The Evster: the Sixers are cool but the Wells Fargo Center still kinda sucks

The Evster: the Sixers are cool but the Wells Fargo Center still kinda sucks

Don't let the Sixers fool you. Despite their bonkers start, this organization is still completely and totally incompetent. I love Evan Turner, and I would jam my tongue into Michael Carter Williams's mouth, and I am almost, almost, almost ready to cheer when Spencer Hawes makes a three-pointer, but this team still has a lot of work to do before I spend my hard earned money on a trip down to the Wells Fargo Center.

Luckily, as a rising internet celebrity, I now get free tickets to games thanks to some guy on Twitter (who I've never met before). Seriously, some random dude gave me free tickets to the season opener vs. the Heat and also to the following week's game vs. the Wizards. It's incredible. He didn't even ask me to send him any barefoot pics or anything (yet). He just gave me the tix, and I went to the games, and snapped a bunch of photos for you sad, pathetic common-folk who still have to pay to attend sporting events because you don't have OVER EIGHT HUNDRED LOYAL TWITTER FOLLOWERS.

So here you go you sorry sack of inbreds: some sweet pics of life down at the Wells Fargo Center as well as some photographic evidence that the Sixers brass still spend most of their time sucking their own butts.

For the season opener vs. the Heat, the Sixers pulled out all the stops, hiring a group of mummers to perform outside the arena. The Mummers got the party started with some timeless ragtime hits while thousands of parents hurried their children through the turnstiles, imploring them to not make eye contact with the sad, weird troll people.

The following Wednesday? Not quite the same fanfare outside the arena, but still a pretty awesome way to greet the fans ...

... with a dumpster parked out front.

Just your standard, black, dirty, disgusting dumpster.

Come on down to the Wells Fargo everyone! Watch your step around the dumpster though. Couldn't move that before the game tonight. Just parked it right out front. Right in front of our multi-million dollar facility. Open the lid and see what you can find in there! Could be a dead mummer!

Aw man, I'm sorry I don't have a better picture of these bozos. These were the DJs hired to PUMP UP THE JAMZ when you first entered the arena. I wish I could remember their names, it was something like DJ Dazzle and his buddy DJ Razzle. Obviously those weren't their names, those are ridiculous names, but it was something like that. DJ Razzle had to be 55 years old. He kept putting his hand down on the DJ table to steady his balance. And yes, that's a Toyota Corolla in the background. They were playing Bruno Mars when I first got there.

This is a "Chicken American" sandwich from Chickie's and Pete's. I figured it'd be a smart move to go with a known Philly entity instead of some Aramark dogisht that'd been sitting under a heat lamp since last seez. Turns out the Chicken American is just three chicken fingers on a seeded roll with no cheese, no tomato and no taste. Very simple. Very basic. VERY American. Oh sorry, it did have a small dipping container of honey mustard sauce along with it though. So there's that. It cost $10.50. I ended up just eating the chicken fingers on their own after developing a severe case of lockjaw from trying to pry my mouth open wide enough to jam it all in there. It was seriously the driest sandwich I've ever eaten. But that's all right, at Sixers games you can always wash anything down with a nice cold brewski from the ...

BUD LIGHT BLUE ZONE.

CHIEW, CHIEW, ZIEWZZ (those are the slashing sounds of the Bud Light Blue Zone)

A little chilly in the Blue Zone last Wednesday. Too chilly in fact for them to open up shop. Same for this gem of a hot dog stand ...

PREMIUM PHILLY FLAVOR.

What does that even mean?!?!?!?

CHIEW, CHIEW, ZIEWZZ

My friend who I was with had a hankering for some "Assorted Candy" which I thought was going to be a bunch of different hard candies thrown into a bag. I realize now that that would've been ridiculous, but at the time it seemed like something the Wells Fargo Center would possibly offer. When my friend asked the dude behind the counter what kind of assorted candy they had, he told her they only had Twizzlers.

Now I personally think Twizzlers suck, but that's neither here nor there, the fascinating part is that this was OPENING NIGHT. The Sixers had an entire offseason to stock up on candy, and yet, apparently they decided to go with JUST THE TWIZZLERS. On top of that, this all took place the week of Halloween, so they easily could've gone to a local supermarket and loaded up on candy. But nope, just the Twizzlers was enough. JUST THE TWIZZLERS.

Let's talk about the Sixers Flight Squad, shall we? (Who I am totally fine with by the way, I am totally fine with them.) I am all for people running around like idiots and launching themselves off of trampolines and ramming their faces headfirst into a basket. I'm honestly shocked that Slam Ball wasn't a huge success. But these dudes need to RE-LAX. 95% of the time they're on the court, they're just trying to pump up the crowd by yelling things like, "C'MON!" and "LET'S GO!" and "DJ RAZZLE ON THE SCRIBBLE SCRABBLES!" There's just so much clapping and so much head-nodding. None of them know how to properly throw a t-shirt.

The picture above was taken around 20 minutes before tip off (still plenty of great seats available!) when the Flight Squad came out for a little impromptu break dance sesh. It was so embarrassing. Whenever someone did a flip, all the other members of the squad would go, "Ohhhhh!!!" and then another guy would do a Jackknife or something and they'd all go, "OHHHHHHH!" and then another guy would do some sort of Swizzle Shift and I don't even know what that means, but that's seriously the only way to describe what this young man was doing with his body. At the moment this photograph was taken, two of the dudes were doing the Kid and Play dance. They had one kind of candy in the arena, folks. Twizzlers. Just the Twizz.

The Flight Squad's gametime performance was a whole 'nother story. End to end explosiveness (with even more clapping and head-nodding and pump-up-the-crowd action). The dude in front of me (pictured above) was so into it that he actually filmed their dunks. He was probably 24 years old.

Later, when the Sixers cracked the century mark, he asked me how to redeem his free Big Mac coupon. I told him he had to go to section 101 to exchange his ticket for the coupon and when I finished explaining this to him, he repeated everything I said just to make sure he knew what to do. I found this very endearing. He was very excited to get his Big Mac. I was excited for him too.

See that cotton candy dude? Probably a very nice person. Well, he had the audacity to ask a little kid if he wanted strawberry cotton candy or blueberry. I wanted to be like, "Dude, it's blue and pink. There's no difference in flavor. Cotton Candy is the flavor," but instead I actually kept my mouth shut for the first time in my life. I didn't catch the little kid's response, but I'm guessing it was something like, "You're an idiot, right?"

Also, if you had to call them different flavors, the blue would obviously be blue raspberry!

This is who greets you when you enter the bathroom. The poster boy for Horizon Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning. I don't know about you, but no plumber, heating guy or air conditioning dude has ever entered my house looking that presentable.

Before allowing any blue-collar worker into our home, my wife will lay down a giant tarp at the front door just so they don't track in any dirt, mud, or some sort of dead animal that might be attached to the bottom of their boots. Also, that guy and that lady are TOTALLY gonna pork. The sexual tension is PALPABLE. Look how he's making eye contact with her HARD. I feel sad for that lady's husband. If I was a stay at home mom, I would have sex with every person who came to my front door. FACT.

The team store didn't have any Michael Carter Williams jerseys (they were being delivered the following Wednesday, because WHY HAVE THEM READY FOR OPENING NIGHT?), but they did have TWO different key chains: a $7 version with the Sixers logo on it and an $8 SPENCER HAWES JAWN with an imitation human torso.

I've never understood why people need key chains in the first place. They're so bulky and annoying to carry and now that jeans have gotten considerably skinnier, they dig into your thighs and omg am I really talking about key chains let's just end this post immediately.

The Evster writes the blog TV My Wife Watches where he writes about TV his wife watches. You can follow him on Twitter @TVMWW or you can follow his wife @DianeSawyer.

Flyers answer Ron Hextall's plea with comeback OT win over Islanders

Flyers answer Ron Hextall's plea with comeback OT win over Islanders

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK — Shayne Gostisbehere’s fist pump was so vicious and mighty, the celebration was probably felt back in Philadelphia.

This was an exultation the entire Flyers felt, too.

When it started to look like the bye week wasn’t the break they needed, the Flyers reached down deep and got one Sunday night at the Barclays Center in the form of a 3-2 overtime victory over the Islanders (see Instant Replay).

“It allows you to take a breath,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “That’s one thing for sure.”

A sigh of relief for a team beaten and bruised — losers of three straight by a combined score of 15-4, not to mention 3-9-3 in its past 15 games. The Flyers had lost the day prior on home ice to the Devils, 4-1, with a performance not exactly inspiring confidence following five days off.

On Sunday, they trailed 2-0 in the second period.

“We've got to get better at dealing with adversity when something goes wrong,” general manager Ron Hextall said bluntly before the game. “We need to get back on the horse and get back going. Big deal, a team scored a goal. We need to react better to it.”

Finally, the Flyers reacted the way their GM had been hoping.

They flipped the deficit into a victory when Gostisbehere skated behind the net and put the puck on Claude Giroux’s stick for the game-winner with 1:40 left in the extra session. Gostisbehere whipped his arm through the air and embraced Giroux, along with Jakub Voracek, who started the play by stripping Islanders captain John Tavares.

“On a lot of different levels, it’s an important win,” Hakstol said. “It’s huge. And more importantly for us, a great effort. Thought we deserved the two points. Sometimes maybe that’s what it takes to get over the hump — a tremendous effort for 60-plus minutes. I thought we got that out of everyone tonight.”

For Giroux, it was his first goal since Dec. 21.

For Steve Mason, his first win since Dec. 21.

And for the Flyers, their first road victory since Dec. 14, as they went 0-6-3 in the previous nine games away from home.

Yeah, “it was needed,” as Wayne Simmonds said of the win.

“We’ve been fighting it lately and I thought that was a good game from start to finish,” he said. “I thought everyone played well. I think we made bounces go our way tonight instead of hoping and waiting.”

Simmonds scored what might have been the biggest goal of the game. The Flyers, down 1-0 in the second period, came up empty for 33 seconds of a 5-on-3 power play and the proceeding 5-on-4 advantage. The Islanders then padded the lead to 2-0 moments later, putting the Flyers’ backs against the wall.

But Simmonds kept his team from uncoiling with a goal at 14:10 of the period, giving the Flyers life at second intermission. If not for that score, who knows how the Flyers come out in the third period, trailing by multiple goals yet again.

"I think we were plying well,” Giroux said. “We had a lot of chances and [the puck] wasn't going in. Everybody on the bench was frustrated. When Wayne got that first goal, I think [there was] a little relief on the bench. I haven't seen a team celebrate so much just for a first goal. It was kind of a relief and we had a little boost out of that.”

Ivan Provorov scored the equalizer 1:47 into the final period when he maintained possession from the blue line to the circle, adeptly skating around two Islanders to put the puck on net. Provorov’s pass to Travis Konecny hit off the skate of New York’s Adam Pelech and into the net.

“I came off the bench and I saw [Brayden Schenn] was going into the zone, so I took a few hard strides, got the puck from him and I saw it was kind of an odd-man situation,” Provorov said. “I held on to the puck a little bit, saw T.K. going backdoor, passed it there and it went off their D skate.”

Just as important as the timely goals was the Flyers’ discipline. Against the Devils, the Flyers compiled 19 penalty minutes, forcing them on seven penalty kills. This time, the Flyers sharpened up, not allowing the Islanders a power play until midway through the third period. In total, they had just four penalty minutes and killed off both power plays faced.

That gave them a chance.

“We just kept saying it the whole time, ‘Keep going, keep going, guys,’” Simmonds said. “We just need one [goal] and from one comes two, and Mase held the fort.”

Mason made 17 of his 36 saves in the third period and overtime combined.

Now, the Flyers at least go into another important back-to-back — starting Wednesday at the Rangers before welcoming the Maple Leafs Thursday — with some confidence instead of a lost weekend.

“I thought the focus was purely on going out and playing well,” Hakstol said. “And you know, that’s harder to do than you might know — when you start to feel some of the pressure without a win in a little bit. I really liked that side of it. Even in that situation, all the guys played well. Hopefully that puts our entire team in the right direction.’’

Best of NHL: Crosby scores league-leading 28th goal in win vs. Bruins

Best of NHL: Crosby scores league-leading 28th goal in win vs. Bruins

PITTSBURGH -- Conor Sheary scored two goals, Sidney Crosby added his league-leading 28th and the Pittsburgh Penguins won their fourth straight game, 5-1 over the Boston Bruins 5-1 on Sunday.

Pittsburgh led 2-1 through two periods before breaking out in the third with three goals in a span of 2 minutes, 57 seconds.

Sheary scored his 17th and has nine goals in nine games. Bryan Rust added his 12th and Patric Hornqvist his 11th for the Penguins, who won a season-high seventh straight at home. Pittsburgh the NHL's best home team, is 13-0-1 in its last 14 home games.

Evgeni Malkin had two assists for a season-best seven-game point streak. Crosby added two assists for a three-point game. Matt Murray made 44 saves to win his fourth straight game.

David Krejci scored his 11th for the Bruins, who have lost four straight and five of their last six (see full recap).

Rangers shut out Red Wings in 1-0 OT win
DETROIT -- J.T. Miller scored at 1:56 of overtime to lift the New York Rangers to a 1-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.

Henrik Lundqvist made 21 saves for his second shutout of the season and 61st of his career. The Rangers managed only 19 shots in a game that featured few memorable chances by either team.

The winner came when Mats Zuccarello and Miller swooped in alone on Detroit goalie Jared Coreau. Zuccarello made a simple pass to Miller, who lifted the puck over Coreau for his 16th goal of the season.

Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall played for the first time since Jan. 4, returning from a lower-body injury. The Red Wings put forward Drew Miller on waivers (see full recap).

Atikinson lifts Jackets over Senators in wild OT win
OTTAWA, Ontario -- Cam Atkinson's second goal of the game at 1:09 of overtime lifted the Columbus Blue Jackets a 7-6 win over the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night.

Atkinson had a breakaway after a shot by Senators captain Erik Karlsson missed the Columbus net and went around the boards out to Atkinson, who was at center-ice.

The Blue Jackets trailed 5-3 after two periods before Lukas Sedlak and Matt Calvert scored 31 seconds apart to tie it less than 2 1/2 minutes into the third. Atklnson then gave Columbus a 6-5 lead with 9:10 remaining, before Kyle Turries tied it for Ottawa on the power play less than 2 minutes later.

Nick Foligno, Scott Harrington and Zach Werenski also scored for the Blue Jackets, and Joonas Korpisalo finished with 28 saves.

Zach Smith and Mike Hoffman each had two goals and Mark Stone also scored for the Senators. Mike Condon had 22 saves (see full recap).