(Voorhees, NJ, November 21) – When Geoff Sanderson was acquired by the Flyers in the summer, it was hoped that he would add a secondary scoring punch to the top line of Peter Forsberg, Simon Gagne and Mike Knuble. After all, Sanderson had been a goal scorer his entire career, and seemed to adapt well to the new rules in the NHL with his quick hands and skating ability.
Through the first 21 games of the season, he has done exactly that, and has a five-game goal-scoring streak (eight total) heading into Wednesday night's game against the Ottawa Senators (7:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet, WPHT 1210).
"Geoff certainly has been a bright spot. He's kind of on a streak here where he's been scoring every night," said John Stevens after the Flyers practiced on Tuesday morning. "He's been a good player using his speed and getting into open ice. You saw what he can do [Monday] night when he gets opportunities. We certainly like what he's been able to do as of late."
The Manitoba resident, currently in his 16th NHL season, has had many different linemates through the first quarter of the season. Still, he has been able to adapt to whomever he has been playing with.
"We expect him to score no matter what is going on around him," said Stevens. "We're always looking for secondary scoring after that Forsberg line, and he's been able to give that to us."
Forsberg Misses Practice
Peter Forsberg missed Tuesday's practice with a stiff lower back that may be related to his recent right ankle/skate problems.
"He said he got hit into the boards [Monday] and speaking with Peter, the ankle went out on him and he went into the boards and got hit," explained Flyers Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Coach Jim McCrossin. "Was it indirectly related [to the ankle]? Absolutely. Was it directly related? I think the hit along the boards did it to him."
Forsberg was quoted in several local media outlets as being frustrated with his inability to get his right ankle to fit in his skate. He has likened his skating to trying to "drive through snow" while he attempts to get the problem corrected.
The impact of the condition on his teammates both on and off the ice is vital to the team's success, said Mike Knuble, and it is a problem that everyone hopes to have corrected quickly.
"Injuries that hockey players come across there's some kind of remedy, or strap or brace or something. For him not to be able to find it has got to be pretty disheartening and absolutely annoying," said Knuble. "You keep your chin up for so long, but some days it hits you harder. You're trying so hard to pull a team out of a slump or whatever, and you feel that you can't give it everything you have.
"When he's going and jumping, he's one of our more physical players and he's our best passer and one of our better shooters as well. He's everything when he's 100 percent. When he's not, it's frustrating for him and frustrating for all of us. We're that much better when he's 100 percent. There's no doubt about that, and anybody who follows our team can see that immediately."
Fedoruk Skates with the Team
Todd Fedoruk skated with his teammates in a full practice for the first time since being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks last week. Fedoruk is currently sidelined with facial injuries, but could be able to play by the end of November.
"I'll have to wear a visor and I won't be able to fight or anything like that," he said. "Obviously, if need be, I will defend my teammates if something happens, but I have to let that face heal so after Christmas I can do my job which is give them energy, a spark, and do what I do."
Fedoruk is happy to be back to the place where he began his professional career.
"You always have a special place in your heart for the team that picked you out of juniors and the team you start with. Not only in my personal life is the city special to me, but I got my start in hockey here. My wife is from here, and things fit. It was a good move coming back here for myself."