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Pyorala's Progress

Also, Gagne targets Tuesday return

Friday, 09.18.2009 / 4:22 PM / News
By Kevin Kurz  - philadelphiaflyers.com
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Pyorala\'s Progress
(London, Ontario) – Mika Pyorala admitted after Friday’s practice at the John Labatt Centre that the transition has been a bit complicated.

After spending seven years playing in his homeland of Finland, and the previous two seasons in the Swedish Elite League, the 28-year-old forward is still adjusting to the North American game. He has played in both Flyers preseason games so far, but has not yet registered a point (the Flyers as a team have only an unassisted goal by James van Riemsdyk).

“The game is a lot more intense here,” he said. “It takes a couple games to get used to the system; it’s so much new information in the last three or four days. I’m getting used to it and hope I can get better in the next [few] games.”
Mika Pyorala skates against the Detroit Red Wings during a game at Joe Louis Arena on September 16, 2009. (Getty Images)

The Flyers coaching staff has been impressed enough with Pyorala in practice that he has already spent time in games playing the wing with Jeff Carter one night and Mike Richards the next. His versatility is beneficial, said coach John Stevens.

“It seems like he’s well rounded at both ends of the rink, he’s got a skill level where he can make plays,” he said. “We’ve used him killing penalties and he’s done a good job there, and we’ve used him a little bit on the power play.

“He seems like a lot of the Finnish guys where they can play in a lot of different situations. This is my first time seeing him and we’re pleasantly surprised.”

While he’s looked good in practice, Stevens thinks Pyorala has to be a little bit more intuitive during game action.

“I think the game gets revved up a little bit and you have to do things a little bit quicker, but for any hockey player when you have hesitation it’s not good. You want to react and push the pace all the time and do things instinctively, and if you have to think or hesitate than it’s probably already too late.”

Pyorala agrees with that assessment, and echoed the thoughts of his coach.

“I feel like I’m thinking a little bit too much on the ice instead of just going to play. [There are] a lot of guys who are competing for the same spot I am on the roster. I try not to think about that, but just go out and do my stuff and see how far I can get.”

Gagne targets Tuesday

Simon Gagne continued to skate on Friday, and looks like he’s ready to go while recovering from a groin injury he sustained last month at Team Canada’s Olympic camp in Calgary. He wants to play in Tuesday’s first home preseason game against the Red Wings.

He updated his condition after practice.

“It might be a little bit tight, but I think it’s normal. As training camp has gone, [the pain] I felt at that Olympic camp is not even close. It’s a lot better. I don’t feel the pain that I had at that camp. I’m pretty much full speed right now and that’s a good sign. I’m feeling very good on the ice, skating hard, and sure it’s a little bit stiff but that’s to be expected. It’s more from the surgery than the injury.”

Stevens is looking forward to getting the two-time 40-goal scorer back on the ice while he continues his evaluation of the team before the first game on October 2 in Carolina.

“We’re trying to get a look at some line combinations and when he can’t play it’s hard to do that, so it’s encouraging that he’s feeling better. If it’s Tuesday it’s Tuesday, and we’ll still have four games left,” said Stevens.

“We just want to make sure in the final week leading up to the regular season that he’s a healthy player and we get him acclimated with more of the regular team.”

FLYERS NOTES
The Flyers took a bus to Toronto immediately following the skate in London. They play the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night (7:00 p.m.). ... Matt Clackson is the only player on the trip who has not played in one of the first two preseason games, other than Gagne.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 49 14 32 3 92 174 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 50 17 41 11 58
C. Giroux 49 16 36 7 52
M. Streit 50 7 28 0 35
W. Simmonds 50 18 13 -4 31
B. Schenn 50 11 20 -2 31
S. Couturier 50 11 12 0 23
M. Read 50 3 15 -8 18
M. Del Zotto 38 4 12 -6 16
M. Raffl 40 12 3 6 15
V. Lecavalier 36 7 7 -9 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 10 12 6 .922 2.40
R. Emery 8 9 1 .887 3.38
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