Lt. Laviolette holds Turkey Day practice to stay focused

Flyers center Mike Richards and Claude Giroux, right, have both been productive for the Flyers. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

    The Flyers, 12-2-1 in their last 15 games, got home early Thursday morning after a long flight that followed their 6-1 win in Minnesota.

    No matter. They still practiced on Thanksgiving afternoon, preparing for Friday's 1 p.m. contest against visiting Calgary.

   "If you stay away, you stiffen up and lose your focus," coach Peter Laviolette explained. "To their credit, the players wanted to come in as well. It's about winning a hockey game (Friday). Holidays are great and all, but we have a big game we want to win."

    Many of the Flyers, of course, are Canadians, and they celebrated their Thanksgiving in October.

    The Flyers will be aiming for their fourth straight win Friday (1 p.m.) against the slumping Flames.

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    After Thursday's practice, many of the Flyers talked about what Thanksgiving means to them:

  JVR: "Thanksgiving is obviously a day to give thanks for all the fortunate things in life. I plan on having my family and friends come over and cram themselves into my small apartment, have a good meal and watch some football."

  Matt Carle: "Thanksgiving is a special holiday. It is a time that you can reflect on your life and what you are thankful for. It is a nice day to relax with family and friends. I have some froends who are here. As a hockey player you get kind of used to spending Thanksgiving away from your family. I usually call home and talk to my parents and brothers and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. I'm going to have a heft meal with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatos, gravy and the works. Brian Boucher was kind enough to invite us over to his house where I will pak myself onhis couch and watch some football. It will be a pretty relaxing day."

   Assistant coach Joe Mullen: "Thanksgiving is just that, to give thanks. I'm thankful for what I was fortunate enought to have thru hockey and life. I look forward to seeing my family and friends today and have a good time. I am driving up to my mom's house in Wayne (NJ) and celebrate with my wife and daughter, my mother and brothers and sister and their familes.".

    Boucher: "Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and be thankful for what you have. I plan on spending Thanksgiving with family. My wife's family is all coming down and I think Matt Carle and Jody Shelley are going to come over. We're going to have some turkey and watch some football and have a good time."

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   Happy Thanksgiving!