Cooking? Flyers camp about more than hockey

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Cooking? Flyers camp about more than hockey

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Flyers director of player development Ian Laperriere remembers what it was like to live on his own as a young hockey player with little life experience.

Among a whole host of challenges associated with living independently for the first time was one very simple issue: getting food on the dinner table.

“I didn’t know -- I still don’t know -- how to cook anything,” Laperriere said. “But I didn’t know how to cook anything at that age. ... I didn’t know at 17, 18. Now I know by experience. Sometimes it’s an easy choice to make for them that will make a big difference at the end of the day. Like we tell those guys, everybody’s good, but that little difference -- nutrition, training -- is going to make you be in the NHL instead of the guy next to you.”

And so at this week’s Flyers development camp, which wrapped up Thursday evening, Laperriere added a different kind of off-ice training to the schedule. Split into two groups, the campers first toured the ACME Market down the street from Skate Zone with team dietician Amy Kaminski.

“We took them through the grocery store to show them how to shop the perimeter of the store and make better options with their food choices,” Kaminski said. “So if they were going to choose yogurt for example, that they had a low-fat yogurt versus a higher-fat yogurt.”

Kaminski spent about 45 minutes educating the prospects and answering questions like whether almond milk is better than cow’s milk, or if whole eggs are preferable to egg whites, despite the cholesterol.

“They like milk, and yogurt’s good,” said Sam Morin, the Flyers’ 2013 first-round pick, when asked what he took away from the experience. “Meat, protein -- we need protein. We need fat sometimes, too. Not a lot, just a little bit. And a lot of vegetables.”

The culinary education didn’t end there. Later, the Flyers’ prospects took a cooking class at a caterer nearby the Wells Fargo Center. That experience was received very well, Laperriere said.

“They told them how they prepared [the meal] -- grilling instead of using oil, smart little tips,” Laperriere said. “... I don’t want those kids to cook a seven-course meal, just common sense. Because a lot of those guys are going to be on their own next year. They went from mommy and daddy to billet family and now it’s just you.

“If you play in the minors, you can’t eat at the restaurant every day. And that’s probably the worst place you want to eat, with all the salt and all in it. You want those kids to be able to cook for themselves.”

This year’s camp was the third Laperriere has spearheaded, and was focused on the idea of its participants learning what it takes to “be a pro.” That explains the on-ice sessions, as well as the nutrition classes and a sort-of sex education session the entire group sat through.

The latter two were both firsts for the camp this year.

“Being a pro, you’re on your own,” he said. “Some of those kids might play when they’re 21 or 22. No girlfriend, their own apartment. It’s a big change. And I’ve been through it. I was lucky enough I had two older guys living with me. But those kids might be alone or living with other guys that don’t know how to cook or don’t know what to do as a pro.

“I think we covered, not everything, obviously, but we covered a lot and every year I try to bring something different and [trainer] Jimmy McCrossin tries to bring something different. We’re all in it together.”

Best of NHL: Sabres snap Blues' 6-game winning streak

Best of NHL: Sabres snap Blues' 6-game winning streak

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Robin Lehner stopped 16 shots in the third period and 37 overall, and the Buffalo Sabres snapped the St. Louis Blues' six-game winning streak with a 3-2 victory on Saturday.

Evander Kane and minor-league callup Nicholas Baptiste each had a goal and an assist in Buffalo's third straight win, matching a season best accomplished three times. Ryan O'Reilly also scored for the Sabres (26-23-10), who have three more wins than losses for the first time since closing the 2011-12 season 39-32-11.

Vladimir Tarasenko also scored for St. Louis, which lost for the first time since a 4-1 defeat to Pittsburgh on Feb. 4 (see full recap).

Jets spoil Julien's return to Montreal
MONTREAL -- Patrik Laine and Mathieu Perreault each had a goal and an assist, and the Winnipeg Jets spoiled Claude Julien's return to Montreal with a 3-1 victory over the Canadiens on Saturday.

Joel Armia also scored for Winnipeg (27-29-5), and Connor Hellebuyck stopped 19 shots. The Jets had dropped five of six.

The Canadiens fired coach Michel Therrien on Tuesday and hired Julien in hopes of getting their season back on track. Julien also coached Montreal from 2003-2006.

But Julien's first game back was more of the same for the first-place Canadiens (31-20-8), who have lost three in a row and seven of eight (see full recap).

Senators top Leafs to gain on Canadiens
TORONTO -- Mark Stone had a goal and four assists, Derick Brassard scored twice in the third period and the Ottawa Senators recovered after blowing a two-goal lead to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3 on Saturday night.

The Senators pulled within two points of Montreal for first place in the Atlantic Division. Ottawa led 2-0 after one period but trailed 3-2 in the third before getting a tying goal from Mike Hoffman and a power-play goal from Brassard. Stone and Brassard added empty-netters, and Chris Wideman and Ryan Dzingel also scored for the Senators.

Ottawa has won four of five overall and three of four against the Leafs this season. Craig Anderson stopped 34 shots.

Morgan Rielly, Nazem Kadri and William Nylander scored and Auston Matthews had two assists for the Maple Leafs. Frederik Andersen allowed four goals on 40 shots (see full recap).

With Jordan Weal out, Flyers' Dale Weise sees opportunity to get back on solid ground

With Jordan Weal out, Flyers' Dale Weise sees opportunity to get back on solid ground

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Jordan Weal’s pain is Dale Weise’s gain.

Weal, 24, who has showed tremendous promise in just two games and a period since being called up from the Lehigh Valley, will be sidelined with an upper-body injury Sunday, as the Flyers (24-27-7) visit the Vancouver Canucks (25-27-6) at Rogers Arena.

Weise, who has played sparingly of late, will take replace Weal in the lineup. The winger will be asked to play a prominent offensive role, as he skates on the second line alongside Sean Couturier and top scorer Jakub Voracek.

“I’m glad to be back in the lineup,” Weise said after a practice Saturday. “You never want to be out of the lineup. It’s frustrating. I’m just trying to do my work here in practice and trying to be ready when I can, and I think this is a pretty good opportunity to come in and play with two good players, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Weise will get a chance to renew his worth to the team after sitting out the last two games, and seven of the last 12 overall, as a healthy scratch.

“It’s probably the most difficult season I’ve ever had,” Weise, a 28-year-old journeyman, said. “I’ve never been scratched this much in my life. A couple games in a row, I’ve never been through that before.”

He views Sunday’s contest as a “fresh start” and, with only two goals and three assists on the season, a chance to pick up his offensive game.

“I’m just really hoping to get in and just find a way to contribute and get a couple bounces and score a number of goals,” said Weise, who has just one point in his last 29 games and has not scored since Nov. 23.

“It’s been difficult because I feel like I’m playing good hockey. I just can’t get a bounce into the net. I’m around the net. I’m getting chances. It’s just not going in, which is frustrating since it’s been the way it’s going for our whole team.”

The Flyers have lost five of their past six games, including the first two games on this three-game swing through Western Canada. Clearly, coach Dave Hakstol is also expecting Weise to make the most of his chance.

“He’s got a great opportunity to go in [Sunday] and to step in and to help our team,” Hakstol said. “I’m sure he’ll be ready and prepared to do that. Sometimes it’s about the timing of an opportunity and taking advantage of the opportunity. On a couple of different levels, obviously, that would be a real positive for us.”

Hakstol lamented the loss of Weal, who will be reevaluated after the team returns home Monday. Weal, a native of the Vancouver suburb of North Vancouver, was denied a chance to play before family and friends, made an impression with Hakstol after being promoted from the AHL.

Weal averaged 11:50 of ice time in three appearances, and Hakstol left little doubt that he will miss the chance to call upon him here.

“He added something every game,” Hakstol said. “Obviously, it was two games and a period, but he’s dynamic. He hadn’t been here [this season], but he had the puck quite a bit. He looked like a player that was confidently on the top of his game, and I didn’t think any of that was lost in the transition from Lehigh to our team.”

Now, Weise has a chance to impress the coach again in a game against one of his former teams. Weise played about three seasons for the Canucks between 2011-12 and 2013-14 before he was traded to Montreal during former coach John Tortorella’s one-and-done season with Vancouver.

Does Weise have extra motivation to shine against his former club?

Maybe not, he said.

“The first couple of years when I was traded, I always felt like I had something to prove,” Weise said. “Obviously, it’s a team I played for before, but it’s a completely different management and coach and stuff, so it’s a little different feel.”

Meanwhile, captain Claude Giroux, who has just two goals in his past 23 games, is also looking to score more. Actually, he wants his whole first line to start scoring more as the Flyers battle for one of the last playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

“We have to find a way to produce,” Giroux said.

What’s been the problem?

“If we knew we would have fixed it four of five games ago,” Giroux said. “We’re getting a lot of shots on the net.”

But Hakstol was not about to criticize his captain’s effort, even though he has a woeful minus-20 mark this season.

“For whatever the reason, in the last month, he’s just gone in the wrong direction,” Hakstol said. “That’s not just [the] individual. That’s a team item, and we’ve gotta push that in the right direction.”

If they do, the Flyers can start to make up for some shoddy road play. They are 2-10-2 in their last 14 road games and have gone 0-6-2 in Western Canada lately. But Hakstol, other than for what he described as a bad game in Edmonton, has few complaints about his team’s play away from home.

“We played a hell of a road game in Calgary,” Hakstol said. “We’ve been doing that on a pretty regular basis, and I’m confident we’ll do that here.”