The Philadelphia Flyers have already begun to reconvene two weeks before the official beginning of training camp on Sept. 21. Despite harsh backlash from the fan base and the local and national media after general manager Chuck Fletcher’s underwhelming offseason, the team is feeling optimistic about a clean slate in a new era under head coach John Tortorella.
Veterans Early to Vorhees
The majority of the veterans on the roster have already reported to the Flyers Training Center in Vorhees, NJ. Although it is not uncommon for NHL players to get a head start to acclimate themselves to their surroundings and get their skating legs under them, the Flyers have come out in noticeably higher numbers this year. Sean Couturier, Cam Atkinson, Kevin Hayes, Scott Laughton, and Ivan Provorov, five players who wore letters as alternate captains in 2021-22, intend to set the tone before the mandatory reporting date.
Travis Konecny, Joel Farabee, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Travis Sanheim hope to take the next steps toward joining the team’s leadership group in 2022-23 with an early start to camp. Offseason additions Nicolas Deslauriers and Tony DeAngelo have joined them, among a considerably longer list of other players within the organization. Atkinson spoke in April about how the lack of practice time affected the team last season because of the NHL’s initial plans to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics.
“You practice how you play. Especially when I turned pro, I learned that from John Tortorella. He was great in that aspect. There just wasn’t a lot of practice time (in 2021-22),” Atkinson said of his former head coach nearly two months before Philadelphia hired him.
Tortorella’s Tough Training Camp
Tortorella boldly stated in his introductory press conference in June that the players needed to show up in September ready to go to work immediately.
“I am going to coach that team hard right away. It’s going to be a very difficult camp. High-volume skating. They will be told about this during the summer. We’re attacking it.”
Elliotte Friedman spoke on the 32 Thoughts podcast about how members of the organization have clearly communicated a tough training camp as a priority.
“This is not going to be one of those situations where you’re going to be allowed to tiptoe into camp. I heard from one of the players the other day that they were basically warned that if you’re not ready to go, you’re going to be left behind, and we (the Flyers) will have no hesitation leaving people behind,” Friedman said.
The Flyers face an uphill battle after finishing last in the Metropolitan Division in 2021-22. Underneath Tortorella, Rocky Thompson hopes to right the ship for the league’s bottom-ranked power play from a year ago. Brad Shaw doesn’t have it much easier with his task of fixing the 26th-ranked penalty kill in the NHL. The special teams units especially will need all the practice time they can get.
The Columbus Blue Jackets finished 33-1-3 when leading at the start of the third period under Tortorella in 2016-17. Entering training camp in September 2017, several players credited their preseason conditioning as a major factor in their ability to stay fresh late in games during the previous season. The fiery head coach usually had Columbus players run two miles in 12 minutes or less towards the beginning of camp.
NHL National TV Broadcasts
ESPN released its broadcasting schedule for the 2022-23 NHL season on Wednesday. They will carry the Tampa Bay Lightning vs. the New York Rangers and the Vegas Golden Knights vs. the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, Oct. 11 to open the season. They will broadcast the NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Feb. 3, the NHL All-Star Game the following afternoon, and the NHL Stadium Series between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Washington Capitals on Feb. 18. The Flyers play eight games on ESPN, ESPN+, Hulu, or ABC in 2022-23 (all times EST).
- vs. New Jersey Devils on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. (ESPN+, Hulu)
- at Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. (ESPN, ESPN+)
- at Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. (ESPN+, Hulu)
- vs. New York Islanders on Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 7:30 p.m. (ESPN+, Hulu)
- at Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 10 p.m. (ESPN)
- at Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, March 11 at 3:30 p.m. (ABC, ESPN+)
- vs. Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, March 18 at 5 p.m. (ESPN+, Hulu)
- vs. Minnesota Wild on Thursday, March 23 at 7 p.m. (ESPN)
TNT and TBS followed with their lineup that will include the home opener for the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche against the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 12. They will air the Winter Classic at Fenway Park between the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 2. The Flyers will play five games on TNT or TBS (all times EST).
- at Florida Panthers on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m.
- at Washington Capitals on Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m.
- vs. Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, Nov. 25 at 5:30 p.m.
- vs. New York Rangers on Wednesday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m.
- vs. Boston Bruins on Sunday, April 9 at 6 p.m.
The Flyers also had eight games broadcasted on the four Disney platforms and five games broadcasted on the Turner platforms in 2021-22. Their poor performance last season didn’t cause a slip in national television allure. If the Flyers brand still carries weight in league circles and generates fan interest, maybe it counts for something within a once-proud organization looking to rediscover its roots in 2022-23.