Another stranger from Europe showed up Wednesday at Skate Zone as Flyer imports continue to file in with training camp expected to open on Sunday.
Jacob Voracek was all smiles.
He just got back from his native Kladno, Czech Republic, where he was living with his mother and, apparently, living quite well.
The 23-year-old says he wanted to focus on hockey. She wanted to focus on trying to fatten him up from his 205 pounds.
Mom, Im leaving right now, stop cooking, Voracek told his mother last weekend when the lockout ended. Leave me alone ... I never played professional hockey and lived at home, so it was kind of an adjustment. It was different. I enjoyed it, but its great to be back.
Voracek seems fit after spending the lockout playing for the KHLs HC Lev Praha.
The big concern, of course, is his left knee. He suffered a severe medial collateral ligament sprain Oct. 6 and missed several weeks.
I was trying to jump through the D and he just hit me with his ass, hip, Voracek said, pointing to his left side. Right here. Im fine. I was struggling right after that. Its fine, great to be back. Two, three weeks, I was feeling like myself again, so that was good.
More than that, it was a huge relief to the Flyers back here.
General manager Paul Holmgren expects big things from Voracek in this, his second season in Philadelphia -- shortened though it might be.
The wily right wing had a career-high 18 goals last year, coming over as part of the Jeff Carter trade with Columbus. His 49 points were one point shy of his best ever as a Blue Jacket in 2009-10.
Voracek uses his speed and cunning to generate chances. What coach Peter Laviolette and his staff want to see this year is for Voracek to finish more of those opportunities.
Hell be given a chance to play on the Flyers top line with Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell now that Jaromir Jagr has moved on, signing with Dallas over the summer.
I played there a couple games last year when Jags was hurt, Voracek said. A couple games. I think we worked pretty well. Its going to be very exciting. G, everybody knows what kind of player he is. The last few years hes shown it. Im going to be very excited about it.
Voracek appeared with Girouxs unit six times, including twice in the playoffs.
Jagr was his closest friend. Both of them were born in Kladno. Jagr owns and manages that club. Plus, Jagr mentored Voracek all of last season, trying to help him adjust to a new environment and to be comfortable with a team where expectations are much higher.
Of course, Jags is a top-five player to ever play the hockey game, Voracek said. We were neighbors in Old City, we were going to practice with each other. He helped me a lot.
I saw what kind of person he is, how he acted to other people, the way he practices, the way he works out. Im thankful I had a chance to play with him.
Much like Ilya Bryzgalov, management expects that Voracek will relax and achieve more easily now that hes had a year here.
I think there was a little more pressure on Bryz than there was on me, Voracek said of last season. I was coming in from Columbus, played these guys basically once a year. There wasnt much knowing those two teams.
Bryz was under a lot of pressure last year. I think hes going to be more ready, he said so himself. Im fine. Im the same way as last year. I didnt feel pressure, Im just going to play my game. Im sure Im going to be fine.
Voraceks injury was originally reported as a right knee sprain not left Tommy Sesisto is not here. He has the mumps. Honest Wednesdays additions to the Flyers player-only workouts included Luke Schenn, Bruno Gervais, and Nick Grossmann Wayne Simmonds is still not here Sean Couturier is here, but cant skate until the AHL players are released to rejoining the NHLers after the CBA gets done ... Ruslan Fedotenko is here, but did not skate, either.
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