Week (at least) that Joel Embiid is expected to miss due to left knee soreness

The Greek God of Wrestling has a more favorable opinion of Battleground than most of the critics. Achilles Heel also reveals the announced matches for SummerSlam, expresses sympathy for Randy Orton and concern for Global Force Wrestling.

The Greek God of Wrestling discusses Smackdown’s loaded final edition of 2016. Achilles Heel also reviews Roadblock, tells you when TNA will be taping Impact Wrestling and reveals some big matches signed for Ring of Honor’s Texas shows.

Eric Fisher’s weekly column about a variety of topics. This week Eric serves up opinions on the “non-benching” of Nerlens Noel, Doug Pederson’s misguided explanations and what type of reception Lane Johnson may receive Thursday.


A quick look at 10 sports stories in the news…

1. Flyers try to gain ground on Canadiens Flyers return to action tonight (7:30 p.m.) when they visit Canadiens, who are 8 points ahead of Flyers. NHL suspends Radko Gudas 2 games for high-sticking penalty against Lightning forward Steven Stamkos on Tuesday.  Lightning score 3 times in first 10:23 of game, chasing goalie Carter Hart, en route to 5-2 victory over Flyers. Flyers, who lose for only 3rd time in last 15 games, remain 6 points out of final playoff berth in Eastern Conference. Oskar Lindblom, Travis Konecny score in 3rd period, both times reducing Lightning lead to 2 goals, but Flyers don’t get any closer. Flyers could have cut deficit to one goal with goalie pulled with 47 seconds remaining, but referees rule goaltender interference. Linblom scores 3rd goal in last 2 games. Sean Couturier registers 2 assists for 3rd straight game. Goalie Brian Elliott, recalled from conditioning stint with Phantoms, replaces Hart. Lightning have won 7 straight games and have 96 points, 17 more than any other NHL team.

2. Embiid to miss at least a week Joel Embiid to miss at least a week, including tonight’s game against visiting Heat (7 p.m.), due to left knee soreness. MRI shows no structural damage, according to Sixers. Head coach Brett Brown says All-Star Game did not make Embiid’s injury worse. Furkan Korkmaz tore meniscus during 112-109 loss to Celtics last week. No information provided about his return.

3. Padres land Machado Padres sign infielder Manny Machado to 10-year contract worth $300 million. Outfielder Bryce Harper likely won’t sign for less than Machado received. Phillies considered prime contenders to sign Harper.

4. Phillies play 1st game Friday Cole Irvin, who went 14-4 with 2.57 ERA with Class AAA Lehigh Valley last season, to start Phillies’ Grapefruit League opener Friday (1 p.m.) against Rays. Outfielder Odubel Herrera leaves Wednesday’s workout early due to tightness in left hamstring. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler reveals pitchers Jake Arrieta, Jerad Eickhoff had medical issues in January. Arrieta had surgery to address cartilage issue in left knee. Kapler calls it “meniscus cleanup” and says surgery reveals no structural damage. Arrieta says problem with knee started last summer. Eickhoff experienced symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, which he had surgery to correct in October. Eickhoff threw off mound late last week.

5. Will Eagles franchise Foles?  Period begins for NFL teams to apply franchise tags to players. If Eagles put franchise tag on Nick Foles, it would give them control of his destination, but would cost them $25 million for this year, which would create salary cap issues.

6. Wildcats lose 2nd straight game Villanova suffers second straight road defeat, an 85-73 loss to host Georgetown, despite 26 points by Phil Booth. 17th-ranked Wildcats lose for 3rd time in last 4 games. In another local game Wednesday, St Bonaventure scores with 3 seconds remaining to edge visiting La Salle, 62-60, despite 20 points by Explorers’ Pookie Powell. On Sunday, Villanova squanders 17-point lead during 71-65 loss to host St. John’s. Joe Cremo paces 13th-ranked Wildcats with 14 points. Phil Booth and Eric Paschall add 13 and 11 points, respectively, but both only make 2 of 11 shots from field.

7. Sneaker issue hinders Duke Duke freshman Zion Williamson, likely the top pick in this year’s NBA Draft, has left sneaker come apart as he plants foot 36 seconds into game, resulting in right knee sprain as top-ranked Blue Devils fall to 8th-ranked North Carolina, 88-72, in highly anticipated game .

8. Flyers swap Stolarz for Talbot Flyers trade goalie Anthony Stolarz to Oilers for veteran goalie Cam Talbot. Stolarz, 25, has bounced back this season with 4-3-3 record, 3.33 goals-against average and .902 save percentage, but he has history of injuries and will be restricted free agent after this season. Talbot, who is in his 4th season with Oilers after spending 2 seasons as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup with Rangers, is 10-15-3 this season, with 3.36 goals-against average, .893 save percentage. Talbot, 31, can become unrestricted free agent after this season, but reports say Flyers would like to have veteran to work in tandem with Carter Hart. Talbot and Hart worked together last summer. When Talbot starts, Flyers will set record for most starting goalies (8) used in one season.

9. Phillies sign Nola to extension Phillies avoid arbitration with pitcher Aaron Nola by signing him to 4-year contract worth $45 million, according to multiple reports. Nola’s arbitration hearing, scheduled for Thursday, is canceled. According to reports, Nola’s salary would escalate from $4 million this season (along with $2 million signing bonus) to $15 million in final year, with club option for 5th year at $16.5 million.

10. Hamlin wins Daytona 500 Denny Hamlin breaks 47-race winless drought by winning Daytona 500. Hamlin wins on 2-lap overtime restart. Joe Gibbs Racing sweeps top 3 spots, with Kyle Busch, Erik Jones following Hamlin across finish line. Hamlin, who wins Daytona 500 for 2nd time, dedicates victory to J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing who died 5 weeks ago.

(To listen to past PhillyPhanatics.com’s Blog Talk Radio shows, please click here.)


Men’s Basketball
Davidson 80, St. Joseph’s 72
Penn 82, Dartmouth 79 (OT)

Flyers 6, Red Wings 5 (OT)
Wings 14, New England 10
Men’s Basketball
Towson 92, Drexel 77
St. Louis 62, La Salle 49
Temple 70, S.Florida 69 (OT)
Harvard 75, Penn 68 (OT)

Flyers 3, Detroit 1
New England 17, Wings 11
Men’s Basketball
St. John’s 71, Villanova 65
(at Madison Square Garden)


No games scheduled

Lightning 5, Flyers 2

Men’s Basketball
Georgetown 85, Villanova 73
St. Bonaventure 62, La Salle 60

Heat at Sixers, 7 p.m.
Flyers at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Phillies at Rays, 1 p.m.
(spring training)
Men’s Basketball
Columbia at Penn, 8 p.m.

Trail Blazers at Sixers, 1 p.m.
Penguins at Flyers, 8 p.m.
(at Lincoln Financial Field)
Pirates at Phillies, 1 p.m.
(spring training)

Men’s Basketball
Tulsa at Temple, noon
Richmond at La Salle, 2 p.m.
St. Joseph’s at Massachusetts, 2 p.m.
Delaware at Drexel, 5 p.m.
Cornell at Penn, 7 p.m.

Phillies at Tigers, 1 p.m.
(spring training)
Men’s Basketball
Villanova at Xavier, 1:30 p.m.


Flyers Notebook: Time to trade major parts

Even though the Flyers have fought their way back into the playoff picture, general manager Chuck Fletcher should trade prominent players who might not be part of the Flyers' future, including well-respected forward Wayne Simmonds (pictured). ***** Let’s be realistic. As great ...
Flyers Notebook: Time to trade major parts

Will Sixers reach finals?

Will the trade that brought Tobias Harris to the Sixers boost them into the NBA Finals? Share your thoughts in Voice of the Phanatics.

Sixers Notebook

General manager Elton Brand reshaped the Sixers’ roster at the trade deadline, adding Tobias Harris (pictured) and several bench players, but have the Sixers improved enough to contend for an NBA championship?

Sixers’ future is now

Despite having young stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, the Sixers have accelerated their time frame for winning an NBA Championship by acquiring Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris this season.

Worst Sixers draft picks

Now that Markelle Fultz’s career with the 76ers is over, where does the top overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft rank on the PhillyPhanatics.com’s list of the worst Sixers draft picks of the past 50 years? Click on the headline to find out.

For Brady, Patriots, it’s one for the thumb

February - 3 - 2019 Reporter: Eric Fisher Respond

The defenses are dominant during Super Bowl LIII, but Tom Brady (pictured) leads the Patriots to the game’s only touchdown in the fourth quarter to lift the Patriots to a 13-3 triumph, securing their sixth Super Bowl title.

College Notebook: Wildcats bounce back

February - 3 - 2019 Reporter: Eric Fisher Respond

Reports of Villanova’s demise seem to have been premature. With major contributions by Phil Booth and Eric Paschall, the resurgent Wildcats have won 10 straight games. Eric Fisher also congratulates Penn on its Big Five title while warning that the Quakers could be in trouble in the Ivy League, highlights freshman Ed Croswell’s contributions to La Salle’s three-game winning streak, and points out that Temple and Saint Joseph’s have little margin for error.

Heel Turns: How Lynch became ‘The Man’

February - 3 - 2019 Reporter: Achilles Heel Respond

The Greek God of Wrestling explains how Becky Lynch became the hottest wrestler in WWE. Achilles Heel also recaps the Royal Rumble an NXT Takeover, tells you which major star is leaving WWE and which news story would have made Bobby Heenan laugh.

Super Bowl LIII preview: Old vs. New

February - 2 - 2019 Reporter: Eric Fisher Respond

The Rams possess the running game and defense to knock off the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII, but don’t count out the more-experienced Patriots, led by quarterback Tom Brady (pictured), who are making their third straight Super Bowl appearance.

SB LIII by the Numbers

February - 2 - 2019 Reporter: Eric Fisher Respond

There are all sorts of ways to look at Super Bowl LIII. You can look at the various matchups between the Rams and the Patriots, the momentum or the track records of the respective teams. Or you can just look at the numbers.

Putting it on the Line

February - 2 - 2019 Reporter: Eric Fisher Respond

Eric Fisher reveals his Super Bowl pick.

Side angle of Cody Parkey's missed field goal