Philly skaters opt for pool time

AL STRACHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:55 AM ET


 The Philadelphia Flyers know that if they are to bounce back against the Tampa Bay Lightning, they have to be able to adapt to the situation.

 The first example came yesterday when they trooped off the bus at a suburban rink for their morning practice.

 To coach Ken Hitchcock, something was wrong. The players didn't have any enthusiasm. So, he consulted a couple of the team's leaders who took a straw poll and before practice started, it was cancelled. Those who wanted to skate -- a half dozen or so -- did so. The others got right back on the bus and returned to the hotel to relax by the pool.

 The players felt, Hitchcock said, that at this stage of the season, a rest would be more advantageous than a practice.

 "If you need to practise at this stage of the season, you're in trouble," he said. "At this point, there is nothing to be learned."

 Still, the Flyers power play could use some improvement.

 Hitchcock agreed, but said that the answer is to be found in videotape, not on-ice practice.

 During the day, Hitchcock said, the assistant coaches put together examples, showing the players what to expect from the Lightning and how to react to it. Then, in the evening session, the players would get their instruction.

 As for the tactics themselves, don't expect the Flyers to stop crashing the net, even though they had a goal disallowed on Saturday when Keith Primeau was ruled to be in the crease.

 It was suggested to him that if plays of that nature were always ruled illegal, Gary Roberts would have scored four goals in his career.

 "Three," Hitchcock said.


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