By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Hockey is back, and not a moment too soon. The NHL will reportedly kick-off on January 19th, when the Flyers face their hated rivals, and Stanley Cup favorites, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“It’s been a long wait, I think everybody is excited,” Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette told 94WIP’s Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow on Monday. “You guys are excited, the fans, the players, coaches, organizations. Hockey is back, so that’s good.”
Now starts the mad rush to get players together, a condensed training camp, and then a sprint of a 48 or 50 game schedule.
“Well, I think there will be a training camp. I haven’t gotten the specific details yet, so I really can’t comment on those because I’m not sure what they are, but I do believe that there will be a training camp of you know, five days, or six days, seven days, eight days. There is an opportunity, I think, to get the players on the ice for all the clubs and to put your systems in place, and to see how things look, and work on things. I don’t think we’ll come into it without any time at all,” Laviolette said.
“Whatever the time frame is, I think it is sufficient to be able to prepare your team for the first game. You got to remember too, everybody is in the same boat. We’re all coming back at the same time and teams will be working hard to make sure their team is ready for the first game.”
The Flyers will return many players from the 2011-’12 season, including arguably the best player in hockey, Cladue Giroux.
“I feel great. I got a little injury in Germany, but I’ve had a lot of time to rehab,” Giroux told Gargano and Macnow on Monday. “I’ve been good for a couple days, a couple weeks actually, you know what I’m just ready to go. It’s too bad for what happened the first few months, but you know what, it’s good that we have a deal done here and we get to play hockey again.”
Having many of the same players could benefit the Flyers, much as it did the Sixers in the early part of their lockout shortened season last year.
“With the season we had last year in the playoffs—we’re a very young team, but we’re not going to back down from anybody. We like to go out there and play some hockey. Just like excitement of the fans, it starts right there and then all the young players have a lot of energy, we have a good attitude, and guys want to win. When the whole team is on the same page I think we are a dangerous team, but we don’t have a big camp to kind of get ready, but I’m sure all weekend we’ll be right back at it. It’s fair for all the teams that will have a weak camp, but it’s going to be a pretty good season,” Giroux said.