@PhillyWings Introduce North America to Twitter Jerseys

@PhillyWings Introduce North America to Twitter Jerseys

Ordinarily, the debate on tastefulness and sports jerseys revolves around advertising, when it's acceptable and when it isn't, if ever at all. Obviously ads are a staple of soccer kits, and nobody seems to mind minor league teams earning some extra revenue, but there would be a serious outcry about the purity of the game if the Phillies opened 2012 with a Tastykake patch on their arm.

Philadelphia's indoor lacrosse team has discovered a new way to divide fans over what is appropriate to slap on a jersey. When the Wings host Buffalo today at 4 p.m., their shirts will don Twitter handles in place of the players' names, supposedly becoming the first professional sports team in North America to adopt this fashion trend, and perhaps inventing the next hot-button issue for uniform enthusiasts.

The good news is the jerseys will be auctioned off after the game, with the proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society. It's hard to get offended over anything that raises money for a good cause, or anything going on in the NLL for that matter.

The bad news is this gimmick exists now. I would like to think a major sports league such as the NFL or NBA would never promote Twitter, but you never know. The idea is out there, and it's not so dissimilar to the defunct XFL's claim to fame, allowing players to choose nicknames and cute messages to stitch across their shoulders -- most notoriously Rod Smart's "He Hate Me."

Good for a laugh... just like the XFL.

You might be saying to yourself, "Kulp, what's the big deal? Will never happen anyway, and Twitter is cool." If you aren't envisioning @thekidet dunking a basketball during an Eastern Conference Championship game, a garish Twitter handle adorning a retro-style Sixers basketball jersey, then scenarios that involve our computers becoming self-aware and sending killer robots to attack us probably aren't keeping you up at night either.

And Twitter simply isn't that cool (follow me at @kulp700level!). If this stunt brings the Wings and indoor lacrosse a little extra publicity while raising money for cancer treatments and research, that's great, as long as it ends there. But when the day comes where a form of social media, especially one that limits interactions to a shallow 140 characters or less, becomes so popular that our handles are more important than who we are, we will have taken a big step backwards as a society.

>> Wings to ditch names in favor of Twitter handles [Philly.com]

CSN, TCN to air 25 of Union's 34 games in 2017

CSN, TCN to air 25 of Union's 34 games in 2017

Twenty-five of the Union’s 34 games in 2017 will be featured on CSN and TCN, as Jim Curtin’s club vies for a second straight playoff berth.

Twenty matches will air on TCN, while five can be seen on CSN. The nine others will be appear across 6ABC, ESPN and FOX Sports 1.

The Union’s season opener on March 5 at the Vancouver Whitecaps will broadcast on TCN and the team’s home opener on March 11 against Toronto FC will air on CSN. The next three games — March 18 at Orlando City SC, April 1 at D.C. United and April 8 vs. the Portland Timbers — will be shown on TCN.

The Union are coming off an 11-14-9 season and their second-ever trip to the MLS playoffs in which they suffered a first-round exit to Toronto FC.

For the Union’s full 2017 schedule, click here.

Best of NHL: Toews nets hat trick in Blackhawks' win over Wild

Best of NHL: Toews nets hat trick in Blackhawks' win over Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Jonathan Toews had three goals and two assists and the Chicago Blackhawks beat rival Minnesota 5-3 on Tuesday night for their second win over the Western Conference-leading Wild in less than two weeks.

Toews notched his fourth career hat trick on an empty-netter with 1:02 left to stave off a spirited rally by the Wild, who began a franchise-record eight-game homestand on Feb. 8 with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Blackhawks. Toews had a goal and two assists in that one and has 37 points in 35 career games against Minnesota.

Chicago's captain has been chewing up almost everyone else, too, with 20 points in his last 12 games. Toews' wing men Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik had the other goals, giving the Blackhawks 34 goals in their last eight games. Their first line totaled nine points.

Mikael Granlund's second power-play goal for the Wild brought them within 4-3, before Ryan Suter hit the crossbar with a shot that nearly tied it (see full recap).

Islanders open 9-game road trip with win
DETROIT -- Calvin de Haan was credited with a go-ahead goal that caromed off an opponent late in the second period and the New York Islanders went on to beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 Tuesday night.

De Haan's shot from above the left circle was stopped by Petr Mrazek, but the rebound went off Detroit defenseman Xavier Ouellet and the back of the goaltender's left leg and into the net. John Tavares scored early in the third period to give the Islanders a two-goal lead and they coasted to the victory.

Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist, and Thomas Greiss stopped 26 shots for New York.

Henrik Zetterberg scored for Detroit and Mrazek finished with 19 saves.

The Islanders, in contention for a wild-card spot, began a stretch of nine straight road games by winning for the third time in four games and improved to 8-13-4 away from home (see full recap).

Crosby, Penguins take care of Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Sidney Crosby scored the go-ahead goal on a deflection in the second period, and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Evgeni Malkin and Scott Wilson also scored to help the reigning Stanley Cup champions bounce back from their only loss since the All-Star break. Pittsburgh moved three points behind East-leading Washington and is 7-1-3 since the break.

Jeff Skinner scored for the last-place Hurricanes, who have their second five-game losing streak in the past five weeks. They have been outscored 19-4 during the current slide.

Matt Murray made 29 saves for the Penguins while Cam Ward stopped 19 shots for Carolina (see full recap).