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Flyers Can Quickly Turn Season Around with Yeo Behind the Bench

Jacob Scott

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The Philadelphia Flyers elected to go a different coaching direction after their eighth consecutive loss and relieved head coach Alain Vigneault and assistant coach Michel Therrien of their positions. This winless stretch saw the Flyers get a measly two points in the standings and also lose four in a row in regulation.

Mike Yeo was named interim head coach for the Flyers before the team’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. The losing streak is now at nine games, with still just two points, and a minus-26 goal differential.

Mike Yeo, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

There had to be a change since the excuse of having a few players injured was only part of the reason for the recent failures. A change was needed after a bad previous season where the Flyers missed the playoffs and now with the start this year.

Despite all that, it won’t be easy, but there is hope that the Flyers’ season can be saved. The team is only 23 games into an 82-game season, that’s 59 games to go. In recent years, we’ve seen worse odds overcome feats greater than nine points back of a wildcard spot with two games in hand.

How the Flyers’ Players Will React

Depending on your role on the team, a coaching change can be taken in different ways. Young players working hard and struggling for ice time and even games can get more of a shot with a new coach. The coach may not have watched every game this season closely and will want to judge everyone for himself once he is on the scene. This includes practice and games.

Opportunity is huge in the NHL, and different linemates or a new team can do wonders for a player’s career and allow them to reach their full potential. On a team like the Flyers where the lines are pretty spread out and players are able to move up and down the lines easily, this should help Yeo in testing his own line combinations and giving more players a chance.

Veterans and players on expiring contracts might see a change as a wake-up call in that they will take responsibility as a leader for the team’s failures and the firing of a coach. A number of reasons should cause the Flyers to at the very least compete harder and that will lead to more wins. Once the wins come, the confidence shoots up and a confident team is a fun team to play on and a tough one to play against.

Similar Coaching Changes Around the NHL

Sometimes teams are quick to change their coaching staff when something isn’t working out, others wait until there’s a clear picture that a change is needed. The Flyers have the on-ice talent to compete with anyone in the league when healthy, and after an above-average early start to the season, things have gotten derailed.

Sometimes what a coach is preaching just isn’t resonating with his players, and other times, the players and coach just don’t have a good dynamic. After a good amount of changes to the Flyers’ roster since they won the Metropolitan Division two seasons ago, Vigneault may have fallen out of touch or lost his control over the room after all the losses.

Related: Flyers Have 5 Good Options to Replace Vigneault

We’ve already seen a few coaching changes this season from some other struggling teams that were projected to be a lot better than they have shown, and it’s worked out for them so far. Time will tell, but history is on the side of the Flyers to at least end their slide and get themselves into a better position.

Derek King – Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks were the first team to fire their coach this season after a franchise-worst start to their season. There could have been a number of reasons why former head coach Jeremy Colliton lost the room, but with a lot of players tied up to big contracts and the season very young, there was no need to panic and start selling. A coaching change was needed for this team to go in a new direction as they try to find their identity after the dynasty has ended.

Colliton was fired on Nov. 6 and replaced by Derek King from their American Hockey League (AHL) team on an interim basis. After a 1-9-2 start, the Blackhawks have since posted a record of 8-4-0 and won four consecutive games following the coaching change. King has done a lot differently, and most of the time, that’s what a team and players need to succeed and feel confident. The hole they dug was deep, but they have managed to climb their way back to within eight points of a wildcard spot in just 12 games. They still have 58 to go.

Bruce Boudreau – Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks are another team this season that has massively underperformed from their pre-season expectations. Sure, the defence was expected to struggle, but with the additions of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Conor Garland, and the emergence of Vasily Podkolzin, the offence wasn’t supposed to have any difficulty scoring.

Nothing has seemed to work in favour of the Canucks, and they elected to clean house and bring in Bruce Boudreau, who has a history of success. In the first game as head coach, the Canucks recorded their most dominant and lopsided win of the season. The offence was clicking and they recorded their first shutout of the season, finally giving Thatcher Demko some support.

Craig Berube – St. Louis Blues

You might remember the hype around the St. Louis Blues after they acquired Ryan O’Reilly from the Buffalo Sabres in a huge trade during the offseason. The season didn’t get off to the best of starts, and it took until the Blues were 7-9-3 to fire, funny enough, Yeo, and hire Craig Berube.

The Blues went on to make the playoffs and win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, snapping the second-longest active Cup drought. Berube was then awarded a three-year contract as the permanent head coach and the Blues have made the playoffs the following two seasons.

A coaching change can sometimes be all a team needs to point them in the right direction and start winning games. It is a wake-up call to the players to let them know more changes might be coming if there’s no progress, while others see it as an opportunity to impress their new coach and play harder. Hopefully, the trend continues and we see the Flyers make a quick turnaround with lots of games left in their season.

Rob Couch is a THW freelance writer covering mainly the Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers. He covers everything you need to know about fantasy hockey. He will also keep you up to date with the NHL Stat Corner and trade talks from around the NHL.

You can find more of his work on Kraken Chronicle as well as The Faceoff Hockey Network. Or check out some interesting articles here.

Follow Rob on Twitter or his hockey account Stat Hockey for the latest articles, stats, and more.

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‘Moon Knight’ Took Marvel in a Different Orbit, but It Didn’t Rise to the Occasion

Jacob Scott

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Before anyone writes that off as an anomaly, “Eternals” tackled a similar introduction of a dense mythology on the bigger screen, with equally mixed results. It’s a reminder that while film-goers have had more than a decade to get to know characters like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, introducing some of these lesser-known heroes can pose a more formidable challenge beyond catering to the most ardent fans.
For Marvel, there are warning signs in that, since “Moon Knight” will be followed by several series based on second-tier characters, although the next two on the horizon, “Ms. Marvel” (which is due in June) and “She-Hulk,” at least have the benefit of sharing franchises and name recognition with existing Avengers.
Ultimately, “Moon Knight’s” murky storytelling appeared to squander its principal assets, which included the cool look of the character — a costume that was too seldom used — and the presence of Isaac, who possesses additional genre credentials via the “Star Wars” sequels.

Taking its time in peeling back the layers of the character’s complicated backstory, “Moon Knight” took a weird plunge into the Egyptian mythology behind it, in ways that became increasingly confounding and surreal.

By the time the protagonist’s two halves, Steven Grant and Marc Spector, wound up in a psychiatric hospital talking to an anthropomorphic hippo in the penultimate chapter, the question wasn’t so much being able to keep up with the story as whether bothering to do so was worth the effort.

The sixth and final episode brought the plot to a messy close, seeking to stop the goddess Ammit from proceeding to “purify the souls of Cairo, and then the world.” In the customary credit sequence, the producers capped that off by introducing a third personality, Jake Lockley, also rooted in the comics. While that seemingly spelled the end for the show’s villain (Ethan Hawke), the finish — giving the god Khonshu the protégé he sought — paved the way for further adventures should Marvel so choose.

That last twist might be cause for celebration in narrower confines of the Marvel fan universe, but “Moon Knight” too often felt like it was one long Easter-egg sequence, conspicuously preaching to that choir.

Granted, Marvel has made clear that Disney+ offers the chance to explore different kinds of stories, but “Moon Knight” feels at best like a quirky showcase for Isaac and at worst a failed experiment in terms of execution and tone.

That doesn’t mean this “Moon” won’t somehow rise again, if the closely held streaming data justifies it. But the promise that surrounded this property has faded, providing further evidence that even Marvel isn’t immune from setbacks as it moves into its next phase.

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Start-up Pony.ai says it’s the first self-driving company to get a taxi license in China

Jacob Scott

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Autonomous driving start-up Pony.ai can collect fares for robotaxi rides in parts of two major Chinese cities as of Sunday.

Pony.ai handout

BEIJING — Self-driving start-up Pony.ai announced Sunday it received a taxi license, the first of its kind in China.

The license allows Pony.ai to operate 100 self-driving cars as traditional taxis in the Nansha district of the southern city of Guangzhou, the company said.

The Chinese start-up, which is backed by Toyota, received approval from Beijing city late last year to charge fees to operate a commercial robotaxi business in a suburban district of the city. It is not the same as a taxi licence.

Baidu’s Apollo Go also received approval in the same Beijing district last year.

Pony.ai was valued at $8.5 billion in early March. The company said its Nansha taxi license required 24 months of autonomous driving testing in China and/or other countries, and no involvement in any active liability traffic accidents, among other factors.

The start-up said it plans to launch commercial robotaxi businesses in two other large Chinese cities next year. The company is already testing self-driving cars in those cities and in California. 

Robotaxis in China currently have a human driver present for safety.

— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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How to watch Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies: TV channel, NBA live stream info, start time

Jacob Scott

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Who’s Playing

Memphis @ Minnesota

Current Records: Memphis 2-1; Minnesota 1-2

What to Know

The Memphis Grizzlies’ road trip will continue as they head to Target Center at 10 p.m. ET this past Saturday to face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Memphis will be strutting in after a win while Minnesota will be stumbling in from a loss.

The Grizzlies are hoping for another victory. They beat the Timberwolves 104-95 this past Thursday. The victory came about thanks to a strong surge after the first quarter to overcome a 39-21 deficit. Memphis’ success was spearheaded by the efforts of power forward Brandon Clarke, who had 20 points in addition to eight rebounds, and shooting guard Desmond Bane, who shot 7-for-15 from beyond the arc and finished with 26 points and six boards.

Barring any buzzer beaters, Memphis is expected to win a tight contest. They might be worth taking a chance on against the spread as they are currently on a two-game streak of ATS wins.

Memphis’ win brought them up to 2-1 while the Timberwolves’ defeat pulled them down to a reciprocal 1-2. A couple offensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: The Grizzlies come into the game boasting the second most points per game in the league at 115.6. But Minnesota is even better: they rank first in the league when it comes to points per game, with 115.9 on average. Tune in for what’s sure to be a high-scoring contest.

How To Watch

When: Saturday at 10 p.m. ET Where: Target Center — Minneapolis, Minnesota TV: ESPN Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.) Follow: CBS Sports App Ticket Cost: $76.96

Odds

The Grizzlies are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Timberwolves, according to the latest NBA odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Grizzlies as a 3-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

See NBA picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Memphis have won 19 out of their last 28 games against Minnesota.

Apr 21, 2022 – Memphis 104 vs. Minnesota 95 Apr 19, 2022 – Memphis 124 vs. Minnesota 96 Apr 16, 2022 – Minnesota 130 vs. Memphis 117 Feb 24, 2022 – Minnesota 119 vs. Memphis 114 Jan 13, 2022 – Memphis 116 vs. Minnesota 108 Nov 20, 2021 – Minnesota 138 vs. Memphis 95 Nov 08, 2021 – Memphis 125 vs. Minnesota 118 May 05, 2021 – Memphis 139 vs. Minnesota 135 Apr 02, 2021 – Memphis 120 vs. Minnesota 108 Jan 13, 2021 – Memphis 118 vs. Minnesota 107 Jan 07, 2020 – Memphis 119 vs. Minnesota 112 Dec 01, 2019 – Memphis 115 vs. Minnesota 107 Nov 06, 2019 – Memphis 137 vs. Minnesota 121 Mar 23, 2019 – Minnesota 112 vs. Memphis 99 Feb 05, 2019 – Memphis 108 vs. Minnesota 106 Jan 30, 2019 – Minnesota 99 vs. Memphis 97 Nov 18, 2018 – Memphis 100 vs. Minnesota 87 Apr 09, 2018 – Minnesota 113 vs. Memphis 94 Mar 26, 2018 – Memphis 101 vs. Minnesota 93 Dec 04, 2017 – Memphis 95 vs. Minnesota 92 Feb 04, 2017 – Memphis 107 vs. Minnesota 99 Nov 19, 2016 – Memphis 93 vs. Minnesota 71 Nov 01, 2016 – Minnesota 116 vs. Memphis 80 Oct 26, 2016 – Memphis 102 vs. Minnesota 98 Mar 16, 2016 – Minnesota 114 vs. Memphis 108 Feb 19, 2016 – Memphis 109 vs. Minnesota 104 Jan 23, 2016 – Minnesota 106 vs. Memphis 101 Nov 15, 2015 – Memphis 114 vs. Minnesota 106

Injury Report for Minnesota

No Injury Information

Injury Report for Memphis

Dillon Brooks: Game-Time Decision (Foot) Santi Aldama: Out (Knee) Killian Tillie: Out (Knee)

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