Flyers Give Jason Smith the C

Flyers Give Jason Smith the C

The Flyers moves in trades and free agency this off-season brought a solid combination of talent and leadership to a team that defined underperformance last season. When former captains Briere, Smith, and Timmonen joined possible future captains Gagne, Richards, and company, one question facing the Flyers this summer was who would wear the C on the ice. Yesterday, the team announced it would be 33-year-old defenseman Jason Smith, the former captain of the Edmonton Oilers. The alternate captains will be Richards and Gagne.

Philly has lacked a solid captain since Keith Primeau last wore the C, with Peter Forsberg and Darien Hatcher serving in a rather pedestrian way. I'd assumed Danny Briere—the biggest name of the Flyers new faces—would be the easiest and most fan-friendly choice among the deserving players, but I think Smith will be great in the role. The brass and the fans liked what they saw on Saturday, with Smith dropping the gloves twice in a preseason game (one of which was against Colton Orr--see below). I think this is a captain this town can get behind.

Panaccio
Moran

Eagles sign DT Justin Hamilton to futures contract

Eagles sign DT Justin Hamilton to futures contract

The Eagles on Monday signed defensive tackle Justin Hamilton to a futures contract. 

Hamilton, 23, went undrafted in 2015 but spent time with both the Bills and Packers. This past season, he spent six different stints on the Seahawks' practice squad, constantly being waived then re-signed. 

He has never played in an NFL game.

Hamilton played collegiately at Louisiana-Lafayette, where he totaled 14 sacks and 29 tackles for loss in four years. He was First Team All-Sun Belt as a senior. 

The Eagles have signed 15 players to reserves/futures contracts this month.

Pressing too hard? Claude Giroux realizes less can be more

Pressing too hard? Claude Giroux realizes less can be more

NEW YORK — Ron Hextall admitted there’s a bit of a double-edged sword to Claude Giroux.
 
“I think he’s pressing too hard,” Hextall said before Sunday night’s game. “It’s what you like about him; there’s a few guys like that. You like that [competitiveness] about them, but sometimes you become your own worst enemy because they beat themselves up.”
 
The captain was entering the day with a goal drought of 12 games, his longest since Oct. 2-Nov. 7, 2013, when he opened the season goalless in 15 contests.
 
“G wants to be successful at everything,” the general manager said. “Hopefully something good happens for him and he gets rolling. He’s too good of a player to play like this.”
 
Hextall got his wish.
 
Nearly four hours later, Giroux buried the game-winning goal of the Flyers’ 3-2 overtime win against the Islanders at the Barclays Center (see game story). Not only did it relieve Giroux of his funk, but it also did the same for the Flyers, who had lost three straight and 12 of their last 15.
 
"It's been tough the last couple of weeks,” Giroux said. “We know we're a better team. 
 
“Obviously we can still be better but we needed this win tonight.”
 
And Giroux needed that goal. Over the previous 12 games, the Flyers’ second-leading scorer was a minus-13 with seven assists and just one even-strength point. It’s no coincidence the Flyers went 2-8-2 in those 12 games.
 
Giroux didn’t disagree with his boss.
 
“You want to succeed and you want to play the best you can,” he said. “Sometimes you push it a little too much. When you sit back and kind of look at the big picture, sometimes I think that's when you kind of realize you need to relax and just go out there and play.”
 
Before the game, head coach Dave Hakstol made a change that reaped the rewards. He decided to put Jakub Voracek back on the top line with Giroux and Michael Raffl. Giroux finished with six shots, his most since Dec. 21, while Voracek put up four and assisted the overtime winner.
 
“Well, I mean there are a lot of things that go into that,” Hakstol said of the move. “Those guys have success together, but more importantly, you look at some of the combinations as you go through the year when you’ve had success. Sometimes one change gives you a little bit of a jump-start. Those guys did a good job.”
 
Giroux’s goal was emblematic in a way that he simply planted himself in front of the net and tapped in Shayne Gostisbehere’s wraparound pass. There was no highlight-reel deke or miraculous shot.
 
Keeping it simple — as players often say — did the trick.
 
"Sometimes you don't need to try so hard,” Giroux said. “You need to go about your job and make sure you do the right things out there. Make sure you help your teammates and linemates. Just go out there and play hockey. We're supposed to have fun doing it, right? So sometimes you need to relax and kind of look at how you can get better.”
 
Sunday was a start.