With a three-game road trip next on the slate for the Philadelphia Flyers, Olle Lycksell…
Finally, hockey is back in the air, and training camp is officially here.
If you made the drive up to Voorhees, NJ, today to get a look at the 2023-2024 Flyers for the first time on the ice (with pucks), did you also get an extremely settling and exciting feeling as you pulled in, parked, and entered?
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m just sitting here way too amplified to watch three sets of rosters practice, and then scrimmage each other in mid-September. But screw it, the double-sided logo is back, the Flyers are honoring Ed Snider on January 6th vs Calgary. Sean Couturier is back to reminding CCHA players that they are indeed CCHA players. There’s just a sense of hopefulness and direction surrounding the organization right now.
They might not be good, but they are finally headed in a direction with an actual plan that everyone in the organization is on board with.
Now that I have that sappy monologue out of the way. Let’s talk some hockey, shall we?
I didn’t want to sit here and “break down” the practices and scrimmages like it’s a game. Instead, I want to select and talk about three players that stood out to me.
And for what it’s worth, it is only Day 1 so if a player didn’t stand out today, it’s not the end of the world and doesn’t mean said player sucks. (Or does it?)
I feel like this is someone that I’m going to be talking a lot about as camp continues on. Andrae has already grabbed head coach John Tortorella’s attention with Torts telling media today that “He’ll (Andrae) push, he’s going to push people as far as that position is concerned.”
And it’s really not hard to see why Andrae has already turned Torts’ head already. He’s just so poised in his own end. Doesn’t matter what it is. The puck retrievals with a forechecker on his back, picking up a puck from his d-partner that is wrapping around the boards on his backend, only to perfectly feed the correct breakout player to execute a crispy exit seemingly.
Add in his offensive abilities and his willingness to lay the body anytime, it’s not hard to understand why Torts likes him already.
Here’s a nice play Andrae had with Widsom during the first scrimmage of the day that resulted in a goal for Zayde.
I wish all of the reasons Tyson Foerster stood out for me today were good reasons, but I’m going to be honest with you here, the kid scared the shit out of me today.
While skating into the offensive zone today, Foerster lost control, flew into the boards, and was in some serious pain. He stayed hunched over with his arm dangling the entire way back to the bench.
All I could think about was that shoulder that he’s missed so much time with and everything went dark, literally.
On the positive side, Foerster later returned. And to start the scrimmage, he scored 5-6 seconds in and showed off that elite wrist shot he possesses.
He played with Laughton and Cates. Two solid line mates for a young kid like Foerster to start his NHL career off with. We’ll see if it sticks throughout the preseason.
Personally, screw how he looked while playing hockey. Just seeing #14 back on the ice was a beautiful thing to behold. Not only was he back out there, but he was delivering some decent-sized hits to get himself back into the groove of things.
It was no surprise he was centering a line consisting of Travis Konecny and Owen Tippett (who were alternating wings with each other throughout the scrimmage). I know I said who cares about the hockey side of things, and I know it’s just Day 1 of camp, but Couturier looked really good for a guy who hasn’t played hockey in a structured setting like that (outside of the scrimmages in the summer) since December of 2021.
And he really did look like natural Coots. Not the fastest guy in the world, not the most skilled guy in the world, but just extremely efficient in everything he does. And the hockey IQ speaks for itself when you watch him work. The guy is always in the right spot.
The whole line as a whole started out a little slow but got better as the scrimmage went along. Impressive cycling plays in the offensive zone that led to some scoring chances, good defensive plays, and nicely executed breakout plays as a line.
The four NHL lines from what I saw today looked like:
Konecny – Couturier – Tippett
Farabee – Frost – Atkinson
Laughton – Cates – Foerster
Deslauriers – Poehling – Hathaway
The guys ultimately fighting for spots in camp on the 5th and 6th lines as:
Lycksell – Desnoyers – Brink
Fauchon – Lacyznski – Allison
Another day of scrimmages and practices tomorrow at 9am!
Mandatory Credit: Getty Images