Giroux: Flyers will ‘bring the fans back on our side’ against Penguins

Giroux: Flyers will ‘bring the fans back on our side’ against Penguins

With just two points in the standings, the Flyers are the worst team in the NHL seven games into the 2013-14 season. You can’t blame fans for being dismissive or downright pissed off with the direction of the franchise at the moment.

Meanwhile, Claude Giroux is struggling to meet what are perhaps some unrealistic expectations as both the captain of this sinking ship and the so-called “best player in the world.” The 25-year-old has been held without a goal so far and has just two points total, which undoubtedly has a lot to do with Philadelphia’s 29th-ranked offense.

Obviously Giroux and the other guys in the dressing room can feel the negativity, but he offered a promise of sorts before Thursday’s tilt with the hated Pittsburgh Penguins. Per Sam Carchidi of the Inquirer, the Flyers are out to win you back tonight.

"Tonight’s gonna be a game to bring the fans back on our side and show them that we’re a good team and can win games," Giroux, who is still looking for his first goal, told reporters after the morning skate.

Carchidi also got Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma's take on the rivalry and more from this matchup.

It’s good to hear Giroux is still frothing at the mouth to get him some of Sidney Crosby, but backing up that statement might be difficult. The Pens enter tonight in first place in the Metro Division (champions will receive screen-printed skinny jeans instead of traditional hats and T-shirts), and are third in the NHL averaging just shy of four goals per game.

The way they’ve been skating, it’s hard to believe the Flyers would provide much in the way of a problem for Pittsburgh right now. Giroux however drew a comparison of these first seven games to how it felt when they were down 3-0 to the Boston Bruins in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Via CSN’s Sarah Baicker:

I don’t know. There was definitely a feeling that series might turn around for the Flyers, which it did—they won 4-3 and eventually made their way to the Finals. It’s certainly possible they will rebound this season as well. That said, I don’t know that they’re on the cusp of breaking out of this slump quite yet.

We’ll see. On nights like tonight, it doesn’t matter how awful the Flyers are. There’s enough bad blood in these two dressing rooms that we might see some fireworks on the ice. Who knows, maybe a big rivalry game is exactly what the Orange & Black need to get their swagger back.

>> Tonight will bring fans back on our side, Giroux says [Philly.com]

Jahlil Okafor trade watch: Bulls reportedly unwilling to trade first-round pick

Jahlil Okafor trade watch: Bulls reportedly unwilling to trade first-round pick

With the NBA trade deadline nearly upon us — 3 p.m. Thursday — here is the latest on Jahlil Okafor. (We'll update this with news on Okafor throughout the afternoon.)

• The Bulls are still pushing to acquire Okafor, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

Chicago has been one of the rumored destinations for weeks — in fact, the Bulls were reported as a suitor for Okafor before the Pelicans, Blazers and Pacers.

• What's the hold-up? According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, the Bulls "have shown no inclination to this point of including" their first-round pick, along with a player, which is what the Sixers have been seeking for Okafor.

Johnson notes that forward Nikola Mirotic is available. Mirotic, 26, is a restricted free agent after the season. With Ersan Ilyasova traded to Atlanta Wednesday night, perhaps the Sixers could look at Mirotic as a backup four to Dario Saric. 

Mirotic's value is in his outside shooting — he's a 6-foot-10 forward who made 39 percent of his threes last season. But his numbers have dipped across the board this season and he's shooting just 38 percent from the field and 30 percent from three.

• According to ESPN's Marc Stein, Okafor's preferred landing spot is Chicago, his hometown.

• Obviously, it's not up to Jah — the Sixers will go with whichever offer is best.

Eagles wise to bring Jason Peters back, even with full salary

Eagles wise to bring Jason Peters back, even with full salary

This isn't a big surprise, but Jason Peters will be back with the Eagles — big salary and all — for the 2017 season.

While the Eagles approached the veteran left tackle about his contract in January, Peters has not restructured his deal, according to a league source. 

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport on Thursday morning reported that Peters will be back next season on his normal contract. 

Yes, Peters is expensive in 2017. His base salary after hitting another Pro Bowl escalator written into his contract is up to $10.45 million for next season (plus a $250K workout bonus), which comes with a big cap hit of $11.7 million. That cap hit is the highest on the team, but not outlandish for a high-caliber left tackle. 

The Eagles could have very well cut Peters and moved on. It would have saved them significant cap space to use elsewhere. They just wouldn't have found any player more valuable to pay with that money. 

Peters, 35, is still their best option to protect Carson Wentz's blind side. He made his ninth Pro Bowl in 2016 after playing all 16 games. The team hasn't been shy about wanting him back and Peters toward the end of the season said he wanted to return for another year. 

"We certainly want to have him back," Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said of Peters in early January.

“I love him. I want him on the team,” head coach Doug Pederson said with two games remaining this past season. “I don’t want him to go anywhere."

With Peters back, it means Lane Johnson's eventual trip to left tackle will be held off for another year. Eventually, he'll take over that spot … just not right now. 

During the season, Peters opened up about his future, saying he hopes Wentz can be the guy who finally gets him a Super Bowl ring (see story).