kentucky, but with an 11-18 regular season record - it doesn't appear that they will be too much of a threat as a 16-seed playing in of the "First Four" games. Not trying to poke too much fun at Western Kentucky - but the Hilltoppers rank 325 out of 344
After the breakdowns will be the new brackets updated around 6:30PM EST on March 7th.
The Atlantic 10 Bracket
Last night both the St. Joseph's Hawks and the La Salle Explorers hosted a first road Atlantic 10 game. For both teams it was win and move on to Atlantic City, lose and wait for a possible bid to the NIT.
The Hawks hosted the Charlotte 49ers who had handed St. Joe's their first home loss of the season back in January. This time the Hawks would take care of business on their home floor, 80-64. With seven minutes left in the game Charlotte pulled within three cutting the lead to 63-60; however, the last seven minutes belonged to the Hawks.
St. Joe's (20-12) was led by their backcourt. Carl 'Tay' Jones paced the team with 23 points, while Langston Galloway added 18. Hofstra transfer Halil Kanacevic did his part in the middle contributing 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Hawks move on to Atlantic City to face the number 4 seed, St. Bonaventure. In St. Joe's final regular season game Bonaventure edged the Hawks in double overtime so the Hawks will be out for revenge. Tip-off is set tentatively for 2:30 on Friday at Boardwalk Hall (or 30 minutes following the conclusion of the first game of the day).
La Salle hosted the Richmond Spiders, looking to avenge a disappointing 78-76 loss earlier in the year at Richmond. Both team's came out strong trading baskets for the majority of the first half; however, La Salle superior guard play and the improved defense of forward Devon White proved to be too much for the Spirders as the Explorers would hang on to win, 80-72. The game wasn't even that close as several of Richmond's final points came in garbage time.
The Explorers (21-11) were paced by South Carolina transfer Ramon Galloway who led the team with 17 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds. Three others hit double digits in Earl Pettis (15), Jerrell Wright (14), and Devon White (13). Unlike the game at Richmond, La Salle limited turnovers and, beginning with the final four minutes of the first half, was able to dictate the tempo. Richmond was led by Darien Brothers who carried the Spiders with 22 first half points (the team only scored 32). Brothers would finish with 31. Next up the Explorers will face Saint Louis in Atlantic City. The Billiken's handed La Salle one of two home loses on the year during the regular season. Tip-off is set for 6:30 on Friday at Boardwalk Hall.
The #24 Temple Owls won the regular season A-10 Title outright and with it captured a first round bye. The Owls (24-6) will face the UMass Minutemen following their 92-83 victory over Duquesne last night. Last week Temple defeated UMass at home on senior night in overtime. Tip-off is set for noon on Friday at Boardwalk Hall.
Here is my bold prediction (see what I did there?): all three Philly teams win on Friday setting up a Big 5 showdown in one semifinal, Temple vs. St. Joe's, and a La Salle vs. Xavier rematch in the other. See you in Atlantic City
Quote of the Day:
"You don't get to the moon by climbing a tree."