Unleash Your Inner Hextall This Valentine's Day

Unleash Your Inner Hextall This Valentine's Day

With today being Valentine's day and with the growing trend of legendary Flyers goalies sharing their one-of-a-kind love advice, we have a special note for you lovers from none other than former Flyer great Ron Hextall.

Okay dorks, listen up. Let's forget my career with the Philadelphia Flyers. The goals I scored, the clanging of pipes, giving Chris Chelios nitemares for the rest of his life.  Even though these  events have opened many doors and won me a Stanley Cup with Flyers West, I am here to introduce you to another side of me. The human side of me. The passionate side. The cuddly side: the "Ron".

I have been to the very top. The top of Rock. The top of Ol Smokey. The very top of a pile of 1988 Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders. But I'm telling you, we are meant for so much more. If you make the active decision to unleash your inner "Ron", to face your doubts, to get in there and cuddle up with your fear monsters, you too can accomplish your goals.

If you think fear and risk are behind us, or if you think Kjell Samuellsson and Mark Howe are going to stop everything before they get to you, you couldn't be more wrong.

On December 31st, 2011, I took one of the biggest risks to date.

Let me paint this picture for you. You are at Dalessandro's in Roxborough. It's crowded.  It's cramped. It smells delicious.  In walks Scott Stevens, Ken Daneyko and Claude Lemieux.  They look angry.  They keep asking for "steaks with cheese".  Ken Daneyko starts getting angry. Drinks are spilled and babies start crying. Those three Devils just laugh and laugh and laugh. I knew it was up to me to set these idiots from East Rutherford straight. There was nothing else I could do.

I ad no choice but to let me "Ron" take over and unleash my inner passion. These fools in that tiny cheesesteak were about to learn a lesson only Ron Hextall could teach them. I got up from my stool, put on my waffle and glove and danced. for. my. life. I danced until I couldn't feel my legs. Leg spins, Harlem shakes, pirouettes, everything. The inner "Ron" was released that day in Roxborough. I danced until the world faded and all that was left was me and the music.

The Devils ran, and I can still hear Scott Steven's whimpering cries as he sped off in his IROC. I did it.  I saved the day. I, Ron Hextall, was a hero. I accomplished something that only a performance of that stature would provide; not thinking about it, not dreaming it, but doing it.

The "Ron" would not let my fear of the unknown hold me back, and I reaped the greatest benefits…and also the best cheesesteak.

Now that I've set the tone, revealed my goal to help people find their inner Ron, I'd like to turn my focus to the month of February and Valentine's Day.

For some, Valentine's Day is a game 7 victory over the Boston Bruins after being down three games to none. For others, it's a soft Patrick Kane goal through the five hole.

Being that I'm the one and only Ron Hextall. The master of the mustache. The good, better and best goalie in all the land, I have the same message for both types of people:  Find your "Ron".

If you are single, allow yourself to do some inner-searching and find the person that you want to be (read: Me) so you are ready and willing to share the next Flyers game and some ice cold brewskies when the time comes. Remember, happy feelings will attract happy PECO power plays.

For those of you that are in a relationship, let your partner be their own Ron. Yes, you read that right. All of you who are in love are now in love with me, Ron Hextall. Don't restrict your partner. Let them fulfill who they are as an individual; especially if it means dancing uncontrollably and cuddling up with a Phillie Phanatic pillow pet. If you love your Ron, let them go, let them do, they will explore and be their own Ron Hextall.  This is the only way the bond between two Ron Hextalls can become stronger.

Don't leash them, don't cage them, just have fun. And do it together. And with your neighbors. And maybe the milkman. And maybe Steve Coates.

Stay horny, my friends.

-The Most Interesting Man in Philadelphia Named Ron Hextall

Ron Hextall

Penn State president 'pleased' to see Penn State thriving again

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Associated Press

Penn State president 'pleased' to see Penn State thriving again

NEW YORK -- NCAA President Mark Emmert says he is pleased to see how well Penn State's football team has bounced back from the sanctions the program received in 2012 after the Sandusky scandal.

No. 5 Penn State (11-2) is having its best season since Jerry Sandusky, a longtime assistant of late Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno, was arrested in 2011 for sexually abusing boys. The Nittany Lions won their last nine games and the Big Ten title.

"I think it's terrific," said Emmert, who spoke at an intercollegiate athletics forum sponsored by Learfield Communications on Wednesday in Manhattan.

"I think what Penn State went through is an awful situation and it's still playing out sadly. But the football program is still Penn State and they showed it and they did really well. The university has done an amazing job to put in place all of the things their board wanted and our board wanted."

The NCAA went outside its usual process to sanction Penn State in 2012. The school was hit with massive scholarship limitations and a four-year bowl ban, along with fines. The school also agreed to enact dozens of reforms recommended in a report by former FBI director Louis Freeh on the scandal.

The original scholarship and postseason penalties were eventually rolled back. Emmert said he was pleased the roll back helped Penn State recover more quickly, and that NCAA sanctions are not meant to cripple an athletic program.

"I've always said and always believed that Penn State first and foremost is a great university ... and secondly it's got wonderful sports traditions. How could you not be pleased that they're playing good football again? That's very good stuff," he said.

Emmert covered numerous topics in a 30-minute question-and-answer session, and after he spoke with group of reporters for 15 more minutes.

-- He declined to weigh in on whether the College Football Playoff selection committee made the right decision with the four teams it chose to compete for the national championship, but he did say he would prefer an eight-team playoff that would include automatic bids for the Power Five conference champions.

"I think a conference championship ought to count for something. I think how you determine your champion is up to somebody else," Emmert said. "I'd like to see all five of the conference champions get in the playoff."

The NCAA has no authority over the College Football Playoff.

"That's why we live in America. Everybody can have an opinion," Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany joked, when asked about Emmert's comments. "He doesn't have a vote, though."

-- Emmert said he would like to see the new NCAA football oversight committee better define the purpose of bowl games. There are 40 and some spots are given to teams with sub.-500 records. The NCAA does not run bowl games. It does have a sanctioning process, but mostly it lets conferences decide whether they want to put on games.

"What do we, the membership of intercollegiate athletics, want bowl games to be?" Emmert said. "Are they a 13th game that's an exhibition game? Are they a reward for having won something? We have teams in now that can get into a bowl game having won two or three of their conferences games."

-- The NCAA pulled its championship events out of North Carolina in September because of a state law that limits anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people. The decision was later criticized by Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins in an Wall Street Journal op-ed. Jenkins said the NCAA should not be a moral arbiter.

"He and I have chatted a lot about that issue, and obviously I disagree and obviously, more importantly the board of governors disagreed," Emmert said.
The NCAA will choose sites for future championship events in April and part of that is a "fairly complex process," Emmert said, of looking at the local and state laws of potential host locations.

"One of the considerations we have now as we make those decisions, as the sport committees make decisions about where they go, is going to be LGBT rights," he said. "I think and hope and believe, maybe wishfully, that North Carolina will modify their position because citizens want that."

-- Emmert said the Big 12 deciding not to expand was a "good thing for college sports."

"I think the last round was very disruptive. It had a negative impact on so many schools, even personal relationships. It was hard and I'm glad we didn't have to go through that again. Even on a smaller scale," Emmert said.

Trade front quiet, but Phillies could lose a player or 2 in Rule 5 draft

Trade front quiet, but Phillies could lose a player or 2 in Rule 5 draft

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Phillies have a history of adding players in the Rule 5 draft. The annual event, designed to prevent teams from stockpiling minor-league talent without giving it a shot in the majors, has netted the Phillies players such as Dave Hollins, Shane Victorino and Odubel Herrera over the years.

The year’s Rule 5 draft will be held Thursday morning at the conclusion of the winter meetings, but it’s highly unlikely that the Phillies will be active. After adding 11 prospects to their 40-man roster two weeks ago, the Phillies are simply out of room. Selecting a player in the Rule 5 draft would first require the Phils to cut a player loose and that did not seem to be the plan as the sun set Wednesday.

While an addition is unlikely, there’s a strong possibility that the Phils will lose a player or two in the draft. Outfielder Andrew Pullin, a 2012 draft pick, is the likeliest to go. He hit .322 with a .885 OPS between Single A and Double A in 2016 and a number of teams are buzzing about him. A late-season elbow injury prevented Pullin from playing in the Arizona Fall League and factored into the Phillies’ decision to leave him unprotected.

If a team rolls the dice on Pullin, it must keep him in the majors all season or offer him back to the Phillies.

Other players who could go include first baseman/outfielder Brock Stassi, outfielder Carlos Tocci and pitchers Miguel Nunez and Hoby Milner.

All quiet for now
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak spent Wednesday meeting with agents and representatives from other clubs.

“Nothing is hot at the moment,” he said late in the day.

Klentak has brought back starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, added relievers Joaquin Benoit and Pat Neshek and traded for outfielder Howie Kendrick this offseason. The biggest remaining issue/question on his plate is whether to add a veteran hitter in a corner outfield spot or keep the pathway open for young players such as Roman Quinn and eventually Dylan Cozens and Nick Williams. 

“Successfully balancing the present and the future is the single greatest challenge that a baseball operations department faces,” Klentak said. “We’ve talked about it all offseason. The decisions that we are making right now about giving playing time to a young player that has cut his teeth in Triple A and needs that opportunity to take the next step as opposed to a shorter-term solution from the outside — that’s one of the main challenges that we’ve run into this offseason.”

While it’s uncertain whether the Phils will add a hitter, they most surely will make other roster tweaks as the winter moves on. They are likely to fill their backup catcher’s spot in-house (see story), but could add a utility infielder and more bullpen depth on minor-league contracts.

“I think there will probably be another move or two before we get to Clearwater,” Klentak said. “Who and when remains to be seen.”