Flyers-Rangers Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park? More Reports Name Philadelphia as Next Host

Flyers-Rangers Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park? More Reports Name Philadelphia as Next Host

The Flyers have never been far from the rumors surrounding the next NHL Winter Classic, and once again, they have been linked to hosting it. This time, the report seems to be getting some additional traction, with the latest mention coming from TSN's Darren Dreger. We previously linked to Daily News beat Frank Seravalli's similar report from April 21, and before that, Pierre LeBrun's January 2 report that the Flyers were the frontrunners to host in 2012.

Although it's previously been reported that the NHL now prefers football stadiums to their baseball counterparts for the outdoor game, when the NFL's schedule was announced, the Eagles' regular season finale at Lincoln Financial Field on New Year's Day (should the NFL season be played as scheduled) presumably took the Linc off the list of possible venues. The Winter Classic will likely be played on a subsequent day, with no one wanting to pit their ratings magnet against an NFL Sunday, particularly one with playoff implications. However, Dreger has sources saying the Flyers are the leading candidate to host the Classic, with the New York Rangers the likely opponent. [UPDATE BELOW includes report of confirmation]

That would mark two appearances in the early years of the Winter Classic for the Flyers, with the first coming against the Bruins at Fenway on New Year's Day, 2010. If the Flyers were to host the next edition, they'd likely do so at Citizens Bank Park on January 2, a Monday.

An interesting twist on the Classic emerged last time around, with the the two teams involved being the subject of HBO's excellent "24/7" edition on the teams leading up to and including the Classic. It would obviously be interesting to see the Flyers in that light, and as Dreger points out, Rangers coach John Tortorella would play a prominent role if New York is to be the opponent. As if we needed more hate fuel for the Rangers or Torts…

Of course, we've heard these "sources say it's possible" rumors before, but we've yet to get anything resembling actual confirmation. [Until now. See below] A production of this size requires a lot of different people in a handful of organizations working in unison, including team officials in another sport. So far, no one local is talking in definitive terms, although this isn't the first or even second report linking the Flyers to hosting the next Winter Classic. Someone's putting it out there ahead of the news, now in both Philly and a prominent Canadian news source.

In any case, it's a nice distraction from the sloppy end to the Flyers' playoff "run" and the murkiness that has ensued since. What are your thoughts on the Flyers hosting a Classic at Citizens Bank Park, the Rangers as the opponent, and the matchup being featured on HBO's 24/7?

UPDATE: Wayne Fish of Calkins Media and PhillyBurbs.com tweets that an NHL source has confirmed the Flyers will host the 2012 Winter Classic. More as we hear it.

Previously:
>>Flyers, Lincoln Financial Field Front-Runners to Host 2012 Winter Classic?
>>Latest Rumors Suggest Flyers Could Play 2012 Winter Classic At Citizens Bank Park

Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Canucks 2

Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Canucks 2

Box Score

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Flyers passed a freshness test Sunday night — barely.

After building a 3-0 lead in the first 23 minutes, the Flyers held on for a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 at Rogers Arena.

The Flyers were the more rested team. They had two days off here following Thursday’s loss in Edmonton — and a three-day break before the start of the trip.

But they almost allowed the Canucks to come back in their second game of back-to-back home games with only a day’s rest following a grueling six-game United States road trip.

The Flyers (28-24-7) moved within a point of the eighth and final playoff spot, currently shared by Florida and Boston, in the Eastern Conference. The Canucks (26-28-6) were denied a chance to gain ground on the final postseason berth in the Western Conference.

Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek and Brayden Schenn — who added the goal that proved to be the winner — scored for the Flyers. Two of the three goals came on the power play. Both teams failed to score in the third period.

Markus Granlund and Jannik Hansen replied for the Canucks.

With the win, the Flyers avoided going winless on a three-game tour through British Columbia and Alberta. They posted their first victory in Western Canada in the past nine attempts.

Goalie report
Coach Dave Hakstol showed loyalty in goaltender Michal Neuvirth, after he allowed four goals on his first 12 shots in Thursday’s one-sided loss in Edmonton. The goaltender started off much better Sunday, as he got his toe on Markus Granlund’s dangerous chance from in close early and stopped all eight shots that he faced in the first period.

Power play
Hakstol was looking for the Flyers to rediscover their “swagger” on the power play. He got his wish early as Simmonds jammed in a Shayne Gostisbehere rebound only 5:45 into the game. The puck barely crossed the line but was clearly in, as confirmed by a video review. Vancouver winger Alex Burrows was off for hooking at the time. In the second period, Schenn padded his NHL power-play goals lead as he gave the Flayers a 3-0 lead at 2:38. Schenn scored his 14th power-play goal of the season on a shot from the slot as Simmonds screened Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller. With his goal, Simmonds moved into a tie for second in NHL man-advantage markers with Washington’s Alex Ovechkin. Both players have 12.

Voracek busts his slump
The drought is over for Voracek. The winger busted his scoring slump as he gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead at 2:38 of the second period. The goal was Voracek’s first in 10 games. He had not scored since Jan. 25 against the New York Rangers.

Shayne the unfriendly ghost
Gostisbehere did not live up to his nickname. Ghost was quite visible as he assisted on all of the Flyers’ goals. The Flyers started scoring as Simmonds tipped in Gostisbehere’s point shot during a power play.

Did you notice?
Defenseman Michael Del Zotto had a chance for a rare breakaway with about five and a half minutes left in the first period, but missed a well-placed lead pass as he was coming out of the penalty box. Instead of a scoring opportunity, the missed pass led to an icing call and a face-off in the Flyers’ end.

Up next
The Flyers head back home to meet the NHL-best Washington Capitals on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Puck drop is set for 8 p.m.

Report: Sixers, Pelicans had 'similar' package to DeMarcus Cousins deal in place

Report: Sixers, Pelicans had 'similar' package to DeMarcus Cousins deal in place

The Kings and Pelicans made waves after Sunday's NBA All-Star Game with the huge trade that sent superstar DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans.

Sacramento sent Cousins to New Orleans for a package that included rookie Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and first- and second-round picks this in this year's draft.

But the Sixers and Pelicans reportedly were very close recently on deal for a "similar" package in exchange for Jahlil Okafor, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelbourne.

That "similar" package was reportedly minus Hield.

So while the Pelicans are now almost certainly out of the running for Okafor, they've still made an impact on the Sixers in the near future.

Remember, the Sixers have the right to swap picks with the Kings in this year's draft via the Nik Stauskas deal in 2015.

So with Sacramento's brightest star now gone, that pick swap could be looking better and better for the Sixers.

As for Okafor, what does all this mean for his status with the Sixers?