What can Josh Harris do for the Devils?

Over the last several years, Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek has been trying to keep the team from bankruptcy. He bought out his former co-owners and refinanced his team’s debt. Still, payments never came in on time. Speculation is roaming that the team and Vanderbeek are now around $200 million in debt.

Rumors surfaced that the NHL was getting ready to take temporary control of the money-strapped franchise — the way they had with the Phoenix Coyotes. However, Commissioner Gary Bettman shot down any such rumors, leaving the Devils’ future in suspended limbo.

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After missing the playoffs for the second time in five years, the Devils may now have financial stability to look forward to.

Almost simultaneously, new rumors emerged that billionaire Josh Harris, current owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, was ready and willing to buy the team. If Harris buys the team, or at least makes himself a co-owner of the team, he will most certainly get the team out of their financial troubles.

The thought of a man from the Philadelphia area owning the Devils will worry a large part of the Devils fan base, not surprising considering the Devils and Flyers rivalry is one of the most intense in the NHL, but if the Devils fans can look beyond his ties to Philadelphia, they will see how much this will benefit the Devils in the future.

Perhaps the two most important things that will come about if Harris purchases the Devils are, as stated before, that the team will be out of debt and will be ready and willing to spend money to put a consistent contender on the ice. The team will also stay in New Jersey for the foreseeable future.

One other thing that worries Devils fans is the performance of the Sixers under Harris’s tenure. Since purchasing the team in July of 2011, Philadelphia has not managed to win more than 35 games in a regular season and missed the playoffs this last season.

However, the blame most definitely falls on the general manager and coaching staff. Comparing the accomplishments of Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie to those of Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello isn’t even fair. Regardless of who owns the Devils, Lamoriello puts a consistent contender on the ice season in and season out. This will not change if Harris purchases the Devils.

Compared to how long it took him to buy the Sixers, the negotiations with Vanderbeek are speeding along and a deal seems imminent in the near future, which is finally some great news for the Devils and their fans who haven’t had much to celebrate this summer.

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NFL Preseason Picks: Philadelphia Eagles

JIMMY’S PICKS

Redskins 9-7

Dallas Cowboys 8-8

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Oh, the Philadelphia Eagles. What a long, strange offseason it has been. With the climatic firing of Andy Reid and the acquisition of Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, the Eagles seemingly made a step in the right direction going into the 2013 football season. With his read-option/ spread offense that is paced to run about 85 plays a game, Kelly could quite possibly revolutionize the way that professional football is played on the offensive side of the ball. However, a somewhat mediocre quarterback battle paired with mounting injuries has kept the birds flightless for the time being. And one can’t forget the enormous elephant named Riley Cooper that still dwells in the locker room in wake of the team’s latest distraction – as if it hasn’t been covered enough.

A faster offense means less rest for defenders. Trent Cole and Demeco Ryans need to step up this season.

A faster offense means less rest for defenders. Trent Cole and Demeco Ryans need to step up this season.

The Eagles offense is a mess, simply put. Many an Eagle fan will sing praise for what Chip Kelly is bringing to the league; the speed and hastiness of his offense, they believe, is going to dominate opponents. But, in order to have a dominant offense, one must first have a quarterback. It’s understood that other teams are also in quarterback disputes this offseason, but none of those teams had posted a record over .500 last season. With mounting injuries and an air of uncertainty about who goes where, it’s really difficult to see the Eagles making that step into a serious threat on the offensive side of the ball. Their receivers are dropping like flies and they have made little to no improvement on a complete dilapidation of an offensive line. Sure, when this offense gets going it will provide the promised flash and spectacle that the fans are wishing to see, but it should not be expected this season.

In 2010, the Eagles appeared to make all of the right choices on the defensive side of the ball. They retained Justin Babin, and formulated a secondary that seemed daunting to even the sharpest of quarterbacks. Going into 2013, defense seems like a sore subject for Philly, who needs to get a grip on its defense if it is ever going to keep up with its division rivals. Getting Patrick Chung will definitely help them in coverage, but he can only help so much. Linebackers DeMeco Ryans and Trent Cole absolutely have to step up and become a dominant duo in order for their defense to work this season.

Prediction:

It’s hard to see the Eagles having too much more success than they had last season. With controversy, distraction, and a new coaching staff, Philadelphia is going to have to overcome a lot of obstacles just in the preseason in order to have momentum going into September. My prediction for the Eagles is going to be, what I believe to be a very generous estimate, 6-10. The offense is brand new, meaning that there are going to be growing pains that last until the middle of the season at the earliest. Their defense is a giant question mark also, and was very hot-and-cold last year to say the least. Who knows: maybe Chip Kelly and the boys will completely shock the world and go on a trailblazing run. Oh wait, this isn’t college — this is the NFL. Things are much more predictable. And as far as rebuilding goes, this year does not bode well for the birds.