VOORHEIT, NJ – The Flyers definitely got their day off Monday.
The team, divided into four groups during training camp, had two more scrimmages and four practice sessions the morning after the preseason opener.
Like FridayThey watched the scrimmages on DVDs and projectors.
“Why can’t we be the best conditioning team in the league?” Flyers head coach John Tortorella said Sunday. It’s something we can control, not a skill, not a talent, it’s what we strive to do.
Let’s dive into three observations on Day 4 of the Rayier Training Center camp.
It was not a good sign when Carter Hart was ruled out of contention for his team due to a lower back injury. However, it is very early in camp and the Flyers are taking every precaution with the 24-year-old goaltender. It counts day by day.
With Monday off, we’ll see if Hart can return to practice on Tuesday. Flyers preseason Tuesday (against the Sabers) and Wednesday (against the Capitals), with non-game teams scheduled to practice in the morning.
Artem Anisimov (lower body) and Cam Atkinson (upper body) missed the loss for their respective teams.
Anisimov had one shot blocked in the first period. Saturday night the Flyers won the exhibition 2-1 But he managed to finish the game.
Atkinson took part in a practice session and looked good.
‘Truly respect what he has done’
As Tortorella watched the preseason opener from the Flyers’ management suite, Wade Allison dropped his gloves in the first inning to defend his teammate. Antoine Roussel takes a hard but clean shot from Conor Carrick. Russell, a 32-year-old veteran who competes in professional trials, used Carrick to hit his head on the ice.
Allison is fighting for a roster spot and by standing up for Russell, the Flyers’ new head coach showed what kind of teammate he is. However, it was very expensive because Alison was forced to sit for a good part of the game while trying to win a job.
But AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley head coach Ian LaPerriere felt Tortorella respected Allison’s decision.
He was right.
Tortorella elaborated on his thoughts on the play.
“That was a good hit, a good, hard hit, coming up the middle, you don’t see that happen that often,” Tortorella said. “Even if it’s on our man, I’d love to see it. That’s part of the game. I think in the regular season, it happens. It’s a big hit or a loud call. The guy has to fight man-to-man. Man-to-man. I don’t want our team to play that way, let’s take the ball away. I want [Allison is] Trying to make the team, this is an exhibition. I respect what he did, I really respect what he did.
“The crazy thing, and I think the National Hockey League needs to fix it, the refs can’t give a guy 10 minutes in an exhibition game. We’re 15 Boston managers and we’re trying to try. Evaluate the players. That poor soul sat 17 minutes. The big guy never got himself back in the game. He was pulling the right one.” He was trying to create a team and then the controllers pressed him for a long time.
“I don’t mean to go off on a tangent here, but we’re trying to evaluate it. But he’s got high marks for what he’s done. I wish he didn’t sit as long as he did for that.”
An example of effort
On opening night, the Flyers’ three defensive pairings could field just one player over 27 years old.
That’s 35-year-old Justin Brown, who returned to the Flyers in free agency and has 119 games of experience. He is arguably the true defenseman of the Flyers. His game is about understanding gaps and taking the body to kill plays.
Tortorella has the utmost respect for Brown and hopes his players can learn from him.
“The biggest thing about Brenner is that if I’m young and watching him try, it’s a good lesson to see how hard a player works at everything,” Tortorella said. “Definitely not the most gifted skater, not the most gifted boarder, not the most gifted shot, but there aren’t many people in this building who try as hard as he does. I think young guys should look at that.”
Brown was a seventh round pick of the Sharks in 2007.
“I’ve got to keep my job, I’ve got kids coming to my job, I’ve got to be ready every day,” he said of his NHL longevity. “That’s how it goes. I come in, I take somebody’s job and it’s going to roll around until the end of the day, so you’ve got to be ready to go every day.”
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