After the Turin Olympics in 2006, Peter Laviolette, then Carolina's coach, heard about players returning from the Games and asking for a little break so they could refuel their tanks after the physical and emotional grind of the international tourney.
But if Olympians such as Chris Pronger, Mike Richards, and Kimmo Timonen have thoughts about sitting out tomorrow's game at Tampa Bay, they might want to think again.
"This is our livelihood here," Laviolette said after putting the Flyers through a high-tempo practice yesterday at the Skate Zone in Voorhees. "It's an honor to play for your country, but this is where our bread is buttered. We've got a really big game coming up."
Pronger and Richards played for Canada, which won the gold medal. Timonen played for Finland, which won the bronze. Laviolette said he didn't know if they would return from Vancouver in time for tomorrow morning's skate in Tampa, but if they do, they'll be skating, and they'll be on the ice vs. the Lightning, barring injury.
"They'll play," Laviolette said. "I haven't seen them in 13, 14 days, so I'm assuming they're in good shape and ready to go. We're in a playoff race, so we need all hands on deck."
Laviolette offered an example of one of his former players at Carolina, Erik Cole, returning from the Olympics in '06 and picking right up where he left off.
"Erik Cole came back in '06 and played great, then he got hurt," he said. "I've heard stories of guys coming back and not wanting to play right away, wanting a game off. It all depends on the person."
Yesterday's practice for the Flyers was their fourth since they returned from having little more than a week off. All four were conducted at a sizzling pace.
"I thought we worked our tails off for four days," Laviolette said. ". . . I said to them at the end, if you want to be a skating team, then you've got to skate. The only way to get there is to do it in practice. . . .
"Right now we're coming off a layoff and we have to make sure we're ready to play at that pace. That's the most important thing. I thought the work and the work ethic was really good, high-octane."
Between tomorrow and March 28, the Flyers will play 16 games.
Simon Gagne sat out yesterday's practice. Laviolette said it was a "maintenance" day for the veteran left winger.
Syvret waived. The Flyers put defenseman Danny Syvret on waivers, and, if no team claims him, they figure to send him to the AHL's Adirondack Phantoms.
Syvret, 24, who said he has not recovered fully from a separated left shoulder, has two goals in 21 games.