The Flyers fall to the Rangers at home in preseason action
Two games won’t be the deciding factor on whether Hal Gill sticks around or not on his tryout deal.
Gill played in Sunday’s 4-3 exhibition loss in London, Ont., to Toronto, and in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the Rangers at the Wells Fargo Center.
Sources say Gill will make the trip to Lake Placid early Thursday where the Flyers will continue their camp through the weekend.
The 38-year-old Gill is fighting thick odds with nine defensemen already here on one-way contracts.
While the 6-foot-7 defenseman is in amazing shape, he looked a little slow in both games in coverage areas.
“In a normal situation, when you have a contract, you worry about progressing and getting better in every game,” Gill said. “In this situation, I wanted to speed up the process. But it was good. It was nice to get out there and be competitive and play. I felt good. Like preseason, you’re learning a new system and timing needs to get there.”
The Flyers are taking between 26-28 players to Lake Placid.
“I can show that I am healthy and ready to go and I have that desire,” Gill said. “I want to be part of the team. I don’t have to show people what I can do. I’ve been doing the same thing a long time.”
He had a defensive overplay with Mark Alt in the loss to the Rangers that allowed for Benoit Pouliot’s easy, point-blank rebound in the third period for the winning goal.
Absent of a major injury or trade, it remains hard to see this 15-year veteran making the roster, but coach Peter Laviolette said Gill will get more looks.
“Hal did a good job,” Laviolette said. “His job is to keep the puck and keep people away from our net and he’s done a pretty good job of that. His best asset is defending.
“Think back to Hal in his career and when he is most noticeable, it’s him taking care of the front of the net. Him being physical on top-end players. We’ll get a better look and better read on Hal as the camp moves on.”
Laviolette did admit his skating might not grab your attention, but that was never his primary asset anyway.
“His strengths are different,” Laviolette said. “He’s big, he defends, he ties up bodies, he clears the net ... plays that type of game.”
How it happened
Derick Brassard scored on a shot in the slot that hit the back of the new, shallower net so quick it popped out before the red light went on. ... Max Talbot tied it later in the period and the same thing happened -- the puck flew out of the net even though it was a soft shot. ... Flyers goalie Steve Mason played the entire game. ... Ray Emery gave up a tying goal in the final 21.7 seconds of regulation on Monday against the Caps. Mason gave up one to ex-Flyer Darroll Powe in the second period to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead. ... Sean Couturier, who had two assists against Washington, made it 2-2 in the third period with his first goal.
Inside the lines
Scott Hartnell played on Vinny Lecavalier’s line with Wayne Simmonds.
“We had one practice together on Day 2 and I was kind of excited to play with Vinny," Hartnell said. "I played against him for so many years, watching him score goals. I think the coaches were happy with how we played. We’re all big bodies. We move the puck well, cycle and protect the puck.”
Laviolette wanted to see the chemistry between Lecavalier and Simmonds. It appears the left side is up for grabs.
“That second day [in camp] with Hartnell, they absolutely destroyed it on the three-on-three competition,” Laviolette said.
There’s going to be a lot of replays this season on goals with these new nets being so tight and so much shallower. Pucks hit so hard, the ricochet goes right up the slot. This begs the question: Did the NHL not experiment with these nets to see firsthand there is a legit problem with pucks staying inside them?