For James van Riemsdyk, it's all about consistency.
The Flyers' second-year left winger wants to improve his production, and it's showing in his high-intensity performances during the first two days of training camp at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees.
"I made a really good transition [to the NHL] off the bat," he said. "But I don't know what it was. Maybe it could have been a little bit of mental, a little bit of physical. Towards the second half of the year, I started to struggle a little bit and maybe wasn't as consistent as I was earlier on."
The second overall pick in the 2007 NHL draft finished his up-and-down rookie season with 15 goals and 35 points.
Not satisfied with those numbers, van Riemsdyk spent the summer in Darien, Conn., working on his strength. He added only six pounds to his now 206-pound frame, but he bulked up.
"You could either use that experience you had to be comfortable, or get right back to work," he said of his decision to train over the summer. "And my approach was to get right back to work."
The work appears to be paying off.
Van Riemsdyk was noticeably quicker on the ice during the training camp sessions on Saturday and Sunday.
It's too early to determine with whom he will play this season. On Saturday, he lined up with center Jeff Carter and ring winger Nikolai Zherdev.
On Sunday, he worked on the same line with center Claude Giroux and right winger Bill Guerin. Captain Mike Richards, a natural center, took Van Riemsdyk's place on the line with Carter and Zherdev on Sunday.
Van Riemsdyk is not concerned about which line he ends up on.
"I think I almost played with everyone on the team last year at some point," he said. "So I think that's just part of hockey. Lines are never really going to stay the same."
Line juggling. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said there likely will be several line combinations for Tuesday's preseason opener against the New Jersey Devils at the Wells Fargo Center. Injuries have a lot to do with that. Defenseman Kevin Marshall has a hip injury, and forwards Blair Betts (shoulder) and Ville Leino (hip) are not cleared for contact drills.
"We will try things and we will look at things," Laviolette said. "You'll probably see it just like we do. And then you say that looks pretty good. Let's try it again."
Putting centers Richards and Carter on the same line suggests the coach is open to various combinations.
"The middle of the ice allows a little more freedom with your skating, which Giroux likes, [Danny] Briere likes and Carter and Richards both like," he said. "But they are all capable [of playing other positions]. And I'd rather have four [centers] for three spots rather than two for three."
Injury report. Defenseman Chris Pronger (knee) and goaltender Johan Backlund (hip) didn't practice for the second straight day, but both performed drills with Marshall, Betts and Leino for about 30 minutes before practice.
"Just getting back out there with the guys, I'm sure it will be exciting," said Pronger, who skated for the fifth consecutive day. "While it is sometimes nice to miss parts of camp, I don't think missing all of it is to anyone's best interest."
The 35-year-old said he doesn't have a timetable for his return, and he may miss the Oct. 7 season opener in Pittsburgh.
Fans interest. There was a standing-room only crowd at the Flyers' practice for the second consecutive day.