Claude Giroux

Girgensons, Vrbata favored to go last at fantasy draft, says oddsmaker

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For the record, Friday is Media Day for the 2015 All-Star weekend, not Pick on Zemgus Girgensons Day.

Brovada released some 2015 All-Star odds today, covering obvious questions such as who will be selected first and last during the fantasy draft (as well as more esoteric ones, like Jaroslav Halak and Carey Price being on the same team).

Let’s start with who might be selected last:

Who will be picked last in the 2015 NHL All Star Draft 
Any Other Player                       3/1
Zemgus Girgensons (BUF)         4/1
Radim Vrbata (VAN)                  4/1
Patrik Elias (NJ)                        5/1
Bobby Ryan (OTT)                     6/1
Tyler Johnson (TB)                    6/1
Phil Kessel (TOR)                      9/1
Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)           15/1
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM)     15/1
Tyler Seguin (DAL)                    20/1
Patrice Bergeron (BOS)             30/1
Jakub Voracek (PHI)                  30/1
Claude Giroux (PHI)                   50/1
Alex Ovechkin (WAS)                100/1
Steven Stamkos (TB)                 100/1
Ryan Johansen (CLB)                100/1
Anze Kopitar (LA)                      100/1
John Tavares (NYI)                    100/1

(Don’t sleep on the “one of the captains outright trolling a friend and/or teammate,” by the way.)

On the flip side, who might get selected first?

Who will be picked first in the 2015 NHL All Star Draft 
Alex Ovechkin (WAS)                2/1
Steven Stamkos (TB)                 2/1
Ryan Johansen (CLB)                4/1
Duncan Keith (CHI)                    10/1
Corey Crawford (CHI)                 10/1
Shea Weber (NAS)                    12/1
Anze Kopitar (LA)                      30/1
John Tavares (NYI)                    30/1
Phil Kessel (TOR)                      30/1
Brent Seabrook (CHI)                 40/1
Carey Price (MON)                     40/1
Claude Giroux (PHI)                   40/1
Patrice Bergeron (BOS)             40/1
Tyler Seguin (DAL)                    40/1
Any Other Player                       40/1
Zemgus Girgensons (BUF)         50/1
Jakub Voracek (PHI)                  50/1
Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)           50/1
Jaroslav Halak (NYI)                  80/1
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM)     80/1
Ryan Suter (MIN)                       80/1
Tyler Johnson (TB)                    80/1
Bobby Ryan (OTT)                     80/1
Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT)             80/1
Roberto Luongo (FLA)               80/1
Mark Giordano (CAL)                 80/1
Brent Burns (SJ)                        100/1
Dustin Byfuglien (WPG)             100/1
Erik Johnson (COL)                   100/1
Justin Faulk (CAR)                     100/1
Kevin Shattenkirk (STL)              100/1
Patrik Elias (NJ)                        100/1
Radim Vrbata (VAN)                  100/1
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (PHO)      100/1

Despite being one of the better offensive defensemen in the NHL, Oliver Ekman-Larsson said he wouldn’t be shocked if he went last:

As far as who will win, Team Toews is at even odds while Team Foligno’s -140 (5/7). Finally, some of the odder bits:

Will Carey Price (MON) and Jaroslav Halak (NYI) be on the same All Star Team?        
Yes                  EVEN   (1/1)
No                    -140      (5/7)
 
Will Ryan Johansen (CLB) and Nick Foligno (CLB) be on the same All Star Team?     
Yes                  – 200     (1/2)
No                    +150     (3/2)
 
Will Jonathan Toews (CHI), Corey Crawford (CHI), Duncan Keith (CHI) and Brent Seabrook (CHI) and be on the same All Star Team?   
Yes                  +550     (11/2)
No                    -900     (1/9)

Is anyone else a little disappointed that “uncomfortable Phil Kessel facial expressions” wasn’t a category? (Taking over-four.)

Voracek’s points lead is surprising even to him

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How many people’s preseason predictions included Jakub Voracek winning the Art Ross Trophy this season? The list probably isn’t that long and wouldn’t have included Voracek himself.

Still, that’s the situation we’re in as he entered the All-Star break with 17 goals and 56 points in 48 contests, which gives him a four-point edge over Tyler Seguin.

“I would be lying if I said I knew I was going to be leading the points by January,” Voracek conceded to NHL.com. “I’ve really worked hard for it. But it doesn’t mean that I was on top for 45 games and now I just let up. I’ve just got to keep working hard and try to get better.”

Part of Voracek’s success comes from his pairing with Claude Giroux, but he’s become a talented forward in his own right.

“He’s putting the work in now and he’s simplified his game,” Flyers coach Craig Berube said. “He’s shooting pucks, getting to the net, things like that. A guy with that skill, and he does the right things all the time, he’s going to produce.”

The 25-year-old forward’s rise isn’t exactly a sudden development as he had 45 goals and 108 points in 130 contests over the previous two seasons. Still, his current career-high is only 62 points, which is a mark he’s set to obliterate.

His success has been a silver lining in what has been a rough campaign for the Flyers and has made the Jeff Carter to Columbus trade look like a steal. In addition to getting Voracek, Philadelphia also got two draft picks, which became Sean Couturier and Nick Cousins. The Blue Jackets certainly didn’t get the better end of that deal, but of course the loss of Carter itself is a more complicated matter given that he went on to win two championships with Los Angeles after being reunited with fellow ex-Flyer, Mike Richards.

Carter and Richards have to be pleased with how things worked out, but the two of them have combined to score 17 goals and 48 points this season. That doesn’t match Voracek’s production.

Columnist: Flyers ‘orchestrated’ fight night versus Pens during meal at ‘a local steakhouse’

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According to Pittsburgh-based columnist Dejan Kovacevic, who was in attendance for last night’s fight-filled game at Wells Fargo Center, the “mayhem” we saw on the ice was “orchestrated” by Flyers captain “Claude Giroux and a few of his mates,” who “met at a local steakhouse and decided this night, this opponent would make the perfect foil for turning their season around.”

And just for good measure, Kovacevic called the Flyers “the most repugnant franchise in professional sports with all due apologies to Bill Belichick’s Patriots.”

The crux of Kovacevic’s column was that the Penguins, for the most part, kept their cool despite the Flyers’ attempt to “raise a circus tent over the proceedings.”

But it’s the charge that the Flyers cooked the whole thing up, as opposed to something that happened organically, that was most interesting. Especially considering what Zac Rinaldo said about his hit that injured Kris Letang.

Just another chapter in the rivalry, we suppose.

The Steakhouse Scheme.

Has a ring to it, no?

Video: Flyers win fight-filled contest against Penguins in overtime

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It was a battle. Just another one between two NHL teams from Pennsylvania. And the Philadelphia Flyers came away with the victory.

In a game between the two fierce rivals, the Flyers outlasted the Penguins by a final score of 3-2 in overtime, courtesy not one but two four-on-three powers play in the extra period. Claude Giroux scored the winner on a scramble in front of the Pittsburgh net, as he snapped home a loose puck that had gotten caught up in the equipment of sprawling goalie Thomas Greiss.

The Flyers were unsuccessful in their first man advantage of the overtime. But they were given another opportunity when the Penguins took a bench minor for too many men on the ice, giving Philadelphia’s sixth-ranked power play another opportunity.

Giroux’s goal capped off a wild, almost out-of-control game. There were four fights in the second period, as the animosity continued to build. The two teams combined for 93 penalty minutes.

Flyers’ forward Zac Rinaldo was tossed in the first period for a major penalty for boarding on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, who left the game and did not return due to injury.

NHL on NBCSN: Flyers seek encore vs. red hot Capitals

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Washington Capitals host the Philadelphia Flyers at the Verizon Center at 8:00 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

With a little under half the season left to go, the Flyers are a long shot to make the playoffs, but if they keep playing like they have lately, anything is possible. Philadelphia went 3-1-0 on their recent homestand, including a commanding 7-3 victory over the Atlantic Division-leading Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

“The home fans get behind us and we like playing here,” Flyers forward Brayden Schenn told CSN Philly. “I’m not sure how much home games we have left this year, but we have to make them count.

“We’re going to go on the road here in Washington. We have to be ready for another hard-fought game. They have great players and the team is playing real well right now. That is a team we are trying to catch.”

Washington will be a big test for the Flyers as they try to build off of their successful four-game stint. The Capitals have been playing like an elite team lately with a 13-1-4 record over their last 18 contests. They didn’t hold a playoff spot when that hot streak started but they now have a five-point cushion in the battle for a postseason berth.

Braden Holtby has been a huge part of the Capitals’ recent success, posting a 1.98 GAA and .935 save percentage over the course of their run. He struggled last season, but rather than change course or at least hedge their bets by getting a netminder that would compete for the starting gig, Washington signed a clear understudy in Justin Peters. At the time Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said it was about sending the right message to Holtby about his role with the team.

Now Holtby’s paying MacLellan back for his trust, although the netminder quick to spread the credit around.

“There hasn’t been a guy in this locker room who hasn’t deserved it on any given night,” Holtby said, per CSN Washington. “We truly believe we have the most depth in the National Hockey League and guys are really defining their roles in how they’re going to help the team win. When you do that, we pass that hat around a lot.”

There certainly will be a lot of other capable talent on the ice and not just on Washington’s side. Between Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek with Philadelphia and Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom with Washington, this contest has no shortage of heavy hitters or potential heroes.

Although Washington has a substantially better record, this is anyone’s game. After all, the Flyers are the only squad that’s managed to beat Washington so far this month and they desperately need another two points tonight.