TAMPA – While many of the Flyers veterans paid for their airfare and flew to Tampa on Wednesday, about half of the team had a much tougher time Thursday.
The latter group flew from Philadelphia to Tampa and got off their plane late Thursday morning and headed directly to Amalie Arena for their morning skate. The Flyers faced the best-in-the-NHL Lightning on Thursday night, losing, 6-5, in overtime.
How difficult will it be on the players who traveled to Tampa on Thursday and also went through a practice and game on the same day?
“Can I let you know after [the game]?” interim coach Scott Gordon cracked after the morning skate.
Winger Travis Konecny, one of the players who traveled Thursday, downplayed the busy day.
“I did it plenty of times in junior on a bus, so it’s no big deal,” he said before the game.
League rules mandated the players couldn’t practice or travel with the team on Wednesday, the last day of the NHL’s holiday break. So many of the veterans bought their own plane tickets and traveled to Tampa on Wednesday so they would be fresh for the game.
Captain Claude Giroux, who turns 31 next month, said that he was old and that flying and playing the same day wasn’t for him.
“I like to get a good night’s sleep” before a game, he said.
Thursday was the 4,000th game in Flyers history. Their 1,991 wins are the most of any of the 1967-68 expansion teams, and their 1,387 losses are the fewest of those teams. They entered Thursday with 162 more wins and 207 fewer losses than the No. 2 team, St. Louis.