Vinny Lecavalier joins Claude Giroux on Flyers’ top line

Vinny Lecavalier joins Claude Giroux on Flyers’ top line

This is certainly one way to help the captain and franchise player snap his goal-less streak. Reports from Tuesday’s morning practice have four-time All Star Vincent Lecavalier skating with Claude Giroux on the top line, a look that should debut when the Orange & Black return to action against the New York Rangers on Thursday.

Joining Giroux and Lecavalier is 24-year-old rookie Michael Raffl, who was called up from Adirondack when Lecavalier and Scott Hartnell went down with injuries.

Here is the rest of the lineup via Bill Meltzer of HockeyBuzz:

Raffl - Giroux - Lecavalier
McGinn - B. Schenn - Voracek
Read - Couturier - Simmonds
Hall - Talbot - Rinaldo
[Hartnell - Newbury - Rosehill]

We’ve already seen just how smooth Lecavalier can be when it comes to creating in the offensive zone during his sort time in Philly (1 G, 2 A), and Giroux is in desperate need of a jump start. The centerman hasn’t lit the lamp in 14 consecutive games dating back to last season, and most nights he hasn’t even been getting shots on net. Giroux has been limited to one shot on goal in four of the Flyers’ eight games this season.

Raffl is an interesting choice on the other wing, especially because Tye McGinn has had some success on the G line, scoring two goals against Vancouver just two games ago. While he has yet to score in three games this season though, Raffl has had some opportunities. He led the way for the Flyers with five shots against Pittsburgh last week.

Then again, is there something to be said for creating a line and giving them a chance to find some chemistry? The Flyers have been juggling the pairings seemingly every game this season, and while it’s not uncommon to try different things, neither Craig Berube nor Peter Laviolette before him has shown much patience behind the bench.

Of course, that’s the nature of the beast with the Flyers. Plus, at this point it’s really hard to argue with giving Giroux and Lecavalier a look. When the Rangers visit Philadelphia this Thursday, the Orange & Black will be attempting to clear the two-goal mark for the first time this season.

>> Meltzer’s Musings: Post-Practice Update, New Lines [HockeyBuzz]

Topps cover man Claude Giroux answers U.S.-Canada questions

Topps cover man Claude Giroux answers U.S.-Canada questions

Claude Giroux spent Friday signing virtual autographs as the cover athlete for Topps NHL Skate 2017, a new onilne digital trading card game. Remember when trading cards came in a bubble gum pack? 

After the event, Giroux sat down with CSN's Michael Barkann on Philly Sports Talk for a game of “Who Does It Better: Canada or the United States?”

The game started off with a few easy softball questions, with Giroux picking the NFL over the Candian Football League. Then it got a little tougher, as Giroux chose Canadian hockey over U.S. hockey.

Despite talents like Drake and Shania Twain, Giroux went with the U.S. over Canada in music, and also chose American bacon over Canadian bacon.

Eventually, Barkann asked Giroux which beer he preffered.

“I don’t drink beer," Giroux responded.

Really? What Canadian doesn't like beer?

As he started to get up out of his seat after the interview, Giroux showed his true colors. “I love beer. I love beer,” he said.

Check out the video above to see the full game. 

Wayne Gretzky defends Connor McDavid's outburst over Brandon Manning

Wayne Gretzky defends Connor McDavid's outburst over Brandon Manning

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As the primary target of opponents over his Hall of Fame career, Wayne Gretzky can certainly empathize with the frustration of Oilers star Connor McDavid.

McDavid and Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning jostled all evening long in a 6-5 Edmonton loss. McDavid denounced the tactics of his opponent after the game, claiming Manning intentionally injured him last season; McDavid missed 37 games with a broken collarbone.

"I guess we can put the whole 'if he did it' thing to rest because what he said out there kind of confirmed that," said McDavid, who taunted Manning after scoring the second goal in the Oilers' loss.

"I think anybody who knows me or who has played with or against me along the road here, knows that I am not that kind of player," Manning said, according to a statement released by the Flyers. "I am not out there intentionally trying to hurt people. I'm a guy who plays the game hard and I take pride in that."

Gretzky didn't mind seeing that fire in McDavid, saying competitiveness is part of what makes the great ones great. And he said the targeting comes with the territory of being a superstar. It was something he and Mario Lemieux dealt with, too.

"And Connor, he's going to get tested every night, but this is not new for him," Gretzky said Friday at the NHL board of governors meetings. "He's been tested since he was a kid and then playing junior hockey and now in the NHL and he's always responded and done his part."