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Flyers’ Rasmus Ristolainen is questionable for Saturday; Yeo runs team through tough practice



Rasmus Ristolainen, Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers, already decimated by injuries, may have another player sidelined.

Rasmus Ristolainen, the Flyers’ most physical defenseman, missed practice Thursday because he was “a little banged up,” and is questionable for Saturday’s noon game in Detroit, according to interim coach Mike Yeo.

If Ristolainen can’t play, he would probably be replaced by Kevin Connauton or Cam York.

Ristolainen, a prospective unrestricted free agent who missed two early-season games with an undisclosed upper-body injury, has 11 points and a minus-12 rating. He spent some time on the No. 2 power-play unit in Wednesday’s listless 6-3 loss to visiting Detroit.

Right winger Cam Atkinson and center Claude Giroux, the Flyers’ top two scorers, also missed practice Thursday.

Giroux was given a maintenance day after a hectic schedule during the All-Star break and playing in Wednesday’s loss.

Atkinson played while under the weather Wednesday, and was still ill Thursday. “Hopefully, it’s something that passes quickly,” Yeo said.

Yeo ran the Flyers through a tough practice Thursday after their shabby performance the previous night.

“We have to get back to a level that we thought it was headed toward,” he said.

The Flyers had won two straight before the All-Star break, and Wednesday they were badly outplayed in their first game in eight nights.

“Let’s show that the last game is not who we are,” Yeo said, adding that Wednesday’s game should serve as a “wake-up call” for his 15-23-8 team. “… Maybe one of the things that happens during the break is that you forgot how hard you have to work and how hard you have to compete, so we wanted to make sure they faced some of that today.”

Ristolainen could join a long list of sidelined players: Sean Couturier, Kevin Hayes, Ryan Ellis, Joel Farabee, Patrick Brown, Nate Thompson, Wade Allison, and Samuel Morin.

In the rematch with up-and-coming Detroit (21-21-6), the Flyers need to improve their power play, which was 0 for 5 Wednesday and is in a 1-for-21 funk.

“They’re going to be pretty confident by the way we played the game,” Yeo said of the Red Wings. “I think we learned that they’re a high-skilled team. There’s a lot of players on there who maybe our guys haven’t faced before, so they’re dynamic, impact young players who they’ve never seen. I would say that would be an eye-opening experience for us, or at least a learning experience that we have to take these guys very seriously.”

Hires named

The Flyers announced that Kathryn Yates and Cole Anderson were added to their analytical staff.

Yates served as director of analytics for two seasons with the University of Massachusetts men’s hockey team, and has been working as a graduate student with the Boston Bruins since May.

Anderson most recently worked in software and e-commerce, and he has been an analytics advisor for the Chicago Steel of the USHL.

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