Key piece out, promising news and more on Flyers' injuries ahead of opener


VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers will be without their second-leading goal scorer from last season to open the 2022-23 campaign Thursday night.

Because of an upper-body injury, Cam Atkinson won't be available when the Flyers host the Devils (7 p.m. ET/ESPN+, Hulu). The 33-year-old winger practiced Wednesday in limited fashion and is being considered day to day.

John Tortorella had expressed optimism about Atkinson's status for the opener in the days leading up to Wednesday.

The head coach said there was no setback.

"He's just not ready," Tortorella said Wednesday. "So we'll go day to day."

Atkinson did not play in any of the Flyers' six preseason games but was able to practice throughout the majority of training camp. Wednesday was his first practice with the club since the end of the preseason Oct. 4.

In 2021-22, his first season with the Flyers, Atkinson put up 23 goals and 50 points. Had he not missed the final nine games of the season because of an injury, he likely would have finished as the Flyers' leading point man and goal scorer.

The Flyers will need all the goal-scoring help they can get this season. Tortorella mentioned how they'll have to score by committee, so no Atkinson for the opener is a considerable loss.

"Hopefully we get him back pretty soon here," Joel Farabee said Wednesday. "Really important player for us, top right winger. Having him in the lineup definitely helps."

In positive news for the Flyers, Farabee has been practicing in full and his status for Thursday was looking pretty promising after practice. He was cleared for contact last Friday in is recovery from neck surgery during June.

"I feel really good," the 22-year-old winger said. "Obviously still got to talk to the guys here, but as far as myself, I feel really good, I feel like I can play. Hopefully they give me the green light."

Farabee said he would find out not long after practice about being cleared or not for game action.

"We've been doing a lot of testing," he said. "We've got some new equipment in the gym, testing flexion and all that kind of stuff. We've been doing that, using those numbers pre and post ice. It's pretty dialed here. The rehab has been great."

Without Atkinson in any line rushes, here's how the Flyers looked at practice Wednesday:


Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Travis Konecny

James van Riemsdyk-Morgan Frost-Wade Allison

Joel Farabee-Noah Cates-Owen Tippett

Nicolas Deslauriers-Tanner Laczynski-Hayden Hodgson


Tony DeAngelo-Ivan Provorov

Travis Sanheim-Rasmus Ristolainen

Egor Zamula-Justin Braun

Nick Seeler-Ronnie Attard (extra pair)

Ristolainen left practice early and did not return. There was no word on his status after practice.

The 27-year-old defenseman played only two preseason games because of an unspecified injury. He had been practicing since last Thursday.

If Ristolainen is unavailable against New Jersey, Nick Seeler would likely draw into the lineup with the second and third defensive pairs potentially being shuffled around.

Prior to the club's practice, Sean Couturier continued his rehab work, along with Patrick Brown (back) and Bobby Brink (hip).

Head athletic trainer Tommy Alva looked on during the rehab skate.

Couturier is recovering from a reinjury to his back. There's no timetable for his return to game action, but general manager Chuck Fletcher said the first-line center is progressing.

"I think he has skated six or seven times now, he feels great," Fletcher said. "If anything, we're trying to slow him down from time to time, he's really anxious to get back. But this is the best he's felt since pre-surgery last year. We're cautiously optimistic and hopefully he'll continue to progress."

Carter Hart has practiced since the end of the preseason and is good to go for the opener. He did not play in any of the Flyers' exhibition games because of a lower-body injury. The club erred on the side of caution with its No. 1 goalie.

"We got a lot of time this week, over the last eight, nine days, to work together on our team play and our structure," Hart said. "Got a lot of good reps in. Ready for tomorrow."

His backup will be Samuel Ersson. Felix Sandstrom, who has been practicing since Sunday, remains day to day with a groin strain.

"If he was a skater, he could probably play," Fletcher said. "With goaltenders, you always want to be a little bit more careful. In case he had to get into the game as a backup, you'd hate to have him aggravate something. He's continuing to practice in full."

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