Richards glad Flyers camp is under way

Flyers captain Mike Richards tries on the team's new road jersey.
Flyers captain Mike Richards tries on the team's new road jersey.
Posted: September 18, 2010

Training camp is hope.

Before whacking a ribbon with a bunch of hockey sticks to officially open the Flyers' 2010-11 training camp, those were the words echoed by Flyers president Peter Luukko.

For a retooled team that fell only two wins short of a Stanley Cup parade, training camp really is hope.

"It's nice to get back in the swing of things," captain Mike Richards said. "It's little things like this [the ribbon cutting] that mean you're ramping up toward the season. It's nice to be back."

For Richards, who spent most of the summer at his lakeside cottage in Kenora, Ontario, the summer seemed short.

"It was short," Richards said. "But not a bad short. I tried to relax, with not a lot going on. I tried to get away and get some energy back and try and refocus. We're looking forward to getting started and getting back into competitive hockey.

"You're always mentally exhausted after a year. [But] I felt physically exhausted, too. I think with the heartbreak of ending when it did was a little bit tougher, but I didn't want to dwell on it. I knew you couldn't change anything. You can't get those games back."

Richards said he saw Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews - a Canadian Olympic teammate - at various points this summer and the two communicated regularly. Kenora, located in the upper reaches of Ontario, is less than 3 hours' drive from Toews' hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Watching Toews celebrate with the Cup there was tough to swallow.

"I'm happy for him," Richards said. "But every couple weeks you'd see him and still get that urge to be in the place he was just in. Maybe that's a little motivation. Still, it's a long year. It's something to strive for."

That striving starts today.

False alarm

The Toronto Sun - later confirmed by Maple Leafs executive Cliff Fletcher - erroneously reported that veteran NHL coach Pat Burns died yesterday after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Turns out, Burns, 58, who has been gravely ill, simply was visiting family in Quebec. Burns, who led the Canadiens, Leafs, Bruins and Devils, is a three-time NHL coach of the year.

"Here we go again," Burns told TSN. "They're trying to kill me before I'm dead. I come to Quebec to spend some time with my family and they say I'm dead. I'm not dead, far . . . from it. They've had me dead since June. Tell them I'm alive. Set them straight."

Slap shots

At the Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J., the Flyers officially "unveiled" their new 2010-11 road jerseys, the same white sweaters with black nameplates that were worn in the Winter Classic . . . Most of the players were not available to the media yesterday. Official on-ice practices begin today, with the 62 players broken into three groups . . . The first preseason game is Tuesday night against New Jersey at the Wells Fargo Center. One group of Flyers will travel to London, Ontario, on Thursday for a preseason game against Toronto and then fly back, and another group will fly to Toronto on Friday for another game before heading to Minnesota . . . Practices, which will run from 9 o'clock to 1 today and tomorrow, are free and open to the public at the Skate Zone

For more news and analysis, read Frank Seravalli's blog, Frequent Flyers, at

http://go.philly.com/frequentflyers.

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