Claude Giroux’s Cap Hit to Become Fifth-Largest in the NHL

Claude Giroux’s Cap Hit to Become Fifth-Largest in the NHL

We’re playing a little bit of catch-up here today, because while we were out celebrating the Fourth of July on Thursday, the Flyers were taking care of business with their franchise player. The big news from over the holiday was Claude Giroux agreeing to an eight-year extension worth $66.2 million, with a full no-movement clause that should ensure the 25-year-old All Star will be in Orange & Black for the better part of the next decade.

Giroux was scheduled to become a free agent next summer, which for the Flyers’ captain and best skater means a new contract was little more than a formality. The eight years were the maximum under the collective bargaining agreement settled upon in January, while the new cap hit of $8.275 million is currently scheduled to become the fifth-largest in the NHL for 2014-15. Only Alex Ovechkin’s ($9.53), Evgeni Malkin’s ($9.5), Sidney Crosby’s ($8.7), and Corey Perry's ($8.625) are higher.

Obviously, future free-agent signings and contract extensions could push Giroux's number down the list.

As you might expect, Giroux was pumped about the news. He spoke to reporters about the new deal via conference call:

“I’m very excited.  I’ve been able to play with the organization for five years… it’s been unbelievable, the fans are always expecting great things.  So just to be a part of that, it’s a really great feeling.”

“It’s a great honor to be able to have that kind of contract.  It just shows the trust they have in me, and I’m going to do my best to not let them down.  A little bit of pressure like that never hurts.  I have a lot of good teammates that are playing well, so I’m just pretty excited to move on from this.

In case you’re wondering how the Flyers can fit such an enormous figure with their existing salary cap situation – currently an estimated $1 million over the threshold after signing Vinny Lecavalier and Ray Emery – the extension doesn’t begin until 2014-15. G’s cap hit is still a friendly $3.75 million for the season ahead. For those concerned with future cap implications, the limit should be on the rise again beginning next year.

Paul Holmgren issued a statement after the signing was made official:

"Claude is a high-quality young man that over the past few years has blossomed into our best player and also one of the top players in the league," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said in a statement issued by the team. "We look forward to more and better things to come from Claude over the next number of years as we try to achieve our goal of becoming a championship team."

In his first season after being named captain, Giroux played in all 48 games in 2013. It was a down year from a goal-scoring standpoint, finding the back of the net just 13 times. However, he was seventh in the NHL with 34 assists, and tied for 13th with 48 points. The numbers weren’t bad at all, especially given his slow start while recovering from double wrist surgery over the offseason. Once Jakub Voracek joined him on the top line, Giroux looked like an elite playmaker again.

As far as the contract is concerned, there’s not much to see here. Giroux, 25, was going to get max years, and while there may be some small level of concern over whether or not he’s truly an $8-million-per-year player, G could certainly command that on the open market next summer – maybe more if he continues growing as a superstar. It was a no-brainer for general manager Paul Holmgren to lock up his premier player for as long as possible.

Glad to see Giroux will be in Philadelphia for many years to come. At this point, fans can only hope he will become the catalyst behind ending the city’s painful Stanley Cup drought.

>> Claude Giroux, Flyers agree to 8-year deal [CSN]

Best of MLB: Nelson Cruz drives in 7 as Mariners pummel Blue Jays

Best of MLB: Nelson Cruz drives in 7 as Mariners pummel Blue Jays

TORONTO -- Nelson Cruz hit his ninth career grand slam and added a three-run shot, and Hisashi Iwakuma pitched six innings to win his fifth straight start in Seattle's victory over Toronto.

Cruz hit his slam off R.A. Dickey (7-11) in the third, then added a three-run drive off Drew Storen in the eighth for his 20th career multi-homer game. He has 25 home runs this season.

It was the 13th time in team history a Mariners player has recorded seven RBIs. The team record is eight by Mike Blowers, Mike Cameron and Alvin Davis.

Kyle Seager hit a two-run homer and Nori Aoki had two RBIs and scored twice as the Mariners used a season-high 19 hits to win their third straight. Iwakuma (11-6) allowed two runs and four hits.

Wade LeBlanc pitched the final three innings for his first save (see full recap).

Stanton leads Marlins past Mets
MIAMI -- Giancarlo Stanton homered and had his first four-hit game since 2012, driving in three runs to give Jose Fernandez all the support he needed, and Miami beat New York.

Miami rocked Jacob deGrom (6-5), who allowed 10 hits and five runs, both season highs, and lasted just 3 2/3 innings in his shortest outing since August.

Fernandez (12-4) gave up two runs in seven innings to match his career high for victories, achieved in his 2013 rookie season. He also had two hits, hiking his average to .265, and drove in the first run.

Home Run Derby winner Stanton put Miami ahead to stay in the third inning when he hit a majestic two-run homer off the left-field scoreboard above the 401-foot sign. He added an RBI single in the fourth, and singled in the first and sixth, hiking his average to .241 after a prolonged slump (see full recap).  

Dodgers snap Cardinals' 5-game win streak
ST. LOUIS -- Adrian Gonzalez hit his eighth homer, red-hot Justin Turner got two more RBIs and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat St. Louis 7-2 on Saturday night to end the Cardinals' five-game winning streak.

Turner's two-run double capped a four-run third. He has 14 RBIs since the All-Star break.

Gonzalez's 429-foot solo blast to center sparked a three-run sixth.

Kenta Maeda (9-7) rebounded from a poor outing against Arizona on July 17, giving up two runs over 5 2/3 innings. Only one of the Cardinals' first 15 batters was able to hit the ball out of the infield against the Japanese right-hander.

Andrew Toles went 3 for 4 and scored once for the Dodgers. He has reached safely in nine of 10 games since being called up from the minors.

Mike Leake (7-8) allowed seven runs -- six earned -- in six innings.

Matt Adams homered for the second consecutive game. His blast to left in the fourth extended the Cardinals' streak of home runs to 14 straight games.

Aledmys Diaz reached safely for the 26th straight game with a first-inning single. Diaz's streak is the second-longest by a Cardinals rookie since Albert Pujols had streaks of 30 and 48 games in 2001 (see full recap).

Drew's walk-off triple lifts Nats past Padres
WASHINGTON -- Pinch-hitter Stephen Drew hit a game-ending RBI triple in the ninth inning to lift Washington past San Diego,

Anthony Rendon opened the bottom off the ninth with a single off reliever Kevin Quackenbush (6-4). Drew entered with one out and drove a pitch off the center-field scoreboard, and Rendon raced around the bases for the winning run.

Jonathan Papelbon (2-2) allowed a leadoff double in the ninth before retiring three straight batters. San Diego left runners in scoring position in each of the last two innings.

Washington starter Max Scherzer struck out 10 over seven innings (see full recap).

Giants top Yanks in extras to snap losing skid
NEW YORK -- Mac Williamson homered in the fifth inning and hit a tiebreaking single in the 12th, lifting San Francisco past New York for the Giants' first victory since the All-Star break.

NL West-leading San Francisco had lost a season-high six straight games and had held just one lead since the break -- when Buster Posey hit a go-ahead home run leading off the 10th inning at San Diego on July 16 only to have the Padres rally for a pair of runs in the bottom half against Santiago Casilla.

Williamson, whose fourth-inning error allowed the Yankees' run, began the comeback when he connected off Ivan Nova leading off the fifth.

Trevor Brown hit an opposite-field double to right off Anthony Swarzak (1-1) leading off the 12th, and Williamson singled up the middle with one out, just past the glove of diving shortstop Didi Gregorius. San Francisco was 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position, dropping to 7 for 64 (.111) since the All-Star break, before Williamson's single.

Cheered on by hundreds of orange-clad fans in the Giants' old hometown, San Francisco escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the 10th when Casilla (2-3) retired Brian McCann on a shallow flyout and Starlin Castro on a foulout. Hunter Strickland pitched a perfect 12th for his second save (see full recap).

Joel Embiid posts amazing tribute to Sam Hinkie on Instagram

Joel Embiid posts amazing tribute to Sam Hinkie on Instagram

The treasure trove that is Joel Embiid's social media presence unearthed another jewel on Saturday evening.

The Sixers' big man took to Instagram to post a picture of himself chatting with local folk legend Sam Hinkie. As if that wasn't enough, check out the captions he wrote at the bottom.

THE GOAT #HeDiedForOurSins #TrustTheProcess

A photo posted by Joel Hans Embiid (@joelembiid) on

Let us break this down.

"THE GOAT" - As in Greatest Of All Time, not an actual goat you would find at your local petting zoo.

"#HeDiedForOurSins" - St. Sam, patron saint of analytical basketball martyrdom.

"#TrustTheProcess" - The rallying cry of the masses.

Sure, they may have taken away Sam, but they'll never take away JoJo's social media platforms. Never!

Union have no answer for Didier Drogba, Impact in 5-1 loss

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Associated Press

Union have no answer for Didier Drogba, Impact in 5-1 loss

MONTREAL  -- Didier Drogba broke out with a hat trick to lead the Montreal Impact to a 5-1 victory over the Union on Saturday night.

The 38-year-old Ivorian striker hadn't scored since May 28. He returned last week after missing three games with a thigh injury.

Ignacio Piatti returned after sitting out a one-game suspension to score a goal and add two assists. Recent signing Matteo Mancuso, who went in for Drogba in the 79th minute, got his first MLS goal in added time.

Montreal improved to 7-5-8.

Chris Pontius scored for Philadelphia (8-7-6).