Whereas Thursday was the primary official day of coaching camp, it had a special vibe from final 12 months’s opening day. Final 12 months actually appeared like the primary day of college, with all gamers skating beneath John Tortorella for the primary time. The skating take a look at had been whispered about between gamers however actually not skilled.
This time, everyone knew what was coming, and the general course of the day appeared just like the season was effectively underway from an operational standpoint. The teaching employees wasn’t new anymore and just a few of the gamers have been new. Additionally, nearly all of the roster has been on the town for some time.
“All people got here right here September 1st,” Tortorella mentioned. “It’s form of a regular for us proper now. We are able to’t pressure them to, however they arrive. It’s not a lot to apply. They went to a soccer sport. Cookouts. Golf. That’s all good things, and you’ll really feel the room. I’ve an actual good feeling about what’s happening.”
That sentiment seems to exist on the participant facet as effectively.
“I talked to 1 participant a month and a half in the past,” Tortorella mentioned. “He mentioned ‘I really feel a lot extra ready, as a result of I do know what to anticipate.’ And I mentioned ‘So do I, as a result of I do know you higher.’”
Though many of the roster had been by way of the skating take a look at as soon as, one veteran who didn’t expertise it in fall of 2022 was Sean Couturier. Final 12 months, his again points saved him off the ice for everything of camp and the next season. With these issues now actually behind him, he was capable of begin off the season within the conventional Tortorella method.
“It felt nice,” Couturier mentioned afterwards, considerably tongue-in-cheek. “All the opposite guys have been giving me recommendation. Not gonna lie, I used to be fairly nervous about it, however when you get going, you simply grind and battle by way of it.”
Couturier’s subsequent step is sport motion, and he made it clear he’s hoping to get in as many preseason video games as attainable. He hasn’t performed in an NHL sport since December of 2021, so he’s wanting to get again within the saddle.
“It’s one factor to be damage for a protracted time period, however to not [play a game] for a 12 months and a half, it’s totally different,” he mentioned. “I simply need to get again to feeling good in video games, achieve some confidence in camp and be ok with my sport. I’ve placed on a pair kilos this summer time to verify I’m OK to take extra hits and be extra bodily, and final an 82-game season.”
Couturier’s teammates are simply as wanting to see him again on the ice this season.
“Our wives are fairly good buddies, we’ve been collectively for some time, his daughter’s the perfect,” Laughton mentioned. “We spent a number of time final 12 months along with dinners and hanging out at one another’s homes. It’s big. You go into totally different cities and also you’re in search of a matchup for high traces, Coots is a chilled presence on the market. That’s form of been misplaced with him lacking the final couple years. He settles down the sport, takes large faceoffs, and is simply an total good participant.”
One newcomer who absolutely knew what to anticipate Thursday was Marc Staal. The veteran blueliner went by way of 5 of those with Tortorella when each have been with the New York Rangers.
“I feel he retains making it tougher, to be sincere,” Staal mentioned.
Staal signed with the Flyers within the offseason regardless of being an older veteran becoming a member of a rebuilding workforce, which was one thing that even took basic supervisor Danny Briere unexpectedly.
“Me and my household coming again as much as this space, understanding the place [the team is] at and simply it in a method the place I will help and be part of one thing the place you’re rising it, the familiarity with Torts and understanding what’s anticipated of me entering into, it simply checked a number of containers for me,” Staal mentioned. “I’m excited to compete once more and are available to a corporation that has a ton of historical past and a number of ardour.”
Staal’s greatest contribution to the Flyers this 12 months will probably be serving to its younger defensive core develop additional.
“He’s going to be a mentor, he’s going to be an offshoot of the teaching employees,” Tortorella mentioned. “It’s a really younger again finish, and Marc Staal’s going to play a serious position with them even when Marc isn’t taking part in some video games through the 12 months. There’s going to be some nights that he’s not going to play, however he’s going to be simply as necessary in these nights and people days main as much as video games that he’s perhaps not taking part in in as he’s placing the uniform on. He’s an ideal professional and it’s an enormous asset for us simply to have him across the locker room.”