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Playoff Preview: Flyers and Sabres

Stanley_Cup_PlayoffsA look at the opening round meeting.
(7) Buffalo Sabres vs. (2) Philadelphia Flyers
 
@ Philadelphia, Thursday 4 / 14, 7:30pm
@ Philadelphia, Saturday, 4 / 16  5pm
@ Buffalo, Monday, 4 / 18 7pm
@ Buffalo, Wednesday 4 / 20 7:30pm
@ Philadelphia, Friday 4 / 22 7:30pm  **
@ Buffalo, Sunday 4 / 24 3pm  **
@ Philadelphia, Tuesday 4 / 26 TBD  **

** If Necessary

Philadelphia 47-23-12 106 points / Atlantic Division Champions / 3-4-3 in last ten games.
Buffalo 43-29-10 96 points / 3rd place Northeast Division / 8-1-1 in last ten games.

Of all the teams to play in the first round, this is the one the Flyers may have wanted the least. The NHL playoffs are all about goaltending  and the Sabres have a definite edge there. Ryan Miller is a game stealer. He won 34 of the 66 games he played in with a goals against of 2.59. He is a former Vezina Trophy winner  that lead the Americans to a silver medal in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Keep in mind he did suffer an upper body injury late in the season, but seems to have recovered from that. His backup, Johnas Enroth chipped in with a 9-2 record with a 2.73 goals against.
The Flyers will counter with rookie Sergei Bobrovsky who recorded 28 wins with a goals against of 2.59 in 54 games. But "Bob" was yanked early in the season finale against the Islanders after giving up 3 goals on 10 shots in just 12 minutes. Prior to that he gave up 4 goals each in loses to Buffalo and Ottawa down the stretch. Back up and veteran Brian Boucher is close by. Boucher posted 18 wins in 34 games with a goals against of 2.42.
On defense, the edge goes to Philadelphia....even without Chris Pronger. In his first year as a Flyer, Andrej Meszaros was voted the teams top blue liner and lead the way with 8 goals and a plus 30. Matt Carle very quietly had a solid year, also a plus 30 with 40 points. Braydon Coburn has the size and strength to neutralize the oppositions top scorer. Kimmo Timonen is steady back there and Sean O'Donnell adds a degree of toughness. Erik Gustafsson, Danny Syvert and Nick Boytnton will have to step up until Pronger returns.
That leads us to Pronger, out the last month with a broken hand. Will he be back? He says so. When? Nobody knows. But when he does, how effective will he be holding a stick and shooting on the power play? He is key there. And the fact that the Flyers play with a little more edge when the big guy is on the ice.
Buffalo is lead by young, 6'8 Tyler Meyers. The former first round pick is also a Calder Trophy winner as the leagues top rookie last season. Myers 10 goals is second to Jordan Leopold's 13. Leopold is trying to return from a broken hand suffered in late March. His return is uncertain. You won't get alot of offense from Andrej Sekera or Steve Montador, but their steady with good plus/minus numbers.
When Danny Briere and Chris Drury both left Buffalo for free agency, the Sabres set their sights on re-signing one guy long term right away: Thomas Vanek. He has responded with 136 goals in the four seasons since. Briere in the same time span? 103. Along with Vanek, Buffalo has former first round pick Drew Stafford. (31 goals) Stafford had not scored more than 20 goals in a year in his 4 previous NHL season. Jason Pominville and Tyler Ennis are both 20 goal scorers. And 5'5 Nathan Gerbe showed the Flyers his goal scoring skills on the final weekend of the regular season.
The Flyers are just plain deep at the forward position. Four lines with four different styles with the top three able to score goals on a consistant basis. The team has 8 forwards with at least 19 goals each. Plus the addition of Kris Versteeg at the trade deadline along with his Stanley Cup ring won in Chicago last year only makes this group scarier.
For the Sabres to win? Ryan Miller has to be well...Ryan Miller. If the Flyer offense gets going, he will be tested. Second line scorers like Pominville, Ennis and Brad Boyes have to score. Vanek and Staffard need help. The Sabres also will need to continue to take advantage of the power play opportunities. They did not got a lot of chances this season but when they did they did well.
For the Flyers to win? Protect the goaltender! Clear shooting lanes and clear any rebound from out in front of the net. Expect Danny Briere to be big in this series against his former team. The power play needs to improve and take advantage of the fact that the Sabres are one of the leagues worst at giving up short handed goals and the Flyers are one of the leagues best scoring them. JVR are you listening? Now is the time to play consistently like the number two overall pick in the NHL draft. And getting Chris Pronger back will help.
Jeff's Prediction: The Flyers go limping into the post season. The Sabres steal one of the first to two games in Philly and send the Flyboys home for the summer. Sabres in six. Boy I hope I'm worng.
 
WNPV AM 1440 Tomorrow is the 3rd Saturday of the month! Tune in at 11 AM for "Premium Coverage" with Mike Bruckner!
WNPV AM 1440 Football Advertisers Kvetch, But Won't Punt by Karl Greenberg I was watching TV Thursday morning, and, big surprise, more news from the NFL. Another player, another beating. Not in an elevator, not with a switch. This time it was more news on Greg Hardy. Not the best timing. Hardy is already on the Carolina Panthers' de-activation list for having threatened to kill his girlfriend while tossing her around his apartment like a pom-pom. My friend and I watched the broadcast. My comment: "Another one." My friend's comment: "It's the theme of the day: News outlets are outdoing themselves trying to report something, anything about football players. People like to pile on. This is old news." Because of this, the NFL, as reported by all and sundry, including me, is seeing its consumer perception drop faster than any brand since the Vandals sacked Rome. Or, more recently, since Target was sacked by a hacker. But will this last? No, probably not. Football's enduring popularity will put this in the past pretty fast, and nobody will be the wiser. For better or worse. Probably worse in the long run since the League is facing growing competition from other sports, including soccer, especially soccer. It's worth noting that right after the news about Panther linebacker Hardy, the broadcast I watched went right to … soccer. The same guys commenting on football, including the week's games, shifted right to the other sport and actually sounded like they knew what they were talking about. That's emblematic of the sport's mainstreaming. Major brand sponsors are issuing releases of censure, meanwhile, with threats perhaps implied. Anheuser-Busch, PepsiCo, McD's, Visa, Campbell Soup, the big guns who delivered NFL's revenue to the tune of over a billion dollars last year. But I'll wager nobody is going to pull ad dollars unless a team releases a pride of lions in the stands to beef up the half-time show. Or players start getting serious brain injuries. Oh, wait, that's happened already. Sure, there's morally reprehensible behavior everywhere (look no further than pro baseball from Ty Cobb all the way to the '86 Mets and beyond); football villains — they tend to follow the troglodyte model more than the pharmaceutical one, it seems — are probably not greater in number, even if they are greater in savagery. But the game won't suffer. The players and maybe the individual teams will. National consumer brands should pull advertising. Really? Where else will brands go to get TiVo-proof viewers? “Downton Abbey”? I've read expert opinion that teams and the League are taking notice, whatever that means, and will take action, whatever that means, because they risk losing ad dollars. No, they don't. And they won't unless football departs first, à la boxing. But a football game doesn't carry the possibility of lasting one round. And it is still the most popular televised sport. Commentary from Marketing Daily, 9/19/2014
Penn Foundation Tune in to WNPV AM 1440 Comment Please by Univest today at noon to hear Darryl Berger interview our very own Dr. Vernon Kratz, Board Chair Margaret Zook, ACT Team Leader Deb Strouse and Autumn Event Committee Member Sue McManus. They will be chatting about the upcoming Autumn Event!
WNPV AM 1440 SUBSCRIBE RSS REPLY TO EDITOR HOME By Andy Tu Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014 Modern Man Is A Modest Man Editor's note: This article originally appeared in "Engage:Men" on July 31, 2014. What defines luxury to a man 2015? Is it a Rolex and a private jet, or the ability to travel the world and gain life experiences? More than ever we are seeing the modern man redefine what luxury means today. The “old school” concept of luxury doesn’t fit in with today’s man and his changing priorities. Our annual Acumen Report has explored the modern man and what makes him tick. What we’ve learned is that today’s man strives to be well-rounded rather than one-dimensional. He’s thoughtful about his purchases and he is more comfortable in traditionally female roles while also being considerate of his friends and family. These characteristics dictate what he purchases in both his everyday life like grooming products and beer and, increasingly, these shifts in priorities are changing what it means for men when the splurge or think about “luxury” items in their lives. The modern man is evolving into someone who is more concerned about his family and friends, someone who seeks out adventure and uses his money to experience life over collecting possessions. As he changes, his idea of luxury is changing with him. Luxury is no longer confined to specific status symbols but instead has evolved into parts of our everyday lives. So what does this mean for luxury brands? If they want to remain or become relevant, it means it’s time to approach their male customers in a different, more personal way. Many high-end brands are doing just that. Take a look at Audi. The brand has done an exceptional job speaking to the modern man and positioning its cars as more than a vehicle or status symbol but as adventure, a way to experience freedom. The A8 Superbowl adfrom a few years back is a great example of this change and features wealthy men “escaping” from their mansion prison to “Escape the Confines of Old Luxury,” in the new A8 of course. Range Rover also excels in this area by incorporating adventure, extreme challenges and excitement into the brand. Take a look at “Driven: A Race without Boundaries” which pits two world-class drivers against five challenges, four iconic racing destinations in the Range Rover Sport. Modern men no longer want to be greeted at a hotel by a formal bell hop and concierge to cater to their every whim like a hired hand but instead, more are turning to hotels like The Ace, which speaks their language and represents a luxury lifestyle based on knowledge and personal interest. Men don’t want a list of Michelin star restaurants from the front desk; they want to know when and where chefs like Danny Bowien, Roy Choi and David Chiang will open their latest pop-up restaurant and how to score a seat at the opening. They are trading in the BMW for a slick bike and Uber. Both established and emerging brands are trying to appeal to this new take on luxury as they shift their messaging from the excessive, “living large” old-fashioned luxury perception to appeal to what modern men see as personalized experience. IfOnly, a San Francisco based company offers extraordinary experiences with top experts across sports, music, entertainment and lifestyles that also help a charity cause. They sold 2,000 experiences in year one. In addition to embracing experiences, we’re seeing a shift towards spending on things that have purpose, that stand for something. While this can certainly be a challenge for brands to cater to this changing modesty in masculinity, there are brands that are succeeding. Brands that are recognizing this change as opportunity and leveraging different brand values, storytelling, media and creative to connect stand to do very well. Levi’s Made & Crafted is also a great example of a brand that is bringing luxury to the masses in its own way, using comfort, quality and prestige through their brand identities and messages, not solely through their price tags. Just because he can afford it, it’s not enough for a brand to just represent a monetary status symbol. Today’s modern man is looking for, and willing to pay for, something more. Andy Tu is EVP of marketing at DEFY Media.
WNPV AM 1440 For a conversation ripped from the headlines, tune in to "Legally Speaking" with the attorneys from Rubin, Glickman, Steinburg and Gifford. Today's show will be hosted by Meyer Simon and Liam Duffy and their topic will be "Child Discipline and Abuse." Tune in at 11:10 AM today at 1440 AM or online at www.wnpv1440.com. Have questions? Call 215-855-8211. That's 11:10 AM today!
WNPV AM 1440 Tune in to 1440 AM tomorrow ... Friday, September 12th ... when Barry Papiernik will host the "Welcome Home" special edition of "Comment, Please by Univest" brought to you by Moyer Indoor/Outdoor. The topic will be home security so be sure to listen at 12:10 PM and call in with your questions ... 215-855-8211 or 800-355-WNPV.

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