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Sestito's Great Britain Adventure, Hartnell Shaves, roster update

by Anthony SanFilippo / Philadelphia Flyers

Tom Sestito went to England to stay in game shape during the lockout.

He came back with the mumps.

"It was a good experience over there but I probably won't be heading back there any time soon," Sestito said.

A bit of a rock star playing for the Sheffield Steelers where he posted eight goals and 11 assists for 19 points and 69 penalty minutes in just 17 games, Sestito contracted the Mumps. A teammates wife had them and exposure during the first 12 days of contracting the virus is dangerous because that's when the virus is contagious.

Sestito flew home to crash at his parents and was laid up for close to a month.

"I wouldn't wish that on anybody," he said. "I contracted an (illness) from the 1930s. I never heard of it. I was sick and I had to get a vaccine and a booster and the next thing you know I had the mumps. I thought I was playing "Oregon Trail."

Close. I think it used to say, "You have died of dysentery," but Sestito's point is well-taken.

He said his face was swollen and his entire body hurt so much he couldn't get out of bed.

"At one point my folks were out of the house and I was hungry but it hurt to much to get up and walk to the refrigerator," Sestito said. "So I called for delivery and told the delivery guy to come in, the door is open, walk through the house all the way to the back and come in the bedroom and don't ask questions."

Sestito said he lost some weight, but that he's been able to put most of it back on.

He added that he feels healthy again, but admitted that he's not where he needs to be yet for hockey.

"Yesterday was tough (skating)," he said. "But I feel better today for sure. I'll get where I need to be. It's just a matter of time."

Sestito did want to add that he thoroughly enjoyed playing in England. He loved the team and the fans and said they were crazy.

"They love their hockey over there," he said. "Hundreds of them would travel seven or eight hours to see us play. It was a real soccer/football mentality."


Scott Hartnell no longer looks like Yukon Cornelius from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

He finally shaved the beard he grew for the past four months.

The whole shaving will be part of a video special on NBC-10 on Jan. 19 during their Flyers season preview show at 2 p.m.

Hartnell had fun with the shaving, first going leaving some mutton chops, and later having a mustache that would rival Rollie Fingers, but eventually shaved it all off.

"I was worried that I'd be a little pale after spending time in Arizona in the sun," he said. But it looks good."


Everyone expected to be at training camp has arrived except for junior hockey standout Scott Laughton. He should arrive this weekend though.

If the Flyers keep him on the NHL roster, he can play five games before they have to decide to keep him on the roster (and use the first year of his entry-level contract) or send him back to Oshawa of the OHL.

Brandon Manning, who was initially expected to be invited to camp as the eighth defenseman, is not here. It leaves the Flyers with seven defensemen for now, but I'd expect the Flyers to add an eighth guy, whether they ultimately bring in Manning, sign an unrestricted free agent, or make a trade.

Speaking of trades, the NHL trade deadline this year will be April 3 which will be roughly the 35-game mark in the season.


Wayne Simmonds arrived at practice for the first time Friday and said he was excited to get going.

"Our team is pretty good," he said. "We have a couple new additions but for the most part we were together last year. I'm hoping that we can pick up where we left off last year."

Simmonds said his experience playing in Europe was "a once in a lifetime opportunity," and that he wouldn't change his mind if he could go back and do it again.


Claude Giroux didn't skate for the second straight day, but the skates are not mandatory. Giroux will have three days off the ice (the team will not skate Saturday) before camp opens on Sunday.

The Flyers are expected to have their first practice Sunday at 11 a.m.


Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier, Eric Wellwood, Zac Rinaldo and Tye McGinn arrived at skate zone for the first time Friday.

Well, Couturier has been here a couple of days, visiting the training staff, but it was the first time on the ice for the group.

McGinn is probably the one surprise to most fans, but he's had a really good year with the Phantoms so far.

I'll have a full story on him later today.

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