Not mess­ing around

Giroux, Vo­racek feel Vigneault’s pres­ence al­ready felt in camp

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Wayne Fish www.fly­ing­fish­hockey.com

VORHEES, N.J. — It’s not easy to get a read on a new coach af­ter just one day, but vet­er­ans like Claude Giroux and Jake Vo­racek saw and heard enough from Alain Vigneault to re­al­ize he’s pretty much all busi­ness.

The Fly­ers’ bench boss made his pres­ence felt on the first day of train­ing camp at the Skate Zone on Fri­day, and more than one ob­server noted this proac­tive ap­proach might be just what the Fly­ers need.

Giroux, play­ing his first sea­son as a new dad, is now work­ing for his sixth head coach; he came away from the open­ing ses­sion fairly im­pressed.

Hav­ing seen Vigneault coach Van­cou­ver and the New York Rangers to the Stan­ley Cup Fi­nal (2011, 2014 re­spec­tively), Giroux knew that Vigneault is a coach who pays at­ten­tion to prepa­ra­tion and de­tail.

“What jumps off at you is they play a team game,” Giroux said. “They’re very con­sis­tent at what they do. They [the Canucks, Rangers] were suc­cess­ful, so we have a lot of trust in him.

“Every­body’s mind­set is pretty good of buy­ing in, and we have to make sure every­body buys in.”

Af­ter three-plus years of for­mer col­lege coach Dave Hak­stol and a par­tial sea­son un­der Scott Gor­don, the Fly­ers fig­ured it was time to bring in some­one with a proven track record.

“Def­i­nitely a new voice,” Giroux said. “It’s hard to say, it’s early on, but just in the meet­ings we’ve been hav­ing, it’s been black and white. You un­der­stand what he’s say­ing. There’s no mess­ing around.”

Vo­racek and his team­mates watched video be­fore the work­out and so they knew it ex­actly what they were do­ing when they hit the ice.

“It’s new,” Vo­racek said. “We’re get­ting used to it. It was a tough day of work. It was an hour-and-a-half of hard-work­ing prac­tice.

“Which is good. We have a cou­ple more be­fore the first game [Mon­day vs. the New York Is­landers at the Wells Fargo Cen­ter]. We’re go­ing to fo­cus on that.”

Gen­eral man­ager Chuck Fletcher was im­pressed with the pre­ci­sion of the first prac­tice.

“I’ve been do­ing this a long time,” Fletcher said. “This is the best first day of camp I’ve ever seen. The coaches are in­cred­i­bly pre­pared. There’s lit­er­ally 10 sec­onds be­tween drills.

“Pucks are mov­ing around. There’s com­pe­ti­tion. I think it bodes well for us to hope­fully play with tempo and for our con­di­tion­ing. Guys are ex­cited, there’s work to do, but I think we’ll be pre­pared when the sea­son starts.”

Vigneault sounded pleased with the first-day ef­fort.

“I re­ally en­joyed it,” he said. “I thought the at­ten­tion to de­tail was there, the work ef­fort that we had talked about yes­ter­day was there. Over­all, we got what we want ac­com­plished to­day. I was very pleased with how ev­ery­thing worked out.”

Pa­trick side­lined: Nolan Pa­trick did not par­tic­i­pate in the first day of camp. He’s side­lined by an up­per-body in­jury. Also, cen­ter Tyler Pitlick (ac­quired from Dal­las in an off­sea­son deal) is still out of ac­tion as he re­cov­ers from wrist surgery,

Fletcher said Pa­trick skated on his own Fri­day but that he’s listed as “week to week,” which sounds a bit omi­nous.

“We’ll see how it goes,” Fletcher said. “We’ve known about it for a while.”

Asked if he thinks Pa­trick will be ready for the start of the reg­u­lar sea­son (Oct. 4), Fletcher said: “That’s tough to say.”

Konecny con­tract sta­tus still up in the air: Re­stricted free agent Travis Konecny is not in camp be­cause he hasn’t reached agree­ment on a new con­tract.

“We still have a ways to go,” Fletcher said. “So I re­ally don’t know how to char­ac­ter­ize it. It’s been a lit­tle quiet lately. We hope to find a so­lu­tion to break the im­passe.”

The Fly­ers ap­pear to be push­ing for a two- or three-year term, while the Konecny peo­ple want some­thing longer. There’s a dif­fer­ence on money, too.

“It doesn’t help,” Fletcher said of the ab­sence. “It cer­tainly doesn’t help him.”

Vigneault said: “I’m very dis­ap­pointed that TK is not here. It’s the start of a new era. I felt it was very im­por­tant for every­body to be here. My ex­pe­ri­ence in the NHL is any­body who falls be­hind … not com­ing to camp, it usu­ally takes a lit­tle time to get back at it, es­pe­cially with a new coach­ing staff.”

MATT SLOCUM/AP

Fly­ers coach Alain Vigneault, left, has guided two teams to the Stan­ley Cup Fi­nal.

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