Flyers - Leafs: Don't go to a shootout.

Flyers - Leafs: Don't go to a shootout.

Tonight's Flyers-Leafs guest gamer is by Flyers Goal Scored By:

All is not well in the land of Crab Fries. A team that started the season with very consistent efforts look to be mired in a 2012 slump. Ever since the new year baby slewfooted Father Time, it's been slow goings for your Flyers. Good games followed by bad games that begot good games. This week the see-saw has been stuck in the "derp" position, seeing Philly lose three games in a row for the first time all season. Tonight a familiar foe is in town to hopefully kickstart the Flyers winning ways and carry them into yet another important weekend.

Flyers Leafs games are always good drinking weather.

Two fast, young teams that'll have the action going back and forth all night. Talented scorers, brain farts and animosity are usually the 3 stars of these tilts. Play will get chippy early on, that will hopefully keep the Flyers intensity level high for the full sixty.  The last time these two teams played, Chris Pronger was lost due to an inadvertent stick to the eye by the Leafs Mikhail Grabovski. This past Wednesday, injured captain Chris Pronger met with his team for the first time since Christmas.  Coincidence or not, seeing the Prongs will hopefully pump the Flyers tires a bit.  Either way, Brian Burke should feel so sorry about what happened to Pronger, he should just send Luke Schenn to Philly for a bucket of soft pretzels from Woodhaven Road.

Toronto has a stud line that brings together the Uncle Fester of American hockey with ex-Flyer Joffrey "don't call me a Lannister" Lupul.  Kessel and Lupul rank number 4 and 6 respectively in terms of scoring this year.   Kessel is a big time threat on the rush and the Flyers will need a strong back check to neutralize Phil's skills.    

One interesting subplot to this game, and to every game against the Leafs this year, is the brothers Schenn battling each other.  Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn has struggled a bit this year, but is still a contributor to the Leaves blueline.  There have been rumors of Burke shopping Schenn around at the deadline, and if the price is right, he'd be a nice 4th or 5th defenceman for the Flyers.  Philadelphia's Brayden Schenn is one of a few bright spots so far in 2012.  Dude's playing like a man and has gelled quickly with Wayne Simmonds on the second line. He was arguably the most dominant Flyer against both the Devils and Rangers this past weekend. Schenn has been very physical on the forecheck which could pay off well tonight.  In regards to Luke Schenn, one thing is for sure: don't expect him to get any….brotherly love tonight! *drops microphone*

Your goalie matchup is Bobrovsky vs. James "Optimus Reim" Reimer. Bryz is sick, and If he can't backup The Bobcat, look for Phantoms goalie Jason Bacashascashihua(spellcheck?) to ride the pine.  Reimer is legit, but beatable.  He can make some miraculous saves, but often gets hung out to dry by his defense.  

Your marquee fight of the night is Toronto's Mike Brown vs. The Double Burrito Tito Sestito.  Brown can toss 'em, but usually sticks to smaller fighters like Zenon Konopka or Dan Carcillo. Along with Sestito, we may see some Simmonds or Hartnell man dances due to the physicality that tonight promises.

The best I've seen this Flyers club recently, and perhaps all season, was in their 6-5 OT loss to the Bruins in late January.  In that game, the Flyers were relentless on their forecheck and converted their power play opportunities. The loss didn't sting as much, because the effort was so noticeable.  For the young Flyers to play more consistently,  they have to be able to match other teams intensity.  They were able to come out against Boston and dictate the pace, something they must start doing more often.  It's time to circle the wagons and grind out two points.  First round is on FGSB, giddyup. Let's Go Flyers.

Joel Embiid practices fully but doubtful for Friday and Saturday

Joel Embiid practices fully but doubtful for Friday and Saturday

Joel Embiid was a full participant Wednesday during the Sixers' first practice back from the All-Star break, but he's listed as doubtful for their games Friday and Saturday.

The Sixers host the Wizards Friday night (7/CSN) and face the Knicks Saturday night at Madison Square Garden (7:30/CSN).

If Embiid misses both games it would be 13 in a row and 16 of 17.

Still, it's a good sign he was able to practice in full Wednesday.

Ben Simmons, meanwhile, has a CT scan scheduled for Thursday in New York. The appointment should show whether his foot has healed enough for him to take the next step in his rehab.

Simmons did individual work at Wednesday's practice.

CSN Philly's Jessica Camerato contributed to this report.

Sarah Baicker: I don't skate like a man, just a darn good woman

Sarah Baicker: I don't skate like a man, just a darn good woman

In late December, I was invited to play in a pick-up hockey game with some other members of the local sports media community. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I was one of only two women there that day. Even now, female ice hockey players aren’t exactly common.

After the game, a reporter I’ve known a while — a guy I like a lot — said to me: “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you skate like a man.” I didn’t take it wrong, of course; he meant it as a compliment. The reporter wanted nothing more than to tell me I’d impressed him.

I thought about this exchange a lot in the days that followed. Had someone told me I played hockey like a boy when I was 15, I would have worn that description like a badge. Hell yeah, 15-year-old Sarah would have thought, I do play like a boy. I’m as tough as a boy. I’m as fierce and competitive as any boy on my team. I would have reveled in it, just as I reveled in a similar label I’d received even earlier in my adolescence: tomboy.

Yeah, I was a tomboy. I hung around with the neighborhood boys, riding bikes between each other’s houses or catching salamanders in the creek that ran through town. I loved sports, and my bedroom walls — papered with newspaper clippings and photos of Flyers players — were a far cry from the pink-tinged rooms that belonged to the girls at school. 

As much as I could, I dressed like a boy too, even once cutting the sleeves off of an oversized T-shirt before I went out to rollerblade with our next-door neighbors. My grandmother, who was visiting at the time, pulled me aside to tell me I really ought to dress more appropriately. I rolled my eyes.

I was a tomboy, and I loved the word and everything it stood for. I felt pride in my tomboyishness, believing that the things I liked — the things boys liked — were clearly better than the things stereotypically left to the girls.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit it was a conversation with a 15-year-old that changed my perspective, just a few days after my reporter friend had compared my hockey skills to those of a man. I sat down with Mo’ne Davis, the female Little League pitching phenom, for this very project. I asked her if she identified as a tomboy, and she shrugged. Not really, she said. Maybe other people wanted to define her that way, she suggested, but that wasn’t how she viewed things.

You know that record scratch sound effect they play on TV or in the movies? The one that denotes a sort of “wait … what?!” moment? That’s what happened in my head. Mo’ne Davis, the girl who played on the boys’ team and excelled, didn’t consider herself a tomboy?

Something clicked in my head after that. I’ve long identified as a feminist, and I’ve been a big supporter of girls in sports for as long as I can remember. I coach girls hockey, I’ve spoken at schools and camps about playing and working in sports as a woman. For some reason, though, it took a 15-year-old shrugging her shoulders at the label “tomboy” to take the power out of the word for me. Why does one have to be a tomboy, when one can simply be a girl who kicks ass? How had I never considered this before?

In many ways (and especially in sports) if something is male, it’s considered superior. It goes beyond just the things kids like to do, and it’s all old news. It’s also something I’m ashamed to admit I’ve bought into for practically all of my life. But no longer. How can I help change the narrative if I’m too busy playing along with it?

And if I could do it over, when that reporter approached me after our hockey game to tell me I skated like a man, I would have smiled, shook my head and said: Nah. But I skate like a darn good woman.