VOORHEES, N.J. -- It almost goes without saying that when the NHL season opens next weekend, its imperative for teams to get off to a quick start in a congested 48-game schedule.
For the Flyers, that reality is heightened by the fact theyll play back-to-back games -- home against Pittsburgh on Saturday at 3 p.m. on NBC, then according to league sources, off to Buffalo for Sundays noon encounter there.
Were still a week away, but the few Flyers practicing on their own at Skate Zone seem pumped to open at Wells Fargo Center against their most bitter Atlantic Division rival -- the Penguins.
"Whether its for the fans in Pennsylvania or the fans across the world, thats cool, current Flyer and former Penguin Max Talbot said.
Talbot spent part of the lockout playing for Ilves in Finland. The conversation surprised him.
When I was playing in Finland, every player was asking me, It seems that series against Pittsburgh was crazy. I guess it got a lot of attention.
I think it will be a good kickoff for the NHL season and the Flyers to jump in right away against the Penguins. You definitely want to start against a rival.
The Flyers ousted the Penguins in the first round of the playoffs last season during a bizarre series that featured a combined 56 goals scored -- the most ever for a six-game series.
Jakub Voracek says there will be no taking days -- or nights -- off. The back-to-back games, he said, are a perfect way to get players into the right frame of mind for the shortened season.
Its going to be a little different than last year with every other day and we have to make sure we recover well after games, Voracek said.
If you hit a losing streak, you can drop down and its possible you wont make the playoffs.
We have to be ready to go every game and not think, Oh, its only five games into the season and we can catch up.
For the league, its good. Everybody has a chance to make the playoffs, its going to be competitive. We have a great squad here, too.
Obviously, that was a great series against Pittsburgh seven months ago. Its a new season, new start. But we cant think about the playoffs back then. We have to find a way to win.
Matt Read scored two goals in Game 3 against the Penguins, a fight-filled encounter that also featured 158 penalty minutes during an 8-4 Flyers victory.
Its going to be pretty exciting, Read said. They played their last seven games last season against us, including the last game of the regular season.
When you get knocked out of the playoffs against a team, you kind of have a little grudge against them.
I think theyre going to want to come out and play physical. Its going to be a good game, just like the playoffs were last year.
Read added that game allows the Flyers, right away, to see how they stack up against another very good team, one expected to do something in the playoffs.
Because of the lockout, the Flyers released ice on weekends at Skate Zone to various leagues and the public long ago. Hence, training camp will begin 11 a.m. Sunday and end at 1:30 p.m. -- no two-a-days -- on one sheet of ice. ... The full NHL schedule is expected to be released Saturday. ... Nick Grossmann clarified the many rumors over the summer that he was to have surgery on his sprained right knee, which he injured April 1 against the Penguins during the regular season. He did not have any surgery, he said. ... Wayne Simmonds' arrival in camp was delayed because he lost his visa.
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