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The Times That Bond

Flyers off for a week of team bonding in Florida

Monday, 10.12.2009 / 9:13 AM / News
By Al Alven  - philadelphiaflyers.com
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The Times That Bond
The early portion of any hockey season can be a hectic time, and not always for the most obvious reasons.

"You've got guys settling into new roles, new faces, players just getting to know their teammates and coaches," explained head coach John Stevens. "But there's also the non-hockey factors, taking care of family life. Some guys are new to the area, moving into new homes, getting the kids settled into new schools.

"Basically, life doesn't stop just because hockey season starts. Part of the challenge is getting everyone on the same page."
Danny Briere hangs on for dear life during a team-bonding exercise in Whistler, British Columbia in 2007. (Flyers Photos)

Which is the main reason Stevens is looking forward to a week of "team bonding" exercises in Florida this week. With a rare five-day break between games, the Flyers will leave for the Sunshine State on Monday, well in advance of Friday's meeting with the Florida Panthers (7:30 p.m., CSN-HD).

The destination is Fort Lauderdale, where the players will participate in a fishing tournament and a regatta-style sailing race in the Atlantic, while also working in a few practices.

"It's a break from the norm," said captain Mike Richards. "It's a great opportunity to get away from daily routines, have a little fun, and hopefully enjoy some bonding time.

"That's important, especially with new guys on the team. You tend to learn a lot about your teammates on trips like this, even the guys you've been around for a few years. It's something positive and a little different."

Due to the locale and choice of activities planned, this trip figures to provide a different experience than previous years' excursions to Whistler, British Columbia in 2007 and West Point Military Academy last year.

While players will not be hiking through forests, rappelling down ziplines, or negotiating their ways through army-regulated obstacle courses, however, the objective remains the same.

"This won't be all about fun in the sun," said Stevens. "We'll have a few surprises planned for the guys as well. The break in the schedule gives us the chance to try something different this year. It works, with the next game being [in Florida] on Friday.

"The goal of these trips - when we say team bonding - really comes down to two things: teamwork and building trust. The better you know your teammates, the more you trust in them, and, in turn, earn their trust. And that's essential for success, in any walk of life."

Forward Scott Hartnell, one of several players who joined the Flyers two seasons ago, recalled the Whistler trip, and the role it played in bringing the team together. At the time, he compared the process of getting to know his new teammates to building a large puzzle, piece by piece.

"It's the same way now, even though the turnover on this year's team isn't as great," he said. "As one of the new guys, the Whistler trip was important in helping us establish a foundation. In a sense, we're all new to the team at the start of another season.

"We learn as we go. The exercises we went through up in Whistler and last year at West Point were constructive and served a purpose. Some were more fun to go through than others, but they allowed us to learn more about each other along the way."

Mike Richards instructs his teammates during a drill in West Point last season. (Flyers Photos)
Defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who was acquired with Hartnell from the Nashville Predators, echoed his longtime teammates' sentiments, and offered additional perspective on being the "new guy."

"One of the interesting things about these team bonding trips is that everyone is on the same level," he noted. "It doesn't matter if you're a veteran or a rookie, because no one really knows what to expect.

"So, in a situation where we are doing a problem solving exercise, a younger player might not feel funny about speaking up and taking a leadership role. We have some young guys on the team who we have high expectations for, and it's good for them to be in that situation."

As the team prepares to head down south, Stevens is looking forward to the change of pace the trip will be sure to provide, while still remaining focused on what the team has to work on, moving forward.

"I'm pleased with the way things have gone over the first five games, for the most part," he said. "Sure, there are things we have to address and work through, as there always are. We won't be ignoring those things, the hockey things, on this trip.

"But, it does offer the chance to expand our horizons a bit. We could spend the week in Philly, but we feel there's an opportunity to bring the team together in a different way, as we have in the past. This is an important trip, and we're all looking forward to it."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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