No More Excuses: Get Flyers-Penguins at Penn State Done

No More Excuses: Get Flyers-Penguins at Penn State Done

Ever since the NHL held the first Winter Classic in 2008, Flyers fans have been imagining the day when the Bullies would meet the cross-state Pittsburgh Penguins in State College, PA for an outdoor game at Beaver Stadium.

The rivalry is heated, the venue is obvious. All the league needs to do is slap it on the schedule.

Okay, so it’s not quite as simple as that. There is tremendous amount of planning involved in these events, not only on the league’s end, but for the host site and television network as well. Winter Classics don’t spring up overnight.

Great news: on Thursday Tim Panaccio confirmed a report that Penn State is considering hosting an outdoor hockey game, and Flyers president Peter Luuko is hopeful the contest would be between Philly and Pitt. Panotch writes that there are three issues to overcome first however.

Only three? Fantastic. What are they?

1. Parking
2. The university winterizes the stadium in January
3. NBC does not want an outdoor game in December because it would preempt the Classic

Really? That’s it? I was expecting overwhelming hurdles based on the story’s headline, and they give us parking and scheduling conflicts.

I can’t even take the parking problem seriously – it can be solved. As for having to dance around everybody’s desired schedules, you would think all of the coin involved would take care of that. The university is going to rake in a ton of cash regardless of when they have the game, which normally trumps everything else.

As for NBC, they undoubtedly are aware of – not to mention likely televising – most of the six outdoor games the NHL will play in 2013-14. That’s not a complaint, but you have to admit the league already made the one dubbed the Winter Classic a lot less unique. What does it matter if a game is played at Penn State in December?

It seems likely that all parties involved will eventually come to a mutual agreement, and the Flyers will one day face off against the Penguins at a neutral site in Pennsylvania. And whenever it happens, I suspect it will be a marquee game on the NHL schedule, perhaps even a future Classic.

Still, it’s frustrating to hear these are the kinds of reasons causing further delay. Figure them out and play the game. The university will be happy to take the money, the network will be happy to generate the ad revenue and exposure, and the fans in PA will get their dream hockey matchup.

Sounds like a win-win situation for everybody – except the Penguins, we hope.

>> Issues cloud possible Flyers game at Penn State [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.