Game-like practice gets Hart in a better place

Carter Hart

VOORHEES, N.J. – Carter Hart didn’t see any game action in the preseason matches but he got about as close as one can get to the real thing in Thursday’s practice at the Flyers Training Center.

Hart was under fire almost from the opening whistle, facing shot after shot, plus a condensed “neutral zone’’ drill where the two nets are lined up on the blue lines and the action is fast and furious.

More than an hour later, Hart (sidelined from game action so far due to a lower-body injury) knew he had been tested almost to the max.

All of which should serve him well if he indeed makes his first appearance in next Thursday night’s opener against New Jersey.

“It was good, we did a little D-zone coverage, five-on-five working the zone,’’ Hart said. “So I got to kind of mimic a little bit more of a game scenario.’’

With the backup goaltender picture still pretty cloudy (Felix Sandstrom, Samuel Ersson and Troy Grosenick are all in the mix), it’s fairly obvious the Flyers would like to have Hart ready and able when things get real.

“I’m trying to get as many reps as I can that are game-like up until next Thursday,’’ he said.

Hart isn’t ready to say if he will be ready for sure.

“Just taking it day-by-day,’’ he said. “But we’ve got seven days here. So I’m feeling pretty good about next Thursday.’’

Hart laughed when asked if he tipped the scales a little lighter after that practice.

“Definitely a few pounds of water,’’ he said.

The Flyers are trying to replicate game conditions where warranted.

“You have to make it as game-like as possible,’’ Hart said. “Finishing plays, competing for loose pucks.’’

>Sloppy play addressed

Tortorella has been emphasizing small details of the game because he’s seen the videos of last season’s team and it wasn’t pretty. Some of that may have dragged over to the first days of training camp.

“I think where this organization is right now, I think the small things need to be addressed,’’ he said. “The minute things need to be addressed. Because I do think we have to start there to create the proper foundation.

“I think there’s sloppiness here. And when there’s sloppiness, you have to start over. It’s a new staff, we’re starting over. The smallest little thing (mistakes) I’m looking for. . .it’s a disease sometime. That’s kind of how we’re going about it.’’

>Extra time helps

As it is with any new coach, it takes a while for the players to figure out exactly how the systems work.

Scott Laughton said this week of practices should help accelerate and streamline the process.

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About Wayne Fish 2446 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.