The Flyers’ Ville Leino said he will be on crutches for 2 more weeks following hip surgery, but expects to be ready for training camp.
“I’m feeling good and getting better every day,” Leino said at the Flyers’ practice facility. “I’m getting stronger and soon I will be walking [without crutches]. I am happy where I am right now ... I was talking to [Flyers trainer Jim McCrossin] and he said I’ll be fine for training camp and that’s what we are shooting for.”
Leino turned out to be a revelation for the Flyers during their run to the Stanley Cup finals. He barely played after he was acquired from Detroit. He was a healthy scratch for the Flyers’ first four playoff games against New Jersey in the first round.
But once he was put on a makeshift line with Scott Hartnell and Danny Briere and finally got some consistent ice time, Leino started to produce. He equaled the NHL rookie record for points with 21.
“I got my self-confidence during the playoffs and now I know what I can do,” he said. “It was kind of a breakthrough for me. So now I just have to carry on with that.”
He said knowing that the Flyers have confidence in him can only help him get off to a good start.
“I think it is going to be easier for me to start this season knowing that the GM, coaches and my teammates know what kind of player I am and what kind of game I play,” he said. “Obviously, you have to work hard to create your own spot and play good to be able to get that role back.”
The Flyers have made a number of personnel changes in the offseason with the addition of several defensemen and the trade of Simon Gagne, but Leino said the biggest difference might be the value of the experience the Flyers gained from the postseason.
“I believe we are going to be as a strong as a team this year as we were last year,” he said. “I’m looking forward to this season.”