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Practice Report: Homecoming Awaits

Storylines as the Flyers return to practice, prepare to face an old friend in the home opener

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers

After returning on Saturday afternoon from their Global series adventures in Switzerland and Czech Republic for eight+ days, one of the biggest challenges the team will face is adjusting to life back in North America.

HART: "I honestly feel really good. I think we worked it out pretty good, a lot of us, with our sleep... I was just trying to stay up as long as I could until I was exhausted and couldn't keep my eyes open. I slept great from 12 to 9. I didn't wake up once."

The team technically had two days off but to get ahead of the game, most players took their day off yesterday to hold a players only skate to get their legs going again.

VIGNEAULT: "I thought [Monday], them coming here on their own is a sign that they want to do well and they want to take the steps to become the best they can be and the best team they can be. For us as a coaching staff I think that's real positive."

* Today's practice was a lengthy one, but also a high-paced, uptempo practice that was similar to training camp, with players pushing just as hard.

 

WHAT'S THAT LINE AGAIN?

* For anyone who watch the game in Prague, today saw the same lines head coach Alain Vigneault used against the Blackhawks.

VIGNEAULT: "I thought as far as generating offensive opportunities and offensive chances, we were quite good against Chicago. I though defensively for the most part our game was good, our positioning was good."

Those lines, to refresh your memory are:

Giroux - Hayes - Voracek
Lindblom - Couturier - Konecny
JVR - Laughton - Stewart/Twarynski
Bunnaman - Raffl - Pitlick

Provorov - Braun
Gostisbehere - Hägg
Sanheim - Niskanen

* Hart confirmed that he will get the call in net vs. Devils... He has faced the Devils only once in his career, suffering a 3-2 loss at the Prudential Center.

* Vigneault did state that those lines could change as he is not opposed to experimenting early in the season to finding the right chemistry.

VIGNEAULT: "I'm a firm believer, and I think the players like to stay on the same line, that chemistry gets formed and accountability gets formed also between lines mates and d-partners."

* With Andy Welinksi and Nolan Patrick (more on them below) still on injured reserve, defenseman Samuel Morin is the lone healthy scratch, serving as the team's seven d-man.

* Forward Chris Stewart is still with the team on his PTO, which does not count against the cap - should the coaching staff decide they want Stewart to enter the lineup, the Flyers need to sign him to a contract.

 

THE OPPONENT

* The other challenge for the Flyers - the New Jersey Devils. Despite the record to begin the season (0-1-1) these Devils aren't the same team the club faced last year with additions of PK Subban, No. 1 overall pick, rookie Jack Hughes... and of course a Flyer favorite who will be making his return.

* Wayne Simmonds will be playing his first game against the team and city he called home for parts of seven seasons.

COUTURIER: "It'll be a little different. We're used to having him on our side, sticking up for us, but it's a new season. He's gone now, we have to turn the page. He was a great player for us, but we have to look ahead and mind our own business."

* Based off of reports from Newark, expect Simmonds to skate on a line with Devils leading scorer early on, Blake Coleman, and top pick, Jack Hughes. Devils head coach John Hynes explained that trio to the Devils official website.

HYNES: "I think Blake and Wayne are bigger, stronger, competitive guys. They're heavier on pucks and in the offensive zone they get stops in on the forecheck. And that's something we're working with Jack to be a little bit better and I think that hopefully should allow them to play a little bit more on offense and then you know, both those guys are responsible in the in the defensive zone, so give him a little bit of help in those areas."

 

SOME OTHER THINGS

* Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher stated that center Nolan Patrick is status quo on his injury (migraine disorder). He is still week-to-week.

* Defenseman Andy Welinski, who was injured during training camp in preseason action is still out with a lower-body injury... Both players were out in the ice early doing drills before the team skated.

* The league office reviewed some film from the season-opening game in Prague and added a pair of assists to Oskar Lindblom's goal in the second period. Travis Konecny got the primary assists with Ivan Provorov taking the secondary helper... The addition gives Konecny a three-point night (2g-1a)... Konecny now has six points (2g-4a) in four season-opening games in his career.

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