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Global Series

Flyers bond on flight to Geneva for Global Series

New players get chance to blend in before opener against Blackhawks in Prague

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- One of the benefits to the Philadelphia Flyers taking part in the NHL Global Series is the chance to further integrate some of the newer players and coaches to the team dynamic.

"There is some value there, for sure," defenseman Matt Niskanen said Saturday. "Caring about your teammates as people, a team that cares about each other you get a little bit extra out of everybody."

The Flyers added Niskanen (Washington Capitals), defenseman Justin Braun (San Jose Sharks) and forward Kevin Hayes (Winnipeg Jets) in trades. They have three rookie forwards who didn't play in the NHL last season in Joel Farabee, Carsen Twarynski and Conor Bunnaman, as well as forward Chris Stewart, who is signed to a professional tryout contract.

 

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"We'll have a chance to get to know everybody," said forward Claude Giroux, the Flyers' longest-tenured player, entering his 13th season. "We have a few team dinners, a couple events, so we'll be able to get with the new faces and young guys and kind of get to know each other a little bit better.

"It's important to know a little bit about everybody, how they grew up, their parents and siblings and their wives and if they got kids. You get to know the person you're going to be with for the whole season."

The Flyers opened training camp Sept. 13, but participating in the Global Series means the players will be spending extended time together after practices. For some, the process started on the 7 1/2-hour flight from Philadelphia to Geneva, Switzerland, that took off just before 11 p.m. ET on Friday.

Niskanen shared a row with Braun, but they were right behind defenseman Travis Sanheim and forward Travis Konecny and found some time to chat before trying to sleep.

Video: PHI@NYR: Konecny nets goal off defender's skate

Hayes said he took a walk with rookie defenseman Philippe Myers to grab a coffee before a 90-minute practice at Malley 2.0 Sports Center and said they chatted about things other than hockey. 

"Myers is a young kid and anything I can do to help him," he said. "We got a coffee when we landed and that's it. Didn't talk too much shop. I'm sure I'll get to know a lot of guys throughout the trip." 

Hayes said he's confident he'll have several similar conversations with other teammates during the nine days the Flyers will spend in Europe, including a game against National League team Lausanne at Vaudoise Arena on Monday (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, NBCSP+, NHL.TV), and the season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks at O2 Arena in Prague on Oct. 4 (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, NBCSP, NBCSCH, NHL.TV).

"That's a huge part of us coming here," said coach Alain Vigneault, who was hired April 15. "The players from other teams, the younger players, the rookie players, having a chance with our veteran guys to spend some time together, build the relationships you need to have success.

"We're going to spend some quality time together and really get to know one another. It's going to be real good."

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