Berube draws new lines

Posted: October 11, 2013

WAYNE SIMMONDS likes to get dirty and dig in the corners.

Scott Hartnell likes to bang on the boards and create havoc in front of the net.

Are both players, with similar styles, suited to play on the same line with one of the most talented players in the NHL?

"For sure," said coach Craig Berube, the man who installed his new top line just hours after being hired this week. "I thought they gave 100 percent effort every shift they were out there [against Florida]. I think 'Simmer' tends to hang onto the puck more than Scotty. Scott is more of a shooter, he's more of a passer, too. I have full confidence in that line."

Neither Hartnell nor Simmonds is Jake Voracek, the confident winger who led the Flyers in goals last season playing alongside Claude Giroux. All four are off to a tough start: Not one has a single point in four games.

In perspective, San Jose rookie Tomas Hertl scored more goals (4) in one game against the Rangers this week than the Flyers netted in their first three.

Looking for a bounce-back season, Hartnell downplayed any sense that his and Simmonds' similarities would not mesh well with Giroux.

"Wayne is really strong in the corners," Hartnell said. "But I think we've had some chemistry right off the bat. The first games, we might not get a lot of points or score two or three goals, but we're going to pick things up.

"We're finding each other quickly. Once we get the puck down low, 'G' and 'Simmer' are hard to knock off the puck. We've just got to get more pucks to the net, that's where all the action is."

Voracek, 24, is coming off a career-high 22 goals last season in 48 games - besting his previous high of 18 goals in 78 games with the Flyers in 2011-12. There have been rumblings that Voracek still hasn't fully recovered from a sore lower back that he bruised in the preseason and caused him to miss two games.

Voracek played with Vinny Lecavalier and Brayden Schenn on Tuesday against the Panthers. Those two players are tied for the team lead in points with three.

"I'm still getting there," Voracek said. "I'm not used to being hurt or missing a week. I hadn't played a real game in 6 months before [the season started]. I'm finally getting into game shape. Yesterday was my best game of the season so far, but it still wasn't something special."

As for the Flyers' struggles offensively, Voracek isn't concerned. He cited the dreadful power play, which is off to a 2-for-19 start (11 percent), and their struggles last season, when the Flyers started 3-for-31 (9 percent) and finished third in the NHL at 21.6 percent.

"I'm not worried about that at all," Voracek said. "We're trying to find chemistry. It takes a little while to get used to, especially with a new system and the changes."

Is Voracek the one who should be with Hartnell and Giroux?

"I'm here to play the game," Voracek said. "The coaches do the lineups. You take what you get, I'm happy to play with anyone on this team."

After months of dust and construction, the Flyers were finally able to enjoy their new practice facility and locker room yesterday. They're still practicing in the same Skate Zone in Voorhees, but their portion of the facility is wrapping up a $4 million overhaul that makes the old one barely recognizable.

Yes, their new locker room is impressive, but it's the behind-the-scenes features not open to the media that have the players talking. There are new coaches offices, a team meeting area with a 72-inch touch screen monitor, a theater with a 100-inch projection screen, new workout facilities, hot and cold tubs for soaking and rehab, and a new changing room and lounge for players.

The Flyers' main locker room is highlighted by an illuminated puck in their ceiling bearing the team logo.

"It's awesome," Hartnell said. "You walk in and it's like a new house. You feel proud to be a part of an organization that spends millions and millions of dollars to make you feel more comfortable."

There is a reason for all of that.

"This place makes you want to come in early before practice and stay late," Jay Rosehill said. "It's unbelievable."

Steve Mason's stats in three starts: 87 saves on 93 shots (.935 save percentage) and 2.02 goals against-average. Craig Berube reiterated yesterday the Flyers' goaltending situation will "work itself out." Doesn't seem like there's any reason to switch off to Ray Emery right now, though . . . Berube said the extra day of practice before tomorrow's game against Phoenix will be big not only for systems but skating . . . The Flyers are also catching the Coyotes on a back-to-back, as Phoenix visits Detroit tonight.

On Twitter: @DNFlyers

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