Jakub Voracek returned to practice with the Flyers' top unit on Monday. (USA Today Images)
Players approve new rule
TORONTO -- A rule change involving icing the puck will be in effect for the start of the NHL regular season after it was approved by the players.
The NHLPA gave the go-ahead for the rule change that makes icing a race to an imaginary line across the faceoff dots instead of the puck, which was given a trial run during the preseason.
Previously, a player had to actually touch the puck after it crossed the red goal line. Icing is called when a team, in an effort to reduce pressure in its own zone, dumps the puck down the ice. When icing is called, play is brought back to the offending team's zone for a faceoff.
The rule change is to prevent serious injuries, such as the one that sidelined Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen for the entire season (see full story).
- The Associated Press
Jakub Voracek returned to full practice on Monday and says he will be ready to go Wednesday when the season opens at the Wells Fargo Center against Toronto.
Voracek injured his lower back last week after being taken down into the goalpost during a pre-season game against New Jersey.
You know Voracek must be feeling good because he is growing his scruffy beard and is allowing his hair to get long again, as well.
“There is no way I can have a good look,” he kidded.
“Today’s practice, basically for the first time, I feel a little better every time I skate. We’ll see what happens on Wednesday.”
Asked if there was any doubt that he might not play in the opener, he replied, “I don’t think so. If I feel the same way I felt today, I should be ready for Wednesday.”
The Flyers did quite a bit of special teams work on Monday, especially, with the power play.
In fact, the practice began with just the first unit on the ice and finished with the first unit, nearly two hours later.
Voracek worked with the top unit –- Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Scott Hartnell with Kimmo Timonen and Voracek at the point.
The second unit was Brayden Schenn, Vinny Lecavalier, Matt Read, and Andrez Meszaros and Mark Streit at the point.
If Voracek can’t play against Toronto, Schenn replaces him on the first line. Lecavalier should center Schenn and Simmonds if all lines are healthy.
Scott Laughton and Adam Hall alternated between Jay Rosehill and Zac Rinaldo. Assuming full health, the third line should be Sean Couturier between Max Talbot and Read.