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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."

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
3 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
11 OTT 61 27 23 11 173 166 65
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 64 19 46 6 65
C. Giroux 63 18 42 2 60
W. Simmonds 64 25 18 -2 43
M. Streit 64 9 32 -5 41
B. Schenn 64 12 23 -6 35
S. Couturier 64 13 16 2 29
M. Del Zotto 52 8 17 -6 25
M. Read 64 6 18 -9 24
M. Raffl 49 14 5 6 19
V. Lecavalier 46 7 10 -9 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 12 13 8 .924 2.27
R. Emery 10 10 4 .893 3.15
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