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Flyers unfazed by offseason criticism, give causes for optimism in 2022-23 season

VOORHEES, NJ — Cam Atkinson mentioned he does not fear about “outdoors noise.”

The skin noise on the Flyers this offseason was that the workforce did not improve or change almost sufficient following a depressing 25-46-11 season.

One huge change the Flyers made was bringing in a brand new voice behind the bench. How a lot will veteran head coach John Tortorella enhance the Flyers? That is to be decided.

Atkinson, who performed elements of six seasons below Tortorella in Columbus, famous how the Blue Jackets did not have a celebrity throughout the head coach’s tenure. With Tortorella, Columbus had a run of 4 consecutive postseason berths and shocked the loaded Lightning within the 2019 playoffs with a first-round sweep.

Artemi Panarin was there for 2 of these 4 postseason appearances, however the Blue Jackets truly had their greatest common season earlier than his arrival. Columbus was recognized for its effort and execution, not as a lot its expertise stage.

“All that issues to me is the fellows within the locker room,” Atkinson mentioned Tuesday, 9 days earlier than the beginning of Flyers coaching camp. “Does not matter who you might be, the place you performed, how a lot cash you make — we’ll play the appropriate manner and we’ll play laborious.

“Each time we went into an away rink, guys knew, particularly with the Blue Jackets, that we have been coming in to play laborious. We did not essentially have the best talent on the planet, however you apply the way you play.”

No matter exterior negativity there’s surrounding the Flyers, the membership internally does not appear too bothered by it.

The coach, who does not want any further motivation, has it.

“I do not spend quite a lot of time worrying in regards to the noise, I do not,” Tortorella mentioned in July. “However I have been aware about various totally different articles and conversations since I have been employed, as a result of I used to be concerned in all of that, and I hearken to a number of the stuff and also you’re God rattling proper it fuels me so far as unfavourable it has gotten.”

Extra: ‘Everybody acquired a headbutting’ — deep dive into the beginning of Tortorella time

The gamers are staying constructive. They’re anticipating Tortorella’s grueling camp and old-school route.

They like what they’ve in-house. A more healthy workforce and a brand new begin are among the many components for his or her optimism.

“I believe simply having everybody right here exhibits the joy for this upcoming season,” Travis Sanheim mentioned Tuesday. “Everybody’s completely satisfied to have all of the our bodies again and see what we will do being at full energy. Clearly disenchanted with final season, however I believe quite a lot of us see that extra as a one-off. Bringing in Torts and getting wholesome, I believe these are a few huge steps for us and we’re trying ahead to it.

“Clear slate, from Day 1. A troublesome yr final yr, a protracted yr. I do not assume that anyone needs that. You go into the offseason, you watch the playoffs, you need to get there. You see these guys on the finish of it.

“For us coming in, simply the reset, having the ability to know that final yr is previously and we will transfer ahead and imagine on this group. Lots of people possibly are doubting us, however there isn’t any doubt in that locker room. “

Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes, the membership’s first- and second-line facilities, are wholesome. The standing and availability of top-pair defenseman Ryan Ellis stay vital unknowns.

Couturier performed in solely 29 video games final season due to again surgical procedure. He was working towards with the workforce on the finish of the yr. Regardless of some ups and downs throughout his summer time coaching, the 29-year-old mentioned he is cleared and good to go.

“My depth, after I began getting intense once more and pushing myself, there have been some setbacks right here and there,” Couturier mentioned Monday. “Nothing to fret, all the pieces’s coming again to regular. It was longer than I assumed. I am a man that normally needs to get again on the market faster than I must be. This one was a little bit extra irritating as a result of I needed to be affected person and never push it too laborious and ensure I used to be therapeutic it the appropriate manner. Now it is good, although, so I am excited.”

Hayes performed in solely 48 video games final season, 20 of them whereas injured, as stomach accidents wreaked havoc on his physique. Hayes was compelled to bear his third surgical procedure Jan. 18. It was found that he had developed an an infection in his groin space. With the difficulty recognized and glued, Hayes was the Flyers’ greatest participant from March 5 to the tip of the season. He mentioned these ultimate 28 video games have been “big” for him regardless of the workforce’s season being misplaced.

“There have been instances final yr the place I used to be leaving video games the place I used to be questioning whether or not I might ever really feel good once more,” he mentioned Monday.

Hayes listed off six guys that he talked to who had performed for Tortorella. I appreciated what I heard.

“He is an unbelievable man, he holds everybody accountable otherwise,” Hayes mentioned of the suggestions he gathered. “It is thrilling. If you cannot take getting yelled at or pushed to a sure restrict, if you happen to do not deal with that the appropriate manner and type of fade away from it, it may very well be a tricky route for you.

“If we’ll change the tradition, I believe Torts is the right man to do it. He is type of a no bulls–t man, holds everybody accountable whether or not you’ve got performed 1,000 video games otherwise you’re a rookie.

“I do know followers are type of down on our workforce proper now. It is simple to say, however it’s a brand new yr, new workforce. I believe we’re off to the appropriate begin with our entire workforce being right here fairly early.”

The Flyers’ offseason, which was criticized for lacking out on top-end expertise, featured the additions of Tony DeAngelo, Nicolas Deslauriers and Justin Braun.

“Generally having quite a lot of superstars, it is good and unhealthy,” Atkinson mentioned. “On the finish of the day, you need to construct a workforce. I believe we’ve got the workforce to do it.

“Tony, you may see what he is able to doing on the facility play, making performs out of the zone and slowing the sport down.

“Deslauriers, you realize when he is on the ice, similar to the Islanders’ fourth line. You already know when these guys are on the ice. I am fairly certain our fourth line goes to be simply pretty much as good as that.

“You higher imagine we’ll be a complete totally different workforce this yr, for the higher. It may not be fairly, however we’ll work our tails off. Generally these [qualities] win quite a lot of hockey video games.”

Couturier agreed.

“I like the way in which our workforce’s constructed,” he mentioned. “When you take a look at our division, it is a fairly powerful division. We introduced in some toughness. I do not assume there’s going to be any extra groups bullying us round like we have been previously couple of years at instances.

“We do not appear to have, on paper, possibly that huge celebrity or big-name guys, however I believe as a workforce, we will come collectively, do some harm and show everybody unsuitable.”

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