VOORHEES, N.J. – Having just welcomed new son Leo into the world early Saturday morning, Tanner Laczynski could be excused for yawning a bit in Monday’s practice at the Flyers Training Center.
That’s understandable. And the players appreciate his dedication and preparation for Tuesday night’s big game against the Rangers at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
In fact, they made him the designated player in the “ring of honor’’ for the final stretching session of the practice.
Laczynski actually wanted to come back sooner and possibly play in the game against Carolina on Saturday night but coach John Tortorella would hear nothing of it.
“Let’s remember what we’re doin’,’’ Tortorella said after the workout. “We’re entertainers. It’s a sport. There’s no way he was coming back here. Everybody’s thrilled for him. That stuff’s more important than anything, your family.’’
It was day of celebration all around. Defenseman Travis Sanheim announced he was getting engaged.
“Did he ask her or did she ask him?’’ Tortorella deadpanned. “Nowadays you never know. Glad the guys had a chance to recognize them.’’
Laczynski has been in competition for playing time and it looks like that will be the case for most of the season.
“I kind of had a discussion with him (Tortorella),’’ Laczynski said. “He was great about it. He said you know be with your family. That’s the most important. I was thankful. It’s so busy, you usually don’t get that time.’’
As for the fatigue factor, that should be rectified when the team bunks in for the night in New York.
“I was running on a little bit of a adrenaline for three days,’’ he said. “I’m pretty tired right now but I’ll get some sleep tonight. But it’s been good. I wanted to spend as much time with him as I could.’’
>Another tough road trip
The Flyers went 2-1 on their first road trip through Tampa Bay, Florida and Nashville. Now comes another challenge trek through New York, Toronto and Ottawa.
Philadelphia will have to be at its best to duplicate that last sojourn.
“These are huge, two top-end opponents,’’ Laczynski said of the Rangers and Maple Leafs. “Especially on the road. You need to get off to a hot start.’’
Indeed. The Flyers have been behind early in seven of eight games, including two-goal deficits in several of those matches.
A three-goal rally on Saturday night wiped out a 2-0 lead by the Hurricanes but the Flyers crumbled late and ended up losing 4-3 in overtime.
Added Justin Braun: “It seems like every team we’ve played has been a Cup contender. Going to MSG is a tough place to play. They have a good power play, we have to be sharp on that.’’
Braun played for the Rangers in the playoffs last spring and knows the Blueshirts are dangerous. Then it’s off to Canada for the second half of a back-to-back.
“It (his tenure in New York) was fun,’’ Braun added. “It was an awesome experience. I wasn’t there long but I had a good time. Looking forward to going back to the city.’’
>Sedlak clicks with Tortorella
Lukas Sedlak, recently picked up off waivers from Colorado, has been making some timely plays since joining the Flyers.
Some of that might have something to do with his prior experience playing for Tortorella back in their Columbus Blue Jacket days.
“I think it helps every player if he knows the coach,’’ Sedlak said. “You know what to expect. You know the systems, too. It doesn’t take too much time to get used to it. Obviously it was a little bit different from Colorado but I feel comfortable.’’
Tortorella goes along with that assessment.
“I think it helps him, he knows me,’’ the coach said. “I think he knows how I go about the business. He knew how we played. It was just a renewal for him because he had done it for me for a number of years. When new players and new coaches get together, there’s always a feeling-out period. But (here) we can just go play. I like the way he’s skating. That’s what I was worried about but I like the way he’s skating.’’
>Thoughts on Zamula
With Rasmus Ristolainen back from injury, rookie Egor Zamula is odd man out on defense. Still, Tortorella believes in the young Russian’s potential. “I think he’s a guy who’s been in the toughest position to play. He’s going to have his ups and downs. I consider him a very big piece that we need to develop as for the future of this team. It doesn’t hurt for him to sit out some games and watch.’’