By Julie Glass

Players were divided into to two groups (A and B) on the ice at the SkateZone in Voorhees..

Yesterday was also the first day that, by league rule during the Covid-19 pandemic, coach Alain Vigneault and his assistants were permitted to be back on the ice with the players during on-ice sessions.

There are just 12 days until the Flyers report to the Secure Zone in Toronto, 17 days until the team opens its round-robin segment with a meeting against the Boston Bruins and 26 days until Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

The second and third days of camp will also be conducted in a two-group format. On Day 1, there was less pre-practice discussion of what drills would take place during practice than there normally is. Correspondingly, there were more pauses for white-board diagramming than Vigneault typically prefers.

Overall, the purpose of the early days is to get a baseline on where each camp participant is in terms of conditioning, timing, etc. Exactly 11 minutes into the Group A and Group B sessions, players took their first water break.

Vigneault said that his main goal is to get ready for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Aug. 11.

“I liked what I saw from our players today, but I did tell them that we were going to go progressively. If you noticed today during practice we went to the board, we didn’t pre-ice practice before today because we wanted to do this progressively. We’re not quite sure what people had the opportunity to do during COVID. Some guys had gyms at home. Some guys were able to find ice time and etcetera. We’re not quite sure where everyone is as far as conditioning-wise and as far as where they are with their timing on the ice and conditioning on the ice. What we want to do is we want to be real smart about this and we want to be scientific about this. I’ve sat down with Ozzy and Dan and Jimmy,” Vigneault said.

“We sort of laid out what the science says and we’re going to progress through different stages of things we need to do of skill and conditioning on the ice, technical and tactical things we need to do on the ice. We’re going to put it all together. We have 30 days to be smart. We need to use the science we have available. That’s what we are going to do. Once we got the dates about Phase 2 and when Phase 3 was going to start and Phase 4. 

“As a staff, we got excited about the opportunity to come back and compete for the Stanley Cup. We’ve been talking almost every day for the last three weeks on a regular basis with the conditioning guys, with Jimmy and Sal, our athletic therapist guys about what we needed to do with our group, not knowing what everyone had available during COVID. We got a plan laid out. It’s precise. I think it’s science-based. I believe it’s going to work.”