Flyers

Flyers open camp with what Jakub Voracek calls 'hardest' 1st day of his career

Flyers open camp with what Jakub Voracek calls 'hardest' 1st day of his career

VOORHEES, N.J. — Dave Hakstol wanted to know right away who can hack it and who can’t. 

“It was the hardest day of a first day of camp in my 11 years,” said Jakub Voracek, whose first NHL training camp was with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2008. “A lot of skating, a lot of battles. On the other hand, it can make us better, so why not.”

“We had a little talk with the coaches and they said they want to do some things different,” defenseman Radko Gudas said. “They want to make sure we’re skating, we’re up the ice, we’re always around the puck even as a defenseman in our offensive zone ... supporting the offense even more than we did last year.”

Ivan Provorov needed that first day of training camp as well.  

The Flyers' top defenseman comes into his second NHL season ready to go, but he needed a hard skate to get his legs back from the jet lag of a transatlantic flight from Russia this past Sunday. Provorov found himself falling asleep in the middle of the afternoon recently as his internal clock attempts to recalibrate. He didn’t exactly view this summer as the offseason, but merely a continuation of what was an impressive rookie season.  

“The offseason is always busy for me,” Provorov said. “I try to get into really good shape so I can go all season, playing lots of minutes without having any games off, or feeling not so great until after the games.” 

Provorov said he still felt fresh even after playing all 82 games in his rookie season, which carried over into the World Championships. While the experience of international competition was invaluable, Provorov and the rest of his teammates prefer a season that includes the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which have excluded the Flyers in three of the past five seasons. A week ago, general manager Ron Hextall stated the organization does not view this upcoming season as part of a rebuilding phase.

“I think if we were in a complete rebuild, [Claude Giroux], [Voracek] and I probably aren’t here,” forward Wayne Simmonds said. “We've still got our older guys. I think we’re kind of transitioning, sliding in a couple young guys hoping their skill can help us out here.”

In the week leading up to camp, goalie Brian Elliott had already spent time working out with fellow netminder Michal Neuvirth and Flyers goaltending coach Kim Dillabaugh, and already, Elliott likes what he sees.

“People keep asking me, 'Is there any bad apples in the dressing room or someone you know you aren’t going to get along with?' But everybody’s been great,” Elliott said. “Everybody’s been excited. I think the expectations are high internally and that’s what you like to see.”

Friday’s opening day of camp consisted of 10 different forward lines and eight defensive pairings separated into a morning and afternoon group, with an interesting blend of youth mixed together with more established veterans. Hakstol placed a clear emphasis on drills, speed work and conditioning, and less on systems and structure.  

“I think our guys have worked real hard over the summer, I really believe that,” Hakstol said. “From all the feedback we’ve gotten and just from talking to the guys throughout the summertime. I just wanted to make sure that hard work transferred and translated onto the ice.”

Of the 57 players invited to training camp, 34 would qualify as first-year players in the league with a handful of rookies aiming for a spot on the opening night roster.

“It’s a fine balance because they want to be recognized and be noticed, but they’re all good hockey players,” defenseman Andrew MacDonald said. “They have to realize that what got them here is playing the way they have. If they continue to do that and play steady, then it’s going to go a long way for them.”

The Flyers have one more morning/afternoon skate on Saturday before they open the preseason Sunday at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum against the Islanders, and Hakstol is already anticipating a sluggish effort as a result of the first day of camp.

“It was a hard day, there’s no question,” Hakstol said. “Playing a game on Day 3, there’s going to be tired legs. I don’t know what other teams are doing. I don’t care. We’re going to get the work in now. We’re going to have another hard, competitive day Saturday and I know our guys will go out and attack it just like they did today.”

News and notes
• Forward Pascal Laberge left the morning practice early and was being examined by doctors, according to Hextall.

• Defenseman Phil Myers was a full participant for Friday’s practice. Myers suffered a lower-body injury in the rookie game against the Islanders and was held out for precautionary reasons.

Morning group lines, pairings and goalies
Oskar Lindblom-Claude Giroux-Travis Konecny (more on that here)
Jori Lehtera-Valtteri Filppula-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Taylor Leier-Mikhail Vorobyev-Colin McDonald    
Ivan Kosorenkov-German Rubtsov-Pascal Laberge/Anthony Salinitri

Ivan Provorov-Travis Sanheim    
Sam Morin-Andrew MacDonald    
Will O’Neill-Mark Alt
Maxim Lamarche-Mark Friedman    

Brian Elliott    
Alex Lyon    
John Muse

Afternoon group lines, pairings and goalies
Dale Weise-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Jordan Weal-Nolan Patrick-Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl-Scott Laughton-Matt Read
Connor Bunnaman-Phil Varone-Mike Vecchione
Carsen Twarynski/Tyrell Goulbourne-Radel Fazleev-Danick Martel

Robert Hagg-Shayne Gostisbehere
T.J. Brennan-Radko Gudas
Brandon Manning-Phil Myers
Frank Hora-Reece Wilcox/James de Haas

Michal Neuvirth
Carter Hart
Leland Irving

Flyers recall Matt Read from Phantoms

ap-matt-read-flyers.jpg
AP Images

Flyers recall Matt Read from Phantoms

Everyone's favorite Flyer is back.

That's right, the team has called up Matt Read from the Phantoms ahead of tonight's game vs. the Predators.

The addition puts the Flyers' roster at the max of 23. For now, Read is likely just an extra forward.

It makes sense to add Read, 31, over a young prospect. General manager Ron Hextall has repeatedly said he will not he will not call a prospect up if he will not get regular playing time. He reiterated as much today (see story). Read provides the Flyers with additional depth — and solid depth at that — but does not require playing time like a younger player would.

Wayne Simmonds, who exited Tuesday's win during the third period, looks slated to play tonight vs. Nashville so don't expect any changes in the lineup or for Read to play tonight, for that matter.

Flyers-Predators thoughts: Looking for best start since 2007-08

Flyers-Predators thoughts: Looking for best start since 2007-08

Flyers (4-2-0) vs. Predators (3-2-1)
7 p.m. on NBCSP, NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports App; Pregame Live at 6:30

The Flyers felt like they let one go last week against the Nashville Predators.

They'll have a chance at a little redemption Thursday night as the Flyers welcome the defending Western Conference champions to the Wells Fargo Center.

It's Game 3 of the Flyers' five-game homestand, and Game 7 of the season.

Let's get into some thoughts before puck drop.

• The Flyers should be happy to see the Predators again so soon. Last time these teams met, the Flyers had a 5-4 lead turn into a crushing 6-5 loss over the final 1:17 of regulation. How it transpired was wild. The Flyers were done in by two penalties and a failed coach's challenge resulting in a third. A victory would have capped a season-opening four-game road trip at 3-1-0. Credit to the Flyers, though, for moving on and winning the first two games of their extended homestay.

• Speaking of which, the Flyers have been ultra impressive on the homestand thus far. In wins over the Capitals and Panthers, the Flyers have outscored their opponents by a combined 13-3. Claude Giroux has three goals and three assists, Shayne Gostisbehere a goal and four assists, Sean Couturier three goals and an assist, while the penalty kill has been strong (7 for 8) along with the goalies (Brian Elliott, 21 saves on 23 shots faced; Michal Neuvirth, 40 saves on 41 shots faced). The Flyers are seeing their potential when all key phases are executing.

• With a win over Nashville, the Flyers would improve to 3-0 at the Wells Fargo Center. The last time they won their first three home games was the 2007-08 season, when they started 6-0 on home ice. A victory would also mark the Flyers' best start through seven games since that same season, when the club opened 6-1-0. Giroux made his NHL debut during the 2007-08 campaign, playing a pair of games in February.

• A huge reason for the Flyers' early success is sustaining energy and skating from the second period to the final buzzer. In fact, it looks like the Flyers take it up notch after the first intermission. They've gotten stronger as the game wears on and the numbers show it. The Flyers have scored the NHL's most second-period goals with 12 and are outscoring the competition, 20-11, in the final two periods.

• It doesn't look like Predators center Nick Bonino (lower body) will play tonight while defenseman Ryan Ellis (knee surgery) remains out and on injured reserve. A player to watch is winger Filip Forsberg, who put up three points (two goals, one assist) in Nashville's 6-5 win over the Flyers last week. That game, which included the winning goal, kick-started a stretch of four markers and four assists in his last four contests. Also, Scott Hartnell is back in town tonight.

• Wayne Simmonds, who missed most of Tuesday's back end of the third period because of a lower-body injury, said Thursday that he's fine.

He's expected in the lineup, as is rookie defenseman Travis Sanheim, who was a healthy scratch the last two games.

And a roster note: Matt Read has been recalled from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley, which was expected. The Flyers' roster is now at 23 and he'll be a routine extra.

Here is the Flyers' projected lineup:

Forwards
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Jordan Weal-Valtteri Filppula-Wayne Simmonds
Dale Weise-Nolan Patrick-Travis Konecny
Taylor Leier-Scott Laughton-Michael Raffl

Defensemen
Ivan Provorov-Andrew MacDonald
Shayne Gostisbehere-Robert Hagg
Travis Sanheim-Radko Gudas

Goalies
Michal Neuvirth
Brian Elliott

Scratches: Forwards Jori Lehtera and Matt Read, and defenseman Brandon Manning.