VOORHEES, N.J. — Let's jump into the latest on the Flyers' player-availability carousel.
Claude Giroux, Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny were unable to practice Monday as they remained in the NHL's COVID protocol. All three have fulfilled the five-day isolation requirement. However, they must have a negative lab-based RT-PCR test to complete the requirements of exiting protocol.
The Flyers are hoping they'll get at least one of those three back — if not all of them — for Tuesday's game against the Hurricanes at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
"There's a chance that we could see one or a couple players come tomorrow," Flyers interim head coach Mike Yeo said Monday after practice. "We're obviously waiting on a couple of results here and that'll give us a sense of whether they can be available or not."
Travis Sanheim returned to practice after missing the last two games because of COVID protocol. The defenseman left practice early but was fine and is set to reenter the lineup against Carolina.
"That was planned," Yeo said. "We wanted him to just participate in the first part of practice. He got cleared today and we wanted to make sure that we got him out there but didn't overwork him too much. Obviously he's going to play some big minutes for us tomorrow. He feels good."
But as Sanheim came back Monday, the Flyers saw another defenseman head out. Justin Braun entered COVID protocol.
Here's how the Flyers looked on defense at practice:
Travis Sanheim-Rasmus Ristolainen
Cam York-Nick Seeler
Keith Yandle-Kevin Connauton
James van Riemsdyk was not at practice to be with his wife Lauren for the birth of their second child, a baby boy named William (Liam).
At forward, the Flyers were also missing Derick Brassard and Patrick Brown. Brassard is still day to day with a hip issue, while Brown suffered a lower-body injury in a collision during the Flyers' 3-2 OT loss Saturday to the Sharks.
Here's how the Flyers looked at forward in practice:
Joel Farabee-Scott Laughton-Cam Atkinson
Oskar Lindblom-Kevin Hayes-Max Willman
Morgan Frost-Gerry Mayhew
Jackson Cates-Connor Bunnaman-Zack MacEwen
Sean Couturier (upper body) is still week to week. Yeo said the first-line center "didn't feel real good" Monday.
"There's been some days where he's been starting to feel good and then there's been other days where it hasn't been so good," Yeo said. "As of right now, he's still out and still sort of in that wait and see right now. Hopefully by the end of this week, he starts to come around, he starts to feel better and get closer to coming back."
Samuel Morin, who has taken the ice only here and there in his rehab from a knee injury, is not skating at all right now. The defenseman's chances of playing this season don't appear good.
"He's not looking like any time soon, let's put it that way," Yeo said.
The Flyers (13-15-7) have lost five straight games (0-3-2) amid their fight with COVID-related absences and injuries. They'll need every reinforcement they can get for a challenging three-game stretch this week.
Along with Tuesday's matchup against the Hurricanes, the Flyers also visit the Bruins on Thursday (7 p.m. ET/ESPN) and welcome the Rangers on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
Those three clubs entered Monday with a combined record of 65-27-8.
"You can't get frustrated because it's just not the path that you want to go down," Cam Atkinson said. "It's unfortunately the situation that we're in. Everyone else is in this situation."
The Flyers are looking for any kind of continuity. Starting with Yeo's third game in interim duties, the Flyers gained some steam on a season-best seven-game point streak (5-0-2), but they're now trying to halt another slide.
"The unfortunate part of this whole situation is before our Christmas break, we had pretty much our full roster minus a couple of players. We were playing the right way," Atkinson said. "Then obviously with the COVID situation, guys are sick, a couple of guys got hurt, so you have younger guys coming into the lineup that haven't really learned the system.
"Like I said, it's not an excuse. You just never know what's going to happen on a day-to-day basis as far as guys coming and going or getting sick. So I think we have showed signs of playing the right way, but as soon as we show signs, it seems like something bad happens. It's like we take one step forward and two steps back.
"We just have to continue to keep pushing each other and getting better."
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