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]

Steve Mason rediscovers himself in New York just before Flyers return

Steve Mason rediscovers himself in New York just before Flyers return

It had been a while since Steve Mason saw himself.

Walking into the Barclays Center on Sunday, the Flyers’ goalie was 0-6-2 with a 4.03 goals-against average and .844 save percentage over his last 10 appearances (see more recent Flyers numbers and stats).

A far cry from how Mason truly sees himself in net.

But heading into Wednesday’s rivalry clash with the Rangers, Mason will have something to build on, something he couldn’t say since Dec. 21 — the last time he had earned a victory. He’s fresh off his first win in over a month, a gigantic one for Mason considering all the key moments on Sunday the Flyers hope invigorate his confidence.

Without numerous clutch stops from their goalie, the Flyers don’t come back from two goals down to beat the Islanders, 3-2, in overtime. Mason made four saves  — three on four-time All-Star John Tavares — in just over a minute of a third-period power play. The Flyers ended up having to kill two New York man advantages in the final 10 minutes of regulation in order to force overtime.

The extra session is when Mason was just as good, if not better, stoning Tavares on a breakaway attempt that had game-winner written all over it. Mason made four saves in overtime after 13 in the third period.

“I was happy with the way that, personally, this game went for myself,” Mason said Sunday. “It’s been a tough stretch and this is more the type of game that I expect of myself. In recent games, the team was lacking the big saves and tonight it shows what kind of difference it can make.”

It was a massive performance heading into a massive three-game stretch against the Rangers, Maple Leafs and Hurricanes.

“Mase made some huge saves for us,” Simmonds said. “It allowed us to get back in that game.

“It’s not just Mase [with the] ups and downs. Everyone in here has been kind of fighting it and squeezing sticks pretty tight. That one felt good and I think Mase led the charge for sure.”

Mason understands just one game doesn’t turn around a season.

“It’s nice to feel good after a game,” Mason said. “At the same time, whether you’re winning or losing, you have to have a short mindset and get ready for the next one.”

That brings the Flyers to Madison Square Garden Wednesday to face the Rangers, who they’ve lost five straight games to dating back to last season. Mason hasn’t had much luck against New York this season, allowing seven goals in two losses with an .860 save percentage. However, in 2015-16, Mason put up a 1.74 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in five games against the Rangers.

“That’s going to be a tough game going into MSG,” Mason said Tuesday (see story).

The good thing: Mason was in New York two days ago, remembering what he can be.

Manute Bol's 7-foot, 17-year-old son dominates in HS season debut

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AP Images

Manute Bol's 7-foot, 17-year-old son dominates in HS season debut

Bol Bol, the 17-year-old son of the late Manute Bol, is a top high school basketball prospect with offers from schools like Arizona, Kansas and Creighton. This highlight tape should give you an idea why.
 
Bol, whose father played in the NBA for parts of 12 seasons, including 215 games for the Sixers, now attends the famed Mater Dei High School in California and played in his first game of the season this past weekend. Listed as the No. 16 overall prospect in the 2018 recruiting class by Scout, Bol started his season off with a big 21-point, 10-rebound effort.
 
Take a look at the highlight tape from the 6-foot-11 Bol and expect to see him carry on his father’s legacy on the court at a major NCAA college basketball program soon.