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]

NFL Notes: LeSean McCoy questionable; Jordan Reed out

NFL Notes: LeSean McCoy questionable; Jordan Reed out

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy is questionable and will be a game-time decision for Buffalo's upcoming game against the Miami Dolphins.

McCoy returned to practice on a limited basis Friday after sitting out Thursday. He revealed he suffered the injury in Buffalo's Wednesday practice session at the start of individual drills.

"We're confident in the guys that we have behind him but not ruling Shady out at all," Bills head coach Rex Ryan said. "He looked pretty good. So we'll be smart with him, but he looked pretty good."

McCoy has been the driving force behind the Bills offense this year and has gotten off to a hot start. The Bills (4-2) lead the league in rushing and McCoy is second in the NFL with 587 yards, behind only Dallas rookie Ezekiel Elliott.

McCoy said the injury is to his left hamstring, the same hamstring he injured last season. McCoy injured his hamstring last year during training camp and was hampered throughout the first half of the season, missing two games.

McCoy stressed that his current injury is not nearly as bad as his hamstring injury from a year ago.

"It's not as bad, really it's not as bad at all, so that's a good thing," McCoy said.

If McCoy is unable to play, he likely will be replaced by backup Mike Gillislee. Gillislee had a 44-yard touchdown late in Buffalo's Week 6 win over the San Francisco 49ers. Buffalo also has veteran Reggie Bush and rookie Jonathan Williams at running back.

The Dolphins (2-4) have the 31st-ranked run defense in the NFL.

Redskins: Doctson to IR; Reed out Sunday
ASHBURN, Va. — First-round draft pick Josh Doctson was put on injured reserve by the Washington Redskins on Friday with an injured left Achilles tendon.

Doctson has missed the past four games for Washington (4-2) after making just one catch in each of the team's first two games.

The wide receiver was the 22nd overall pick in this year's NFL draft but has been troubled by the Achilles tendon problem since rookie minicamp in May. Doctson did not play at all in the preseason.

"With all the work that we've put in, we thought it was best to immobilize him for a little bit of time and see if that can help," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said Friday.

Gruden raised the possibility of bringing Doctson back from IR later on -- each team can do that with one player per season -- saying, "Hopefully we'll get him back for the last, maybe, two games of the year."

Said teammate DeSean Jackson: "Hopefully he'll get right and get the treatment he needs and be back out there for us as soon as possible."

Doctson had one catch for 9 yards in Week 1, and one catch for 57 yards in Week 2. The Redskins were hoping he could contribute this season and be ready to step into a bigger role next season if Jackson or Pierre Garcon leaves via free agency.

Gruden also said tight end Jordan Reed will miss Sunday's game at the Detroit Lions (3-3) with a concussion. Reed, who leads the team with 33 catches in 2016, also sat out last week's win over Philadelphia after hitting his head during a victory over Baltimore a week earlier.

He participated somewhat in practice Wednesday — wearing a yellow, noncontact jersey — before being held out entirely Thursday and Friday.

"I don't think he had a setback," Gruden said. "I just think they didn't really clear him. ... That's all I can say. I don't even try to argue or ask why. I just (ask) if he's cleared or not -- and the answer is `No.' So hopefully we'll get him back next week."

Brett Brown says Ben Simmons will return in January

Brett Brown says Ben Simmons will return in January

Ben Simmons is on track to return to the Sixers in January, Brett Brown told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Friday. 

Previous reports indicated that Simmons, who suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot in the Sixers' final training camp scrimmage on Sept. 30, would be out three months. Friday's news jives with that, but this is the first time the Sixers have given a timetable.

"It's not doom and gloom," Brown said. "Ben is coming back in January. We are still trying to find information on Jerryd (Bayless). Jahlil (Okafor) is still trying to touch the court in his first preseason game."

With long-term ramifications in mind, there had been some speculation that Simmons' camp wanted him to sit all season. 

This is rather encouraging news and it means the Sixers may avoid watching another of their top picks miss his entire first year.