Flyers officially rule all injured players — with Nick Seeler as the only exception — out for season
But interim coach Mike Yeo said even Seeler is a “long shot” to return before the season ends.
Out of the long list of injured Flyers players, Nick Seeler may be the only member of the roster to return this season, and even he’s a “long shot,” interim head coach Mike Yeo said Saturday.
Seeler (lower body), Yeo’s first choice as a pairing for defenseman Ronnie Attard, participated in his first practice since he was injured on April 2. He skated with skills coach Angelo Ricci and then stayed for the team’s practice, sitting out the contact drills and then leaving early.
Cam Atkinson also made an appearance, watching by the glass in a hoodie. Every other injured player was absent, including Carter Hart, Rasmus Ristolainen, Cam York, Patrick Brown and Kevin Connauton. The lines and pairings at practice remained the same as Thursday’s game.
Sean Couturier, who was ruled out for the season after undergoing back surgery, participated in the Flyers’ morning skate in Montreal and then got a little more involved at practice Saturday. While he didn’t run lines, he stepped in as a defenseman on some drills.
“You know Coots,” Yeo said. “He’s supposed to be out there and maybe just doing a few flow drills. And then next thing you know, he bites off a little bit more, and he wants to kill penalties and play as a defenseman.”
Couturier looked so good, Yeo jokingly asked him why he’s not out there right now. If they were to put him in, Yeo knows he’d be able to step in without a hitch because he’s such a smart player.
While he won’t be able to return, his presence alone has helped the team. Yeo said when Couturier is on the ice, the competition levels rise. Players pass better and skate faster. They also turn to him for advice and ask him what he’s seeing in their games from his vantage point up top in the press box.
The rest of the season is shot for some of the Flyers’ best players, but Couturier, at least, is on the right path for next season.
One week left
With four games left, there’s not much time to try to end on a good note, to break bad habits and to get everyone to click.
But Yeo, who said he’s focused on the game ahead of him, is going to keep chipping away at the bad habits and preaching the importance of the details. While it may not help this season, it will help both the team and the individuals moving forward.
He’s not struggling to find motivation to go out there each game, despite the onslaught of losses. But others may be having more difficulty.
“Everybody has to sort of find their own motivation,” Yeo said. “Because we do all have a reason to play. But you just have to remind yourself of those things. Is it more challenging? Probably, yeah. But there’s plenty of reasons there if you look hard enough.”
Whether it’s playing for the next contract, playing for pride or playing for the future, there’s something to be made of the next four games, and that starts with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Flyers host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday at 4 p.m. ... Yeo said he’s not sure about whether management plans to use its final post-trade deadline recall, but it wouldn’t surprise him since four games in six days is a demanding schedule.