Simon Gagne Makes It Home in Time for Rivalry Night with the Washington Capitals

Simon Gagne Makes It Home in Time for Rivalry Night with the Washington Capitals

While Philly fans had to be happy on some level when they
heard Simon Gagne was coming home, the move did raise a few questions – not to
mention eyebrows. The Flyers are fighting for their playoff lives, and general manager
Paul Holmgren’s cure was to trade for a 33 year old who hasn’t played a full
season at a high level since 2008-’09?

That of course would be reading too much into the deal.
Gagne isn’t the answer to all of the Flyers’ problems, but he could be a viable
solution to one: the club’s increasingly-challenged depth at left wing.

Shortly after the trade with Los Angeles was announced, the
Flyers revealed Tye McGinn would miss two weeks with an orbital bone fracture, a
result of his fight with Toronto’s Mike Brown on Monday night. Check it out:

McGinn joins Matt Read, Tom Sestitio, and Jody Shelley on
the list of injured forwards. Read surprisingly skated on Wednesday, but is
expected to be out another five weeks with torn rib cage muscles. Sestito’s
timetable is six-to-eight weeks with a groin injury, while Shelley is on
injured reserve recovering from hip surgery.

All of which has left the Flyers thin at wing. That doesn’t
even include the prior absences of Scott Hartnell, Wayne Simmonds, or Zac
Rinaldo for varying lengths of time, nor does it account for the relative lack
of production from Ruslan Fedotenko or Mike Knuble up to this point.

As for whether Gagne can fill the void in ways that
Fedotenko and Knuble haven’t, or if he’s just another old timer temping for the
cash-strapped Flyers, that remains to be seen. On Wednesday, Tim Panaccio provided
some additional insight
on Homer’s line of thinking, as well as that of the
Kings.

"Simon is a guy who has a lot
of experience and played in a lot of positions -- penalty kill, power play and
regular shifts,” Holmgren said on a conference call. “He is a good two-way
player that can skate. We think he will add to us a lot.”

 

Gagne had fallen in disfavor with coach Darryl Sutter because he didn’t finish
his scoring chances and he is not a grinder who can play on a fourth line.
Gagne admitted he felt confused as to just what his role was.

So while Gagne’s best days are almost certainly behind him, the
belief is he could still be effective if utilized properly. Gagne’s zero goals
and five assists in 11 games were apparently a consequence of playing on the
Kings’ fourth line, and he was a healthy scratch in his final days with the
organization.

In the end, the Flyers spent a third-round pick at most to
bolster their depth, and in the process acquired a player who might stand to
benefit from familiar surroundings, plus another veteran presence inside the locker
room. And as several observers have noted, the addition of Gagne could give
Holmgren greater flexibility to make a bigger move down the road.

Ultimately how significant the trade is will depend on
Gagne’s own availability. He hasn’t played more than 63 games in a season since
08-09, so his health will be something to monitor. As long as Gagne can stay on
the ice though, there is reason to believe he can help in some capacity.

***

As for Gagne’s first game in Orange & Black, the Flyers
are back on NBC Sports’ Rivalry Night for the second week in a row, this time
drawing Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals. Washington has come on of late, winning back-to-back
games to jump out of sole possession of last place in the Eastern Conference,
and they can scramble out from the bottom of the pile with just one point tonight.

For what it’s worth, the Flyers and Caps are only separated
by six points – with Philadelphia playing three more games already – so they’re
really in no position to overlook any opponent. Puck drops at 7:30 for Rivalry
Night.

photo courtesy the Flyers

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Best of NFL: Seahawks hurt Tony Romo, pull away from Cowboys

Best of NFL: Seahawks hurt Tony Romo, pull away from Cowboys

SEATTLE -- Three plays were all it took for Dallas to get yet another injury scare surrounding Tony Romo.

The quarterback lasted just 90 seconds into the Cowboys' 27-17 preseason loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night before leaving with what appeared at first to be a potentially significant injury, but ended up being minor.

Romo was tackled from behind by Seattle's Cliff Avril on the third play from scrimmage as Romo scrambled from the pocket.

He immediately grabbed at his back, crumpled on the field while trainers sprinted from the Dallas sideline and images of Romo's injury problems from last year immediately flashed to mind.

Turned out it was all just a scare. Romo walked off the field without assistance, threw passes on the sideline and lobbied for a return to the game. Dallas coach Jason Garrett opted to play it safe and Romo donned a baseball hat as a spectator the rest of the night.

"I was just in shock and had my mind on just, `C'mon, Tony. Get up,'" Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told the team's TV broadcast.

"Said a few prayers right there in the middle on the spot. Really just couldn't imagine getting that hand dealt to us. We're pleased that it's in good shape. We obviously don't need to see what Tony can do out there."

What Romo saw was an impressive initial flash from rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott and a solid performance by backup QB Dak Prescott against one of the top defenses in the NFL.

Elliott rushed for 48 yards on seven carries, including a 13-yard run where he knocked Seattle safety Kam Chancellor backward. Prescott was solid playing against most of Seattle's starting defense, finishing 17 of 23 for 116 yards, including a 17-yard TD pass that Jason Witten snatched away from K.J. Wright.

Russell Wilson and Seattle's No. 1 offense played into the second half, scoring on four of its final five possessions including a pair of TD tosses by Wilson (see full recap).

Foster leads Dolphins to win over Falcons
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Running back Arian Foster had a 2-yard touchdown run in the Miami Dolphins' 17-6 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.

Foster, who joined the Dolphins during the offseason and is coming off an Achilles injury, had his most extensive playing time with his new team in the third preseason game that was played at Orlando's Camping World Stadium.

The four-time Pro Bowl running back played in just one series in the first half, but he made the most of the limited opportunities by sparking the Dolphins to their lone touchdown drive of the half with five carries for 10 yards, capped by his 2-yard scoring run early in the second quarter.

The Dolphins are taking a cautious approach with Foster, who hasn't played a full season since 2012 with Houston. The former Texans star didn't play in the Dolphins' preseason opener and had just two carries for minus-5 yards last week against Dallas.

With Foster expected to challenge second-year running back Jay Ajayi in the Dolphins backfield this season, coach Adam Case came into Thursday night's game wanting a little more to evaluate Foster on.

Foster didn't get a lot more work, but he did enough in the seven touches he received to make the Dolphins' running back competition interesting. Ajayi carried seven times for 11 yards and caught two passes for 12 yards.

Foster had two receptions for 20 yards, which included a 16-yard catch that moved the Dolphins into scoring position at the Falcons 22.

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, coming off an impressive outing against the Cowboys, didn't put his team in many scoring positions, but he did move the ball effectively.

He completed 20 of 29 passes for 155 yards while leading the Dolphins to a score in one of two red zone opportunities (see full recap).

Roy Halladay provides epic quote in tribute to Carlos Ruiz, the 'little engine that could'

Roy Halladay provides epic quote in tribute to Carlos Ruiz, the 'little engine that could'

Roy Halladay and Carlos Ruiz shared a special relationship.

We all know the story.

The two formed an incredible battery combination that produced a perfect game and postseason no-hitter in the same year.

Halladay, a Cy Young winner with plenty of accolades, loved the unassuming Ruiz just as much, if not more, than anyone.

This is case in point: Doc, via CSNPhilly.com's Phillies Insider Jim Salisbury, provided an absolutely epic quote summing up Chooch, who the Phillies traded on Thursday night.

Without further ado ...

Chooch was the little engine that could for a team loaded with big names, but no player was more valuable to the team as a whole than Carlos! He was so humble and grateful, you couldn't help but just want to do anything for him including win! He flawlessly handled one of the greatest pitching staffs ever assembled and was just as important offensively, as well. It was nothing short of miraculous that he could handle so many different personalities and approaches on a day-to-day basis the way that he did. He was the best catcher I've ever thrown to and, in my opinion, the best catcher in baseball in the years I was with him. It's going to be sad to see him without a Phillies uniform on and not seeing him sitting in his chair in the clubhouse with a smile. And just the way the fans treated Chase last week, Chooch is also deserving of that hero's welcome. They are my two favorite players of all-time as well as favorite teammates. I was fortunate to have both of them in the clubhouse. I want to wish good luck to Carlos. Maybe one day when we're old and gray we can come back to Philly!!

With that, we'll leave you with these awesome moments.

Report: Phillies calling up prospect Jorge Alfaro

Report: Phillies calling up prospect Jorge Alfaro

It appears prized catching prospect Jorge Alfaro is coming to the Phillies.

But not for long.

According to a report late Thursday night by Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan, Alfaro will be promoted from Double A Reading to the Phillies and join the team Friday in New York.

Alfaro, already on the Phillies' 40-man roster, is not expected to stay for long. He gets the call now with the Phillies' trade of Carlos Ruiz on Thursday night and veteran catcher A.J. Ellis, a part of the Ruiz deal, not yet with the team but expecting to join it this weekend against the Mets.

Alfaro is a strong candidate to be a September call-up of the Phillies once Reading is finished with the Eastern League playoffs.

The 23-year-old was acquired in the Cole Hamels trade at last season's non-waiver deadline. With the Fightin Phils this season, Alfaro is hitting .279 with 13 home runs, 61 RBIs and 60 runs scored. He's ranked as baseball's second-best catching prospect by MLB.com Pipeline and is known for his big throwing arm and power potential.