Flyers cancel practice as Winter Storm Cleon cripples Dallas
DALLAS – When did they start naming Winter Storms?
Cleon, the latest named blast of Arctic weather to wreak havoc on Middle America, left three-quarters of an inch of snow and ice on the streets of Dallas Friday morning, practically shutting down the city.
And while folks back in Philly may titter at such a notion for so little accumulation, it was enough to put a damper on the Flyers plans.
Already having had a day off the ice Thursday as they traveled south to Texas, the Flyers missed a second straight day of on-ice time thanks to the weather shutting down the Dr. Pepper Arena, the Dallas Stars practice facility where the Flyers were supposed to get in an on-ice workout.
A power outage as a result of the storm knocked the arena out of commission, leaving the Flyers stranded at their hotel.
Making matters worse, the Flyers won’t have a morning skate tomorrow either as the game against the Stars is an afternoon tilt, meaning the team will gone close to 64 hours without being on the ice – and have to play a game against a fast Dallas team.
“We didn’t practice yesterday, and you’d like to get on the ice and get some work in, get some skating going, get the goalies some shots,” coach Craig Berube said. “It is what it is, so we’ve got to deal with it.”
The other thing the Flyers have to deal with thanks to the weather, is a third straight game without Vinny Lecavalier in the lineup.
Lecavalier won’t play tomorrow because he wasn’t able to get on the ice and test his back prior to the game.
Lecavailer suffered back spasms at the end of the game last week in Nashville and hasn’t played since.
|Vinny Lecavalier scored the game-winning goal in the shootout in Nashville last Friday for the Flyers and hasn't been on the ice since.|
When he’s been in the lineup, Lecavalier has been one of the Flyers best scorers, tied with Matt Read for the team-lead in goals with nine.
But tomorrow will be the seventh game he’ll have missed this season out of 29, and this is the third different injury that has plagued the 33-year-old veteran, which has to be a bit disconcerting for him.
The plan for Lecavalier was to skate Friday to see how he felt, and if he was better, to get him back in the lineup for tomorrow afternoon.
However, thanks to Cleon, there was no testing his back. There was no skating. And in turn, there will be no Vinny in Dallas.
With no ice available, Berube was forced to resort to having the team have a group workout in the hotel gym and hold video meetings to address a few trouble spots.
Despite the gutsy comeback victory in Detroit and having won three-of-four, Berube still identified a couple of areas of concern and wanted to talk about them with the team.
One area he’d like to see improvement immediately is with his forwards backchecking.
“Not so much our high forward but the other two guys, not waiting behind the play for somebody to keep a puck alive … or something,” he said. “I want to get back quicker. I want our guys to understand that waiting one second is one second too long. What that’s going to do is just make us a faster team all around. I think it’s getting better, but it’s still not where we need it to be.”
Berube also cautioned that the Flyers need to find their legs quickly against the Stars, who tend to play a very fast game.
“They’re a very fast team, a young team,” Berube said. “They have a lot of skill and play a very fast game. They’re a lot like Detroit in that they’re a puck possession team that plays fast. We’re going to have to be really good checking them without the puck and making sure that we’re skating [with them].”
NOTE: Saturday's game will go on as planned as NHL rules state that if both teams are in town, the game must be played barring extenuating circumstances involving the venue.
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