The Flyers Cross Their Fingers on Simon Gagne

The Flyers Cross Their Fingers on Simon Gagne

Paul Holmgren would probably love to have Simon Gagne back in Orange & Black this season. It’s just that the Flyers’ general manager’s hands are tied right now.

As Sam Carchidi pointed out in Tuesday’s edition of the Inquirer, Philadelphia is roughly $1 million over the NHL salary cap at the moment. They’ll drop below the threshold once the regular season gets underway in October and Chris Pronger can be moved to long-term injured reserve, but for now the situation prevents the Flyers from adding any big names to the roster.

The best the club can do is invite a player to training camp (opening Sept. 12) on a tryout basis. Homer tells Carchidi the team is considering extending such an offer to Gagne, but the Flyers' GM doesn’t sound too sure about the winger’s plans.

“But I’m sure he’s getting calls from other teams, too,” Holmgren said on Tuesday. “I have no gut feeling” as to what Gagne will do.

It was mildly surprising to see Gagne still had something left in the tank last season after the Flyers rescued him from a bad fit with the Kings. There just wasn’t enough ice time to go around in Los Angeles, and the two-time NHL All Star is no fourth-line grinder.

Actually, Gagne proved he still has some scoring touch, finding the back of the net five times while posting 11 points in 27 games in 2013 – nothing that will blow anybody’s hair back, but reasonable production. The 13-year veteran even played on a line with Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek for a stretch and did not look out of place.

Personally, I thought he was a great fit for this team. Even at 33 years old, Gagne was still versatile enough skate on any of the top three lines, not to mention your power play or penalty kill. Oh, and he's a great veteran presence to have in the locker room, too.

It remains to be seen what Gagne will do, but it sounds like the Flyers would have him back. Given that he is still a free agent one week before camps open, it certainly looks like there is a chance that can happen. If Gagne does make it to camp for a “tryout,” I would anticipate him making the club.

>> Gagne may be at Flyers’ camp [Inq]

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored in his season debut as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Crosby, who scored on a power play, missed the team's first six games with a concussion. Carl Hagelin and Eric Fehr also scored for the Penguins, who extended a seven-game unbeaten streak against the Panthers.

Marc-Andre Fleury, who has started the first seven games of the season for Pittsburgh, stopped 20 shots. Matt Murray, who backstopped the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in June, served as the backup to Fleury after missing the first six games with a broken hand.

Reilly Smith scored a power-play goal and Mark Pysyk also scored for the Panthers, who have lost 11 of 12 against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

James Reimer made 19 saves in his second start of the season (see full recap).

Kings top Blue Jackets in overtime
LOS ANGELES -- Alec Martinez scored 1:14 into overtime, and the Los Angeles Kings rallied to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 Tuesday night for their third straight victory.

Drew Doughty scored the tying goal with 5:57 left in regulation for the Kings, who won their third straight overtime game after an 0-3-0 start to the season. Captain Anze Kopitar also scored, and third-string goalie Peter Budaj stopped 19 shots in his third consecutive win.

Cam Atkinson scored a tiebreaking power-play goal late in the second period, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves for Columbus. Brandon Saad also scored for the Jackets, who had won two straight after an 0-2-0 start.

Martinez ended it by putting a rebound into an open net for the defenseman's second goal of the season (see full recap).

Lightning strike for seven goals in win
TORONTO -- Steven Stamkos matched a career-high with four points -- two goals and two assists -- and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 on Tuesday night.

Frederik Andersen gave up seven goals on only 24 shots, the third time in five starts he has allowed at least five goals and fourth time he's allowed four or more. The 27-year-old has an .851 save percentage so far this season.

Alex Killorn, Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jonathan Drouin added goals for Tampa Bay, while Ben Bishop made 40 saves.

William Nylander, James van Riemsdyk and Auston Matthews scored for the Maple Leafs, who outshot the Lightning 43-24 (see full recap).

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

The Eagles could be looking for a bigger name outside.

In need of a deep threat — and reportedly in talks about a trade for 49ers wideout Torrey Smith — the Eagles are interested in Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and attempting to make a move for the 2013 Pro Bowler, according to a report Tuesday night by Benjamin Allbright of Mile High Sports Radio.

We followed up with Allbright, who clarified the Eagles simply made an inquiry.

Jeffery, much more of a do-it-all, dynamic wide receiver than the one-dimensional Smith, is 26 years old and can become a free agent at season's end. He'll warrant good money, but would make the Eagles better in more ways than one compared to Smith.

The 6-foot-3, 218-pounder put up 89 catches for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, followed by 85 catches, 1,133 yards receiving and 10 scores in 2014.

This season, he has 520 yards receiving and has yet to find the end zone playing for the quarterback-challenged Bears, who are 1-6 and more than likely thinking about next season.