Practice Report: JVR closer, Giroux honored and more
If one had no idea how a team has been faring in recent games and simply walked into its next practice, the atmosphere on the and locker room will still tell the story.
On Monday, a loose and confident Philadelphia Flyers team participated in a fast-paced series of drills that included a five-on-five off an offensive/defensive faceoff, a 3-on-3 drill with only the forwards participating, one-on-one forward vs defenseman rushes and more.
There were a lot of smiles on the players’ faces, as is typical when a team has been winning of late (5-0-1 in the last six games).
The following are some news and notes from the session:
CLEARED FOR CONTACT?
* James van Riemsdyk continues to move closer toward a return to the lineup from a lower-body injury sustained in the second game of the regular season. On Monday, he was on the ice throughout practice as an extra forward. He is now participating in contact drills as well.
van RIEMSDYK: “I think I’ve been doing that,” he said when asked if he has been cleared for contact. “In the drills, whether it’s been some competitive situations and that sort of stuff, so that’s been good and I’ve been feeling good. It’s matter of getting your timing and awareness back for some of that stuff too.”
* With the exception of Radko Gudas, who did not practice on Monday due to a maintenance day, all Flyers forward lines and defense pairs at practice were the same as in the last several games. Andrew MacDonald skated on reps with Gudas’ regular defense partner, Travis Sanheim.
* Claude Giroux was named 3rd Star of the Week by the NHL today, and while the Flyers captain has certainly been on a tear lately, his line of Couturier and Konecny remain a big part of that. Despite not having the same offensive output as Giroux and Couturier on Saturday, Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol noted several standout plays from Konecny:
HAKSTOL: “Biggest area for me in TK’s game, and I though it was evident on Saturday, I thought he was our best forward on the wall. I thought he was tremendous coming out of our zone, as well as getting through the neutral zone. Winning his wall battles and coming up with the puck, advancing the puck to the next zone, so it’s little areas like that, that have to continue to be the staple areas of TK’s game.“
PRETTY PLAYS & BATTLE MENTALITY
* The best battle in the 3-on-3 segment was between Scott Laughton and Konecny. Laughton was very physical during the drill, sticking close to Konecny and jostling him. Konecny gave it right back.
* Practice sights during winning stretches: One a 2-on-1 against defenseman Ivan Provorov, Dale Weise fed a pass across and then celebrated with arms skyward and a broad grin across his face when Jordan Weal followed up on his own rebound against goaltender Brian Elliott.
* Likewise, defenseman Christian Folin went into a mock goal celebration when he tipped a Robert Hägg warmup shot into an empty net.
Extra: van Riemsdyk
BEHIND ENEMY LINES (Courtesy FloridaPanthers.com)
The Florida Panthers come into the Wells Fargo Center red hot. After a slow start to the season that saw them drop their first four games, they are winners of four straight and have outscored their opponent 17 to 6. According to head coach Bob Boughner, the team now needs to duplicate that success on the road:
BOUGHNER: “We found our stride a little bit. Now the challenge is to take that on the road… Barky’s line led the way. They got the first one, and you could see every line just follow and start gaining some momentum.”
A big reason for the success is the top line (mentioned above) which consists of Aleksander Barkov, Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov:
BARKOV: “We’ve just learned how to win games. Of course, everybody’s going to make mistakes, and we just need to live with that. If you make a mistake you have four other guys on the ice who can make up for it. We have been really good as a team. We’ve been really good together and goalies have been unbelievable. So, here we are.“