Flyers Hope Week Of Bonding Leads To Wins

IMG00095[1]The Philadelphia Flyers will end their five-day layoff tomorrow night when they face the Florida Panthers at 7:30. Except, the past five days wasn’t considered ‘off’ days by any means if you ask the players.

Coach John Stevens led his team down to Ft. Lauderdale for a week of ‘team bonding’ exercises. The players participated in a fishing tournament, a regatta-style sailing race in the Atlantic, while also working in a few practices.

“You’ve got guys settling into new roles, new faces, players just getting to know their teammates and coaches,” said Coach Stevens. “But there’s also the non-hockey factors, taking care of family life. Some guys are new to the area, moving into new homes, getting the kids settled into new schools.

“It’s a break from the norm,” said Mike Richards. “It’s a great opportunity to get away from daily routines, have a little fun, and hopefully enjoy some bonding time.

This break was a rare one that hit the Flyers schedule fairly early. So, the probably the best thing for this team to do was put each other in pressure situations and take care of one another.

“This won’t be all about fun in the sun,” said Stevens. “We’ll have a few surprises planned for the guys as well. The break in the schedule gives us the chance to try something different this year. It works, with the next game being [in Florida] on Friday.

“The goal of these trips – when we say team bonding – really comes down to two things: teamwork and building trust. The better you know your teammates, the more you trust in them, and, in turn, earn their trust. And that’s essential for success, in any walk of life.”

“That’s important, especially with new guys on the team. You tend to learn a lot about your teammates on trips like this, even the guys you’ve been around for a few years,” added Richards. “It’s something positive and a little different.”

Now the question remains does this bonding week lead to victories and more camaraderie? Time will most definitely tell. The season resumes for the Flyers tomorrow against the struggling Panthers.

The Flyers are 3-1-1 and the Panthers are 1-4.

JVR and Betts Update:

Good news for both James van Riemsdyk and Blair Betts. Van Riemsdyk could be in the lineup tomorrow night as he continues to improve.

“I feel like I’m getting stronger every day,” said JVR. “Not skating for a couple days, it takes a little time to get back into it, but I felt a lot better out there today and my legs feel a lot better this week.

On the Betts end, the center was initially looking at a four-to-six week recovery after separating his shoulder, could return as early as next Thursday.

“It’s only been a week but it’s nice to get back skating with the team and keeping sharp that way,” he said. “I think as we move into next week we’ll start taking some contact and just see how it feels. It’s probably too early to tell if [next Thursday] is a possibility, but if everything goes really well there’s a good chance I would play in that game.”

Quotes: Philadelphia Flyers

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