Primeau admits to missing Flyers practices
Lockout made Philly forward long for Hitchcock's grueling training camp
NHL TRAINING CAMP ROUNDUP
Updated: 3:07 a.m. ET Sept. 14, 2005
It sounds as if Philadelphia forward Keith Primeau and coach Ken
Hitchcock really missed each other. A season of no hockey will do that.
“I was actually looking forward to one of his practices,
so you know that it’s been a long time,” Primeau said Tuesday after the Flyers’ first workout under the
demanding coach. “You forget how difficult the practices are, but it was a great feeling to be back out there.
“I’m just really excited about the year.”
There was no last year in the NHL, which became the first major
North American sport to miss an entire season because of a labor dispute. But the lockout that wiped it out is gone.
So are a few of the key operatives — Jeremy Roenick, John
LeClair and Mark Recchi — with whom the Flyers’ captain shared the ice the last time the puck was dropped. It
was in spring 2004, when Tampa Bay ousted Philadelphia in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals before going on to win the
“I think that it’s given a lot of people, including
myself, time to pause and reflect,” Hitchcock said of the lockout. “All of us missed the game.
“Management misses an opportunity to build a team greatly.’
The Flyers wasted little time in building a championship contender
once the lockout ended. Many of the veterans who contributed so much to their recent run of success were jettisoned and Peter
Forsberg, Derian Hatcher, Mike Rathje and Chris Therien were among the big names brought in to help as Philadelphia tries
to win the Cup for the first time since 1975.
“We all the know the moves they made and we’re all
excited about it,” defenseman Eric Desjardins said. “It’s going to be a great year.”
Forsberg and Hatcher, the two top free agents the Flyers signed
in the offseason, did not practice Tuesday in Vorhees, N.J., and neither is expected to play much in training camp.
Forsberg had an infected bursa sac removed from his right ankle
Monday and will miss at least two weeks. Hatcher sprained his left knee at the U.S. Olympic Team’s training camp and
will miss three weeks.
Primeau is happy with the camaraderie.
“You get back in the room and it feels like you haven’t
missed a beat,” he said. “To be back among the guys is a lot of fun.”