In his 12-year career, Flyers left winger James van Riemsdyk has never had a better 10-game start than this season — five goals and a team-high 13 points — and he attributes some of it to his wife, Lauren.
“She’s has been a rock star,” van Riemsdyk said the other day. “This is obviously our first time going through a season like this together with the baby [Scarlett], who’s nine months old. She’s been great. Letting me sleep in on game days and days after games, which is pretty much every single day of the week now. She’s definitely holding down the fort, allowing me to put all my energy on recovering and playing the best I can.”
Van Riemsdyk, 31, downplayed being named the East Division’s player of the month for January, saying the honor was appreciated, but that he was “just getting puck luck.”
He didn’t collect his 13th point last season until his 30th game, so he is 20 games ahead of that pace.
Individual honors, van Riemsdyk said, are secondary.
“As far as where I’m at, at this stage of my career,” he said, “it’s certainly all about the team and winning a Stanley Cup, so that’s what I’m focused on, day in and day out.”
The 6-foot-3, 217-pound van Riemsdyk has more jump in his game than he had last year. He has played well at both ends of the ice and has been relentless in board battles.
“I definitely feel confident in my game,” he said before adding two more assists in the Flyers’ 4-3 overtime loss Wednesday to Boston. “I put in a lot of work in, in the offseason, like I do every offseason. There’s things you try to do to expand your game and add range to your game every year. It’s nice that I’m able to contribute and chip in offensively.”
Though known more for his scoring from around the paint, van Riemsdyk has been at his playmaking best in recent games. Entering Wednesday’s matchup against Boston, he had six assists over his last three games, including four in a win over the Islanders.
“There’s a fine line between taking what’s available and trying to overly dictate certain things,” he said. “Certainly, depending on different line combinations and things like that, sometimes those things get shifted around a little bit as far as what’s available. I don’t think I’m really doing anything too different in that sense. Just being more aware in the offensive zone and trying to get some more touches with the puck and make more plays that lead to dangerous chances. It’s something I’ve worked on over the past three, four, five years.”
In a roundabout way, his infant daughter has been a steadying influence.
“Obviously when you go home and you get time to spend with your child and your family, especially as new parents, I think that can be a great thing and a lot of fun,” he said. “Definitely just something to take your mind off hockey, hockey, hockey all the time. I know for me, it’s a good balance for me to have.”
Left winger Samuel Morin was sent to the AHL’s Phantoms. The converted defenseman played in one game with the Flyers and was used for just 5 minutes, 31 seconds in a 3-2 overtime win over the Islanders. … Claude Giroux became the third player in franchise history to play 900 games with the Flyers, joining Bobby Clarke (1,144) and Bill Barber (903). ... Travis Konecny has just two shots, total, over his last five games.