Growing up, Simmonds was a big fan of Lindros

Wayne Simmonds

VOORHEES – Growing up in the Toronto area, Wayne Simmonds watched one player he knew he wanted to be like someday.

Eric Lindros.

While Simmonds doesn’t have quite the intimidating physique of the former Flyer superstar, he does like to play a power forward kind of game.

And just about no one was better at the power forward than the 6-5, 245-pound Lindros.

“His physical play, the way he drove to the net,’’ Simmonds said on the eve of Lindros’ No. 88 retirement ceremony. “He’s definitely a guy I watched growing up.’’

Simmonds enjoyed the way Lindros could control so many aspects of the game.

“Everything,’’ Simmonds said. “His skill. . .he could beat you any way you wanted. If you wanted a dangle, he could dangle. If you wanted him to play physical, he could go right through you.

“If you wanted to fight, he could beat the crap out of you. One of the alltime greats. It’s an honor (to be at the ceremony). He was one of my favorite players growing up. To watch his number be raised to the rafters at the Wells Fargo Center will be special.’’

Bouncing back from Rangers debacle

It looks like Michal Neuvirth will get another shot at a start in goal after mopping up for Brian Elliott in Tuesday night’s 5-1 shellacking in New York.

Neuvirth has started only one of the last 19 games but says he feels good and hopes to get back into a regular rotation in the second half of the season.

“You can practice as hard as you want but game (action) is definitely a different story,’’ Neuvirth said. “I’m happy I got the 20 minutes yesterday. I’m feeling better about my game.

“The more I play, the better I play. Didn’t get a chance to get some starts in a row. It is what it is. As a backup, you have to be ready for any situation. ‘Moose’ (Elliott) has been one of our top players and for me, I’m just focusing on myself. Every chance I get, I need to be ready.’’

The much improved Maple Leafs form a pretty good challenge.

“We have to make sure we’re backtracking, taking care of the neutral zone,’’ Simmonds said. “And doing a better job defensively. Have a strong home game.’’

The Simmonds-Nolan Patrick-Jordan Weal appears to be finding some chemistry. Weal had the only goal for the Flyers at Madison Square Garden.

“It’s just coming together at the right time,’’ Weal said. “We’ve been working really hard getting pucks in, forechecking really well. I think when we do that, we’re a really dangerous team.’’

Coach Dave Hakstol rolled out the same lineup for Wednesday’s practice as he had in New York. Which means Brandon Manning probably stays in the lineup and Travis Sanheim stays out.

Hakstol wants to get the team back on track in a hurry. After a similar 5-1 loss to the Penguins on Jan. 2, the Flyers went out and won four straight, including wins over the Blues, Islanders and Devils.

“There’s a mindset you have to turn the page real quick,’’ said Hakstol, whose club faces a three games in four days stretch for the second week in a row. “We had limited practice time today to work on three or four things where we didn’t think we were good last night.’’

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About Wayne Fish 2437 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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