(Voorhees, NJ, December 4) – Practice at the Virtua Health Flyers Skate Zone
on Monday involved a little bit more than just hockey.
Following the usual one hour's worth of drills, Head Coach John Stevens made the team do sprints up and down the ice, followed by a dry-land session in the gym with trainer Jim McCrossin. Stevens did, however, give the players Sunday and Tuesday off altogether, as the team does not play again until Friday night in New Jersey.
"It's kind of expected the way Johnny does things. It's good for you," said Mike Knuble afterwards. "As much as you hate going through it, you like how you feel after. It's a good way to just get in better shape.
"Walking to the ice, the coaches are kind of laughing to themselves because today is the day where they can give it to you. They kind of chuckled, so that was the message on the way to the ice."
Stevens himself thinks the time off will be good for the team.
"For our whole team, to get a break here where we get some real good work in, both from a conditioning standpoint and a review standpoint, should be [good]," he said. "We do need to get rested up. I think this will be time well spent and a chance to get both rest and work in this week to get ourselves ready to go to play a lot of hockey again."
Derian Hatcher, however, thinks that with the team playing well lately getting right back into game action might have been a better situation.
"I think we were starting to play better. I would have rather kept playing, to be honest, especially coming off of that New Jersey game," said Hatcher, referring to the Flyers' 4-3 shootout loss on Saturday.Giroux and Downie Make Team Canada
Flyers forwards and first round draft choices the last two years, Steve Downie and Claude Giroux
, were both invited to camp for Team Canada for the World Junior Championships on Monday. Downie and Giroux both took part in the Flyers' mini-camp prior to training camp, and Downie even suited up for a couple of preseason games.
Stevens gave his thoughts on those two players after practice.
"Both of those kids are really impressive. They actually played together quite a bit [in mini-camp]. We had a lot of four-on-four scrimmage situations and they ended up being paired together quite a bit. Giroux has great vision with the puck and great passion for the game. Downie is just a real competitive guy that seems to come up with every loose puck within his reach. They make plays and find ways to get pucks at the net.
"They are really two bright prospects for us. It's great for our organization to see these guys playing in that type of atmosphere for their country."
In 22 games for Peterborough (Ontario Hockey League), Downie has 19 goals and 26 assists for 45 points and 77 penalty minutes. Giroux has 28 goals and 31 assists for 59 points and 20 penalty minutes in 29 games for Gatineau in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.Holmgren Comments on LeClair
Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren was asked after practice if the Flyers were interested in picking up John LeClair, who was recently placed on waivers by the Pittsburgh Penguins and then reassigned to their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Holmgren said the Flyers will not claim LeClair.
"I know John is a good guy, but I think at the end of the day we just felt like that would be taking a step back more than anything. It would be taking someone's ice time who has a chance to get better," said Holmgren.