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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 Four tickets to this year's Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire have been returned to WNPV because the winners can't use them. Each ticket is worth $29.95 but the Faire ends October 26th. If you will use them, send an email to lmoskal@wnpv1440.com. First email received wins. You will have to pick them up at the radio station at 1210 Snyder Road, Lansdale, PA.
WNPV AM 1440 Consumers Feeling More Secure as 2014 Flies By NEW YORK, September 23, 2014 -- With the holiday season fast approaching, Americans say they're feeling more financially stable, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. 81% of employed Americans report that their jobs are more than or just as stable as one year ago (up significantly from 69% in 2011). The outlook is picking up, but still less than half of consumers expect finances to change for the better in the next six months (45% vs. 39% in 2013). An increase in stability could signal a higher willingness to spend, as nearly three quarters of consumers (73% vs. 66% in 2013) say they're spending as much or more than they expected on life's little extras, like fashion accessories and leisure activities. Large & Small: Where Americans Are Spending it All With less than four months to go in 2014, more Americans say they're planning to make large purchases before the end of the year (62% vs. 51% in 2013). Additionally, more consumers report having already purchased big ticket items this year (42% vs. 39% in 2013).
Penn Foundation Listen to Darryl Berger's interview with Judy Collins on today's Comment Please by Univest! WNPV AM 1440
September 26, 2014 - Comment Please, By Univest wnpv1440.com WNPV AM 1440 - Radio Station in Lansdale, PA 215-855-8211
WNPV AM 1440 Shoppers Need Cross-Channel Integration, Too by Steve Smith, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014 Cross-channel, omnichannel, multiscreen: Call it what you will. Marketers are scrambling to track consumer across this increasingly fragmented terrain of devices and touchpoints. Integration, seamlessness, connecting the dots: Call that what you will, too. Marketers are trying to knit it all together for themselves. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that consumers most of all are the ones who need to “connect the dots,” find cross-platform seamlessness, etc. American consumers have been very good at jerry-rigging modern technology to serve purposes the gadget inventors never imagined. How many of use are still emailing articles to ourselves from handsets simply because publishers don’t make it easy for us to save content for perusing in-depth on the screen we like? The same is true for shopping, where people evolved a host of their own cell phone tricks to use in store, from showrooming to sending snaps to spouses from the cereal aisle to confirm this is the brand Junior wants. Marketers have not been able to keep up with and serve the habits people are developing ad hoc out of the technology that has been handed them. People, perhaps more than marketers, need seamlessness and cross-channel integration. According to a new survey of 1,000 grocery shoppers with devices, for instance, 45% of moms said they craved most the ability to clip coupons and add deals and promotions directly to their store loyalty card. Forty percent of dads agreed. The survey was conducted by Gannett’s local digital marketing company G/O Digital. The path to purchase is clearly elongated and multiscreened. For instance, the pre-shopping phase of looking for sale items on desktop or device before leaving the house is important to 40% of moms and 30% of dads, but more often the pre-shopping phase is occasional and driven by curiosity about a specific product or category. Interestingly, only 19% of moms and 26% of dads say they go right to the store without prep and intend to look up deals in the venue. But this pre-shopping is critical, as 59% of moms and 51% of dads agree that the sale items they find online strongly influence the supermarket they choose. Whether, when and how social networks actually influence shopping decisions has been a controversial issue for years. But when it comes to users interacting with brands, the G/O survey makes clear that Facebook is far and away the place to be. More than half (55%) of moms and 47% of dads say Facebook is the channel they find most useful in interacting with brands, compared to 7% for Pinterest, 5% for Twitter and 1% for Instagram. But keep in mind that a third or more of consumers say there is no channel they find useful for engaging with food or beverage brands. In terms of actual influence on purchase decisions, consumers seem mixed on the power of social nets. Most say it doesn’t influence decisions at all or that it may be important but is only part of a larger process of research. But again, integration could be an important element in the influence of social media. The Facebook feature that would be most likely to propel a purchase is an offer than can be redeemed at a local store. While 53% of moms agreed this was most important, 41% of dads thought so. In-store device use is still an evolving habit, however. Only 19% of moms and 16% of dads feel it is very important for them to look up circulars and promotions in the aisles. A larger 36% to 37% of parents say instead that this access is somewhat important and that they are more likely to purchase a product if they find a deal on their handset. Localization is key. When asked about the most frustrating part of mobile advertising and promotion for food and beverage items, 35% of moms and 29% of dads both cited most often that promotions are not locally relevant to the products or the prices that are in the store. I would argue also that it is the local inaccuracy and lack of reliability in local mobile couponing that inhibits the platform’s use. There is nothing more aggravating or embarrassing than presenting a coupon at checkout and having it declined because of its small print provisions or inapplicability to that locale. For mobile couponing in particular, this is an issue. Many coupon-scraping operations are not geo-fencing offers, but pull in anything and everything they can find. This makes for in-store disappointment that consumers don’t forget. The G/O survey suggests that consumers will use mobile promotions if they are confident in the seamlessness of the experience. Steve Smith is the Editorial Director, Events at MediaPost where he oversees all OMMA and Insider Summit event content. He is also the longtime Mobile Insider/MoBlog columnist for Mobile Marketing Daily. A recovering academic who taught media studies at Brown and University of Virginia, he spent the last decade as a digital media critic for numerous publications and as a digital strategy consultant. He also writes for Media Industry Newsletter and eContent magazine.
WNPV AM 1440 The balcony tickets for the Jimmy Fortune concert are now gone. You can still win general admission tickets, though, by listening to Darryl Berger from 6 AM til 9 AM weekdays.
WNPV AM 1440 While Darryl Berger is giving away General Admission tickets to the Jimmy Fortune concert on October 18th at Penndale Middle School during the "AM Edition," we have 10 pair of Balcony tickets available for the first 10 people to "Like" this posting. Tickets can also be purchased at Bishop Fencing and Outdoor Products in Souderton, or at Lin's Junction or Henning's Trains in Lansdale. Proceeds benefit the North Penn Volunteer Fire Company.

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