The Philadelphia Flyers are enjoying their most successful run of games thusfar in the early part of the 2010-2011 regular season. The team had wheeled off six straight wins before their overtime loss last Sunday in Washington, and, after last night’s dismantling of the Carolina Hurricanes, the Flyers are now 7-0-1 in their last eight games.
Lost in the shuffle of all the Flyers’ success has been James van Riemsdyk, a healthy scratch for head coach Peter Laviolette for the past three contests, a result of one of the worst starts a Flyer has had this season. For a player who the Flyers’ brass expected far more out of entering the 2010-2011 campaign, JVR has struggled mightily out of the gate, only registering four points (4 A) in thirteen games played. In the games leading up to him finding a spot in the press box, van Riemsdyk looked lost at times on the ice, and very frequently was reluctant to battle for loose pucks or take on a more aggressive, physical style. That won’t earn you a spot in Peter Laviolette’s lineup.
Instead, JVR has been a healthy scratch for last two Flyers victories, and, after the team won 8-1 last night in Raleigh, there are actually some that think the Flyers are better off without the former #2 overall pick in the 2007 NHL Draft. Personally, I am one of JVR’s harshest critics, but I can tell you right now, when he gets back into the Flyers’ line-up, he will be extremely motivated. He’s always had the size and frame (6’3”, 205lbs), but perhaps now he can gain the spark, or the edge that will vault him back into the Flyers’ lineup as a regular and give the Orange and Black yet another weapon moving forward.
Frank Seravalli has more on JVR’s predicament in today’s Philadelphia Daily News: FLYERS’ van RIEMSDYK TRYING TO SKATE OUT OF SLUMP