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Ron Hextall

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October 4, 2014 | By Mike Sielski, Inquirer Columnist
Looking back, R.J. Umberger knows exactly when he became more than a man, or maybe less of one. It was Sept. 21, 2011. He signed a five-year, $23 million contract extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets that day. Umberger had scored at least 23 goals in each of his previous three seasons, had emerged as a fixture on the team's power-play and penalty-killing units, and presumed he'd be part of Columbus' core with Rick Nash and Derick Brassard for...
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October 3, 2014 | By Frank Seravalli, Daily News Staff Writer
IMAGINE, FOR one second, that the names and numbers were removed from the Flyers' jerseys during training camp. Imagine that contracts and salary-cap information were thrown out the window. Imagine that age really was just a number and experience counted only for as much as length of service in the NHL Players Association pension plan. Then judge the Flyers' defense. Pick the best six players and give them a name and a uniform number on Opening Night next Wednesday. Judging by that criteria alone, few who closely watched the Flyers this preseason would not have prospect Shayne Gostisbehere in their lineup at the Garden on Causeway Street in Boston.
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October 3, 2014 | BY FRANK SERAVALLI, Daily News Staff Writer seravaf@phillynews.com
WASHINGTON - The latest rumor barely rolled off a reporter's tongue and Ron Hextall grinned, albeit only for a second. "I'm not going to talk about trades," Hextall said. "But I will give you one other piece of advice: Don't believe everything you read. " The rumor, from TSN's Bob McKenzie, said Hextall is actively shopping a defenseman - particularly Luke Schenn or Nick Grossmann - in order to open up a space in the lineup for 2013 first-round pick Samuel Morin. Hextall wasn't happy.
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September 29, 2014 | By Sam Carchidi, Inquirer Staff Writer
For the first time since the Phantoms left Philadelphia in 2009, local fans will have a stronger connection between the AHL affiliate and its parent club, the Flyers. Proximity is the reason. After five seasons in Upstate New York, the Phantoms have relocated to Allentown, a 1-hour, 15-minute ride from Philadelphia. The closer distance makes it easier for Flyers fans to attend games and get a look at the big-league team's future. It also means Flyers general manager Ron Hextall and some of the scouting brass will be more frequent visitors to Lehigh Valley games.
SPORTS
September 26, 2014 | By Sam Carchidi, Inquirer Staff Writer
New Flyers general manager Ron Hextall is gambling that a change of scenery will help defenseman Michael Del Zotto get back to the form he displayed when he was named to the NHL's all-rookie team with the New York Rangers in 2009-10. Back then, Del Zotto appeared ticketed for stardom. Fast-forward to last season. Del Zotto struggled on defense, and he was taken off the power-play unit. He was eventually dealt to Nashville and found himself a healthy scratch numerous times. When the free-agency period opened in July, Del Zotto, 24, drew little interest.
SPORTS
September 23, 2014 | By Sam Carchidi, Inquirer Staff Writer
When the Flyers open their preseason schedule with a split-squad game Monday night against Washington at the Wells Fargo Center, they will showcase what appears to be their new No. 1 defensive pairing: Braydon Coburn and Andrew MacDonald. MacDonald, 28, is looking forward to getting more chances to shut down opponents' top lines this season. "You want to be out there in all the high-level situations, the important ones, and help your team win," said MacDonald, who led the NHL with 242 blocked shots last season while playing for the Islanders and Flyers.
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September 21, 2014 | By Sam Carchidi, Inquirer Staff Writer
As star center Claude Giroux took a long, slow walk to the locker room Friday morning, you couldn't blame the Flyers if their season passed in front of their eyes. Fifteen minutes into their first day of camp in Voorhees, Giroux, the team's high-scoring captain, left the ice because of what the team later called a lower-body injury. New general manager Ron Hextall said Giroux would be sidelined for about two weeks. Giroux missed most of last year's camp after a bizarre golf injury in which he splintered his right index finger, requiring tendon surgery.
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September 20, 2014 | By Sam Carchidi, Inquirer Staff Writer
In his first public comments since blood clots were diagnosed in his lungs and right calf in early August, Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen admitted that his career is hanging by a thread. "My desire is that I want to play, but the chance of me playing is really slim. That's the fact," Timonen said at a hastily called news conference Thursday at the Flyers' training facility in Voorhees. Timonen, 39, who had planned for 2014-15 to be his 16th and final season, said that he has seen several doctors since his diagnosis and that the blood clots have not gone away.
SPORTS
September 20, 2014 | By Sam Carchidi, Inquirer Staff Writer
Sean Couturier has blossomed into one of the NHL's best defensive forwards, but that's only one of the reasons the Flyers selected him eighth overall in the 2011 draft. The 21-year-old center is starting his fourth NHL season, and the Flyers - who open training camp Friday morning in Voorhees - want him to be more than a defensive specialist, more than a superb penalty killer. They want him to become one of the team's offensive threats. "It's time for Coots to move forward here and become a better 200-foot player," first-year Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said.
SPORTS
September 20, 2014 | By Mike Sielski, Inquirer Columnist
Kimmo Timonen hadn't yet told the Flyers that blood clots had snaked from his right leg to his lung, putting his career in the gravest jeopardy, and without even knowing it Ron Hextall already had explored a contingency plan. The Flyers' first-year general manager, Hextall had spent a good bit of time this summer trading phone calls with Michael Del Zotto's representatives at Newport Sports Management, gauging Del Zotto's interest in coming to Philadelphia. The Nashville Predators hadn't bothered to make a qualifying offer to Del Zotto after his subpar season with them, and even if Timonen hadn't faced his health crisis, Hextall thought it possible that Del Zotto would want a fresh start, and that, for an affordable salary-cap number and minimal risk, the Flyers might acquire a swift, still-young defenseman whose stock had fallen.
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