Bill Meltzer: Meltzer’s Musings: Day Two, Giroux Injury, Day One Notebook, Quick Hits



Flyers captain Claude Giroux left the ice only a few minutes into the team’s first training camp practice session yesterday at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ. Flyers general manager Ron Hextall subsequently confirmed that the player sustained a lower body injury.

According to Hextall, Claude Giroux will miss approximately two weeks with the injury.

If so, Giroux should be able to play on opening night in Boston on Oct. 8.

Giroux walked off the ice under his own power early in the training session, no more than about 15 minutes after stepping onto the ice with his teammates. Hextall reported that the injury was not an aggravation of any sort of previous injury.

“This just happened today. It’s the first day of camp and guys go 100 miles per-hour and things happen,” Hextall said. “Obviously its not the way you want to start. That’s the hand we were dealt and we’re going to deal with it.”

At first, it seemed as if Giroux may have gone off for an equipment change as nothing notable had happened on the ice leading up to Giroux’s exit. The player did not appear to be limping or otherwise laboring as he walked back to the dressing room. When he did not return, it became increasingly clear he’d gotten injured.

Later in the day, after the Flyers reported the lower body injury to the media, Giroux was taken for for an MRI. According to information obtained by CSN Philly and HockeyBuzz writer Tim Panaccio, Giroux underwent testing for three related injuries: groin/adductor muscle, abdominal strain, and hip flexor.

“Things happen,” said Flyers head coach Craig Berube. “We’ve all been through this before. I’m not going to make it a big deal.”

The Flyers’ regular season opener in Boston is 18 days away. Giroux should be able to play in that game if the initial timetable for recovery proves to be accurate. The preseason finale is on Thurs., Oct. 2 in Washington.


The Flyers conducted a two-part practice on the first day of training camp yesterday at the Skate Zone. Veteran NHL players plus several minor AHL veterans skated in the early session. Prospects skated in the second group.

The same schedule will apply today and tomorrow. The early session will officially start on the Flyers ice at 10:15 a.m. and then move over to the Phantoms’ rink on the other side of the building. The later session will get underway at 12:15 p.m.

Yesterday, these were the lines that started the practice in the early session:

Brayden Schenn – Claude Giroux/ Darroll Powe – Jakub Voracek

Matt Read – Sean Couturier – Wayne Simmonds

R.J. Umberger – Vincent Lecavalier – Michael Raffl

Jason Akeson – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Zac Rinaldo

Zack Stortini – [Darroll Powe] – Jay Rosehill

Andrew MacDonald – Braydon Coburn

Nicklas Grossmann – Mark Streit

Michael Del Zotto – Luke Schenn

Brandon Manning – Nick Schultz

Steve Mason

Ray Emery

Rob Zepp.

In the second group — which included the likes of 2012 first-round pick Scott Laughton, 2013 first-rounder Samuel Morin and rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere — the Flyers pretty much stuck to the same combinations they featured during rookie camp and Tuesday’s game against the Capitals.

This included a line of Nick Cousins centering Brandon Alderson and Petr Straka. Laughton centered Taylor Leier and Nicolas Aube-Kubel. Jesper Pettersson was paired with Robert Hägg. Morin skated with Gostisbehere. Other participants include defensemen Travis Sanheim, Mark Alt, and rookie goaltenders Anthony Stolarz and Martin Ouellette.

************* DAY ONE NOTEBOOK

* Flyers head coach Craig Berube said that he will remain in Philadelphia for Monday’s split squad game against the Washington Capitals at the Wells Fargo Center. Assistant coaches Ian Laperriere and Gord Murphy will share coaching duties for Monday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs in London, Ont.

* Berube said that it, even apart from Giroux’s injury, it was still too early to set game rosters for which players will take the trip to Canada and which ones will remain in Philadelphia on Monday. For the contingent playing the Caps at the Wells Fargo Center, there will be a morning skate at the arena on Monday. After the game, Berube will head to Toronto to coach the Flyers return match with the Maple Leafs on Tuesday.

* Berube tried to make the best out of Giroux’s situation, talking about opportunities for other players to step up. The coach conceded, however, that it was still too soon to have a plan to adjust his planned line combinations. For example, he was not sure yet if Brayden Schenn would move from left wing back to center.

Said Berube of Giroux, “It’s one player…He’s out right now and we’ve got lots of players. We’ve got lots of good players. We’ve got to deal with it. We’ll deal with it.”

* Flyers right winger Jakub Voracek said he dropped about 10 pounds over the summer, reporting to camp at 209 pounds. The player said he felt fast on his skates on the first day of practice but it remained to be seen how strong he felt in puck battles along the walls.

* Beware of the bread dumplings made with love: Much of Voracek’s off-season weight loss was due to cutting carbohydrates in his diet. Smiling broadly, Voracek admitted that the toughest time to stick to the new food regimen came when he visited his family in Kladno, Czech Republic over the summer. His mother’s home cooking — which Jake said was his conditioning undoing when he played for Lev Prague during the NHL lockout in 2012-13 — beckoned once again.

* Braydon Coburn, who says he spent much of his summer chasing around his two young kids apart from working out and getting ready for training camp, made some smaller changes to his offseason regimen. When he doesn’t work out on a strict regimen, he tends to lose weight. Coburn has long been one of the Flyers best conditioned players from a cardiovascular standpoint, which is why he has been able to absorb heavy duty ice time on a year-in and year-out basis. Sticking to his offseason plan, Coburn was able to steadily maintain about 222 pounds on his 6-foot-5 frame.

* New Flyer Pierre-Edouard Bellemare had to make some adjustments of his own to his off-season preparations ahead of his first NHL training camp. Bellemare is used to the seasons in Europe, with preseason games in August and the start of the regular season by early September but with a lower number of games overall. This year, the World Championships ended late, with Bellemare and Team France unexpectedly reaching the medal round quarterfinals. Rather than preparing to work out with his European team over the summer, Bellemare worked out on a personalized individual regimen.

* During yesterday’s camp session, one of the drills the Flyers ran was to have two players stand side by side on the goal line. Assistant coach Gord Murphy dropped a puck at the top of the faceoff circle and the two players raced for the loose puck. Bellemare did quick well in this drill, showing an excellent first stride.

* Other work done at practice yesterday, apart from line rushes, including some systems refresher reps on breakouts and forechecking, board work, a puckhandling drill and plenty of skating. The team did not do any special teams work on the first day, so that will come over the weekend.

* Berube said the second session, featuring the prospects, was crisper than the first but that was to be expected on the first day of an NHL camp. The prospects had already been practicing in earnest at rookie camp for the last week and had a game under their belt.

* Overall, Voracek said that practice yesterday was a little shorter in duration than previous camp openers but the tempo was brisker. Last season, Berube repeated a “skate quicker, think quicker” mantra for which he tried to set a similar tone at practice after taking over for Peter Laviolette. Berube and Hextall opined that the club had to play catch-up to other teams from a conditioning perspective. Berube said he was pleased with the conditioning his players showed in their fitness testing and during the first practice.

* After Hextall updated the media on Giroux’s injury, the general discussed the topic of team conditioning. I asked him if he partially attributed the team’s early season problems in third periods last year to subpar conditioning.

Something that people forget about the team’s slow start last year is how many winnable games they let slip away in the third period. Later in the season, the Flyers became a formidable third period club (which included setting a single-season franchise record for comeback wins). That was not the case in the early going.

Through the first 11 games last season, the Flyers entered the third period of each and every game in position to come away with one or two points if they won the final stanza. They led four times (2-2-0 in those game), were tied twice at the second intermission (1-1-0) and trailed by a single goal five times (0-5-0).

Over that span, the Flyers got outscored by a combined 14-5 in third periods.

Hextall agreed that bad third periods are one sign of subpar conditioning but added that it’s not the only problem that a team can have. The GM said that issues can manifest at ANY time of the game.

For example, conditioning issues can pop up in players’ recoveries after shifts. Someone can have a long shift and be needed to go right back out shortly thereafter, and he’s not physically ready for it yet. Sooner or later, there’s probably going to be a negative outcome.

************* QUICK HITS: SEPTEMBER 20

* Flyers Alumni birthdays: Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, now with the Columbus Blue Jackets, turns 26 today. Winger Jan Hlavac turns 38.

* Today in Flyers History: On Sept. 20, 1995, the Flyers traded Andre Faust to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a 2007 seventh-round pick. Near the trade deadline of the 2005-06 season, the pick acquired for Faust was traded to Anaheim along with prospect Chris Herperger in exchange for center Bob Corkum.

* Flyers 2014 fifth-round pick Oskar Lindblom is in Swedish Hockey League action today for Brynäs IF Gävle. BIF is on the road to take to Luleå HF. Game time is 12:30 p.m. EDT.

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