Flyers

Flyers trade Taylor Leier to Sabres for Justin Bailey

Flyers trade Taylor Leier to Sabres for Justin Bailey

General manager Chuck Fletcher isn't exactly blowing fans away with blockbusters.

However, he is starting to make an imprint.

Fletcher on Thursday night made his second trade by sending forward Taylor Leier to the Sabres in exchange for forward Justin Bailey. The move comes less than a week after he dealt forward Jordan Weal to the Coyotes.

Leier, 24, did not play a game for the Flyers this season after playing 39 in 2017-18. The 2012 fourth-round pick surprised many by making the club's opening night roster last season but Leier slowly lost his role as a fourth-line, penalty-kill guy, playing just nine games after the calendar flipped to 2018.

This season, he had 19 points (10 goals, nine assists) in 34 games with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. Before being traded, he was starting to turn himself into a call-up candidate, scoring 10 points (six goals, four assists) in his last 10 games with the Phantoms.

For obvious reasons, though, Fletcher had no ties to Leier, who is set to become a restricted free agent in the offseason and is making just $720,000 in 2018-19.

It's as simple as Fletcher probably liked Bailey's size and prospects more than he did with Leier. Bailey, a 23-year-old right winger, is 6-foot-4, 214 pounds and will also be a restricted free agent in the summer. In 37 games this season with the Sabres' AHL affiliate Rochester, Bailey, a 2013 second-round pick, had nine goals and 11 assists.

Over the previous three seasons, he has put up five goals and three assists in 52 games with the Sabres. He also owns a pair of 20-goal seasons with Rochester and, interestingly, his father Carlton Bailey played 10 seasons in the NFL.

While fans' patience may be growing a bit thin with Fletcher, wanting the GM to make more notable moves, it's important to remember the trade deadline isn't until Feb. 25. There's no real rush, especially when dealing with franchise-changing calls.

Bigger decisions, principally with Wayne Simmonds, will ultimately come. Meanwhile, the Flyers have won three of their last four games and face the Canadiens Saturday before not playing again until Jan. 28 because of the bye week.

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Flyers cover Kate Smith statue, remove her 'God Bless America' after racist songs come to light

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AP Images/NBC Sports Philadelphia

Flyers cover Kate Smith statue, remove her 'God Bless America' after racist songs come to light

The Flyers have removed Kate Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" from their music library and covered up the statue of the opera singer near the Wells Fargo Center in light of several songs by Smith containing racist lyrics being unearthed.

Here is a statement released by the team Friday morning:

We have recently become aware that several songs performed by Kate Smith contain offensive lyrics that do not reflect our values as an organization. As we continue to look into this serious matter, we are removing Kate Smith's recording of 'God Bless America' from our library and covering up the statue that stands outside of our arena.

Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" was first played at select Flyers home games in the late 1960s. She first sung the song live in Philadelphia in 1973. Smith died at 79 years old in 1986 and her statue originally stood outside of the Spectrum. Now, it stands outside of XFINITY Live!


(NBC Sports Philadelphia)

The Flyers' decision comes in the wake of a New York Daily News report, which stated the Yankees were no longer going to play Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch because of Smith's history of potential racism.

Below is a section of the report:

Smith was a famous singer before and during WWII who recorded the offensive jingle, 'Pickaninny Heaven' which she directed at 'colored children' who should fantasize about an amazing place with 'great big watermelons,' among other treats. She shot a video for that song that takes place in an orphanage for black children, and much of the imagery is startlingly racist. She also recorded, 'That’s Why Darkies Were Born,' which included the lyrics, 'Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.'

In recent years past, before very select home games, whether it be a big playoff contest or a special occasion, Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" would play in cohesion with team anthemist Lauren Hart singing live, making for a duet.

That will no longer be the case moving forward.

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2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule: Sharks face elimination against Golden Knights

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USA Today Images

2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule: Sharks face elimination against Golden Knights

Many pinned the Sharks as a favorite to make a run at the 2019 Stanley Cup, especially with the addition of Erik Karlsson.

On Thursday night, they face elimination in the first round against the Golden Knights, who hold a commanding two-game series advantage.

Below is the full schedule for Day 9 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. You can watch the entire playoffs on the networks of NBC.

Washington Capitals at Carolina Hurricanes (WSH 2-1)
Game 4, Eastern Conference first round
7 p.m. ET | TV: NBCSN | Live stream here

St. Louis Blues at Winnipeg Jets (tied 2-2)
Game 5, Western Conference first round
8:30 p.m. ET | TV: USA | Live stream here

Vegas Golden Knights at San Jose Sharks (3-1 VGK)
Game 5, Western Conference first round
10 p.m. ET | TV: NBCSN | Live stream here