Oct 062010
 
Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette

Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette

October 6 Camden Courier-Post:

“Time after time, they sprinted the length of the rink, stopped with a spray of the ice, and gasped to replenish their burning lungs.

Only to hear Peter Laviolette blow his whistle. Again . . . and again . . . and again.

Welcome to Camp Lavvy, the Flyers’ first under the coach determined to take them two wins farther than they went last season, when they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals.

“Peter proved last year that he’s going to hold everybody accountable,” said Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger, who sat out the entire preseason following offseason knee surgery. He is questionable for the Flyers‘ season opener Thursday night in Pittsburgh’s new Consol Energy Center.

“It took us awhile to figure out what roles guys were going to play on our team, and once we figured it out, you saw what we could do. We’re not a team that can float through a game and win, which we proved time and time again last year.”

Last season, the Flyers stumbled to a seventh-place finish in the Eastern Conference standings with 88 points, one more than the ninth-place New York Rangers. They upended the second-seeded Devils, sixth-seeded Bruins and eighth-seeded Canadiens to reach the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1997 but were eliminated by the Blackhawks when Patrick Kane squirted a bad-angle shot past goaltender Michael Leighton in overtime.

Since then, the Flyers replaced forwards Simon Gagne and Arron Asham and defensemen Lukas Krajicek and Ryan Parent with forwards Nikolay Zherdev and Jody Shelley and defensemen Andrej Meszaros, Sean O’Donnell and Matt Walker. And with Leighton nursing a bulging disk, Russian rookie Sergei Bobrovsky is threatening to steal the starting job away from Leighton and backup Brian Boucher.

Will the Flyers’ offseason additions be enough for them to return to the Stanley Cup finals the way the Red Wings and Penguins did in 2008 and 2009?

“We’re deeper on defense, and I think the experience we went through last year can be used to our advantage,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. “Washington (121 points) had a runaway season last year, and I don’t see that happening again. The bottom teams will catch up to the top teams, and I think we’ll be in a dogfight again.””

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