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Practice Update: Gudas reacts, rare practice & stadium series

News, Notes and Storylines to come out of Flyers practice on Monday

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @nhlflyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

After a day off from skating, but still taking part in the annual Flyers Wives Carnival on Sunday, the Flyers got back on the ice for a day of practice, which is rare considering the schedule will see them play three games in less than a four-day span.

"It's good to work on a couple things before we get going here," said captain Claude Giroux. "[There's] a lot of games in a lot of nights. We know that, but we kind of enjoy that. After these three games we're going to look back and we're going to be in a better position in the standings."

What's first on everyone's priority list is to snap the current skid the team is on, having dropped four straight. One small positive to take away is that they have earned at least a point in the standings in five of their last seven games. 

"For us, we just have to make sure we come to the rink and doing our job every single day and continue to try and get better," said Wayne Simmonds. "The season's not even close to being over… There's no need to be worried. We're a .500 hockey team right now. We've played 20 games and we've got 62 games left. We've got a really young team and we're growing every single day. Yeah, we're going to have our struggles, but we're also going to have points in the season where we make huge strides. We have to stick with it and keep going and going."

The reality is that despite the recent stretch, the Flyers are just five points out of first place in the Metropolitan Division and have 62 games remaining - most of which are against the East.

"It's going to be tight all year," added Jordan Weal. "It's going to be a battle to the end so if it looks like we're at the bottom, there's still a lot of hockey to play, a lot of division games as well."

Not only did Weal take part in a full practice, he was the last person off the ice, spending a lot of time with the assistant coaches doing skating and shooting drills. Weal missed Saturday's game due to an upper-body injury and is still listed as day-to-day.

 

GUDAS REACTION

The Flyers will have to keep going, at least for the next 10 games, without defenseman Radko Gudas, who it was announced on Sunday night has been suspended by the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety.

Particularly the team will miss the physicality and competitiveness he brings to the group every night.

"I don't think it was intentional by any means," added Simmonds. "I think you have to do it by committee, Gudy's really good, physically on the [penalty kill]. He's got some surprising hands on him too. We have a lot of young guys back there and they're going to fill in."

Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol agrees and sees it as an opportunity for someone to step up.

"Travis Sanheim in his limited amount of time on the PK has done an excellent job," said Hakstol, who didn't just limit it to Sanheim, but mentioned Mark Alt, who is likely to be in the lineup until Andrew MacDonald is ready to return from his lower-body injury. "It's about everybody has to trust their teammates and go out and do their part and know that the next guy up is going to his part, and I'm confident that the guys will do that."

As for Gudas, he took part in today's full practice and spoke to the media. His full interview is below:

Video: Radko Gudas on his suspension from NHL

 

STADIUM SERIES

As part of NBC's Football Night in America, the network and NHL made a special hockey-related announcement on Sunday. 

The Flyers and Penguins will renew their rivalry outdoors in the 2019 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ at Lincoln Financial Field on Feb. 23, 2019.

The announcement sure caught the players attention and brought back some good memories from their previous outdoor games.

"I've had a lot of games outdoors, they've all been pretty special and this one's going to be special too especially being in Philly," said Giroux. "That building is always fun to go to, so to be able to play in it, it's going to be pretty cool."

While Giroux is the only Flyer to have appeared in all previous three outdoor games (2010, 2012 & 2017), Wayne Simmonds has appeared in the last two and is eager to get this one in front of the hometown crowd again… and with a lot more people in the much larger venue.

"It was quite special to play in a game like that," said Simmonds. "It's obviously a really, really great opportunity to play an outdoor game… Those are always fun, you get 60-70 thousand people in the stands all rooting and cheering for you and it's on the home side this time so it's going to be unbelievable."

While the excitement is there now, the players will have to start putting that in the rearview mirror for now since the game won't even take place until the latter part of next season.

"It's awesome, especially here in Philly. The people are passionate so it should be a lot of fun," said Sean Couturier. "You hear the announcement, you're happy for it and you start thinking people are going to come down - family, friends and you try to enjoy it but it's far away and we have a lot of hockey here to play before that."

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