Flyers Notes: Team Makes Cuts, Tortorella on Captaincy, Young Players, Goalies, and More

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With training camp officially in its second week, the Flyers trimmed the roster further by making 20 cuts on Friday.

That leaves 45 players left on the training camp roster. The final roster with a maximum of 23 players is due by 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 10.

Among the 45 players remaining on the camp roster include injured players like Sean CouturierRyan Ellis, and Joel Farabee. Farabee was among a group participating in practice, but not cleared for contact. That list also included Cam AtkinsonCarter HartJ.R. Avon, and Ryan Fitzgerald.

Couturier and Ellis were joined by Artem AnisimovBobby BrinkPatrick BrownAdam Karashik, and Cooper Marody as players injured and not cleared to participate in camp. Brink and Brown both have long-term injuries. Anisimov was injured blocking a shot in the preseason opener last Saturday and is out with a lower-body injury. Karashik and Marody both have upper-body injuries. Karashik is day-to-day, while Marody is week-to-week.

The following players were assigned to Lehigh Valley:

  • Forwards: Jordy Bellerive, Elliot Desnoyers, Jacob Gaucher, Charlie Gerard, Alex Kile, Tye McSorley, Cal O’Reilly, Garrett Wilson, Zayde Wisdom
  • Defensemen: Colin Felix, Linus Högberg, Will MacKinnon, Mason Millman, Wyatte Wylie, Cooper Zech
  • Goalies: Jonathan Lemieux, Nolan Maier, Tyler Wall

Additionally, forwards Isaac Ratcliffe and Linus Sandin were placed on waivers for the purpose of assignment to Lehigh Valley.

John Tortorella addressed a variety of these topics in his media availability on Friday. The team had a previously-unscheduled off day on Thursday because Tortorella felt the team was tired from an intense first week of camp, and it showed in the way the team “fell off the cliff” following the first period on Wednesday. Here’s a sampling:

Tortorella Not Naming a Captain Yet

This was brought up in a recent interview on SiriusXM’s NHL Network Radio, but Tortorella gave a more definitive answer regarding the captaincy on Friday.

“I haven’t even thought about it. Right now, I don’t even think I’m going to have a captain. There won’t be a captain once the season starts, I’ll tell you that right now,” Tortorella said. “Where it goes from there, to me, that is so far away I haven’t really thought too much about it.”

While there were certainly a few candidates that could have emerged for the captaincy among veterans – Sean Couturier, Kevin HayesScott Laughton, and Cam Atkinson were all names being thrown around in speculation – Tortorella is going to stick with the group of alternates as leaders with letters for right now.

‘We Kind of Want It Now’

The Flyers have a healthy dose of young players in camp this season. One player who will look to make more of an impact on the blue line is Cam York. The 2019 first-round pick has a good skillset and has garnered high expectations from his college career. 

Tortorella talked about the approach with York and trying to make the most of his ability.

“He puts himself into a jam because he has so much ability. He has so many good things going for him. He’s going to go through a process with us, with this staff, in us asking for it now,” Tortorella said. “That’s sometimes what I don’t get with some guys is ‘why wait?’ I’m not being negative here. It’s just what it is. I’ve got my eye on him because I think there can be so many good things that come out of him. But we kind of want it now and that’s what we’re going to try to push to.” 

‘I Want Him to Be Who He Is’

One of the noticeable players from a rather forgettable game on Wednesday night was Wade Allison. After leaving the game briefly, Allison returned late in the first period and was much more noticeable down the stretch, helping create the only Flyers goal of the game with a strong forecheck.

Allison has a skillset that translates to the NHL level, it’s just his health that has primarily been in question. In addition, Tortorella spoke about how the team wants to utilize Allison and teach him certain aspects of their system without taking away what he does best.

“I don’t think he played well early on, but as the game kept going I thought he played better. One of the few. The other guys went the other way. I want him to understand how to play in certain situations without boxing him in to go chase things down,” Tortorella said. “I want him to be that guy to go chase the puck and allow him to play, but also – and this is where we screw it up as coaches – give him a little bit of structure to the game. Not too much to where we have him thinking and he loses his main asset as far as someone who is going to chase things down and create forechecking. 

“We’re going to teach him the responsibility of his endzone, how our coverage is there. But I want him to be him. I think we get in the way sometimes where we give people too much and they forget who they are. I want him to be who he is, we’ll teach him some of the other things.”

‘They Stunk. They Weren’t Good.’

Accountability is certainly a keep area for the Flyers locker room. Consensus is that the locker room didn’t have enough of it in recent years, the sense that players liked each other, but didn’t have that accountability as teammates.

After the 3-1 loss to Washington on Wednesday night, there were signs of players holding themselves accountable. Tony DeAngelo, Kevin Hayes, and Tyson Foerster all spoke about how the game was far from their best and that they needed to do more work to get things where they want to be.

DeAngelo was paired with Ivan Provorov for the first time in game action, and when asked about the pair, Tortorella showed his blunt honesty that he can deliver when assessing players.

“Yeah, they stunk. They weren’t good. No one was good. It wasn’t a good game,” Tortorella said. “They were tired. It’s so hard to evaluate the players, especially early on, with all the skating that we do. I don’t get too antsy or too one way really excited or down low on these exhibition games. I’m feeling more comfortable and understanding players’ tendencies, but other than that I really don’t take too much out of it.”

Tortorella added in the off day on Thursday for this reason, after having the players do a lot of conditioning and skating drills to start the camp. They started teaching systems on Friday and will look to implement that further in the final three preseason games.

‘I Make No Judgements’ on Goalies

At the moment in camp, there’s been a heavy dose of goalies battling for the backup spot. Carter Hart is dealing with an injury, though he has been practicing, which is allowing for more opportunities for Felix SandstromSamuel Ersson, and Troy Grosenick to get ice time within preseason games.

No matter which goalie joins Hart on the final roster, Tortorella is going to let goaltending coach Kim Dillabaugh handle a lot of the coaching when it comes to specific technique. Tortorella explained his approach with goalies.

“I make no judgements. I really don’t spend too much time watching the goaltenders. That’s Dily’s entity,” Tortorella said. “I think it’s one of the most unique positions in the game. I will notice if the goalies aren’t working. That’s how I’m going to approach the goalies. I don’t want to learn about it, I don’t want to talk about it. I will watch the effort, how he handles himself as a pro, that’s what I’ll coach. I’ll leave the rest to Dilly.”

‘I Don’t Want Them to Go Down That Rabbit Hole’ 

One of the challenges Tortorella has this season is coaching the team through potential struggles. After two dismal seasons and entering this season with a lack of buzz from the fanbase and extremely low expectations from outside the organization, Tortorella knows that there will be noise and people waiting to bury the team.

This plays into the mental aspect of coaching for Tortorella, how he has to help manage the room so that the players can block out the noise and control what they can control.

“It’s kind of a readiness on my part, and I don’t think that will happen until we start playing the real stuff. I think a big part of coaching is the coaching staff understanding where the team is mentally. That’s something we’ve got to be really sharp,” Tortorella said. “I don’t want them to go down that rabbit hole. 

“I think you guys, I think the public is ready to seize that moment when things go wrong. It’s human nature, especially where the team is right now and where they’ve been the past couple of years. Sometimes we have to combat it by going the other way. That’s a really important part of our job, especially early on if we hit a bump in the road. 

“I don’t know how I’m going to handle it because I don’t know what the bump is. It depends on what type of bump it is and then we’ll act accordingly. It’s a great question because I think that’s a very important part of our first 15-20 games here.” 

The Flyers are back on the ice for a pair of preseason games this weekend. They will take on the Boston Bruins on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m., then face the New York Islanders on the road on Sunday night at 7 p.m.

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