Veteran Hal Gill impresses in Flyers debut

Veteran Hal Gill impresses in Flyers debut
November 4, 2013, 11:00 am
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Hal Gill played 14:49 on Saturday vs. the Devils. (USA Today Images)

After a dozen games sitting in the press box, Hal Gill was antsy to get his Flyers career going.
Saturday night in New Jersey, the 38-year-old defenseman made his official Flyers regular-season debut alongside Andrej Meszaros.
The 16-year veteran logged 14:49 ice time, was plus-1, and looked pretty good against Jaromir Jagr when he was on the ice.
“I thought he played really well,” said coach Craig Berube. “Both him and Meszaros went in and played a strong game together. They were physical and they killed the cycle. Big, veteran guys that have been around.”
Gill seemed very composed and aggressive in front of the net, especially on the penalty kill where he logged 4:23 shorthanded minutes, second-most among the defense. Braydon Coburn logged 5:31.
“We had a pretty good game plan going in,” Gill said. “We knew what we wanted to do. We had some good goaltending. That always helps.  Guys are willing to block shots and make plays, get in lanes and discourage them from shooting.”
If there were any conditioning issues confronting Gill since he had not played a game to that point, you didn’t see it on the ice.
“I had a few shifts that were a little longer than I would have liked,” Gill admitted. “But I think at any point, whether you’ve played 10 games or 100 or nothing, you’re gonna be tired after those.”
Goalie Ray Emery earned the club’s shutout, 1-0. He didn’t face a ton of shots – 14 (second fewest in a road game in club history) - but sometimes it’s hard for a goalie to stay in a game when literally going minutes on end without so much as a sniff of a shot.
Berube was noncommittal on starting goaltenders for Tuesday's game. Though Emery arguably deserves the start, he didn't practice Monday because he was visiting the White House with the Chicago Blackhawks. What we know, though, is that the lineup will change in order to fit Vinny Lecavalier, at least, back into it.
“He was steady on everything,” Gill said. “A lot of the saves were good saves because he was already on point. He works hard in practice to be on point, as both of our goalies do.”
Although Berube changed up all three Flyers defensive pairs, there were no obvious communication issues or even giveaways from the defense. Or the forwards. The official score sheet had the Flyers with zero giveaways.
“For me, it’s a new partner,” Gill said. “Everyone else was switching around. With a lot of talk and a lot of communication out there, it helps.”
Both Berube and general manager Paul Holmgren talked before the game that the Flyers needed to show the organization something following the 7-0 beating the night before on home ice against the Washington Capitals.
Gill and other players suggested the Devils game was one of “pride.”
“I think everyone in the organization felt that in their hearts,” Gill said. “It hurts when you get beat up like that. It was lucky that we had a game [the next day] that we could come back and redeem ourselves and play the way we can.”

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