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State of the Flyers: Training Camp

The Philadelphia Flyers are beginning training camp in what will be year one of a new era led by Daniel Briere and Keith Jones.

It was a long yet eventful offseason with the subtraction of many veterans and the addition of a franchise prospect. I’ve done nothing but wait for this moment since the season ended, so I’ve decided to compile some of my thoughts as we enter the 2023-24 season.

Sean Couturier & Cam Atkinson’s return

Sean Couturier and Cam Atkinson missed the entire 2022-23 season due to injury and are healthy entering the year.

Couturier is 30 years old and is returning from a serious back injury. He spoke to the media yesterday about how the reasonable doubt coming from skeptics has fueled him.

Couturier’s game has never been elite because of his athleticism or skating, it has been because of his hockey IQ and overall well rounded game. When he’s at his best he wins you hockey games and you can see his impact everywhere.

The concern isn’t for his efficiency rather his availability. The organization committed to him until the year 2030 and I think he can still be effective for a long time… if he’s playing.

Cam Atkinson has been through the ringer with a herniated disc in his spine and atrophy in his left triceps that required surgery. He’s now 34 years of age with a timeline that doesn’t match a rebuilding franchise.

A big talking point regarding Atkinson was the misdiagnosis of his injuries that led him to get outside opinions. Both parties (Atkinson & the Organization) never fully went into detail on this issue which I expected, but a part of me always tried to find more on this.

Atkinson & Couturier seem to be energized for the season which is a welcome sight. It would be nice to see them get back on track and play a full season since it has to be draining being kept from competing.

Matvei Michkov to HC Sochi

You could start to feel something wasn’t right with SKA Saint Petersburg and Roman Rotenberg. They can frame it as if it’s hockey related and “apart of the process” all they’d like to but they fooled nobody.

Michkov has been adamant about the goals he set for himself as far as dominating the KHL before arriving in North America. He was almost a point-per-game player in the same league last season and even gave SKA problems when they matched up.

It was revealed that he is switching agents and potentially signing with Shumi Babaev who has more of a North American connection. I believe his Russian agent previously was Sergei Fedotov and I’m intrigued to find out more about what’s going on behind the curtain in Russia. I think we should keep tabs on this one.

It was getting old seeing him get tossed to the side due to petty politicking, so naturally when I saw he was returning to Sochi I got excited. It’s a whole different energy with that franchise and they don’t flash their ego on a child because of his dreams.

…and there it is. Matvei Michkov is back. Someone check on Montreal and that fake scout Grant McCagg.

Tyson Foerster’s Rookie Series

Tyson Foerster played two games in the rookie series against the New York Rangers and left fans wanting more. I even saw fans claiming he wasn’t ready for the NHL and if he thinks a spot should be handed to him he should go back to Lehigh Valley.

These are overreactions. A rookie game? Seriously?

Is it fair to say his performances were underwhelming? Of course it is I personally would’ve liked to see more as well. At the same time it is only a rookie game after a long summer before training camp has even begun.

Let’s look at the whole body of work come October and then we could potentially revisit that reaction. He had John Tortorella grinning from ear-to-ear when he played in games that actually counted.

John Tortorella’s Press Conference

If you haven’t watched John Tortorella’s press conference after yesterday’s skating session I advise you should. I must admit I enjoy his interviews because I feel like he’s brutally honest even if it makes us question him at times.

A lot of great tidbits came out today about his excitement on coaching Couturier, seeing the most emotion he’s ever seen from Cam York, and he even brought up a conversation with an unnamed player who struggled with him last year but is now comfortable and confident coming into this season.

Another interesting part is when he was talking about the rebuild. He said despite how it’s been labeled this is year two, and he also mentioned the organization not being allowed to say the word rebuild previously. It was minor and maybe I’m overblowing it but it caught my attention.

On-ice drills are set to get underway today and it’s now officially hockey season. The preseason will begin on Monday then before we know it the new era has begun.

I’m excited to follow this team and all of their storylines as we build to something greater. In the meantime I’m going to enjoy the new jerseys and the early stages of the journey.

Mandatory Credit: Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers

A Host on @TheLibertyYell and a contributor to @TheLibertyLine.

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