Monday, February 8, 2016

Gill has 'chip on shoulder'

Hal Gill, the 6-foot-7 defenseman who is in the Flyers' camp on a tryout contract, doesn't look _ or sound _ like someone who is near the end of his career.

Gill has 'chip on shoulder'

Defenseman Hal Gill. (Mark Humphrey/AP file photo)
Defenseman Hal Gill. (Mark Humphrey/AP file photo)

Hal Gill, the 6-foot-7 defenseman who is in the Flyers' camp on a tryout contract, doesn't look _ or sound _ like someone who is near the end of his career.

"I feel good. I feel better than I did in five years," said Gill, 38. "I’m excited about it. Of course, camp’s always a different story. You’ve got to feel good once you get going."

Making the team won't be easy. The Flyers have nine defensemen who are on one-way contracts, and Gill doesn't have the most blazing speed.

"Looking at it, I think at some point you’ve got to take what’s given to you and make the best of it," he said. "I’m excited to get going and prove to people that they need me. The game is getting younger and it’s the wrong time to be a UFA. With the cap going down, there’s a lot of guys that are without jobs right now. I think that’s an opportunity for this camp to show people that they need a guy like me."

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Gill realizes there are lots of veterans in camp.

"I can’t control what people are gonna do, but I can control what I do and be positive, go out and work hard and make a statement for myself and of course try to get on this team," he said. "I think this is a good team and I’d love to be a part of it, but I understand the numbers and I understand the business side of it. If it’s not on this team, hopefully I’ll open someone’s eyes and play well and get a job somewhere."

Gill, who lives outside of Boston with his wife and three young children, said his family is "perfectly happy moving wherever I go. They’re troopers. They’re good."

This is the first time he is in a camp without a contract.

"That being said, I don’t have too long to do this," he said. "Everyone knows I’m getting older, but I kind of have that chip on my shoulder. My wife is great and she’s really supportive of me going for it. Of course it’s always about money. You want to support your family and everything, but at this point it’s about winning. It’s about being on a team and helping that team win. That’s really what I want to do and I don’t have much longer to do it so I want to do it right."

The Flyers have invited 63 players (35 frowards, 22 defensemen and six goalies) to camp, which starts Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center. The first three days will run from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., and the sessions are free and open to the public. The sessions start at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Doors will open at 8 a.m. for fans. In addition, several fan activities will take place at Xfinity Live!

Breakaways. Captain Claude Giroux said his surgically repaired finger continues to make progress; he hopes to be able to grip a stick and touch a puck by the end of the week.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.

Staff Writer
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