Dan Gross: A Flyers spin

"Wheel of Fortune" star Pat Sajak, a Capitals fan, says he's been at every Winter Classic.
"Wheel of Fortune" star Pat Sajak, a Capitals fan, says he's been at every Winter Classic. (Photos: DAN GROSS / DAILY NEWS STAFF)
Posted: January 03, 2012

PAT SAJAK just wanted to see a good hockey game. The "Wheel of Fortune" host, seated in Section 227 of Citizens Bank Park at yesterday's Winter Classic, is a Capitals season-ticket holder but has attended each Winter Classic so far. Sajak, with his family, told us he wasn' t really rooting for the Flyers or Rangers but said, "The crowd will probably be more peaceful on the way out if the Flyers win."

"Boardwalk Empire" actor Vincent Piazza, who plays Lucky Luciano on the HBO show, took in the game with girlfriend Ashlee Simpson. Piazza, a New York native, is an Islanders fan, but since he attended Villanova as a finance major, we were surprised he wasn't rooting for the Flyers. Piazza played right wing for Villanova's hockey team for a year and was excited to play in a Nova alumni game at the ballpark.

Simpson looked cold and said Piazza was trying to make her into a hockey fan.

She shyly turned away as Piazza said she didn't want to talk about sister Jessica Simpson expecting a baby or any other personal stuff.

Patti LaBelle, who sang "The Star-Spangled Banner," said she was honored by the invitation to perform at the event, her first hockey game. Miss Patti said she didn't plan to stay for the game, citing the cold.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts strolled the media area near the field with a phalanx of teenagers, presumably friends of his kids, close behind.

Also over Winter Classic weekend, locally born rocker Joan Jett performed at the NHL's private NYE bash at the Electric Factory.

And after the Alumni Classic on Saturday, Flyers alums Rick Tocchet and Mark Recchi headed to Atlantic City, where they watched the Goo Goo Dolls at Caesars from a VIP box with Caesars executive Don Marrandino. After the show they rang in 2012 at Dusk.

Actor Patrick Wilson, seen now in theaters in "Young Adult," wore a Rangers hat as he and his young son took in the little guy's first NHL game.

The Roots wisely kept warm on their bus between performing before the game and during second intermission.

Holiday engagements

Congratulations to NBC 10 meteorologist Michelle Grossman and Jamie Simmons, the station's digital-assets manager, who were engaged over the holidays. Grossman's been seen wearing a rock on her left hand during her forecasts. It will be the first marriage for Simmons and the second for Grossman.

Another TV twosome, 6ABC anchor/reporter Brian Taff and creative-services producer Mara Webb, were also recently engaged.

And Nicole Cashman, of PR and Special Events firm Cashman and Associates, and DJ Nigel Richards, of the music and clothing brand 611, were also engaged over the holidays. Somehow Richards hid a ring inside Cashman's fortune cookie while the couple had take-out Chinese at home.


Screen legend Ernest Borgnine lunched the other day at Rebecca's Dutch Kitchen inside the Booth's Corner Farmers Market in Glen Mills. The actor is in the area frequently with his wife, Tova, who sells her beauty line on QVC. As usual, Borgnine was friendly to fans and answered questions about his career from patrons at the restaurant.

Bolaris still benched

Fox 29 meteorologist John Bolaris is still suspended. We reported Dec. 23 at PhillyGossip.com that the weatherman had been benched by station management after he upset bosses with some comments in a Playboy magazine article about his being drugged and conned by European hotties in Miami. He had previously gotten in a few arguments about stories with station management, and we were told that the Playboy story, which the station didn't want him participating in, was the final straw that led to his suspension. Bolaris won't discuss the matter and the station won't say when, or if, he will be back on-air.

Funds raised for Santa doc

Filmmakers Tommy Avallone and Derek Lindeman, who collaborated on "Calendar Girl," starring Corbin Bernsen, are now working with former 94 WYSP DJ Spike Eskin to produce the documentary "I Am Santa Claus," which follows five men who portray Santa around Christmastime to show who they are and what they do in the off-season. They raised $10,000 in donations via Kickstarter.com and received encouragement and promotion from filmmakers such as Morgan Spurlock, of "Super Size Me." Visit IAmSantaClausMovie.com for more info.

Kal feeds cops

Publisher and philanthropist Kal Rudman and Sang Kee owner Michael Chow were out New Year's Day at the Eagles game providing hot meals to more than 100 police officers on duty for the final home game. This was their 12th year teaming up to show some holiday hospitality to Philly police.

Visit PhillyGossip.com for Dan's latest updates or follow PhillyGossip on Twitter. Have a tip? Call 215-854-5963, or email grossd@phillynews.com. For recent columns, visit www.philly.com/DanGross.

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