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Pyorala's Progress

Also, Gagne targets Tuesday return

Friday, 09.18.2009 / 4:22 PM ET / 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.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 76 21 55 7 76
C. Giroux 75 23 46 2 69
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
M. Streit 75 9 36 -10 45
B. Schenn 76 14 25 -7 39
S. Couturier 76 13 17 1 30
M. Del Zotto 58 9 20 -5 29
M. Read 74 7 22 -7 29
M. Raffl 61 20 6 7 26
V. Lecavalier 52 7 11 -10 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 15 17 11 .927 2.24
R. Emery 10 10 6 .892 3.15
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