Flyers' young players get chance to rebound with interim coach Scott Gordon
Some of the Flyers players are familiar with Gordon, will they rally around the new situation and turn things around?
The Flyers are hoping interim coach Scott Gordon, who has had lots of success developing prospects with the AHL’s Phantoms, can get young players like Ivan Provorov, Shayne Gostisbehere, Nolan Patrick, and Oskar Lindblom back on track.
All four have faded in recent weeks.
Lindblom and Gostisbehere played for Gordon with the Phantoms.
“We want to get everybody going, not just those guys,” Gordon said before the Flyers faced Detroit on Tuesday. “They’re obviously important players for us. Also, we want to get JVR [James van Riemsdyk] going. He’s a big guy for us and, having coached him in Toronto, I know how good he can be.”
Van Riemsdyk opened the scoring Tuesday late in the opening period. He and Gostisbehere each had two points in the Flyers' 3-2 win, and Patrick contributed an assist.
Under former coach Dave Hakstol, Lindblom went from a second-line left winger to fourth-liner to a healthy scratch in recent weeks. He was back in the lineup against Detroit.
“It’s the first time I haven’t played much, so I just have to keep grinding through it and try to be a better player,” said Lindblom, who had seven points in a five-game stretch that began Oct. 30 but had just one point in his last 12 games before Tuesday.
Lindblom called Gordon “a tough coach, but he’s tough on everyone. If you don’t back-check or if you take dumb penalties, you’re going to hear it. It doesn’t matter who you are. He’s a tough coach, but I learned a lot from him.”
Patrick, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft, has been an enigma. He made great strides in the second half of last season and played well earlier this season, but he has not been a factor in about a month.
“I’ve been slumping pretty hard, but I thought my last two games were good,” Patrick said before Tuesday’s opening faceoff. “I’m just trying to be consistent.”
Patrick entered Tuesday with one point, an assist, in his last 14 games.
At the morning skate, he was on the top line with Claude Giroux and Travis Konecny, but Patrick was with Scott Laughton and Michael Raffl when the game started.
Gordon said he will gradually “chip away” at making changes to the Flyers’ systems. He directed the Phantoms’ penalty kill, which is second in the AHL (86.4 percent success rate). The Flyers’ PK began Tuesday 30th in the NHL (73.5 percent). The Phantoms’ power play was third in the AHL (21.3 percent), while the Flyers’ PP was 29th entering Tuesday (12.9 percent) and was 1-for-25 over the last 11 games. … Flyers forward Jori Lehtera, who did not play Tuesday, is scheduled to appear in court next month for his alleged involvement in a Finnish drug ring, according to an online report Tuesday. The trial will begin Dec. 31, and Lehtera is not one of the main suspects, according to lastwordonhockey.com. No specific date has been scheduled for his court appearance, and it is not known if he will miss any games.