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Yeo wants Flyers players to ‘make this special’ for Claude Giroux; Cam York promoted to top pairing



Cam York, Philadelphia Flyers
Defenseman Cam York will move to the top pairing on Thursday night for the Philadelphia Flyers against Nashville.

It’s been doom and gloom for the Philadelphia Flyers this season, for sure.

On Thursday, however, it’s time to celebrate, and make Claude Giroux’s night special.

That was the message interim coach Mike Yeo gave to his players Tuesday at practice in Voorhees.

Giroux will play in his 1,000th career game Thursday when the Flyers host Nashville. Pre-game festivities, which will include an appearance by franchise icon Bob Clarke, will begin at 7 p.m. The game will start at 7:16.

Clarke is the only player in franchise to play 1,000 games for the Flyers. He played in 1,144.

The Philadelphia Flyers blew a late lead Sunday and fell to Montreal, 4-3, in overtime.

“The message today way was, let’s respond. We’ve done a good job with that,” Yeo said.

“And also, let’s make this special for G. That’s a real amazing accomplishment to play 1,000 games with one organization, to play them the way he did, and to add what he’s added to the organization. Let’s celebrate that. Let’s celebrate it with a great game and bring a great attitude, and get excited for it.”

“Obviously, the way the year has gone, it’s been a disappointing moment on several fronts,” winger James van Riemsdyk said after practice. “… We want to make it a really memorable night for him.”

Giorux, 34, is expected to be dealt before Monday’s trade deadline. And, yes, it has the locker room antsy.

“When it’s a player like G, it certainly has a bigger impact because he’s such a popular teammate, such a good player,” Yeo said. “… It’s the reality that the players are dealing with. There are names being tossed around out there (in trade rumors), so they (also) have their own situation to think about. This is always the time, as a coach, you just sort of want this time to be over with, the trade deadline.

“Obviously you feel for G and what he’s going through,” Yeo said of the trade distractions. “You feel for the team, to be honest with you. We obviously have a few games before that, so we have to make sure we put our sights on the next one again.”

York promoted

Defenseman Cam York, 21, a California native, will move to the top pairing Thursday, playing his unnatural right side, alongside Ivan Provorov. Justin Braun will drop to the third pairing, next to Keith Yandle.

“No question Yorky can take on a little more, and let’s see what he can do against some of the big boys out there,” Yeo said, adding it was “an adjustment” for York to play the right side.  “I believe he’s capable, and there’s no other way than throwing him out there.”

York, who had been on the bottom pairing with Yandle, said he was excited for the chance, and “I don’t think there will be too many issues.”

In 16 games this season, York has four points and a minus-7 rating.

‘Stupid thing to say’

After Sunday’s meltdown to Montreal, Yeo said he would start considering benching players, taking time away, or making under-performers a healthy scratch.

“It was  stupid thing to say, to be honest with you, without taking the time to look at the game (video),” Yeo said on Tuesday. “I came back and looked at the game yesterday. When I watched the video of the first two periods, they weren’t that bad — especially considering we played three games in four days.”

He said playing those three games against fast opponents (Florida, Carolina, Montreal) makes you “forced to play” at a quick pace. “You’re skating every shift; they’re hard minutes.”

Yeo thought the Flyers “looked tired” in the third period, when they blew a 3-2 lead by allowing a shorthanded goal with 42.1 seconds left. (Technically, it was five-on-five because the Habs pulled their goalie.) Montreal then won in overtime.

“We were guilty of playing on our heels too much. Playing too safe,” Yeo said. “But if you look at the game, we put ourselves in a position to win. We didn’t win, and some of that is confidence. Some of it we can learn, some of it we have to bear down. We have to continue to push to get better.”

Practice lines

The lines at practice: Derick Brassard centering van Riemsdyk and Cam Atkinson; Giroux centering Morgan Frost and Travis Konecny; Kevin Hayes centering Oskar Lindblom and Joel Farabee; and Patrick Brown centering Gerry Mayhew and Zack MacEwen.

The Giroux line was the only one to stay intact from Sunday’s game.


Yeo on this season: “We’ve all had hard times where we’ve been ready to go over the edge. This has been challenging for us.”

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