Sunday, February 7, 2016

Raffl a first line option

This is a week of experimentation with the Flyers since they have six days off until resuming action on Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center against the New York Rangers.

Raffl a first line option


This is a week of experimentation with the Flyers since they have six days off until resuming action on Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center against the New York Rangers.

So things that were seen during Tuesday’s practice at the Skate Zone in Voorhees may not necessarily happen in the games, but an interesting development was the look of the Flyers first line.

Claude Giroux centered Vincent Lecavalier on the right wing and Michael Raffl on the left.

First of all, seeng Lecavalier out there and pushing so hard would seem like a positive sign. He has missed the last three games due to a lower body injury and neither Lecavalier or coach Craig Berube would say whether he would play on Thursday.

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A career-long  center, Lecavalier said is feeling better every day and added that he enjoyed his time Tuesday on the wing.

“I feel really comfortable on the right side,” Lecavalier said.

Imagine how Raffl felt?

“It was fun in practice, playing with those guys and that is what you want to do,” Raffl said.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Raffl was sent down to the Adirondack Phantoms when the season began. He was recalled along with Tye McGinn after Lecavalier and Scott Hartnell (upper body injury) were injured in the Flyers 2-1 loss to visiting Phoenix on Oct. 11.

Raffl, 24, played in lower-level Sweden league last year.

He said the key to being paired with such accomplished players as Lecavalier and Giroux is to just continue to play his normal game.

“I think if you try too hard to do something else than you usually do, then it gets worse,” Raffl said. “I try to stick to my game, get open, shoot the puck play physical and do what I do best.”

It has caught the eye of Berube.

“The size and the skill is what intrigues you and he seems like a confident kid to me which I like,” Berube said.

Raffl said the key was not to get too down when he was initially sent to the Phantoms.

“I came (to training camp) with the mindset that you could get sent down and it happened I just worked my way back,” he said.

And Raffl obviously hopes to stay, regardless of what line he is on. Berube wouldn’t say whether Raffl would stick with the team when the injured players return, but hinted that it may be difficult to send him back down.

“He has been pretty good and when everybody gets back we will make the decision but I have liked his game so far,” Berube said.

Like so many of his teammates, Raffl hasn’t scored in three games for the Flyers and that has kept him grounded.

“I haven t scored or put up any points,” he said. “I am playing alright but feel I can do better.”

And he may get a chance while playing with the first line.

Inquirer Staff Writer
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