The Flyers held an optional practice on Wednesday at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ. Flyers head coach Craig Berube said he made it an optional because he saw the team’s energy drop in last night’s 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay and it was not for lack of players trying to dig deep. Actually, Berube said he felt both the Flyers and Lightning lacked energy and it was a rather boring game.
Eight players participated in Wednesday’s optional skate: forwards Claude Giroux, Vincent Lecavalier, Scott Laughton, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Chris VandeVelde and Ryan White, defensemen Luke Schenn, Michael Del Zotto, Carlo Colaiacovo and goaltenders Steve Mason and Ray Emery.
After practice, Berube said Mason would “probably” start tomorrow night’s game against the Florida Panthers. The coach said he would not make any changes on defense — Del Zotto remains a healthy scratch — and he was “50-50” on whether Lecavalier would rejoin the lineup. However, Berube proceeded thereafter to strongly hint that Lecavalier would play.
Who sits if Lecavalier returns? The most likely candidates seem to be VandeVelde or Bellemare.
Berube said that he’s seen an increase of energy from Lecavalier in recent practices and that the veteran center seems hungry to play. He added that he would like to get Lecavalier some more ice time both at even strength and the power play and that Lecavalier would play center and not wing.
The coach said, above all, his team needs to learn how to win low-scoring, tight checking games. Berube said that in order to be a consistent winner in the NHL, a club needs to be able to prevail in such games. He said that the club’s record number of third period comebacks last season, while nice to accomplish, is not something that can be relied upon every year.