Flyers to Start Leighton in Winter Classic, Follow Conklin's Example

Flyers to Start Leighton in Winter Classic, Follow Conklin's Example

It's hard to bench a hot goalie, and damn near impossible not to go with one coming off a shutout. Michael Leighton may not be standing on his head so far in his Flyers career, but he's been pretty good, and you can't argue with results. Since the former waivee first saw ice time with Philadelphia, the team hasn't lost.  

Photo via John Boruk on twitter

When we found out the Flyers would be in the Winter Classic, I don't think any of us imagined Leighton being their starting goalie. Especially not those of us who were watching the game on Halloween, when Leighton, then with Carolina, was torched by his current teammates for 6 goals on 28 shots. I remember saying something along the lines of "Oh, I get it. Michael Leighton's costume is 'Out of Position Backup Goaltender.' I love the subtle ones." I kill me.

But Leighton seems to be making the best of his new surroundings. He still gets caught out of position a bit more than we'd like, but he's recovered more often than not, and along with all the non-goalies now getting healthy, the Flyers are giving all indications of a team that has pulled out of its tailspin. 

Leighton may not be Patrick Roy, but he's the hot hand right now, and whether you're playing at the Wachovia Center or on the field at Fenway Park, every last hockey fan knows you don't mess with that. 

Interesting fact about the Winter Classic and backup goalies though... Every NHL outdoor game has featured the visiting team starting a backup—and it's been Ty Conklin every time. As an Oiler, Conklin lost to the Canadiens in the 2003 Heritage Classic. He later started for the Penguins in a 2-1 win over the Sabres in 2008, and the Red Wings when they beat the Blackhawks at Wrigley in 2009. The game before the Pens-Sabres Classic, Conklin notched a shutout. In the game two days before the Red Wings-Blackhawks classics, he notched a shutout. 

That's not a bad precedent, Mr. Leighton. 

Best of MLB: Mike Trout (thumb) leaves early as Marlins crush Angels

Best of MLB: Mike Trout (thumb) leaves early as Marlins crush Angels

MIAMI -- Mike Trout sprained his left thumb stealing second base Sunday, and the Los Angeles Angels took a thumping without him, losing 9-2 to the Miami Marlins.

Trout yelled in pain as he rose after sliding headfirst in the fifth inning. He was examined by a trainer, stayed in the game, but was replaced in the sixth. X-rays were negative, and there was no immediate timetable regarding his return.

The reigning American League MVP was 0 for 2 when he departed with the Angels trailing 4-2. He finished 2 for 9 in the series to drop his average to .337 (see full recap).

Aaron Judge hit first-career grand slam in Yankees' win
NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge hit his first career grand slam and the New York Yankees took full advantage of Oakland's shoddy defense Sunday in a 9-5 victory over the Athletics.

Michael Pineda (6-2) tossed six innings of three-hit ball to win his third straight start. Aaron Hicks and Chris Carter each had an early sacrifice fly as the AL East leaders scored five unearned runs and took two of three in a well-pitched series.

Judge connected with two outs in the third for his 16th home run, tying Mike Trout of the Angels for the big league lead. The drive landed in the right-field seats, not far in front of The Judge's Chambers cheering section installed by the Yankees for the start of this 4-2 homestand.

Khris Davis hit his 15th home run for the A's, who committed two more costly errors to raise their season total to 49. They began the day with 10 more than any other team in the majors.

The fielding failures put starter Andrew Triggs (5-4) in tough situations. He went six innings and gave up one earned run (see full recap).

Miguel Gonzalez loses perfect game in seventh, but pitches White Sox to win
CHICAGO -- Miguel Gonzalez took a perfect game into the seventh inning, Todd Frazier hit a two-run homer and the Chicago White Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 7-3 on Sunday.

Melky Cabrera and Matt Davidson also connected, helping the White Sox take three of four in the series. David Robertson got two outs for his seventh save.

Gonzalez (4-5) allowed three runs and six hits in 7 2/3 innings while snapping a five-start losing streak. The right-hander struck out six and walked none.

Gonzalez retired his first 18 batters before Andrew Romine led off the seventh with a hard one-hop liner to shortstop Tim Anderson, who couldn't field the ball cleanly and was originally charged with an error. Alex Avila followed with a single into to right field, and Romine's ball was later changed to a hit (see full recap).

Gone but not forgotten: Joel Embiid remembers Harambe on 1-year anniversary of death

Gone but not forgotten: Joel Embiid remembers Harambe on 1-year anniversary of death

Gone, but not forgotten … as long as Sixers superstar center Joel Embiid has his way.

On the one-year anniversary of Harambe's death, Embiid remembered the slain gorilla on Instagram with the caption: "Gone but never forgotten #RIPHarambe."

The Instagram post was accompanied by a picture of Harambe along with a longer message and acquired over 22,700 likes within the first 37 minutes of its posting.

Gone but never forgotten #RIPHarambe

A post shared by Joel "The Process" Embiid (@joelembiid) on

There are some factual errors in Embiid's post, however. The picture stated that Harambe "would've been 18 today," which was posted Sunday.

Harambe's birthday was May 27, 1999. He would have been 18 years and one day old Sunday.

This was not Embiid's first participation in the Harambe Internet meme.

Regardless, the tragic killing of Harambe, a popular male gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, sparked outrage and then Harambe became an Internet meme.