There will be Phillies baseball today in South Philadelphia

There will be Phillies baseball today in South Philadelphia

Mondays are a downer. Yesterday more so than usual given that our promise of opening day baseball in Philadelphia was taken from us and replaced with a dreary, wet, and boring day.

But the baseball gods will reward our patience today with the promise of 60+ degrees and sunshine come first pitch at 4:07 pm at Citizens Bank Park.

And the Phillies return from the road with a respectable record of 3-3. They very easily could have been 4-2 or even 5-1 had a couple of bounces gone their way in Texas. But 3-3 seems okay at this point. We can still keep that tiny bubble of hope alive when they trot out onto the green grass at CBP later this afternoon.

And while there's cause for concern, namely in the overpriced maybe-over-the-hill closer department, there's also reason for optimism. Come on, it's opening day, we have to at least try.

Marlon Byrd reminds us what a reliable right fielder can be like, Dom Brown is off to a nice if quiet start at the plate, Chooch is making Ryne Sandberg really think everytime he writes a name after Ben Revere on the lineup card, and Chase Utley showed us maybe he hadn't lost his pop this spring, he was just saving it for the real thing. Chase is hitting .458 after six games. That'll sure get a rise out of South Philly when they hear the first notes of Kashmir later today.

I'm going to hop on the Broad Street line in a few hours, crack open a beer or two in the parking lots with some friends, then head in to the game with my dad, brother, and a friend and sit in right field. We'll probably enjoy a few cold ones, eat some peanuts, maybe enjoy some Bull's BBQ, and definitely talk some Phillies baseball.

It's good to have it back.

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).