(Voorhees, NJ, January 17) – After playing virtually every other day for four straight weeks, the Philadelphia Flyers used their four-and-a-half day break between games to work hard at their practice facility as they prepare for their final two games before the All-Star break.
After long and hard practices on Monday and Tuesday, including dry-land training after the skate, the Flyers had a shorter session on Wednesday Philadelphia will host the New York Islanders on Thursday at the Wachovia Center (7:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet, 610 WIP), before traveling to New Jersey to play the Devils on Saturday (1:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet, 610 WIP).
Head Coach John Stevens is ready to get back into game action.
"These breaks are always good. I think it's good to get a lot of work in and good to go over your game and refocus on getting everybody on the same page," said Stevens. "But, it's time to play."
Simon Gagne didn't mind the tough practices at the beginning of the week.
"You need to pay for having those days off sometimes," he said. "Today was more relaxed to get energized for tomorrow, but at the same time I think it was good to have two hard practices and a couple dry-lands. We don't deserve those easy practices right now."
The break could help to end the team's recent losing streak, added Peter Forsberg.
"We were on the road for a very long time and we kept on losing and we didn't get any breaks," said Forsberg. "We could barely practice and it was a lot of games, so I thought it was good for us to get a couple days off and regroup."
A couple of welcome additions to the lineup will be Geoff Sanderson and Mike Richards, both returning from sports hernias that kept them sidelined since they left a game against the Washington Capitals on December 9 just minutes apart. They will both be in the lineup against New York on Thursday.
"There's no question that, especially up front, it's as healthy as we've been in a long, long time," said Stevens.
Sanderson is excited to get back in the lineup to try and help a team that is struggling at the moment.
"It's frustrating watching your team go through something like this," said Sanderson. "I hope I can give them a spark. There's only one way to get in game shape and that is to get some games under your belt, so hopefully it doesn't take me too long."
Guenin Recalled; Printz Reassigned
The Flyers made one roster move this week, calling up Phantoms defenseman Nate Guenin and reassigning defenseman David Printz. Guenin, 24, has recorded two goals and six assists for eight points and 53 penalty minutes in 35 games for the Phantoms this season.
Stevens explained the move.
"[Denis Gauthier] isn't cleared to play yet and [Printz] has been here for a while and not really played many minutes. I think that's difficult for a young player.
"Guenin is a right hand shot and [Randy] Jones is clearly more comfortable on the left. Those things combined, we figured we would get him up, get him in a game and see how he does."
Obviously for Guenin, getting his first call-up to the NHL is an exciting moment, but he is trying to keep a level head.
"It's something you dream about your whole life, so you have to enjoy it for a bit but then you have to start getting prepared for practice and getting ready for the game."
Guenin was signed as a free agent out of Ohio State by the Flyers on August 16.