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'Energized' Flyers focused on Stanley Cup playoffs, not round robin, as NHL training camp starts

Sam Carchidi, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Hockey

It had been 124 days since the Flyers were last on the ice at their Voorhees practiced facility, but who's counting?

Not the players, who opened Training Camp II on Monday. And not management.

During the NHL's long pause caused by the coronavirus outbreak, the players weren't counting the days they missed. They were looking ahead to getting back on the ice and trying to win the franchise's first Stanley Cup since 1975.

"As a group, you can tell in our players' faces when we saw them this morning that there was excitement and understanding of the opportunity in front of us," coach Alain Vigneault said after Day 1 of camp in Voorhees. "We're getting to do what we love. ... We've earned the right to compete for the Cup. Now it's up to us to do the work and get it done."

"Why not us?" general manager Chuck Fletcher said. "Let's push forward here and see what we can do."

While it will take time for the players to regain the sharpness they possessed while winning nine of their last 10 games when the season was stopped March 12, defenseman Matt Niskanen said he feels the chemistry "should come back real quick now that everybody is here. Guys are excited. We've earned the opportunity to be one of the top seeds in the East ... I think everyone knows our potential now because we showed we can beat anyone."

 

Thirty-four players are at camp, including a goalie, Carter Hart, who looked sharp, in his return. On Monday, the players were divided into two groups, one that was on the ice in the morning, the other in the afternoon. As the first group's session came to a close, players from the second group watched from outside the rink while wearing masks because of coronavirus protocols.

Welcome to the NHL's return, 2020.

The players are easing into camp, captain Claude Giroux said after Monday's session.

"We're just trying to get our legs going," he said "We're going to ramp it up here as the days go by."

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