VOORHEES, N.J. – Claude Giroux found a way to make it back from Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game in Tampa to take part in practice on Monday afternoon at the Skate Zone, but he had no Flyers goalies at which to shoot.
Both Brian Elliott (lower-body injury) and Michal Neuvirth (stomach virus) were no-shows, leaving an amateur goaltender in one net and a “shooter tutor’’ goalie likeness in the other.
Elliott did skate by himself earlier in the day but was held out of practice for precautionary reasons.
Which raises the question: Will either be ready for Wednesday night’s big game in Washington?
General manager Ron Hextall hopes so.
“Neuvy is sick but I’m assuming he will be OK tomorrow,’’ said Hextall. “We hope Brian can practice tomorrow. I’m hoping both are able to play (at Washington).’’
If one of the goalies isn’t ready, Alex Lyon is the likely call-up from the Phantoms.
It’s admirable that Giroux made it back in time for practice. Usually All-Star players get the day off. This action received good reviews.
“What a knucklehead!’’ Hextall grinned. “On one hand, I wished he had kind of stayed away. On the other, it kind of shows what he’s all about.
“It’s a credit to him. He’s a great professional. Obviously showed a lot of respect for his teammates, which is great.’’
Giroux is not a real fiery guy with the media or in public but Hextall says his captain can light it up behind closed doors with the best of them.
“There’s a difference between being fiery on the ice, fiery with your teammates – there’s a time and place for everything,’’ Hextall said. “And there’s a time and a place to do things behind closed doors.
“Leadership is typically behind closed doors. ‘G’ is a good leader.’’
Hextall said defenseman Sam Morin is recovering from injury but there’s no timeline for a return. “I don’t think it’s long-term or short-term,’’ Hextall said. Goaltender Anthony Stolarz’s return from injury is “still down the road. . .not weeks.’’
The GM was impressed with the play of defenseman Travis Sanheim, who was recently sent back to the Phantoms. “He needed to go play,’’ Hextall said. “That’s day-to-day, we’ll see where it goes.’’
Reaction to Islanders’ plan
The New York Islanders announced on Monday that they will play some of their home games at their old digs (former Nassau Coliseum) and their new home (Barclays Center) while they wait for their next home (at Belmont Park) to be completed in 2021.
Some people are already saying this will create some issues. Like playing in different fan atmospheres: It’s overly quiet in Barclays, overly loud in Nassau.
“If the league is OK with it, you know, if that’s what’s best for the game and the Islanders, I don’t see having a big issue with it,’’ Hextall said. “For me, personally, I think probably the biggest issue would be for them.
“Two buildings. . .I don’t know if that’s been done. Maybe the Flyers (in the ‘60s) when the roof blew off the Spectrum and they had to play some games in Quebec. But to me it’s more an issue for the Islanders.’’