Moving Voracek Around the Lineup Nothing to Be Le-Cavalier About

Moving Voracek Around the Lineup Nothing to Be Le-Cavalier About

When you think of things that worked for the Flyers on the ice last season, pairing Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek together on the top line should be right at the top of the list. Voracek helped jump start Giroux’s campaign when the captain got off to a slow start, while G helped his right wing realize renewed potential as a scorer.

They seemed like such a logical fit together, it was difficult to understand why head coach Peter Laviolette didn’t try it sooner – or from day one for that matter.

Whatever the reason for the delay, at least now we know that it works. Giroux posted three goals and seven assists through the first 16 games of 2013. Voracek had three scores and eight helpers over the same span. Once the two of them joined forces however, Giroux picked up the pace with 10 and 28 over the final 32 games, while Voracek erupted for 19 and 16.

And that was with a revolving door on the left side. Imagine the numbers they could rack up over a full season, especially were Scott Hartnell able to locate his stroke again, or if somebody else could fill the void.

Keep on imagining, because you might not see it all that much. When the Flyers signed Vinny Lecavalier last week, it was widely assumed he was brought here to replace Danny Briere as the second-line center. It turns out the team might be interested in having him play right wing though, specifically on Giroux’s line. Lecavalier discussed the possibility in a conference call with reporters over the weekend.

Lecavalier said he would be “very comfortable” on right wing and admitted he was asked about that by Laviolette in their meeting. The Flyers need scoring on the right side and once again have a log jam of centers.

Lecavalier said he would love to play right wing on Claude Giroux’s line. That’s a problem because Jakub Voracek on the right side was an outstanding fit for the Flyers last season, when he scored 22 goals and was second to Giroux (48 points) in total points with 46.

“If you watch me in a game, if I have a choice of going on the left side with the puck or right side, I choose, 99 percent of time, going on the right side,” said Lecavalier, who is a left-handed shot.

“It’s not something I really worry about, especially after being told you might play with Claude Giroux. I’m open to that and would be excited for that.

“I would be very comfortable [there]. That is something they asked me at the meeting if I could play wing and I said, certainly. I’m a lot more comfortable on the right wing than on the off-wing.”

This is exactly the type of situation that some feared when Lecavalier was signed, only we thought Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier were the ones at risk of being pushed down the lineup and/or having their positions changed. Instead it seems Voracek could be forced to slide over to the left, or change lines altogether.

Granted coaches switch up their lines from time to time, and there’s a chance at some point over an 82-game season Giroux and Voracek may have been splitsville as part of some type of shakeup. Why are the Flyers already considering messing with that chemistry now though, in July?

Maybe all of this is much ado about nothing. Maybe Voracek could excel just as easily on Giroux’s left. Maybe it’s the Flyers’ brain trust doing their due diligence and figuring out what Lecavalier is comfortable with before signing him. Regardless, it’s a curious development as we ponder where Lecavalier fits with the Orange & Black.

>> Lecavalier chose Flyers before an offer was made [CSN]

Andrew Kulp is a freelance writer covering Philadelphia sports for The700Level.com. E-mail him at andrewkulp@comcast.net or follow him on Twitter.

Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Canucks 2

Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Canucks 2

Box Score

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Flyers passed a freshness test Sunday night — barely.

After building a 3-0 lead in the first 23 minutes, the Flyers held on for a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.

The Flyers were the more rested team. They had two days off here following Thursday’s loss in Edmonton — and a three-day break before the start of the trip.

But they almost allowed Vancouver to come back in the Canucks' second of back-to-back home games with only a day’s rest following a grueling six-game United States road trip.

The Flyers (28-24-7) moved within a point of the eighth and final playoff spot, currently shared by Florida and Boston, in the Eastern Conference. The Canucks (26-28-6) were denied a chance to gain ground on the final postseason berth in the Western Conference.

Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek and Brayden Schenn — who added the goal that proved to be the winner — scored for the Flyers. Two of the three goals came on the power play. Both teams failed to score in the third period.

Markus Granlund and Jannik Hansen replied for the Canucks.

With the win, the Flyers avoided going winless on a three-game tour through British Columbia and Alberta. They posted their first victory in Western Canada in the past nine attempts.

Goalie report
Coach Dave Hakstol showed loyalty in Michal Neuvirth after the Flyers' netminder allowed four goals on his first 12 shots in Thursday’s one-sided loss in Edmonton. Neuvirth started off much better Sunday, as he got his toe on Markus Granlund’s dangerous chance from in close early and stopped all eight shots that he faced in the first period.

Power play
Hakstol was looking for the Flyers to rediscover their “swagger” on the power play. He got his wish early as Simmonds jammed in a Shayne Gostisbehere rebound only 5:45 into the game. The puck barely crossed the line but was clearly in, as confirmed by a video review. Vancouver winger Alex Burrows was off for hooking at the time. In the second period, Schenn padded his NHL power-play goals lead as he gave the Flayers a 3-0 lead at 2:38. Schenn scored his 14th power-play goal of the season on a shot from the slot as Simmonds screened Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller. With his goal, Simmonds moved into a tie for second in NHL man-advantage markers with Washington’s Alex Ovechkin. Both players have 12.

Voracek busts his slump
The drought is over for Voracek. The winger busted his scoring slump as he gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead at 2:38 of the second period. The goal was Voracek’s first in 10 games. He had not scored since Jan. 25 against the New York Rangers.

Shayne the unfriendly ghost
Gostisbehere did not live up to his nickname. Ghost was quite visible as he assisted on all of the Flyers’ goals. It was Ghost's first career three-point game.

Did you notice?
Defenseman Michael Del Zotto had a chance for a rare breakaway with about five and a half minutes left in the first period, but missed a well-placed lead pass as he was coming out of the penalty box. Instead of a scoring opportunity, the missed pass led to an icing call and a face-off in the Flyers’ end.

Up next
The Flyers head back home to meet the NHL-best Washington Capitals on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Puck drop is set for 8 p.m.

Report: Sixers, Pelicans had 'similar' package to DeMarcus Cousins deal in place

Report: Sixers, Pelicans had 'similar' package to DeMarcus Cousins deal in place

The Kings and Pelicans made waves after Sunday's NBA All-Star Game with the huge trade that sent superstar DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans.

Sacramento sent Cousins to New Orleans for a package that included rookie Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and first- and second-round picks this in this year's draft.

But the Sixers and Pelicans reportedly were very close recently on deal for a "similar" package in exchange for Jahlil Okafor, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelbourne.

That "similar" package was reportedly minus Hield.

So while the Pelicans are now almost certainly out of the running for Okafor, they've still made an impact on the Sixers in the near future.

Remember, the Sixers have the right to swap picks with the Kings in this year's draft via the Nik Stauskas deal in 2015.

So with Sacramento's brightest star now gone, that pick swap could be looking better and better for the Sixers.

As for Okafor, what does all this mean for his status with the Sixers?