Flyers finish bonding trip to Lake Placid

Flyers center Claude Giroux expects to play Tuesday against the Devils. JOHN DIGIACOMO / AP
Flyers center Claude Giroux expects to play Tuesday against the Devils. JOHN DIGIACOMO / AP
Posted: September 24, 2013

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - The Flyers had their final day of camp at the Herb Brooks Arena on Sunday, and from all accounts, their time away from the big city was well spent.

The four days of camp included long workouts, drills, and scrimmages done at breakneck speed, and a bonding session in which trust-building exercises were completed in the woods and mountains.

"Lavy's idea behind it was team-building, and I think it's really worked out good," said John Paddock, director of player personnel, referring to head coach Peter Laviolette by his nickname. "It helps us develop some chemistry early and work on some stuff."

But perhaps the best part, from the team's perspective, was that the players got to learn a little more about one another, on and off the ice.

"I think it was great, especially for the new players coming in and getting to know what kind of guys they are," said captain Claude Giroux, who added that his injured finger was healing nicely and that he plans to play in his first exhibition game Tuesday against the visiting New Jersey Devils. "When you spend more time with people, obviously you get to know them better and get to know their families and where they're from. Just little details like that."

"If you get the system in place and the players understand it, you have a chance to be successful," Laviolette said. "And then it comes down to the players and how hard they play for each other. I think a lot of that factors into off-the-ice bonds that you build. That's a difference-maker for me."

The Flyers have their final three exhibition games this week, hosting the Devils on Tuesday before playing in New Jersey on Thursday and in Washington on Friday.

The Flyers have 27 players remaining in camp: 15 forwards, 10 defensemen, and two goalies. They are expected to keep 23 players. Paddock said it has not been determined how many forwards and defensemen they will keep.

Because of a hectic exhibition schedule early in camp for the Flyers (1-2-1), "the players weren't pushed very hard in practice," Paddock said. "They couldn't be. They were coming off the ice after playing games, and the big thing was getting through without any injuries."

The pace intensified greatly in Lake Placid, site of Team USA's "Miracle on Ice" in the 1980 Olympics.

"They've been pushed here harder," Paddock said. "They practiced a little quicker, a little longer, and worked on the system. I think it's been ideal."

The Flyers will keep 13 or 14 forwards, and Scott Laughton, Michael Raffl, and Chris VandeVelde appear to be battling for the one or two open spots.

On the blue line, the Flyers will keep seven or eight defensemen. That means Hal Gill, Bruno Gervais, and Oliver Lauridsen may be in contention for a spot. Erik Gustafsson is one of the seven who has locked up a position.

"He's an NHL player, and that's where he's going to be," Paddock said. "I don't think any [Flyers] defenseman played better in April or at any time during the season."

There is also an intriguing battle between the pipes, where Ray Emery and Steve Mason are competing for the job.

"Things aren't settled here yet," Laviolette said of the roster.


Giroux said he will know Tuesday morning for sure whether he's playing that night. "Right now, the plan is for me to play," he said after another crisp practice. "But I could wake up tomorrow and not feel good, so we'll just go day by day." . . . Vinny Lecavalier (flu) did not practice. Wayne Simmonds missed Friday's practice because of the flu, but returned for one session Sunday before leaving early. . . . During the early drills Sunday, Brayden Schenn moved to center to replace Lecavalier, while Simmonds was at right wing, and Raffl and VandeVelde split time at left wing. . . . Max Talbot was the third-line left winger Sunday. "He's a hardworking guy who competed on both sheets of ice for every inch out there, and he looked terrific," Laviolette said. . . . The Flyers will practice Monday at 11 a.m. at the Wells Fargo Center.


Recovering from finger surgery, Claude Giroux says he plans to play Tuesday night against the Devils.

Contact Sam Carchidi at scarchidi at Follow on Twitter @BroadStBull.

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