Players, coaches delighted by grind of training camp
It sounds as if Philadelphia Flyers 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 their 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 labour dispute.
But the lockout that wiped it out is gone.
So are a few of the key players — 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 final before going on to win the Stanley Cup.
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
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,’’
defenceman Eric Desjardins said. ‘‘It’s going to be a great year.’’
Forsberg and Hatcher,
the two top free agents the Flyers signed in the off-season, did not practise 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.
is happy with the cohesiveness.
‘‘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.’’