We're Not Saying Doc's Start Today Is the Most Important of the Season, But... Yeah, We're Not Saying That

We're Not Saying Doc's Start Today Is the Most Important of the Season, But... Yeah, We're Not Saying That

But it's a damn big one.

The Phillies take on the Blue Jays this afternoon in what will be their final game down in Florida before returning to Philadelphia to play their yearly On Deck Series tomorrow and Saturday at Citizens Bank Park against the same Toronto team. Typically, the final game down in Florida is a chance for everybody to fine tune whatever last minute thing each guy has been working on all spring. Rarely is so much riding on the final spring start from a pitcher. But Roy Halladay has had a wacky and quite concerning spring.

So today's start from Doc will no doubt be examined closely.

CSN's Jim Salisbury writes that while the Phils have had quite a few positive's this spring down in Clearwater, Roy's month has been causing anxiety in the organization.

Halladay, 35, has had a curious spring that has included dead (fatigued) arm, lethargy, a stomach bug, delivery issues and diminished velocity. He has had trouble finding his cutter and has been hit hard recently.

Less than a week before opening day, nobody is sure whether Halladay can be consistently effective again. Halladay himself has acknowledged that he doesnt have the pop he once did, but he believes he can have success if he concentrates on important standbys such as location, preparation, game plan and mixing pitches.

He's had believable excuses. And it's hard not to want to believe a guy with the work ethic like Roy Halladay. But really, the only true believable thing is that which we see on the field. Phillies fans everywhere are hoping and praying they see a glimpse of the Doc of old this afternoon.

At the very least maybe the Doc who didn't have to labor so damn much.

1:05 start on The Comcast Network. Feel free to discuss in the comments.

High anxiety: Halladay remains a concern on final day of camp CSN

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored in his season debut as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Crosby, who scored on a power play, missed the team's first six games with a concussion. Carl Hagelin and Eric Fehr also scored for the Penguins, who extended a seven-game unbeaten streak against the Panthers.

Marc-Andre Fleury, who has started the first seven games of the season for Pittsburgh, stopped 20 shots. Matt Murray, who backstopped the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in June, served as the backup to Fleury after missing the first six games with a broken hand.

Reilly Smith scored a power-play goal and Mark Pysyk also scored for the Panthers, who have lost 11 of 12 against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

James Reimer made 19 saves in his second start of the season (see full recap).

Kings top Blue Jackets in overtime
LOS ANGELES -- Alec Martinez scored 1:14 into overtime, and the Los Angeles Kings rallied to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 Tuesday night for their third straight victory.

Drew Doughty scored the tying goal with 5:57 left in regulation for the Kings, who won their third straight overtime game after an 0-3-0 start to the season. Captain Anze Kopitar also scored, and third-string goalie Peter Budaj stopped 19 shots in his third consecutive win.

Cam Atkinson scored a tiebreaking power-play goal late in the second period, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves for Columbus. Brandon Saad also scored for the Jackets, who had won two straight after an 0-2-0 start.

Martinez ended it by putting a rebound into an open net for the defenseman's second goal of the season (see full recap).

Lightning strike for seven goals in win
TORONTO -- Steven Stamkos matched a career-high with four points -- two goals and two assists -- and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 on Tuesday night.

Frederik Andersen gave up seven goals on only 24 shots, the third time in five starts he has allowed at least five goals and fourth time he's allowed four or more. The 27-year-old has an .851 save percentage so far this season.

Alex Killorn, Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jonathan Drouin added goals for Tampa Bay, while Ben Bishop made 40 saves.

William Nylander, James van Riemsdyk and Auston Matthews scored for the Maple Leafs, who outshot the Lightning 43-24 (see full recap).

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

The Eagles could be looking for a bigger name outside.

In need of a deep threat — and reportedly in talks about a trade for 49ers wideout Torrey Smith — the Eagles are interested in Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and attempting to make a move for the 2013 Pro Bowler, according to a report Tuesday night by Benjamin Allbright of Mile High Sports Radio.

We followed up with Allbright, who clarified the Eagles simply made an inquiry.

Jeffery, much more of a do-it-all, dynamic wide receiver than the one-dimensional Smith, is 26 years old and can become a free agent at season's end. He'll warrant good money, but would make the Eagles better in more ways than one compared to Smith.

The 6-foot-3, 218-pounder put up 89 catches for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, followed by 85 catches, 1,133 yards receiving and 10 scores in 2014.

This season, he has 520 yards receiving and has yet to find the end zone playing for the quarterback-challenged Bears, who are 1-6 and more than likely thinking about next season.