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Flyers Training Camp

Coots ‘Getting Better and Better Everyday;’ Works to Return to Flyers



Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers

In what may have been the best development of the Philadelphia Flyers’ training camp, Sean Couturier, trying to return from a back injury, seems headed toward rejoining the team at some point this season.

Maybe even sooner rather than later.

Just when he returns is unknown, but the Flyers’ top-line center is clearly making progress. He skated Sunday at the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees, and gave off positive vibes when he addressed reporters in the locker room.

“I’m just getting better and better every day,” Couturier said Sunday from his locker. “I’m back on the ice, so it’s a step in the right direction.”

Couturier, 29, had back surgery in February. He re-injured the back early in camp, but was relieved to find out he did not need another surgery.

He started skating Thursday, though he has not been participating in drills with his teammates yet.

“We’re going gradually here. Every day doing a little more, and see how it responds every day,” Couturier said.

No timetable has been set for his return.

Needs to be at 100%

“They are just kind of evaluating me every day and (we’ll) see how it goes, and see how I progress,” Couturier said. “The goal is really just to be 100 percent when I come back and not have to deal with anything all year.”

He didn’t want to estimate on how close — or far away — he was to being 100 percent.

“I don’t want to give a number,” he said. “I’m feeling pretty good. We’ll just see how it responds every day. Just pushing myself every day and trying to get better. So far, it’s been going well.”

He skated for 45 minutes Sunday and started shooting pucks.

Coach John Tortorella sounded encouraged.

“I know he’s in good spirits and feels good,” Tortorella said. “What happened with him (earlier in camp) when we ramped it up a bit, that’s when he struggled a bit. But he’s in good spirits. I think that’s one of the main things with athletes that are going through some of this stuff — their attitude toward it. We’ll see,”

Tortorella added that “it certainly won’t be opening night” for Couturier’s return.

Couturier said he would like to go “100 m.p.h., but the trainers are really kind of holding me back and trying to slowly progress me where I don’t have any setbacks, and so far it’s been working.”

Officially, he is listed as week to week.

“I’m just really anxious to get back with the group and get going,” said the former Selke Trophy winner as the league’s best defensive forward.

Prior to playing just 29 games last season, Couturier won the Bobby Clarke Trophy for three straight years as the Philadelphia Flyers’ MVP.


With Couturier sidelined, Noah Cates will start the season at center, Tortorella said. Cates has been at left wing and hasn’t been a regular center since his junior collegiate year at Minnesota-Duluth. Tortorella said he has been the Flyers’ best player in camp. … The roster has to be trimmed to 23 players, maximum, by 5 p.m. Monday. Noah Cates is a lock, but his brother, Jackson, is on the bubble. … The Flyers will practice in Voorhees at 11 a.m. Monday. They will not practice Tuesday.

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