The Flyers basically own Pittsburgh's CONSOL Energy Center

The Flyers basically own Pittsburgh's CONSOL Energy Center

Looking for a great way to get under the skin of your most-hated rival and its fan base?

How about winning almost every game you’ve played in that hated-rival’s new hockey arena since it opened a few years ago.

Yeah, that’ll sting.

Well, if you look at a satellite image of downtown Pittsburgh, odds are you’ll see an orange and black flag sticking out of the top of CONSOL Energy Center because the Flyers have felt right at home there and have pretty much claimed ownership of the arena since it opened in October 2010.

After two Brayden Schenn goals and a marvelous 30-save Ray Emery performance paced the Flyers to a 2-1 victory over the Penguins in the Steel City last night, Philadelphia now holds a 9-2-1 lifetime record at CONSOL Energy Center. That record includes three games played there during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Take that, Pittsburgh!

To refresh your memory and to gloat -- not going to lie, mostly to gloat -- here’s a quick recap of the dirty work the Flyers have done at CONSOL Energy Center to send Penguin fans home with sad faces.

Oct. 7, 2010 – Flyers 3 Penguins 2

The Penguins celebrated the first-ever regular season game at CONSOL Energy Center and the Flyers promptly ruined that celebration by handing the Penguins a 3-2 defeat. Mid-way through the second period, Danny Briere scored the first goal in the building’s history. Blair Betts and Claude Giroux also scored. Rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves for the victory in his first NHL game.

Oct. 29, 2010 – Flyers 3 Penguins 2

In a game that featured Mike Richards and Matt Cooke dropping the gloves right after the opening faceoff, Giroux scored twice and Bobrovsky made 26 saves to give the Flyers their second win in as many trips to Pittsburgh’s new arena.

March 29, 2010 – Flyers 5 Penguins 2

Ville Leino, who is currently wasting away in that mess in Buffalo, scored twice and Giroux, Jeff Carter and Scott Hartnell all added goals as the Flyers steamrolled a Crosby-less and Malkin-less Penguins team. Brobrovsky again took home the win. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m sensing a theme here.

Dec. 29, 2011 – Flyers 4 Penguins 2

This game featured Jaromir Jagr and Max Talbot’s returns to the city where they began their respective careers and each poured salt into the wounds of Penguin fans with goals. Kimmo Timonen and Matt Read also scored for Philadelphia. Bobrovsky made 24 stops for another win in Pittsburgh.

April 1, 2012 – Flyers 6 Penguins 4

Jake Voracek scored twice to lead the Flyers to a victory. That was cool, but this game is most remembered for the Royal Rumble that broke out late in the game after Penguins’ forward Joe Vitale rocked Briere with a hard check at center ice. All kinds of shenanigans then ensued. Peter Laviolette tried to jump the benches and fight Penguins’ coach Dan Bylsma, Zac Rinaldo tried to take on the whole Penguins’ bench and Hartnell brought us the joy that is him trolling the fake Hulk Hogan Penguins fan - which is on the short list of greatest moments of my life. That, in turn, led to an in-arena playoff promo featuring the real Hulk Hogan supporting the Flyers – which also happens to be on the short list of greatest moments in my life.

April 11, 2012 – Flyers 4 Penguins 3 (OT) (Game 1 – Eastern Conference Quarterfinal)

Ah, the start of perhaps the most ridiculous playoff series any of us have ever seen. Philadelphia fell behind 3-0 but Briere – aka Mr. Playoffs – scored twice and Schenn knotted the game up in the third before Voracek stunned the Penguins with a quick overtime winner. It would be a precursor to the rest of the crazy series.

April 13, 2012 – Flyers 8 Penguins 5 (Game 2 – Eastern Conference Quarterfinal)

Again Pittsburgh jumped out to an early lead and again Philadelphia fought back for the victory. Every time you blinked, it seemed like another goal was scored. But the Flyers scored the knockout blow. Giroux and 19-year-old rookie Sean Couturier both netted hat tricks in the win.

Feb. 20, 2013 – Flyers 6 Penguins 5

Another kooky Flyers/Penguins game in Pittsburgh that wound up in the Flyers’ favor. Again the Flyers fell behind the Penguins and again they fought back for the win. This game had everything. Crazy goals, fights, penalties, momentum changes and anything else you could have asked for. Voracek posted a hat trick, including the game-winner on a shot from behind the net that fooled Pens’ backup goalie Tomas Vokoun. It was the game of the year for the disappointing Flyers.

Nov. 13, 2013 – Flyers 2 Penguins 1

You should remember this game because, well, it happened last night. It wasn’t your typical exciting Flyers/Penguins game but it was a win so it worked. Schenn scored two huge goals and Emery helped calm a Penguins’ storm early on with his play in net to lead the Flyers to a win.

So, there you have it. Sure, there were three losses sprinkled in there, but the Flyers have basically owned the Penguins’ new barn and claimed it as their own.

All that’s missing is Mayor Nutter riding a white horse into the Steel City while wearing a Revolutionary War outfit and screaming, “I HEREBY PROCLAIM THIS LAND TERRITORY OF THE GREAT CITY OF PHILADELPHIA!”

Joel Embiid posts amazing tribute to Sam Hinkie on Instagram

Joel Embiid posts amazing tribute to Sam Hinkie on Instagram

The treasure trove that is Joel Embiid's social media presence unearthed another jewel on Saturday evening.

The Sixers' big man took to Instagram to post a picture of himself chatting with local folk legend Sam Hinkie. As if that wasn't enough, check out the captions he wrote at the bottom.

THE GOAT #HeDiedForOurSins #TrustTheProcess

A photo posted by Joel Hans Embiid (@joelembiid) on

Let us break this down.

"THE GOAT" - As in Greatest Of All Time, not an actual goat you would find at your local petting zoo.

"#HeDiedForOurSins" - St. Sam, patron saint of analytical basketball martyrdom.

"#TrustTheProcess" - The rallying cry of the masses.

Sure, they may have taken away Sam, but they'll never take away JoJo's social media platforms. Never!

Union have no answer for Didier Drogba, Impact in 5-1 loss

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Associated Press

Union have no answer for Didier Drogba, Impact in 5-1 loss

MONTREAL  -- Didier Drogba broke out with a hat trick to lead the Montreal Impact to a 5-1 victory over the Union on Saturday night.

The 38-year-old Ivorian striker hadn't scored since May 28. He returned last week after missing three games with a thigh injury.

Ignacio Piatti returned after sitting out a one-game suspension to score a goal and add two assists. Recent signing Matteo Mancuso, who went in for Drogba in the 79th minute, got his first MLS goal in added time.

Montreal improved to 7-5-8.

Chris Pontius scored for Philadelphia (8-7-6).

Odubel Herrera's bat returns, but so do Aaron Nola's struggles in loss to Pirates

Odubel Herrera's bat returns, but so do Aaron Nola's struggles in loss to Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- The good news for the Phillies on Saturday was that it finally seems All-Star Odubel Herrera's bat is returning to its typical, productive form.

The centerfielder had his second straight three-hit game Saturday as he continued to pull out of his slump, though it wasn’t enough to keep the Phillies from losing 7-4 to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the middle game of a three-game series at PNC Park (see Instant Replay).

Yet Herrera’s suddenly hot bat gave the Phillies some reason to feel good on a day when another player who the organization believes can be a foundation player backslid. Right-hander Aaron Nola (5-9) took the loss as he allowed six runs and six hits in four-plus innings.

The bad Nola returned after pitching six scoreless innings in his previous outing Monday against the Miami Marlins. Prior to shutting down the Marlins, Nola allowed a combined 30 runs in five starts while failing to get past the fourth inning four times.

“When he’s at his best, he has control of all his pitches,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “He’s lost his control and he needs to a find a way to get it back.”

However, Herrera improved to 6 for 9 in the series by going 3 for 4 with a triple, two runs scored and two stolen bases. He had been 4 for 41 in his previous 11 games before coming to Pittsburgh, a skid that dropped his batting average to .281 from .300.

“It was getting pretty ugly for about a week there, so it feels good to get some hits,” Herrera said. “That’s my job, to get hits, be successful and help the team win. I really don’t go into too many slumps, so it’s hard to try to fight your way through it and stay positive. When I get a hit, I am happy.”

Herrera is now hitting .290 with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs in 98 games.

There had been a school of thought that making his first All-Star Game appearance July 12 at Petco Park in San Diego might have had an effect on the 24-year-old. The schedule for the players during the festivities is basically non-stop for two days and then Herrera had to fly across the country to rejoin the Phillies in Philadelphia for the second half of the season.

“I was concerned it might have an effect on him,” Mackanin said. “It was the first time he had participated in an even of that magnitude and it can be hard to refocus after that.”

Herrera, though, said he is not sure how much being an All-Star played into his cold spell.

“Maybe it did,” Herrera said. “It was a busy couple of days there. I don’t know what to compare it to because I hadn’t been before. Obviously, I didn’t have the same chance to rest as a lot of other players, so it could have had an effect. However, playing in the All-Star Game was a great experience and I am glad I had a chance to be there.”

If Herrera plays like he has the last two games, Herrera figures to appear in more Midsummer Classics before his career is through.

“He has the ability to win a batting title,” Mackanin said. “He’s that good of a hitter. He’s a smart hitter. When pitchers start adjusting to him, he adjusts back. I only see him getting better.

“Then you throw in that he played a heckuva center field and it’s just an impressive total package."