No Digital Citizens Bank Park in NHL 12?

No Digital Citizens Bank Park in NHL 12?

My eyes lit up when Puck Daddy revealed that the next edition of EA Sports' NHL franchise would include some pretty cool new features, including the Winter Classic. With the news breaking earlier this month that the Flyers will host the 2012 Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park, I hoped CBP would get the digital treatment.

Unfortunately, the timing of the game development and Winter Classic plan finalization may make that an impossibility. Kevin McGuire, who covers Penn State game days for us here at the Level, says the only current plans for the Winter Classic in NHL 12 are for Heinz Field in Pittsburgh (last year's host). [Check out Kevin's story at Examiner.com, which has more on the logistics of adding a baseball stadium to a gaming group that doesn't have an MLB franchise.]

I guess it's possible CBP will be added in an update, but for now, with the game already deep in development, Heinz Field is all that will be included initially. This may sound a little fickle, but not being a huge gamer, the inclusion of Citizens Bank Park is a major factor in my decision to buy in NHL 12. I have NHL 10, but skipped NHL 11 and don't really play all that much. Having the Flyers and Rangers skating under the bell and the big score board would have sold me in an instant. (Obviously I don't expect EA to make decisions based on my weak buying patterns…)

The addition of the Philadelphia Union to FIFA 11 was a selling point for me, but I was pretty disappointed to see their gorgeous home stadium not be represented yet. Unique elements like that are a big reason I like the new sports games, ranking right up there with the increasingly realistic pace of game play. Here's hoping PPL Park makes FIFA 12 and EA finds a way to digitize Citizens Bank Park sooner rather than later.

Ben Simmons, Robert Covington react to Ersan Ilyasova trade

Ben Simmons, Robert Covington react to Ersan Ilyasova trade

On Wednesday, the Sixers traded Ersan Ilyasova to the Hawks in exchange for Tiago Splitter and a 2017 second-round pick, as well as the option to swap 2017 second-round selections (see story).

"I want to thank Ersan Ilyasova for his positive contributions to this organization both on and off the basketball court," president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said in a statement. "Ersan is a true professional whose daily examples of hard work, focus and consistency have helped facilitate the ongoing growth of our program and culture."

The Sixers took to Instagram to express their appreciation for Ilyasova’s leadership. Ilyasova quickly embraced the role of a veteran go-to when he was traded to the Sixers in early November. Both posts below exemplify his team-first mentality.

✊🏼 A true Pro @ersanilyasova7

A post shared by Ben Simmons (@bensimmons) on

Thanks for being a great teammate @ersanilyasova7. Wishing you the best in ATL

A post shared by Rob Covington (@atf_33) on

Best of NHL: Rickard Rakell, Ducks snap Bruins' win streak at 4

Best of NHL: Rickard Rakell, Ducks snap Bruins' win streak at 4

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Rickard Rakell broke a tie with his second goal with 2:34 to play, and the Anaheim Ducks snapped Boston's four-game winning streak under new coach Bruce Cassidy with a 5-3 victory over the Bruins on Wednesday night.

Rakell also scored in the second period for the Ducks and has 24 goals in his outstanding season. Ondrej Kase, Josh Manson and Andrew Cogliano also scored for Anaheim, and Jonathan Bernier made 26 saves in his first victory since Jan. 23.

Frank Vatrano scored the tying goal in the third period for the Bruins, who hadn't lost since Cassidy replaced Claude Julien on Feb. 7. Defensemen Brandon Carlo and Zdeno Chara scored early goals, and Tuukka Rask stopped 20 shots.

Anaheim beat Boston for the seventh straight time (see full recap).

Rare goal from Russell lifts Oilers over Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Kris Russell's goal with 7:58 left was his first in more than a year and lifted the Edmonton Oilers over Florida 4-3 on Wednesday night to snap the Panthers' five-game winning streak.

Russell's goal was his first since Feb. 11, 2016, when he played for Calgary. He went goalless in his first 48 games with the Oilers.

Fellow defenseman Oscar Klefbom also scored for Edmonton, as did forwards Zack Kassian and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Connor McDavid, who came into the night leading the NHL scoring race, had an assist on Russell's goal.

Aleksander Barkov, Colton Sceviour and Jonathan Marchessault scored for Florida. Keith Yandle had two assists for the Panthers, giving him 400 points for his career.

Cam Talbot stopped 31 shots for the Oilers, who have won their last eight games at Florida -- last losing on the Panthers' ice in 2002. James Reimer made 31 saves for the Panthers, who just completed a 5-0-0 road trip (see full recap).