Watch: Mark Howe's Number Retirement Ceremony

Watch: Mark Howe's Number Retirement Ceremony

The Philadelphia Flyers gave Hall of Fame defenseman Mark Howe a great ceremony to retire his number 2, with his family in attendance along with 20,000 of their closest friends. For those who may have missed it or just want to watch again, below is a video of the tribute the team put together to honor Howe, including the raising of his banner.

And here's a transcript of Howe's speech.

I stand before you today a proud yet humbled man.  I am being honored tonight in the presence of the two teams that have been a part of my life for the past 30 years.  In Detroit, I had the opportunity to play with the great Nik Lidstrom.  I got to wear the uniform that my father proudly wore for 25 years.  And I have had the opportunity to work for Mike and Marion Ilitch.  Their passion for hockey and their compassion for those who have worn a Red Wing uniform is second to none.

I am, however, being honored here today for my playing days wearing the #2 as a Philadelphia Flyer.  As I reflect upon those days, the passion for hockey and compassion for those who wore the Flyers uniform were equally displayed by Mr. Ed Snider.  It was truly the “Flyers Family.”  As I said at my Hockey Hall of Fame induction speech in November, when I first came to Philadelphia back in 1982, it was as if I was born to be a Flyer.  The orange and black began to flow through my veins and instantly consumed my heart.  The memories of playing for the Flyers will be a part of me forever.

I had the opportunity to play with and learn from Bill Barber and Bobby Clarke.  They passed on to me the expectations that came with wearing a Flyers uniform.  Throughout my 10 years, I had the privilege of playing alongside so many gifted players and an incredible staff.  Pat Croce, Ed Van Impe, Cagey, Mike, Sudsy & Kurt, the medical staff, Gene Hart, Poulin, Propp and Kerr, Hexy, Pelle, Brownie, Chief, Homer, Illka, Tock, Ronnie & Rich, Cocker, Kjell, Brad Marsh, Cross and my dear partner the Beast.  These people and many others contributed so much to this tremendous individual honor of having my #2 jersey hung in the rafters alongside Bernie Parent, Barry Ashbee, Bill Barber, & Bobby Clarke.  Our teams from the mid 80’s will always have a special bond because of the work ethic and commitment we made to each other.

I am blessed to have my family by my side to share in this joyous event: Dad, Marty & Mary, Murray, Sharon, Travis and Kristine; Azia, Josh and Ella; and Nolan.  And I know my mother is looking after me from above.  I am incredibly lucky to be able to call you all family.  I love you all.

I would like to applaud both the Red Wings and the Flyers organizations for doing all they have to financially help the families of those who lost their loved ones last September.  I would also like to thank all of the men and women who have served in our armed forces and made all of this possible.

Over the course of 10 years, I wore my #2 jersey in front of a sold out Spectrum crowd.  Sometimes we succeeded and sometimes I failed, but you always stood by my side and supported me, and for that I thank you, the fans.

On December 31st, I had the opportunity to wear my #2 Flyers jersey one last time at the Winter Classic in front of 46,000 passionate Flyers fans.  The chills I got from hearing Lauren and Kate sing God Bless America and the thrill I got from scoring a penalty shot goal for my granddaughter Ella were incredible.  To top that, I can only wish that the Red Wings and Flyers meet here in June for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

To the fans of Philadelphia and the entire Flyers organization, it was my honor and privilege to have represented your city and your team wearing the #2 jersey of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Best of MLB: Jose Fernandez sets K's mark, helps Marlins snap Royals' win streak

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Best of MLB: Jose Fernandez sets K's mark, helps Marlins snap Royals' win streak

MIAMI -- Jose Fernandez pitched seven innings and appeared to avoid a serious injury when he tweaked his right leg on his final pitch Wednesday night, helping the Miami Marlins beat Kansas City 3-0 to snap the Royals' nine-game winning streak.

Fernandez (13-7) pulled up after striking out Christian Colon to end the seventh, and rubbed his right knee before limping to the dugout.

The Marlins pinch-hit for him in the bottom of the seventh, and no injury was announced. Fernandez was laughing with teammates in the dugout in the ninth inning and joined in the postgame celebration on the field.

His nine strikeouts increased his season total to 213, breaking the Marlins record of 209 set by Ryan Dempster in 2000. Fernandez ended a career-worst three-game losing streak.

He also had the Marlins' first two hits, hiking his average to .286, and improved to 27-2 at Marlins Park.

Fernando Rodney pitched around two singles and walk for his 25th save and eighth with Miami.

Dillon Gee (5-7) took the loss (see full recap).

Cardinals tag deGrom in win over Mets
ST. LOUIS -- Matt Carpenter, Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty homered off Mets starter Jacob deGrom, powering the St. Louis Cardinals past New York 8-1 Wednesday night.

Carpenter set the tone, hitting a leadoff home run in the first inning. The Cardinals went on to win for the seventh time in nine games.

Piscotty and Yadier Molina each had three of the Cardinals' season high-tying 19 hits.

Carlos Martinez (12-7) gave up one run and four hits over eight innings. He also got two hits himself.

Roughed up for the second straight start, deGrom (7-7) allowed five runs on 12 hits in 4 2/3 innings. He was tagged for a career-worst eight runs and 13 hits in his previous outing against San Francisco (see full recap).

Rays overcome Ortiz's 30th HR in comeback win
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- David Ortiz hit his 30th home run in the first inning, but the Tampa Bay Rays came back from a three-run deficit to beat Boston 4-3 in 11 innings Wednesday night and prevent the Red Sox from taking sole possession of first place in the AL East.

Luke Maile doubled with two out in the 11th and scored after Red Sox pitcher Heath Hembree (4-1) dropped a throw to first base on Kevin Kiermaier's grounder.

Brad Boxberger (2-0) got the win after one inning of relief.

Boston has won 10 of its last 13 games and remained tied in first with Toronto after the Blue Jays lost 8-2 to the Angels.

Bidding to become the majors' first 18-game winner, Rick Porcello allowed Evan Longoria's tying homer in the eighth before leaving with 7 2/3 innings pitched. It was Longoria's 30th homer (see full recap).

SI gives Sixers 'A' grade for offseason moves

SI gives Sixers 'A' grade for offseason moves

After three straight years in or near the cellar of the NBA standings, the Sixers may be gearing to start moving up.

And people are taking notice.

The Sports Illustrated staff graded each NBA team's offseason moves and gave the Sixers a grade of A for their moves. And it was well-deserved.

Sixers fans haven't had much to celebrate in the past few years, but seeing the team draft Ben Simmons and watch his stunning passing ability in summer league was enough to get many fans excited about the upcoming season. The article noted the Simmons pick as the Sixers' best move, saying taking him over Brandon Ingram, who went No. 2 overall to the Lakers, showed they're ready to take the next step.

Jeremy Woo, one of the contributors to the article, went on to describe their other important moves this offseason:

With Joel Embiid presumably ready to return, Dario Saric coming over from Turkey and Simmons here to anchor the franchise, the future in Philadelphia is bright for the first time in years. Brett Brown can mix and match and the front office can decide which prospects to build around. Some of these guys are inevitably going to get traded, and some of them likely won’t pan out. But at least Philly is moving forward, finally.

Yes, finally.

The Sixers should have three first-round level talents making their NBA debuts this season with Simmons, Saric and Embiid, all of whom represent a separate and long wait. With Simmons, it took three years for the Sixers to finally get the first pick in the draft. With Embiid, it was waiting two full seasons for him to return from a foot injury. And with Saric, it was the agonizing wait for him to come over from Turkey after the back-and-forth reports over what he was ultimately going to decide.

The article makes note of the change in power from Sam Hinkie to the Colangelos, one that could've runied "The Process," but instead helped it continue to flourish. It also said the Sixers' worst move was that they didn't make any big gambles in free agency, whether by choice or because of lack of interest from the actual players. But this criticism is much nicer than what some of the other teams in their division received.

The Knicks received a D grade after signing injury-prone Joakim Noah and trading for Derrick Rose, both of whom have large salary cap hits for their recent production. The Nets received a C- for trying to go after too many restricted free agents and ending up with Jeremy Lin as their top acquisition, who is a good player, but isn't going to turn this subpar team around. And the Raptors got a C for essentially doing nothing other than re-signing DeMar Derozan and letting Bismack Biyombo walk in free agency.

But while the Sixers may have had a better offseason than any team in the division, this by no means suggests they'll move up in the standings too much in the immediate future. They still have to see how the new young talent meshes together and develops. But continued development has a chance to show why this offseason was such a success.

Instant Replay: Phillies 5, White Sox 3

Instant Replay: Phillies 5, White Sox 3

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO — The Phillies got a nice start from Jerad Eickhoff, mostly good bullpen work and plenty of timely hitting in posting a 5-3 win over the Chicago White Sox in interleague play Wednesday night.
 
The Phils had been outscored 18-1 in losing their previous two games to the White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals.
 
The Phillies are 59-68. They are four wins shy of last year’s majors-low total of 63.
 
Starting pitching report
Eickhoff (9-12) pitched six innings of two-run ball and left with a 4-2 lead after throwing just 71 pitches. Eickhoff scattered four hits, walked nine and struck out two. The sixth inning has been a problem for him this season. He has allowed 26 earned runs over 19 innings for a 12.32 ERA in the frame. Eickhoff did hold it together and limited the damage to two runs in the sixth before handing off to the bullpen.
 
Eickhoff’s ERA in the first five innings of a game this season is 2.64.
 
White Sox right-hander James Shields gave up four runs over six innings. He is 5-16 with a 5.98 ERA.
 
Bullpen report
The trio of Edubray Ramos, Hector Neris and Jeanmar Gomez closed it out for the Phillies.
 
Gomez survived a run in the ninth for his 34th save.
 
Ramos and Neris both pitched a scoreless inning.

Since the All-Star break, Neris has pitched 18 1/3 innings and allowed one run and two walks while striking out 26.
 
At the plate
Tommy Joseph had a nice game with a double, his 17th homer and two runs scored. Aaron Altherr had a pair of RBI singles and scored a run. Freddy Galvis doubled home a run and Cesar Hernandez homered.
 
Dioner Navarro smacked a two-run homer off Eickhoff in the sixth.
 
Trade talk
There’s interest in Carlos Ruiz (see story).
 
Up next
The Phillies are off on Thursday. They open a three-game series against the Mets in New York on Friday night. Here are the pitching matchups:
 
Friday night — LHP Adam Morgan (1-7, 6.21) vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (11-7, 3.36)
 
Saturday night — RHP Jeremy Hellickson (10-7, 3.60) vs. RHP Noah Syndergaard (11-7, 2.61)
 
Sunday afternoon — RHP Vince Velasquez (8-6, 4.31) vs. RHP Robert Gsellman (1-0, 0.00).