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Flyers Training Camp

Flyers Survive Day 1 of Camp TORTure



John Tortorella, Philadelphia Flyers
New Philadelphia Flyers coach John Tortorella barks out orders during the first day of training camp. Photo: Zack Hill.

The Philadelphia Flyers expected a difficult training camp under new coach John Tortorella, so they weren’t surprised with the demanding — and lengthy — Day 1 skating drills Thursday in Voorhees.

Defenseman Tony DeAngelo kidded he was so tired from practice that he “tried to find an elevator” to get to the media room on the second floor for his interview session.

DeAngelo was in the fourth and final group that took the ice. “So we were watching all the other guys go off, and then they were telling us how hard it was on purpose,” DeAngelo said, smiling. “Just to piss us off a little bit.”

He paused.

“But we expected this,” he said. “We’ve had guys here since Sept. 1. We never did six laps” like on Thursday. “Some guys did four just to get a feel for it. But no matter how many times you do it at practice, your legs kind of give out a little bit. They die. It’s just work. I think everybody worked hard.”

DeAngelo called it a “tough first day and I’m sure it’s going to get even harder, but it’s all good.”

Torts ‘Thrilled’

Tortorella said he was “thrilled’ that most of the players arrived at the Flyers Training Center three weeks ago in preparation for camp. He was also pleased with how the players looked on their first day.

He said the players “got some good work done” before Thursday, and also built some camaraderie.

As for the first day of camp, “I think today was just about getting through some skates,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what you look like, as along as you finish the skate. I don’t think anybody gave in.”

Tortorella said a lot of the camp will have “mental and physical tests when they don’t even know it’s happening. But I was really happy with how the guys handled themselves today.”

Nic Deslauriers Regroups

Added Tortorella: “The things we’re trying to accomplish, especially with these skates — and there’s going to be harder skates than today as we go through camp — is not to pound our chest and just bury them. We want to test them. It develops a camaraderie, and they kind of look at you like, ‘You’re not going to get to me.’ I think the attitude we’re trying to develop is a will.”

He said bruising Philadelphia Flyers left winger Nic Deslauriers struggled through the first part of camp.

“I watched that guy, and he was ugly as hell (trying to keep up), but he got through it. He never stopped,” Tortorella said. “He finished what he was supposed to finish, and I went up to Nic after and said, ‘I hope some other guys saw that.’ I don’t care what it looks like as long as the finish was there. And he came into the office after the skate and we talked a little bit about it.”

Tortorella said “those are important little things. It’s not a goal, it’s not an X or an O, or great defensive-zone coverage. It’s just a little mental toughness that he showed, and I think that is something people need to draw off of.”

Hard-nosed Wade Allison, who is trying to earn a spot at right wing, was asked to describe the first day under the man they call Torts.

“It tests your cardio, for sure, but by the end, it’s just about willing yourself through it,” he said. “You just have to put your head down and work as hard as you possibly can. It’s no longer about cardio at the end. It’s just simply your will to finish, your will to push yourself to the absolute max every time you’re out there.”

Allison called it “one of the harder” practices he’s experienced, “but it’s real rewarding to be done and to know that all of us really pushed ourselves out there. It’s going to be a demanding camp; it’s going to be a demanding year, so might as well start now.”

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