Flyers go back to work

Flyers coach Craig Berube instructs players at the Skate Zone in Voorhees. The team returned to practice Wednesday after its Olympic break.
Flyers coach Craig Berube instructs players at the Skate Zone in Voorhees. The team returned to practice Wednesday after its Olympic break. (AKIRA SUWA / Staff Photographer)
Posted: February 21, 2014

For those wanting general manger Paul Holmgren to add an offensive piece before the March 5 trade deadline, be aware the Flyers may already have the solution on their roster.

Vinny Lecavalier.

Make that a revived Vinny Lecavalier.

Bothered by injuries and a position switch, Lecavalier has struggled in his first year with the Flyers, producing 12 goals, 23 points, and a minus-15 rating in 46 games.

The Olympic break couldn't have come at a better time for the 33-year-old veteran.

"I think he can be more rejuvenated and healed up," coach Craig Berube said Wednesday after the Flyers started Training Camp, Part II - their first practice in Voorhees since the Olympics interrupted the NHL season.

Lecavalier, a center during his 14 mostly outstanding seasons with Tampa Bay, said that the Olympic break helped his back, and that he believes he is starting to adapt to his new role as a left winger on the Flyers' second line with center Brayden Schenn and right winger Wayne Simmonds.

"You look at the stats, obviously it has been a tough adjustment," Lecavalier said, pleasantly. ". . . But the last little bit, I'm starting to feel better there. I'm not going to lie: It's been a tough adjustment, but I'm focused on the last [23] games and producing more and helping this team offensively."

Said Berube: "The last few games, he's driving the net from a left-side angle and starting to play more like a power forward."

Simmonds, who is second on the Flyers with 18 goals, sympathizes with Lecavalier's making a position change late in his career.

"I couldn't imagine going from wing to center, so I can only imagine what it's like doing the opposite," he said. "I think he's transitioned well. I think me, him, and Schenner have played well together."

During the break, Lecavalier, who is five goals shy of 400, spent time visiting his parents and relatives in Florida.

Physically and mentally, it was nice to get away, he said. Though he hasn't used it as an excuse, Lecavalier has appeared to be laboring ever since he missed nine games because of a nondisplaced fracture in his back earlier this season.

"You have bumps and bruises during the year, and they never have a chance to heal because you play every second night," he said. "To have that 10 days [off] and then eight more days [until the first game] where you might do a little bit of contact but not like in games, it's nice to get that 18 days."

The Flyers, who will return to action Feb. 27 against visiting San Jose, had won four straight when the Olympic break arrived.

"It was good to kind of refresh the mental side of it and let your body rest a little bit," said center Claude Giroux, who, like many of his teammates, spent time at a tropical location during the break. "But I think everybody in the room is ready to get back at it."


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