Eric Fisher’s weekly column about a variety of topics. This week Eric serves up opinions on the lack of anticipation for spring training, Brian Dawkins and Terrell Owens not being selected for the Hall of Fame, and two examples of outstanding sports writing by Inquirer columnist Mike Sielski.
A quick look at 10 sports stories in the news…
1. Flyers fend off Canucks Flyers scores game’s first 3 goals, hang on for 3-2 victory over host Canucks, salvaging Western Canada trip after losses to Flames, Oilers. Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn score power play goals. Jakub Voracek scores his 1st goal in 10 games. Shayne Gostisbehere assists on all 3 goals. Voracek, Schenn score 1:27 apart early in 2nd period to give Flyers 3-0 lead, but Canucks score twice in 2nd to reduce lead to 3-2. Defenseman Andrew MacDonald a healthy scratch. Forward Jordan Weal misses game with “upper body” injury. Dale Weise replaces Weal in lineup. Flyers to host Capitals on Wednesday (8 p.m.).
2. Report: Simmons’ foot not fully healed Bone scan on Jan. 23 showed Ben Simmons’ fracture in right foot not fully healed, according to report by Inquirer’s Keith Pompey. Sources tell Pompey that scan Simmons will return to Hospital for Special Surgery in New York to check if Jones fracture of fifth metatarsal in right foot fully healed. Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo releases statement saying Simmons scheduled for scan Thursday, but does not deny report that fracture not fully healed. Colangelo, Sixers head coach Brett Brown have said within past week that Simmons expected to return this season.
3. Eflin’s knees sore Pitcher Zach Eflin, who had surgery on both knees, does not throw Friday due to swelling in knees. Freddy Galvis, citing groin injury, to skip World Baseball Classic, remain with Phillies throughout spring training.
4. Reports: Pelicans acquire Cousins Pelicans, reportedly interested in Sixers center Jahlil Okafor, instead acquire DeMarcus Cousins from Kings, according to multiple reports. Trade reportedly sends Cousins, Omar Casspi to Pelicans in exchange for guard Tyreke Evans, rookie guard Buddy Hield, former St. Joseph’s guard Langston Galloway and first and second-round selections in this year’s NBA Draft. Cousins is averaging 27.8 points, 10.6 rebounds this season.
5. Davis, West outguns East Pelicans center Anthony Davis scores 52 points, an NBA All-Star Game record, as West defeats East, 192-182. Wilt Chamberlain set previous record of 42 in 1962. On Friday, Sixers forward Dario Saric scores 17 points to help World defeat USA, 150-141, in Rising Stars Challenge, which is part of All-Star weekend. Jahlil Okafor scores 10 points for U.S. team. Joel Embiid selected to play in game, but watches from bench due to knee injury. Pacers’ Glenn Robinson III wins slam dunk contest, Rockets’ Eric Gordon wins 3-point shooting contest, Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis wins skills contest.
6. Quakers win 4th straight Darnell Foreman scores 15 points to lead 5 Penn players in double figures as Quakers defeat host Yale, 71-55, for their 4th straight win, pulling into tie with Columbia for 4th place in Ivy League. Top four teams will take part in inaugural Ivy League postseason tournament on March 11-12 at Palestra. In another game Sunday, Conn’s Jalen Adams makes reverse layup with 2.9 seconds remaining to lift Connecticut to 64-63 victory over host Temple, which blew 10-point lead. On Saturday, La Salle builds 18-point lead by halftime, B.J. Johnson and Jordan Price score 18 points apiece as Explorers hand visiting Saint Joseph’s its sixth straight defeat, 83-68; Jalen Brunson scores 22 points, dishes out 10 assists as 2nd-ranked Villanova clinches at least a share of their 4th straight Big East regular-season title with 92-70 triumph over host Seton Hall at Prudential Center, and Elon defeats host Drexel, 65-56, despite career highs of 18 points, 12 rebounds by senior Mohamed Bah.
7. Massimino, Webber among Hall finalists Rollie Massimino, who guided Villanova to NCAA Championship in 1985, and Chris Webber, who spent time with Sixers, among 14 finalists for Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Other finalists for class of 2017 include Tracy McGrady, Tim Hardaway, Sidney Moncrief and former UConn star Rebecca Lobo. Two coaches with local connections, former Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan and current Notre Dame women’s coach Muffett McGraw, also among finalists.
8. Celtics, Thomas top Sixers Isaiah Thomas pours in 33 points, Marcus Smart adds 21 as Celtics defeat visiting Sixers, 116-108, in Sixers’ final game before All-Star break and Feb. 23 trade deadline. Dario Saric paces Sixers with 20 points, 11 rebounds. Robert Covington contributes 18 points — all in 1st half — and 9 rebounds, but hits head while colliding with Boston bench late in 4th quarter. Nerlens Noel adds 16 points. After not playing Saturday and not accompanying team to Charlotte for Monday’s game, Jahlil Okafor rejoins team, scores 4 points in 17 minutes. Joel Embiid (knee) misses 11th straight game.
9. Earnhardt returns to track After being sidelined for 2nd portion of 2016 due to concussion, Dale Earnhardt Jr. registers 11th fastest time during practice laps at Daytona. During pole qualifying on Sunday, Earnhardt finishes 2nd to Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott, who edges Earnhardt by .002 seconds to earn his 2nd consecutive Daytona 500 pole.
10. Wrestling legends Steele, Koloff die Former professional wrestling stars George “The Animal” Steele, Ivan Koloff die. Steele, known for his unusual style and look, dies of kidney disease at age 79. Away from ring, Steele (real name Jim Myers) was high school teacher and coach in Michigan. Koloff, best known for ending Bruno Sammartino’s nearly 8-year reign as WWWF (WWE) champion in 1971, dies at 74 due to liver disease. Koloff (real name Oreal Perras) continued to be top talent around the country through late 1980s.
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Penn 96, Brown 72
Villanova 92, Seton Hall 70
Elon 65, Drexel 56
La Salle 83, St. Joseph’s 68
Flyers 3, Vancouver 2
Penn 71, Yale 55
Connecticut 64, Temple 63
No games scheduled
R.Island at La Salle, 6 p.m.
Capitals at Flyers, 8 p.m.
C.Florida at Temple, 7 p.m.
St. Bonaventure at St. Joseph’s, 7 p.m.
Butler at Villanova, 9 p.m.
Tampa Spartans at Phillies, 1 p.m.
J.Madison at Drexel, 7 p.m.
Wizards at Sixers, 7 p.m.
Phillies at Yankees, 1 p.m.
Penn at Cornell, 7 p.m.
Sixers at Knicks, 7:30 p.m.
Flyers at Pittsburgh, 8 p.m.
(at Heinz Field)
Yankees at Phillies, 1 p.m.
Tulane at Temple, noon
Creighton at Villanova, 3 p.m.
St. Joseph’s at St. Louis, 4:30 p.m.
Drexel at Charleston, 5 p.m.
Penn at Columbia, 7 p.m.
Phillies at Blue Jays, 1 p.m.
La Salle at Massachuesetts, 1 p.m.
FOR LEAGUE-WIDE SCORES AND STANDINGS, CLICK ON THE LINKS UNDER THE “STANDINGS” HEADING IN THE SIDEBAR TO THE RIGHT, OR IN THE HEADING AT THE UPPER-RIGHT OF THIS PAGE
Regardless of whether the scan of Ben Simmons’ right foot on Thursday shows that his fracture has healed, he should sit out the rest of this season, according to Eric Fisher. Eric also says the Sixers should trade Jahlil Okafor for the best offer, and praises Dario Saric and T.J. McConnell.
The Super Bowl is half football and half entertainment. Eric Fisher analyzes Lady Gaga’s halftime show and the other musical acts, as well as listing the Top 10 commercials in a lackluster field.
Tom Brady cements his legacy as the greatest quarterback in NFL history by passing for 466 yards while leading the Patriots to the greatest comeback in posteason history, a 34-28 overtime win over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.
The Greek God of Wrestling reviews the Royal Rumble and where the storylines, including Randy Orton’s Rumble victory, may go as we move toward WrestleMania. Achilles Heel also tells you why Seth Rollins had an awful 8 days, where you can see new NXT champion Bobby Roode this week, and why Wing Bowl was a perfect event for Ric Flair.
Can the Eagles follow the Falcons’ path and reach the playoffs next season? The answer depends on whether they’re trying to win right away or build for the future.