Life has been a bit rough on the Philadelphia Flyers of late. After quarantining for an entire week due to a COVID-19 exposure on the roster, a handful of the players were back on the ice Tuesday, while many were still missing. In total, 14 skaters returned with two goaltenders and more are expected to join the team tomorrow.
Head coach Alain Vigneault said the Flyers do not expect any of the players on the current COVID list to be available for Thursday night but GM Chuck Fletcher noted the NHL has not advised the team there will be any changes to the scheduled game against the Boston Bruins at Lake Tahoe this upcoming weekend.
Fletcher noted the team was limited to just 14 players on the ice Tuesday because not every player has the same quarantine timetable based upon their points of contact through tracing. He noted, “I believe another eight players will be allowed to practice tomorrow.” He confirmed some players contracted the virus while others were simply exposed to it.
Flyers’ forward Kevin Hayes commented on the total team pause last week and noted: “It’s been tough for everyone. Everyone in this organization wants to play hockey.” He acknowledged, “Safety comes first. We have to follow the rules and make sure everyone is safe.”
Despite time away and noting that not everyone will be ready to roll on Thursday night, Hayes didn’t think the Flyers would have trouble getting motivated for the game and being competitive. He said, “It’s ‘next man-up’ mentality. We’re going to be without some good players but everyone will be ready to compete and ready to go.”
A Scary Time But Team Will Eventually Refocus
Vigneault noted that it was a concerning bit of time for the organization and its players. He said his guys have wives, girlfriends, kids, and parents. “Everyone is concerned.”
Noting that he doesn’t have a clue how it all came about and hit the team so hard, “We’re following the rules. It came in and now we have to deal with it and hopefully stay safe.”
At the end of the day, they’ll get through it and “we can get back to playing hockey and playing winning hockey,” the coach noted.
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