Flyer Fights: Sestito's Gonna Get a Shanny; Avery's Threats, Simmonds Uses Slur

Flyer Fights: Sestito's Gonna Get a Shanny; Avery's Threats, Simmonds Uses Slur

The preseason's not even over yet, and the Flyers are in all likelihood about to have their second player suspended. Jody Shelley was the first to receive a detailed video explanation by new disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, and I'll be shocked if Tom Sestito doesn't join him tomorrow. In the first period of what would become a rough preseason tilt between the Flyers and the New York Rangers, Sestito took a few full strides before smearing Andre Deveaux from behind, starting a near line-brawl.

Unfortunately, amidst an increasingly rough game, Sean Avery says Wayne Simmonds used a homophobic slur when the two were battling. Katie Strang relayed that news from Avery, and it appears to be the case in watching this video.

If that is indeed what Simmonds said, it's a terrible way to ruin any positivity he'd gain by mixing it up with Avery so early in his Flyers career. More importantly, it's a terrible follow-up to the hateful act Simmonds himself was a victim of just last week. Simmonds was responding to what we hear in the video below: Avery clearly saying he'll "kill Giroux" in retaliation for what other Flyers—namely Sestito—are doing. What we have here, from on the tight camera footage and on-ice mics, is a look at the hockey world we know exists but rarely see up close. When it goes to the living rooms though—and it increasingly will—the league and players will be forced to answer for it.

Both Simmonds' comment and Avery's were in a heated moment, and god only knows what these guys say to each other on the ice even in passing much less when they're ready to go at it. But increased media visibility is going to show more of this to the fans who are tuning in to watch hockey, and there's no question the league will feel compelled to do something about it. We know what Simmonds allegedly said is not uncommon on the playing surface, but it's long since time to put an end to that part of sports culture.

Say what you will about Avery on the ice, but he is one of the foremost advocates of gay rights
in all of sports. To my knowledge, it's his lone redeeming quality, as
evidenced by what you heard above, which is what he's spending most of
his on-ice time doing. After the game, Avery spoke out against what happened to Simmonds in London, Ontario, as well as what Simmonds said tonight.

"It is really disappointing," Avery said, in response to a line of questions focusing entirely on the incidents involving Simmonds. "First of all, who would do that? And why would you do it? It just such an unnecessary thing. It’s something that’s not even an issue with us or our sport. So to be here now and having to answer your questions about what he did is disappointing for me.”

Again, this is coming from the guy threatening metaphorical death but at least bodily harm to the Flyers' star, but on its own, the statement is hard to disagree with.

To his credit, Simmonds didn't want to talk about the on-ice exchange after the game and wouldn't confirm what he said, nor what Avery had said to him prior to it, but did say Avery sucker punched him and said something. “Honestly, we were going back and forth for a while. I don’t recall everything that I said to him. He said some things that I didn’t like and I said some things that he didn’t like. I don’t recall every single word I said." 

[Update: On Tuesday, Simmonds denied using the slur.]

While on the one hand you want to see the players handle their own business, and not dictate the media a transcript of the event, it's almost a moot point what they say in the locker room afterward. With today's access to the sights and sounds of the game, everyone already had the raw footage or soon would. The immediacy of videos being posted to Twitter and YouTube takes the steam out of the "it's just the way it is in hockey," and the logic supporting that argument was already on shaky ground. 

As for Simmonds... I'm glad that just barely into his career with the Flyers, he was so vehemently ready to go to war for a threatened teammate. I don't mind some trash talk either. But try to say something that gets under Avery's skin while not being hateful toward a community of people. It's not always easy to come up with something vicious yet PC, but you know you messed up when you've given Sean Avery the high ground on a night when he was being, well, Sean Avery.

First video via HockeyFights.com, second via SNY Rangers Blog.

NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

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NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: NBC Sports Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Deadline: November 20

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
• Cultivate new account leads for local sales
• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
• Update Customer database
• Other various projects as assigned

Requirements

1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
6. Must be a student in pursuit of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Juris Doctor degree
7. Must have unrestricted authorization to work in the US
8. Must have sophomore standing or above
9. Must have a 3.0 GPA

Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

About NBC internships

Flyers Notes: Connor McDavid comes to town; Matt Read to play?

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Flyers Notes: Connor McDavid comes to town; Matt Read to play?

Believe it or not, the Flyers are "aware" of 21-year-old Oilers phenom Connor McDavid. That doesn't make preparing for the 2017 Art Ross Trophy (most points in NHL) winner any easier, let alone slow him down.

“You have to be understated a little bit and say you're going to be aware when he's on the ice, but obviously there's more to it," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said of McDavid Friday. "He's a heck of a player and a guy that can make something happen at any time.”

McDavid has picked up right where he left off last season when he led the NHL with 100 points and 70 assists. Six games into the '17-18 campaign, the third-year centerman already has three goals and five assists, and he's doing it in style. His two helpers helped lift Edmonton over the Blackhawks on Thursday, one of which led to the game-winner in overtime, the other — a no-look, behind-the-back pass — making highlight reels everywhere.

So, yeah, the Flyers are well aware of McDavid and what he's capable of. That doesn't mean he'll be easy to stop.

"We just have to take time and space away from him," defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said. "That's the biggest thing. You just can't give him the space out there. He's going to wind it up and wheel.

“We're aware of it. We're going to stick to our gameplan, nothing special, but obviously be aware when he's on the ice.”

The Flyers knew all about McDavid last season, too. He still managed to find the back of the net twice and rack up three assists in those two meetings.

McDavid has also experienced success against both of the Flyers netminders. As a member of the Flames, probable starter Brian Elliott posted an 0-3-1 record with a .870 save percentage in four appearances against the Oilers in '16-17. Michal Neuvirth was 0-1 and allowed six goals in his only meeting.

It seems all the Flyers can do is be aware of the challenges McDavid presents.

"Probably everywhere they go, they have reporters asking the other team what their plan is against him," Elliott said.

“He's just a unique talent that you have to be aware of at all times. He's able to make plays that a lot of other guys aren't. You just have to be on your toes. You have to respect him, but you have to play your game and make sure you're tough no matter who it is out there.”

Laughton confident
Brandon Manning isn't the only member of the Flyers who has experience with McDavid.  Scott Laughton has been up close and personal with the budding superstar, having played against each other in juniors and gone to some of the same camps.

With Laughton centering the fourth line, he should have some opportunities to put his familiarity of McDavid to the test. The Flyers are going to need any advantage they can get — no matter how small or insignificant it might seem.

"I went to a pro camp with McDavid in Toronto in the summer, and he's special," Laughton said. "He's got the best hands I've seen. He's a world-class talent.

“At the same time, tomorrow I'm going to try to limit his space, get in his face and make it hard for him to get going and get speed. I think I can try to keep up with him once I get my speed going.”

Laughton seemed confident about potentially matching up against McDavid. At least he has a plan, anyway.

“There's not much you can do," Laughton said. You just have to be hard to play against, be in his face all night and kind of get him off his game that way.”

Injury report
Flyers forwards Wayne Simmonds and Taylor Leier both missed Friday's skate with what the club termed as maintenance days.

Simmonds was already dealing with a lower-body injury before he was clipped in the face by a stick during Thursday's 1-0 loss to the Predators. It doesn't sound like anything that should prevent the 10-year veteran from suiting up against the Oilers, but clearly, he's banged up right now.

Leier's absence was a bit more of a mystery, and given the 23-year-old rookie's inexperience, missing practice would seem to point to an injury of some kind.

In a bit of good news on the injury front, Jordan Weal returned to practice for the Flyers. However, he refused to let on as to whether he'll be on the ice Saturday.

“Just got out there, went for a twirl," Weal said. "It's day-to-day right now, so just taking it day-by-day.”

Matt Read replaced Simmonds during the skate, and could be preparing to make his regular-season debut. Read joined Weal and Valtteri Filppula on Simmonds' unit, while Jori Lehtera took Leier's place on the fourth line.

Don't read too much into those combinations, however, as the availability of Simmonds, Weal and Leier will no doubt play a role.

Sanheim sticks in the lineup
Following his strong showing against Nashville on Thursday, it appears rookie defenseman Travis Sanheim will suit up for his second game in a row.

Sanheim was a healthy scratch for the Flyers' previous two contests but drew rave reviews for his performance against the Predators. He was paired with Radko Gudas at practice, while Gostisbehere and Robert Hagg continued their partnership.

Manning may be the odd man out on Saturday, despite his history with McDavid. Ivan Provorov and Andrew MacDonald remained a unit at practice, with Manning getting some work in MacDonald's spot.

Manning was hopeful he would be in uniform. Hakstol, on the other hand, downplayed Manning's personal rivalry with McDavid as it pertains to any decision about which defensemen will skate.

“It's a situation for us every game where we have that tough decision," Hakstol said. "Regardless of whether it's one particular team, we'll look at it situationally and consider all of those factors as to who the six are that dress tomorrow. There's a lot of different factors involved."