Reyes: Flashing the Leather

Logo for Flashing the Leather column. - Graphic / Spencer Reyes

The Turnpike Rivalry Evens Out

The New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers duked it out for the second time this season on Dec. 3 at Wells Fargo Center. It was a long, sloppy game by both teams, but the Devils came out on top, 3-2.

The shots on goal tell one story but the rest of the statistics tell another.

The Devils only had 18 total shots yielding to three goals, while the Flyers had 33 shots on net and turned two of them into goals. New Jersey was only able to muster 12 shots in almost two periods, as the Flyers kept piling shots on the AHL goalie, Akira Schmid.

The 22-year-old, Czech Republic native started his fourth game of the season and had a .939 save percentage on the night allowing one even-strength goal and another during the power play. Schmid was called up due to Mackenzie Blackwood’s injury in mid-November, leaving Nico Daws as the starter for the AHL, Utica Comets. 

The Flyers sent out their 2016 second-round draft pick at net, who let up three goals to move his win-loss record to .500 (7-7).

This is Carter Hart’s fifth season in Philadelphia and is expected to be their goalie for the foreseeable future. In his first two seasons, the 24-year-old almost won the Calder Memorial Trophy and made the All-Star Game. 

Neither team was able put any shots in the net for the first period. One of the new Devils wingers, Erik Haula, went to the penalty box for hooking, while Flyers finish defenseman, Rasmus Ristolainen, tripped the Devils captain, Nico Hischier.

The second period was more energetic for both teams, as each club scored a goal. The Swedish winger, Fabian Zetterlund scored first, for his fifth goal of the year with assists from Miles Wood and Michael McCloud. The 24th overall pick from the 2015 Draft scored his ninth of the 2022 season, assisted by Noah Cates and assistant, Kevin Hayes.

The Devils were charged with a hooking and slashing penalty for Brendan Smith and Alexander Holtz, while the Flyers were given a two-minute minor to Justin Braun for high-sticking.

New Jersey started to break away in the final period. Dawson Mercer scored with assist again from Miles Wood and was followed up five minutes later by former first-overall pick, Jack Hughes, who was assisted by Erik Haula.

Lukas Sedlak scored the lone goal of the third period for the Flyers, with assists from Travis Sanheim and Tony DeAngelo. Morgan Frost served the only penalty of the final period when he slashed Fabian Zetterlund.

The Devils have evened the series this season to 1-1. They lost 5-2 in Philadelphia in the season opener. These two teams will face off for the last time in 2022 on Dec. 15 at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.

The Crime Dog Enters Cooperstown

Every January, baseball fans look forward to the announcement of the Cooperstown Hall of Fame Ballot results. Every year, nearly 500 writers vote on the top players on the ballot. In order to get on the ballot, the players have to fulfill the following criteria: they must be five years removed from playing and played for at least ten seasons. Most people believe that the voting done by the Baseball Writer’s Association of America (BBWAA) is the only way in, however there is another way for some legends to get in.

A 16-member committee votes on players who did not win at least 75% of the vote on in the traditional BBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot and played after 1980. Each player on the new ballot needs at least 12 of the 16 members to approve their Hall of Fame status. Former players, Albert Belle, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro, and Curt Schilling were all on this year’s ballot. 

Fred McGriff won the ballot becoming the second person ever to unanimously win the Contemporary Ballot. The five-time All-star played for six different in 19 seasons from 1986-2004. He was a part of the 1995 Atlanta Braves championship team, the 1994 All-Star Game MVP, and winner of three Sliver Slugger Awards. The Florida native had a career batting average of .284, including 493 home runs, 1550 RBI’s, 1349 runs, 4458 total bases and a slugging percentage of .509.

McGriff was mostly known for his time with the Atlanta Braves when they made the playoffs four times in five years. In that half of a decade, he batted .303, hit 57 times and achieved 100 total bases in 50 games. The Crime Dog truly deserves this nomination and unanimous vote into the Cooperstown Hall of Fame.

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