Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week they discuss the Philadelphia 76ers, Gregg Popovich, Royal and Ancient Golf Club and Bill Belichick. Bruce Arthur, National Post My thumb is up to the Philadelphia 76ers, proud possessors of a win streak for the first time since two weeks before the Olympics began. Any task worth doing is worth doing with commitment, and while you can argue whether tanking to get a good draft pick should be worth doing, thats the system, and the Sixers have been crafting a masterpiece. Before Saturday night they had lost 26 in a row, 29 of 30, and 36 of 39, and 27 straight losses would have a set a new record for consecutive defeats. But Saturday in Philly, the Sixers pulled one out, blowing out the hapless Detroit Pistons by 25 and getting a standing ovation. It was a raft in an ocean, a blip in the sky. But now, no matter what, they can say this: it could have been worse. Steve Simmons, Sun Media My thumb is up to Gregg Popovich, who just might be the greatest coach in the history of professional sport. And I dont say that lightly with terrific respect for the work done by Scotty Bowman and Phil Jackson and Bill Belichick, and yeah, certainly Vince Lombardi. Put your championships aside for a moment - this is the 15th straight season in which Popovichs San Antonio Spurs have won between 50 and 63 games in the NBA. To put that into perspective, thats the same number of 50-win seasons combined over that time that the Knicks, Celtics, Bulls, Warriors, Nets, Wizards, Pacers, 76ers, Bobcats, Hawks, and Raptors have won. Having Tim Duncan helps. But Duncan at 37 is slowing down. Heading to another 60 win season, Gregg Popovich doesnt seem to be. Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated My thumb is up to the R&A, for finally entering a new century. The 20th. The Royal and Ancient is urging its membership to allow women to become members of the venerable St. Andrews golf club in Scotland when it votes in September. This is a mere 260 years after the home of golf was founded, which qualifies as progress. Two other courses in the Open Championship rotation, Muirfield and Royal St. Georges, have yet to tiptoe down this perilous path to equality. By comparison, the nice gentlemen at Augusta National, which started accepting female members in 2012 - hello, Condoleeza Rice! - look like wild-eyed progressives. Dave Hodge, TSN My thumb is up to New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, for making me seem less crazy than others think I am. I have been saying for years that the complexities of video review are confusing and unnecessary, and that a better system would be a very simple system that allows anything to be challenged. And no less an authority than Belichick is leading a push in this direction in the NFL. Never mind "this can be challenged under certain circumstances, but not that under any circumstances"--as Belichick says, "if a coach thinks his team has been victimized by a bad call, he should be able to question it, and its up to him to use the limited number of challenge flags with that in mind." As I say, "challenges might actually be fewer--same with wrong calls--and replay rules would be simpler. You can challenge those assumptions, but Bill Belichick wont. Bryce Love Jersey . The 27th-ranked Austrian underwent surgery on a torn tendon in October and needs more time to recover, the Austria Press Agency reports on Saturday. Dexter Manley Jersey . -- The Oakland Raiders expect to have starting right tackle Tony Pashos back for Sundays game against the Houston Texans. http://www.redskinsrookiestore.com/Redsk...eismann-Jersey/. Grimes signed a $32 million, four-year contract to remain with Miami. The deal, which includes $16 million guaranteed, rewards Grimes for his recovery from an Achilles tendon injury that forced him to miss almost all of the 2012 season. Alex Smith Jersey . JOHNS, N. Art Monk Youth Jersey . First-half goals by Will Bruin and Oscar Boniek Garcia sucked the life out of the Impact as the Houston Dynamo bounced them from Major League Soccers post-season with a 3-0 victory on Thursday. CALGARY -- A tumultuous day for the Calgary Flames off the ice Thursday had a happy ending thanks to Chris Butler. Butlers second goal of the year with four seconds left in overtime gave Calgary a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Paul Byron entered the Carolina zone then curled back towards the blue-line before sending a pass across to Butler, who flung a 50-foot wrist shot past a partially screened Justin Peters. "Paul did a great job, having great patience hanging onto the puck and I just tried to be available there and really just throw a muffin on net," said Butler. Peters said when Mikael Backlund crossed in front of him, he lost track of the puck. "Just a mental lapse on my part. He went right through the line of the puck. Ive got to do a better job of fighting to find it earlier, especially with that much time left," said Peters. It was an eventful day in Calgary. In the morning, president of hockey operations Brian Burke announced the firing of general manager Jay Feaster and assistant GM John Weisbrod. "It was a tough morning. Obviously its pretty surprising when Burkie comes down to the locker-room and delivers that type of news," said Butler. "Jay has been such a good guy to all of us here. Its tough to see a guy like that let go. Hes pretty responsible for bringing a lot of guys in. We certainly wish him the best and it was nice to get a win today." A key play in the game came with 5:25 remaining in the third period when Carolinas Jeff Skinner, who had just scored to tie the game, was awarded a penalty shot after being hooked on a breakaway by Ladislav Smid. Skinner tried to go five-hole again just like he did on his goal but this time was denied by Karri Ramo. "Looking back, I would have done something different," Skinner said. "I tried to open him up but he didnt really bite on my fake. I probably shouldnt have forced it in there." It was one of 29 saves on the night for Ramo, who improved to 5-5-1. "Just trying to make the save, be big, and not give him very much to shoot at. I wanted to give a chance for our guys to win," Ramo said. Brian McGrattan, who scored the only goal of the opening 40 minutes, said that save was the difference. "That was huge. That probably won us the game right there. We came out after that save was made and we were flying. You need saves like that to win games," said McGrattan. Calgary (12-15-4) now heads out on a five-game Eastern road swing that begins Saturday in Buffalo. Carolina (13-13-7) will look for its first win when it wraps up a four-game road trip in Phoenix on Saturday.dddddddddddd "A sour end to a great effort by our team, thats for sure," said Peters, who falls to 6-8-2. "We played a solid game, came out strong in the third, took the play to them a lot." The Flames took a 1-0 lead to the third period, but for the third game in a row couldnt hold it with Skinner tying the game for Carolina at 11:10 on a 30-foot wrist shot that trickled through Ramos pads. "We had chances, we just didnt capitalize and it came back to bite us," said Carolina coach Kirk Muller. "I thought it was going to be a low scoring game, tight. I was happy the way we stuck with it tonight." Throughout the mornings press conference, Burke alluded to the Flames as being too small, not tough enough and needing to play more hostile, or truculent as he likes to describe it. Appropriately, it was the Flames most physical player, McGrattan, who opened the scoring at 17:49 the first period after some hard work by linemates Byron and Lance Bouma. "In a tight game, coach showing confidence in us throwing us out more and more and more. I think if we do the things we did in that shift, game in and game out, hell have the confidence to play us more," said McGrattan, whose goal was his first in 30 games dating back to last season. McGrattan complimented the way the team played after the days events. "We reacted the right way. A lot of things in the game that are out of your control," he said. "You can only control the things that you do and thats how hard you work and how good your attitude is. I think we regrouped today and got a big win." Both teams welcomed back veteran forwards to their lineup. For the Flames, Curtis Glencross (knee) returned after missing 15 games and TJ Galiardi (back) drew back in after being sidelined for eight games. Carolina got Alexander Semin (concussion) back after he missed 12 games. Notes: The Hurricanes lost rookie Elias Lindholm early in the first period when he was hit hard into the sideboards by Mark Giordano. He will be re-evaluated on Friday. ... Galiardi has gone 21 games without a goal. ... Carolina RW Patrick Dwyer played his 300th NHL game. Backlund played in NHL game No. 200. ... The Flames improve to 7-4-2 with Giordano in the line-up. ... In its last eight home games, Calgary has given up a total of five goals over the first two periods and 14 in the third period and overtime. ' ' '