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Voorhees, NJ – The two biggest off-season additions on the Flyers finally got to do more with their teammates than just sit in meetings and chit chat in the dressing room. Peter Forsberg and Derian Hatcher, both sidelined since the beginning of training camp with injuries, took part in their first full skate with the team since signing a day apart during a fruitful couple of days for the organization in early August.
Forsberg had surgery to remove a bursa sac from his right ankle on September 12, while Hatcher suffered a strained PCL of his left knee during the Olympic training camp for Team USA prior to the opening of the NHL's training camps. While both injuries prevented them from taking part in anything on-ice to date, both should be at full speed once the regular season begins.
They were also both thrilled to finally be getting down to business, and hope to play in at least one of the final four preseason games.
"It's good to finally be back with the guys on the ice, and it didn't feel that bad," said Forsberg. The ankle hurts a little bit, but it's going to be fine moving forward. I was hoping to get to play one of those games this weekend - Thursday, Friday, or Saturday -one or two of those. I want to get out there and play and get ready for the season, and I'd be a happy man if I could.
Forsberg, who took part in just the first of two skates with the team, had good quickness during the practice according to Ken Hitchcock. The ankle is still not 100 percent, however, and still limits him a bit for now.
"I would say battling in the corners and stuff like," said Forsberg. It's going to be a little hard and maybe it's going to take a few more days.
Hatcher stayed on the ice for both sessions, which totaled about 90 minutes in all.
"Skating with the team is a step in the right direction, so in that sense it felt good," said Hatcher. I'm assuming that Peter will be back for probably a game, and hopefully I can play a game or two in the exhibition. It's definitely important to try to get everyone going before the start of the year.
Neither Forsberg nor Hatcher will be playing when the Flyers host the New York Islanders on Tuesday night at the Wachovia Center for their fourth preseason game. Hitchcock posted the lineup on the locker room door on Monday morning, keeping together the line of Patrick Sharp, Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne.
Hitchcock has stated in the past that he plans to try Forsberg on the line with Gagne and Carter, and moving Sharp somewhere else. Either way, there are four games left for Hitchcock to try and mix and match line combinations to see what is working and what is not.
"We'll keep [Sharp] on one of the wings, but I'm not really sure," he said. I think the only line to be quite honest with you that that we are going to start the season with would probably be [Mike] Knuble, [Mike] Richards and [Jon] Sim. The rest is very much up in the air right now. Some things that look good on paper when you are writing them down didn't look good on the ice. So we'll see where that goes. I'm not really sure on any of those lines except that one right now. We'll spend the next four games experimenting and see what works.
Primeau Hurt in Practice Flyers captain Keith Primeau left the ice during the first of two skates on Monday morning with a left shoulder contusion and did not return. He is scheduled to play in the preseason game on Tuesday, but is now questionable.
"His shoulder was a little sore and we're treating him," said Flyers athletic trainer Jim McCrossin. He rode the bike today, and he's a little tight in his shoulder. We're really just going to look at him tomorrow. If it's sore tomorrow, we're going to hold him out. We're not going to take any risk with it.
Also scheduled to play tomorrow for the Flyers are goaltenders Antero Niittymaki and Robert Esche; defensemen Joni Pitkanen, Mike Rathje, Chris Therien, Kim Johnsson, Dennis Seidenberg and Randy Jones; and forwards Knuble, Richards, Sim, Simon Gagne, Michal Handzus, Jeff Carter, Brian Savage, R.J. Umberger, Eric Chouinard, Donald Brashear and Branko Radivojevic.