News, notes and quotes following the Flyers’ morning skate at Verizon Center:
In memory of Ed Snider: The Flyers will wear a commemorative EMS patch on their sleeves in memory of owner and team founder Edward Malcolm Snider, who grew up in Washington and the son of a grocery store owner.
Snider passed away on Monday at the age of 83 after a two-year battle with bladder cancer.
“We know he’ll be watching and he’ll be cheering us on,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said.
Said Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds: “I know there’s nothing else he wanted to see more than the Flyers to win another Stanley Cup and that’s definitely our goal.”
Flyers rookie coach Dave Hakstol, who guided Philadelphia to a 15-5-3 record down the stretch, said he does not want to see his team use Snider’s passing as a rallying cry.
“I don’t think that’s respectful to Mr. Snider or to his family. But certainly we carry him with us every step of the way.”
Getting in Holtby’s head: The Flyers’ game plan is to get into the crease and under the mask of Caps goaltender Braden Holtby, who has the highest playoff save percentage (.936) in NHL history.
“If he sees the first shot he’s going to stop it every single time,” Simmonds said. “He’s a great goaltender, has been for a few years. He’s had an unbelievable year this year, so it goes without saying you’ve got to try to take his eyes away and battle for those second and third opportunities.”
In their last meeting on March 30, Flyers second-line center Sean Couturier slammed into Holtby and drew a roughing minor when the Caps’ netminder wrestled him to the ice.
“You’ve got to put some traffic in front of him, try to discourage him and frustrate him, so he doesn’t see as many pucks as he wishes,” Couturier said.
Ghost on Chimmer: Flyers rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said he has no ill feelings toward Caps left wing Jason Chimera, who butt-ended him in the midsection during the Caps’ 2-1 shootout loss in Philadelphia on March 30. Chimera was not penalized but received a $5,000 fine for the incident.
“No, it’s hockey,” Gostisbehere said. “It’s going to happen out there. I’m not that type of player. I’m sure he’s not either. It’s the emotions of the game. I’m pretty sure that’s in the rearview (mirror) for both of us and we’re focused on the series.”
Smaller than his listed 5-foot-11, 180, Gostisbehere said he expects to be targeted by the Capitals in the first round.
“It’s to be expected, of course,” he said. “I think any player you want to get under their skin a little bit, but it’s the way you respond. Where it really hurts is the scoreboard, and that’s my focus.”
Gostisbehere, who will turn 23 on Wednesday, has already played 22 more games this season than he did at any point in his college career at Union. He led all Flyers defensemen in goals (17) and points (49).
“I did see a couple points as we went through the stretch run where maybe energy (his) levels were a little bit low,” Hakstol said. “I’ve seen it on the upswing lately. “
Gostisbehere did not practice on Tuesday and said he may have hydrated too much on Wednesday.
“I slept pretty good, actually,” he said with a laugh. “I think I hydrated too much, went to the bathroom a couple times.”
Haters gonna hate: Simmonds lives in Toronto in the offseason and said he trains with Tom Wilson and Michael Latta. But he agrees with Wilson when he says Flyers fans are going to hate him. In a way, he hopes Caps fans will feel the same about him at the end of this series.
“Any time go into another team’s building and you’re getting booed and they hate you, you’re doing your job right,” said Simmonds, who plays bigger than his 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame. “I actually know Wilson and I’m sure the Flyers fans will hate him, if they already don’t.”
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