VOORHEES, N.J. - Alain Vigneault called it a "new era."
It all began Friday as 2019 Flyers training camp kicked off under the direction of the new head coach.
Vigneault's practice sessions were fast, physical and demanding.
We'll touch on that and more in five observations:
1. Focused on this Ghost
Much has been made about Shayne Gostisbehere's 2018-19 season. The production fell well short of expectations after the playmaking defenseman put up career numbers the season prior.
So what went wrong and which Gostisbehere will the Flyers get in 2019-20?
Vigneault had an excellent answer:
The beauty about being me right now is I wasn't here last year. I remember Shayne from my time in New York, him being a real tough defenseman to play against - good on the breakouts, jumping up on the play at the right time, being real effective on the play. That's my recollection. I don't know what happened last year, don't care. I thought today, he was intense, he had a real good pace to his practice. I am confident he's going to follow it up [Saturday].
Gostisbehere really got after it in practice. He was active and physical along the boards in defensive drills. Vigneault is a coach that wants to push and dictate tempo.
His defensemen, like Gostisbehere, can play a large role in that.
2. Now that's a first day
Chuck Fletcher was thrilled with Day 1 of camp.
The Flyers' general manager has worked in the game since 1993 and came away incredibly impressed with the meticulousness of Vigneault's staff and the pace of practice.
"This is the best first day of camp I have ever seen," Fletcher said. "The players are executing great, but the coaches are incredibly prepared. That was a great practice. There is literally 10 seconds in between drills. The players are moving, there's competition, they're moving the pucks around.
"You have three weeks of this going into the season, I think it will bode well for our ability to play at tempo and for our conditioning. Everything has a purpose."
3. New deal, same Provorov
Ivan Provorov took the ice with a new six-year, $40.5 million contract. He moved swiftly up and down the ice, while having no problem mixing it up.
Don't expect a new contract to change him.
The 22-year-old defenseman said he wasn't involved much in the contract negotiations. He trains hard in the offseason and let his agent Mark Gandler handle the business side with the Flyers, which resulted in Friday's deal.
"My job is to play hockey and be the best that I can," Provorov said.
Ultimately, he knew both sides would agree to terms before camp.
"I'm just really excited to get going," Provorov said. "Be here for six more years, try to win, get to the playoffs, go as far as possible and hopefully win the Cup."
4. 'Show what they can do'
Not bad for the first day, right?
Farabee just told me he "thought it was a typo" when he saw what line he was on today #flyers
— Taryn Hatcher (@TarynNBCS) September 13, 2019
Interestingly, Friday's combinations were not constructed by Vigneault. The head coach asked Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr to put them together because Vigneault wants to first gain a better grasp of the youth.
Fletcher and Flahr believed talent with talent worked best early on - and who would say no to that? Not only did Farabee complement the team's two-best players, but other top prospects Morgan Frost and Isaac Ratcliffe lined up with Jakub Voracek.
"These are good young players, we may as well play them with good players and give them a chance to show what they can do," Fletcher said. "I don't know what it means for the season or the short term, but these guys are very important parts of our future and we want to give them a chance to show what they can do, gain some confidence, get that experience.
"Any chance you get to practice with Giroux or Couturier or Voracek when you're a young, skilled player, that's a great opportunity to watch and learn, be a part of it and hopefully feel good about yourself. There is no sense putting them with checkers, let's be honest - let's give them a chance to show what they can do."
5. No longer in rookie camp
This was just one play in one drill but it caught my eye.
Kurtis Gabriel is a 6-foot-4, 200-pound winger. He's a role forward not known for his offense, but here he simply outmuscles the 6-foot, 180-pound Frost en route to the net for a goal.
Kurtis Gabriel, big body, against Morgan Frost. pic.twitter.com/O9FFN9KLMM
— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) September 13, 2019
You can see how much of a different level the NHL is when it comes to size and speed.
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