Amy Fadool

Flyers' playoff-clinching win over Rangers in 2010 was The Best Game I Ever Saw Live

Flyers' playoff-clinching win over Rangers in 2010 was The Best Game I Ever Saw Live

Almost exactly 10 years ago, before the Flyers set out on their magical run to the Stanley Cup Final, they had to get to the playoffs first. 

And that was nothing short of a miracle. It was the best game I ever saw and I ended up watching the most exciting part on a television screen not much bigger than a tablet in a musty hallway surrounded by people in suits.

Let's backtrack to set the scene. The Flyers had to win their final game of the 2009-10 season to get into the playoffs. They had floundered a bit down the stretch and that enabled the Rangers to make up 10 points in the final three weeks of the season. And to top it off, the Flyers were hosting those rival Rangers at the Wells Fargo Center in that last game on April 11, 2010. 

As many of you know, the offices of NBC Sports Philadelphia, then Comcast SportsNet, are inside the Wells Fargo Center. It's access that grants us the ability to go out and watch games, go between our offices and the press areas and be able to return to work within minutes of a game ending.

On this evening, I was anchoring our nightly show so I watched the first period from my desk. The Rangers finished the opening period with a 1-0 lead. So let's have a change of scenery. I went up to the press box for the second period and for the start of the third. The Flyers had yet to score at that point so I went back to my desk. I wasn't getting a good feeling and thought it was going to be a tough postgame interview. Our producer and assistant news director decided that win or lose, I would go down to the dressing room and help get the story. But I wasn't alone. We had several reporters who would be there because this was too big for just one piece. I mean, there was so much riding on the outcome of this one game. Rangers win, they are in. Flyers win, they are in. It was the ultimate winner-take-all battle for the postseason and it was happening between two heated rivals.

Finally the Flyers lit the lamp with just under seven minutes left in the third to tie the game. But then, a stalemate. So with about two minutes remaining in regulation, I made my way downstairs to wait and watch in the hallway outside of the dressing room. Here we are: me, about a dozen other reporters and several members of building staff, all congregating in this small area. To picture it, it's a cement-wall hallway, with double doors on one side leading to the dressing room and the other side leads to where the Flyers come on and off the ice.

Time is winding down and it looks like the game will go to overtime.

An already high-tension situation ratcheted up another notch. I look over to my left and who's standing there but Mr. Ed Snider. He's joined to the small mass of reporters and staff to wait and watch.

This was it. We were all watching not from a luxury box, or the press box, or even in front of a large flat screen television. No, we were all huddled around a monitor that was about 15 inches across.

Overtime. Waiting. Watching. Who would win? Who would go home?

Sure enough, the drama was still building. Overtime ended with the score still knotted at one goal each. Shootout. It was almost unbelievable. This was a win-or-go-home game and not three periods of regulation nor overtime could decide it. Of course it had to go to a shootout. You may recall that it was backup goaltender Brian Boucher in net for this entire game and he truly stood on his head. The Rangers had been on fire and he stopped nearly everything that came his way the entire game and extra period. Now, he had to last through a shootout.

We are all crunched in together watching on the tiny monitor as each skater went their turn. But one of the hallway party had left us. Snider had walked back up to his seat earlier. I can only guess he figured, win or lose, he was watching that in person. I can't say I blame him. So it was Danny Briere up first: goal! The crowd went nuts and you could feel the stands shake around us. The Rangers' Eric Christensen skates in on Boucher: save! More cheering and shaking.

Next for the Flyers: the captain, Mike Richards. Henrik Lundqvist makes the save. The disappointed sighs of the crowd echoed down our little hallway. 

Now here comes P.A. Parenteau: goal. The groans grow louder of the Flyers faithful. 

Each team has a shootout goal. It seemed like it was slipping away. But all was not lost. Enter Claude Giroux to the ice. He makes one of his signature shootout moves: goal, right between Lundqvist's legs! Euphoria doesn't fully express the crowd's response; I'd say pandemonium was more like it.

But as loud as the cheers were after Giroux's goal, the boos were louder when Olli Jokinen came into view. This was it. He comes in, tries to go five-hole on Boucher but not on this night, not on this goalie and not against this team. Boucher stops the shot easily and the building's roof seemed like it was coming off.

Back in our little hallway, I've honestly never seen anything like it. You've probably heard the expression no cheering in the press box.

Well, that didn't really apply here. It was one of the greatest moments in Flyers history to win a game like that, one that the team had to win. And everyone was clapping and smiling and laughing. We all knew we watched something amazing and downright magical. It was one of the best games I've ever seen, even if I watched it on a tiny TV screen in a smelly hallway — or maybe because of that.

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An appointment with the Shot Doctor, Herb Magee, to talk Ben Simmons' shot

An appointment with the Shot Doctor, Herb Magee, to talk Ben Simmons' shot

It’s been the summer of the Sixers, with max contracts, classic uniforms and a successful draft. 

Oh, and Ben got a new jump shot. 

Certainly not lost in the busy offseason are the many social media posts of Ben Simmons’ new-and-improved jumper, something fans have been clamoring for since the All-Star was drafted No. 1 overall in 2016. The man got that money this summer — and now it seems like he got the J too. 

You know what else fans have been clamoring for? Herb Magee to work with Simmons.  So, is the jump shot new and improved? Who better to examine it than the Shot Doctor (name patent pending)? 

Magee, the Hall of Fame basketball coach at Jefferson (formerly Philadelphia University) has been asked on nearly a daily basis for three years running, to look at Simmons’ shot and work with him to improve it. 

Tweets, Facebook posts, in-person requests — Magee has seen and heard it all. So, I wanted him to see the new shot. Naturally, I made an appointment with the Shot Doctor at his annual shooting camp. 

Magee diagnosed the shortfall of Simmons’ shot and saw the improvement in the form, specifically the holding of the shooting hand, in the Instagram videos.

“He is making them, and the ball seems to have the proper arc, it’s properly spinning, and it looks like he’s attempting to finish his shot,” Magee assessed. “Once that happens and he starts to get confidence, then he’ll start making them, without question.”

Prognosis: Improving. And Sixers fans will want to see nightly check-ups. 

For more of Magee’s breakdown of Simmons’ shot, check out the video above.

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Donovan McNabb reflects on Eagles career, motivation from 'opinionated fans,' more in interview

Donovan McNabb reflects on Eagles career, motivation from 'opinionated fans,' more in interview

While many Eagles fans have mixed emotions about Donovan McNabb and his tenure as a Philadelphia Eagle, that feeling is not mutual. 

In town Thursday to meet kids at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in the Nicetown section of Philadelphia, McNabb told me that it’s all happy when he reflects on his time with the Eagles.

“I don’t get involved in the banter outside, the negative or people’s opinions," he said. "It was fulfilling a dream of playing football. And I have four kids of my own who were a part of the run we had here in Philadelphia so it was fun — it was a lot of fun.”

As for this year’s Eagles team, McNabb believes this squad can get to the Super Bowl, and he feels that everything begins and ends with Carson Wentz and his health. But it comes as no surprise that the former quarterback picked the guys who protect Wentz as most important to the Eagles' success outside of the signal caller.

“I think that offensive line has to gel like they were a couple years ago and take pressure off of Carson," McNabb said.

And yes, Philly fans, Five will always love you … and laugh with you. 

“I truly love what the fans have done for me and the support that I’ve had through my career," he said. "Sometimes you have your opinionated fans and that motivates and drives me, to this day. I laughed about it now and I laughed about it then.”

Fans will have a chance to chuckle with McNabb this fall when he’s inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame on November 7.

You can watch more of my interview with McNabb above.

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