Up, down, up, down — Hart goes through ‘hard-paced' test, feels ‘on track'


Don't think that goalies are unsusceptible to a John Tortorella practice.

They get after it, too.

Carter Hart undoubtedly dropped some weight Thursday with the countless number of times he dropped to make a save.

"Oh, probably, yeah," he said with a laugh. "Definitely a few pounds of water."

Just as he'd go to his knees to make a save, it seemed like another skater was barreling down on him to whip a shot his way.

And then another. And another.

As Hart skated to the bench for a water break with the rest of his teammates, Kevin Hayes stick-tapped his netminder's pads.

The Flyers' No. 1 goalie was busy throughout the team's first practice with a trimmed-down roster.

Busy was good for Hart, who did not play in any of the Flyers' six preseason games because of a lower-body injury. The Flyers erred on the side of caution, having their 24-year-old goalie practice for the past week-plus instead of putting him into game action.

So the shots and 5-on-5 system work represented quality simulation for Hart.

"For sure," he said. "It was good to get in a hard-paced practice like that. A lot of shots. But it's good to battle and push through.

"It was nice that we did a little D-zone coverage, 5-on-5 work in the zone. So I got to kind of mimic a little bit more of a game scenario. Try to get as many reps that are game-like up until next Thursday."

The Flyers open the regular season in a week when they host the Devils (7 p.m. ET/ESPN+, Hulu). Hart should be ready to go.

"Feeling a lot better, just taking things day by day, see how it is, testing a little bit," he said. "I'm feeling better and I'm on track here.

"I feel it a little bit, but like I said, it's getting better, it's on track for next Thursday. Just taking things one day at a time."

Tortorella ran an hour-long practice.

"He had a lot of work," the Flyers' head coach said. "There was a lot of shooting.

"We ran the practice not for him, but the amount of work that he got I'm sure helped."

The practice finished with the nets brought out to the blue lines for 3-on-2 work. With the shrunken ice, everyone has to react quicker, including the goalies.

"That's small game groups," Tortorella said. "I think it's something that we need work in as far as short area ice, little plays, supporting — all of it. The game ends up being in a small area quite a bit. I think it helps skill, it helps skill development and I think it's something we need to improve at."

Joel Farabee, who practiced throughout camp in non-contact fashion after having neck surgery in June, could be cleared for contact by Friday. His status for the opener is to be determined.

"I've been encouraged by Joel right from the get-go," Tortorella said. "Today was kind of his first practice of full stuff, he got banged around a little bit. I didn't just focus on him, but I thought the whole group practiced well."

More: Flyers being careful with injuries, challenge their youngsters once more

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