Please, Ryan. Anyone But Boras.

Please, Ryan. Anyone But Boras.

In a strange off-season marked by mediocre players netting exorbitant multiyear deals, Phillies fans have been wondering what the team will do regarding the contract of reigning NL MVP Ryan Howard. Entering the third year of a contract that netted him a relatively paltry $355,000 last season, the Phillies first basemen isn’t eligible for salary arbitration until 2007, and won’t be a free agent until 2011, according to the Inquirer’s Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki.

Questions regarding the likely renegotiation of Howard’s contract increased yesterday when he fired his agent, which could indicate he's looking for a new deal sooner rather than later, but Howard wouldn’t comment to Zolecki on why, offering a great variation on "No comment":

Howard had hired Larry Reynolds - his second agent in 2 1/2 years - before the 2005 season. Now, like Jim Turner before him, Reynolds is out. Reached last night, the affable slugger took a line from Top Gun when asked to comment.

"Negative, Ghost Rider," he said.

The question remains: What should the Phillies do with the contract of a guy who was the NL Rookie of the Year, and then hit 58 HR and 148 RBI in his sophomore season? Should they lock him up along with arbitration-eligible Chase Utley with a pair of lucrative long-term deals, or should they play it conservatively given the team’s past history with dishing out such contracts when they weren’t actually necessary to retain a key free agent?

I know what I’d like to see… I just hope Howard doesn’t sign on with Scott Boras

Topps cover man Claude Giroux answers U.S.-Canada questions

Topps cover man Claude Giroux answers U.S.-Canada questions

Claude Giroux spent Friday signing virtual autographs as the cover athlete for Topps NHL Skate 2017, a new onilne digital trading card game. Remember when trading cards came in a bubble gum pack? 

After the event, Giroux sat down with CSN's Michael Barkann on Philly Sports Talk for a game of “Who Does It Better: Canada or the United States?”

The game started off with a few easy softball questions, with Giroux picking the NFL over the Candian Football League. Then it got a little tougher, as Giroux chose Canadian hockey over U.S. hockey.

Despite talents like Drake and Shania Twain, Giroux went with the U.S. over Canada in music, and also chose American bacon over Canadian bacon.

Eventually, Barkann asked Giroux which beer he preffered.

“I don’t drink beer," Giroux responded.

Really? What Canadian doesn't like beer?

As he started to get up out of his seat after the interview, Giroux showed his true colors. “I love beer. I love beer,” he said.

Check out the video above to see the full game. 

Wayne Gretzky defends Connor McDavid's outburst over Brandon Manning

Wayne Gretzky defends Connor McDavid's outburst over Brandon Manning

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As the primary target of opponents over his Hall of Fame career, Wayne Gretzky can certainly empathize with the frustration of Oilers star Connor McDavid.

McDavid and Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning jostled all evening long in a 6-5 Edmonton loss. McDavid denounced the tactics of his opponent after the game, claiming Manning intentionally injured him last season; McDavid missed 37 games with a broken collarbone.

"I guess we can put the whole 'if he did it' thing to rest because what he said out there kind of confirmed that," said McDavid, who taunted Manning after scoring the second goal in the Oilers' loss.

"I think anybody who knows me or who has played with or against me along the road here, knows that I am not that kind of player," Manning said, according to a statement released by the Flyers. "I am not out there intentionally trying to hurt people. I'm a guy who plays the game hard and I take pride in that."

Gretzky didn't mind seeing that fire in McDavid, saying competitiveness is part of what makes the great ones great. And he said the targeting comes with the territory of being a superstar. It was something he and Mario Lemieux dealt with, too.

"And Connor, he's going to get tested every night, but this is not new for him," Gretzky said Friday at the NHL board of governors meetings. "He's been tested since he was a kid and then playing junior hockey and now in the NHL and he's always responded and done his part."