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Flyers Notebook: Tortorella Balancing Prospects, Success, and Couturier



Philadelphia Flyers news

The Philadelphia Flyers are only focused on one thing right now: their next game, which is Friday’s 7 p.m. matchup with a Metropolitan Division rival, the Washington Capitals.

The Flyers called up defense prospect Ronnie Attard from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Thursday morning, and placed defenseman Jamie Drysdale on injured reserve as a corresponding move. In addition, the club announced that goalie Cal Petersen was loaned to Lehigh Valley and Felix Sandstrom would replace him on the Flyers’ roster.

Head coach John Tortorella wouldn’t divulge if or when Attard would play, but did state that Sandstrom would play some games to relieve Sam Ersson, and that Sandstrom deserved an opportunity like Petersen did.

“You’re not getting me conversations about playoffs,” Tortorella stammered. “We’re focused on Washington tomorrow. . . we’re always cognizant of trying to put players in a spot to succeed. I think when you succeed, you got to go through the process of failing, too. Where [Attard] sits coming in; does he play, how much he plays if he does play? I don’t know where that goes. If he dresses for a game and plays, that’s a call we’ll be watching as the game is being played.

The biggest situation is that we’re playing games that mean something at the beginning of March.”

Speaking of meaningful games, Tortorella was less bullish on the prospect of Sandstrom playing, because that’s the reality of the situation. Sandstrom will have to play meaningful games for this Flyers team.

Philadelphia Flyers news

“We have probably four or five left that we’ll probably use the backup (in),” Tortorella acknowledged. “I don’t think our team played great in Pittsburgh. I don’t think Cal played that well. So, Sandy gets a chance now. The next time we want to use our backup, Sandy will get that game and we’ll make a call from there.”

In terms of Flyers that have been on the team all year, Tortorella is still balancing two struggling veterans in Sean Couturier and Cam Atkinson.

“I’m not going to run the bench based on what people think about you or where you sit as a veteran guy, a captain,” Tortorella said of Couturier. “I just don’t do it that way. . . I’m doing it based on how guys have played.”

As for Atkinson, he was a healthy scratch against the Tampa Bay Lightning and seems headed for that fate once again on Friday.

“He’s going to wait his turn, and if I think it’s time for him to come back in, I hope he sticks in it,” Tortorella said. “I just try to keep it right on the table. You play well, you’re going to get more minutes. If you play really bad, you’re out, and I’m going to try someone else.”

Someone else seems to be Bobby Brink, who practiced in the top-six once again on a line with Morgan Frost and Owen Tippett. Brink scored in his return to the Flyers’ lineup against Tampa Bay and has done nothing that warrants relinquishing his place.

Tortorella, as is typical for the veteran coach, provided little insight in terms of lineup decisions for the weekend ahead. It’s clear that the Flyers’ bench boss intends on rolling with the hot hands as the stakes continue to increase.

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