Flyers bench Del Zotto for game against Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. - Flyers coach Dave Hakstol continued to show he is not against benching a big-name player. The latest player to be a healthy scratch: defenseman Michael Del Zotto, who was not in the lineup Tuesday in Florida.
SUNRISE, Fla. - Flyers coach Dave Hakstol continued to show he is not against benching a big-name player.
The latest player to be a healthy scratch: defenseman Michael Del Zotto, who was not scheduled to be in the lineup Tuesday in Florida.
Two games earlier, Hakstol made defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere - who finished second in the rookie-of-the-year voting last season - a healthy scratch.
Andrew MacDonald was back in the lineup Tuesday and paired with Gostisbehere.
The Flyers are carrying eight defensemen. Veterans Nick Schultz and Del Zotto did not play Tuesday.
"I don't think anybody likes to be out of the lineup . . . but that's part of the game," Hakstol said before the opening faceoff. "The player that comes out has to go to work and do his job."
Del Zotto missed the first 12 games because of a knee injury. He had four points and a minus-1 rating in the seven games since he returned. The Flyers lost five of those seven games.
"I think there's been stretches of excellent play and there's been some areas of his game that he needs to clean up," Hakstol said.
Del Zotto, 26, is a potential unrestricted free agent after this season.
Gostisbehere, who grew up in nearby Margate, Fla., had several relatives and friends scheduled to watch Tuesday's game. It was his second NHL game in the rink he used to visit with his grandfather to watch Panthers games as a youngster.
Gostisbehere visited with his family Monday.
"It was nice to be home and have a normal dinner. I brought Stolie along with me, so it was a lot of fun," said Gostisbehere, referring to goalie Anthony Stolarz.
Gostisbehere said returning to his roots never gets old.
"It's cool to visit here and see friends and family, and this building has special meaning," he said after the morning skate. "I was watching games here since I was born. It was cool to take a peek at my grandpa's old seats, where I watched a lot of games from."
Gostisbehere said his one-game benching last week was a wake-up call.
"It made me more aware that you're not always safe where you are," he said of his spot in the lineup. "You've got to go out and play every night like it's your last."
Chris VandeVelde was back in the lineup after leaving Saturday's game with a gruesome-looking facial injury.
VandeVelde did not break any bones, but he had two black eyes from going face-first into the wall during the 3-0 loss to Tampa Bay. He said his peripheral vision was "kind of bothersome but not too bad."
Tampa's Braydon Coburn, a former Flyer, "kind of got me from behind as I was kind of turning," VandeVelde said. "I didn't see him coming, so I wasn't aware [of him] at all. I know Coby's not a dirty player or anything. It just happened."
The winger half-kidded he was thankful to still "have a face" after the collision.