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Sport John Tortorella directs another punishing practice at Flyers camp

07:10  26 september  2022
07:10  26 september  2022 Source:   philly.com

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With his body going numb and switching to autopilot, defenseman Cam York had one thought in his head as he sprinted around the rink: “Please be done.”

Flyers goalie Carter Hart sat out practice with an injury. © Alejandro A. Alvarez/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS Flyers goalie Carter Hart sat out practice with an injury.

After playing almost 21 minutes the night before in the Flyers’ first preseason game, York and his teammates hit the ice Sunday for another scrimmage, more drills and, of course, more sprints.

“It’s been hard, and I’m sure it’s going to continue to be tough,” York said. “But I know these coaches are looking for guys that can kind of stick with it and can continue to grind even when your body’s telling you not to.”

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New coach John Tortorella warned that the going gets tougher around day four of camp. The players who dressed Saturday night had sprinted in three out of four days and competed in a physical preseason game. Those who weren’t part of the game roster have now sprinted for four straight days.

And these sprints aren’t brief drills. Tortorella has had players sprint for 15 minutes straight as he stands in the center of the rink with a whistle, yelling at them to push themselves. On Saturday, players were visibly starting to lag. But they kept at it.

Tortorella has a lot of training camps under his belt, and as the players circle by him, he knows exactly what he’s looking for. He’s watching their body language, their expressions and their form. While he doesn’t care if it’s ugly (he shouted out Nic Deslauriers again), he cares if they’re trying to cheat by gliding or if they’re trying to power through it.

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Flyers coach John Tortorella directing a workout at the Skate Zone on Thursday morning. © Alejandro A. Alvarez/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS Flyers coach John Tortorella directing a workout at the Skate Zone on Thursday morning. Tanner Laczynski eager to make a push for the Flyers roster

“I don’t depend on a lot of numbers and the analytics, the VO2, all the stuff we do,” Tortorella said. “I just — I like the eye test, and I depend on my stomach for all the opinions that I make.”

So far, Tortorella has been happy with the energy and the spirit the players have shown him. During Saturday’s 2-1 victory against Boston, he certainly saw struggles, but he also saw a lot of effort. The mistakes don’t bother him at this point — “it’s a game of mistakes,” Tortorella said.

Cam York during a Flyers workout at the Skate Zone in Voorhees on Thursday. © Alejandro A. Alvarez/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS Cam York during a Flyers workout at the Skate Zone in Voorhees on Thursday.

Eventually, he’ll get into the X’s and O’s and check the skills and fundamentals of players. But for now, he’s waiting to see how the guys push through after another day of sprinting.

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Injuries hit early

The Flyers added three more injuries to the list that general manager Chuck Fletcher shared Thursday.

Starting goalie Carter Hart is day-to-day with a lower body injury. He did not participate in practice.

Forward Artem Anisimov played in the first preseason game Saturday and blocked a shot. He is now day-to-day with a lower body injury.

Forward Cam Atkinson is day-to-day with an upper body injury. He did not play in the scrimmage but participated in the on-ice practice.

Jackson and Noah Cates score to lead the Flyers to a 2-1 preseason win over the Boston Bruins

Braun, York reunited

York did not enjoy seeing his former defensive partner, Justin Braun, across the ice in a New York Rangers jersey at the end of the last season. But now he’s got his mentor back after Braun signed a one-year deal with the Flyers.

“He’s a great person for me to go to, off the ice, on the ice,” York said. “I was happy. Obviously, just a lot of emotions.”

York bounced around on the defensive pairings last season, but he spent six regular-season games and one preseason contest alongside Braun. Even when they weren’t partnering, Braun tried to impart wisdom gained from 12 seasons in the NHL.

“I was impressed with him, you know, very confident with the puck, makes a good outlet,” Braun said. “I was trying to get him to jump a little more, jumping in the seams, getting a little more confident.”

Watching York’s games at the end of the season, Braun could see York start to improve in those areas. And after an intense offseason, the 21-year-old York has returned looking stronger. Add that to his skill, and he’ll see a payoff during the season, Braun said.

©2022 The Philadelphia Inquirer. Visit inquirer.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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