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Jack McCaffery is the lead sports columnist for the Daily Times and He has spent several decades covering everything from the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, to college hoops, to high school sports in Delco.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Peter Laviolette met with hockey writers before the Flyers' game with the Maple Leafs Wednesday.

This is the transcript:

Lecavalier was attracted to your system, has there been a comfort level from him?

"I've seen enough of Vinny, coaching in Carolina, coaching in Philadelphia, coaching in the Eastern Conference, especially coaching in Carolina where we played them so many times, to know what he is capable of. I think when our team can get up and be firing on all cylinders, which I don't think we've had in camp yet, I have seen it in practice but I haven't seen it translate to the game, and you'd like to think that makes its way through as the season opens up here tonight. But I have seen him and what he is capable of doing through practice and exhibition games, and I think the more comfortable he gets here with the system and what it is that we are doing with new linemates, I think he is really going to like it and really adapt to it well."

Is this a year that Simmonds can take it to the next level and be an All-Star level?

"Well, he is already a real good player, I mean he pushed 30 goals and was one of our leading goal-scorers last year. We certainly would like to see him continue to progress. He is young. I think that is what slips by the wayside a little bit last year --- we were so young. Simmonds was young, Voracek was young, Claude was a young captain, Schenn, Couturier, so there was a lot of young players on our team, and now you develop more and you start to get into that fourth and fifth and sixth-year pro, you can really start to spread your wings. So we are hoping that we get advancement from a lot of young players, but certainly Wayne, to see him continue to build on what he has in the past two years here."

Is it important to get a young guy like Scott Laughton in the game early to see how he handles the speed of the NHL?

"I mean, he already played real well for us last year in camp. He seems to weather full lineups that he played against and we played against, so I don't see that being an issue. I think the most important thing that we focus on is getting a win, and less getting somebody in for comfort level. But he is going to be fine. When we do use him in the lineup, I am not concerned that he won't be able to keep up with the speed or that he doesn't know the system or how we are going to play the game. I think he has had enough experience here over the course of the two years that he's been here and got to know the locker room and myself and the system and the environment. I don't see it being a problem."

Do you prefer a more physical player in there due to Toronto's style?

"I think we've got enough physical players in the lineup. I am not concerned about that."

Why the Flyers' struggle in the preseason, and your comfort level now?

"I think the guys are ready. Like I said, it was difficult. The lineup was busted up a little bit in training camp but we've got to look at a lot of players and evaluate a lot of different things in the organization. I would have liked better results in a couple of the games where we had close to a full lineup. We didn't get them. There certainly are things that we could have done better in those games. Like I mentioned yesterday, in the New Jersey game, better offensively, and in the Washington game, better defensively. So you go back and you look at those things. And that's what training camp is for. It would have been nice to get wins but we didn't. But that doesn't take away, I think, from the confidence that the guys have going through those games and the process and the three days of practice and working on things that we need to work on."


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