So, when does Eagles training camp begin?
The Flyers gave it all they had, but came up one goal short in Game 7 of a grueling series that went the distance. Tim Panaccio has Jeremy Roenick calling the loss "devastating." Phil Sheridan quotes JR as saying "there was no better shot than this year" to win the Cup. Tough loss indeed. When the final horn sounded, many of the Flyers were bent over, in sheer exhaustion and disbelief. Sam Donnellon says these guys have nothing to hang their heads over. He references a favorite Cheers quote of mine, spoken by "the great philosopher" Norm Peterson: "It's a dog-eat-dog world and I'm wearing Milkbone underwear," and suggests this could be the new Philadelphia slogan, since our sports teams seem to always take us to the brink of a parade, only to have the carpet pulled from under them. Rich Hofmann gives kudos to coach Hithcock, calling his hiring "the best move this franchise has made in a generation," which bodes well for the Flyers next season. If there's a next season. If there's an NHL. Ed Moran says Robert Esche was happy to prove "a lot of people wrong." Moran also captures two unique (and very different) perspectives of the future from Esche and Roenick. Which side is closer to reality? Moran leans toward the dark and foreboding it seems. Chuck Bausman says its pretty amazing that the Flyers got this far, seeing as some of them were playing with serious injuries, such as Kim Johnsson playing with a broken hand. In yesterday's Inquirer, Panaccio had an "update" on the Ken Hitchcock/Italian community uprising story. There didn't seem to be anything new here than what he'd already reported earlier except for the revelation that WIP's Al Morganti's full name is Alfonso Morganti.
On the brighter side of things, the Phillies continued their winning ways yesterday. Todd Zolecki has Jim Thome complimenting his teammates, because "our bench guys have really stepped up." Bernard Fernandez has Larry Bowa calling them a "special bench." Zolecki's notebook has a few injury updates, including Thome, who will be "ready to play Tuesday" against the Mets, and closer Billy Wagner who is "pretty much not pitching for two-and-a-half weeks." In yesterday's Boston Herald, Tony Massarotti had Dodger's manager Jim Tracy complaining about the "hitter (homerun) friendly" confines of Citizens Bank Park. According to Massarotti, the Phils are on pace to knock in "a preposterous 157 home runs" out of their new park this season.
Phil Jasner writes that Billy King will be bringing a lucky charm with him to Wednesday's NBA lottery. He also mentions St. Joe's Jameer Nelson and Delonte West's workout schedule, including a visit to the Nets tomorrow. Shira Springer of the Boston Globe mentions that he's scheduled to visit with the Celtics in June. And in further evidence that he can never truly close doors of his past, Steve Bulpett tells how Larry Brown recently noted that NBA official Joey Crawford missed games of the playoffs with plantar fasciitis, while his player, Rasheed Wallace, was still toughing it out. Then Brown admitted he was "joking" and that "Billy King told me to say that. He and Joey are both Philly guys."
Finally, in yesterday's New York Post, Peter Vecsey was a bit puzzled at the "not-so-subtle smack" that Phil Jackson allegedly laid down after the Lakers victory in Game 1. I heard Jackson's postgame press conference, and while certainly no Jackson apologist, I am puzzled at Vecsey's reaction to a non-story. If you take Jackson's comments in context, he was happy to have taken Game 1, and home court advantage of the Western Conference Finals, since they would now be able to win the series "with games on their home court." In other words, in winning Game 1, the Lakers stole home court advantage, and, by winning their 3 home games during the course of the series, the Lakers would move onto the Finals. Vecsey, along with Ernie Johnson in TNT's postgame show Inside the NBA, seem to have taken Jackson's words in ways they were not said.
The Phillies are off today. ESPN has Game 2 of Pistons-Pacers at 8.