VOORHEES – There are many things that make a player work a little harder at his job, but the perhaps the most significant of all is the feeling of being appreciated.
At least, that’s what Flyers captain Claude Giroux said on Tuesday after he, his teammates and the coaching staff met with new general manager Chuck Fletcher.
Giroux believes it’s important for management to take into consideration the lives of players, both on and off the ice.
Fletcher comes to Philadelphia with a reputation for caring about everyone who works for him, including players who make millions of dollars.
“When you get to know a person the most you can, you get to know his family, his friends, where he came from, how he grew up. . .when you get to know the real person, I think you kind of play for that person a little bit more,’’ Giroux said.
“That’s one of the reasons this team has always been pretty tight, because we communicate well. We know each others’ families, the dad’s trip is huge. When you care about the person, you’re going to play hard for him.’’
Fletcher was GM of the Minnesota Wild for nine seasons. While he was there, defenseman Christian Folin was on the roster. Now both men are reunited on the Flyers.
It was a bit humorous how the two got reacquainted on Tuesday at the Skate Zone.
“He was the first one I saw when I walked in this morning,’’ Folin said with a smile. “I was trying to get in the door, open the door and it’s Fletcher right there. I went ‘Oh, good to see you again!’
“It was kind of fun to read online who is going to be the new GM and Fletcher’s name pops up there. The hockey world is pretty small. . .you never know what’s going to happen.’’
Folin got a pretty good feel for what Fletcher is about during his tenure with the Wild.
“I played over a hundred games for him,’’ Folin said. “He’s a big part of that. Even back when I was in college, he took the time to visit me. We had a cup of coffee and we talked about my future.
“I got a good impression. For him to take the time to come and see me, I think that says a lot about him, that he really cares about his players. It’s fun that he’s here.’’
Fletcher is known for his bold thinking. On July 4, 2012, he signed two headline free agents – Zach Parise and Ryan Suter – to a pair of long-term contracts totaling $196 million.
That pair hasn’t performed up to expectations but part of the problem has been Parise’s long record of injuries.
“We always had a good team but we needed one or two more pieces,’’ Folin said of the Wild. “He always found a way to add that.’’
Travis Sanheim was impressed with Fletcher during the brief time they spent together.
“He talked to everyone, introduced himself and kind of went over what he’s all about,’’ Sanheim said. “What his thought process is. It was good to get to know him a little bit more.
“He said in the meeting he’s going to get to know everyone and everyone is going to get their chance to show him what they’re all about and what they can bring.’’
For Sean Couturier, it’s about getting a new start and getting the season turned around.
“I don’t know that much about him,’’ Couturier said. “Seems like a nice guy. Had a good chat, had a good team meeting.
“He’s looking forward to making some good things happen here. He wants to win. I think we all have the same goal.’’
Hakstol and Fletcher have crossed paths before, so there is a bit of a relationship there.
“The hockey world is a pretty small community,’’ said Hakstol, agreeing with Folin. “Everything I know about Fletcher is, you going to be hard-pressed to find anyone in the game that doesn’t have a high level of respect for his knowledge, his approach and who he is as a person.’’