VOORHEES, N.J. – If duty calls, rookie goaltender Alex Lyon is ready, willing and able.
Lyon was recalled from the Phantoms on Tuesday after the Flyers announced that starting goaltender Brian Elliott has been placed on injured reserve.
So Lyon will serve as backup to Michal Neuvirth when Philadelphia visits the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.
But there’s a possibility that if Elliott is not back in time for Thursday night’s game at New Jersey, Lyon could get the call to make his National Hockey League debut.
It would be a career moment for Lyon, the Yale product who was signed as a free agent on April 5, 2016.
He’s paid his dues, with a season and a half of action with Lehigh Valley. It’s only a matter of time until he gets his chance.
And with former star goalie prospect in waiting Anthony Stolarz still sidelined due to a pair of knee surgeries (April, September, 2017), Lyon is now considered No. 3 in the organization.
“I’m very confident,’’ Lyon said after Tuesday’s practice at the Skate Zone. “I’ve been playing really well down in Allentown.
“The teams have been playing well down here and up there. I’m not going to change the approach. Just keep the same recipe. Have patience and trust in that.’’
After a slow start, Lyon now has a record of 13-8-2 with a 2.90 goals-against average.
“I think every goalie in the AHL and NHL has similar tools,’’ Lyon said. “That mentality, that confidence. Just have to focus on the process.’’
This could be a big spot in Lyon’s career. He’s 25 now and most NHL goalies have gotten their foot in the door by this age.
“I’ll take it however I can get it,’’ he said. “At the same time, I don’t envision myself as a spot guy. I want to start as much as I can. I’m not going to speculate on when it will be. Just keep my head down, keep grinding.
“Obviously, there are certain things that go along with your first start. I think the most healthy way to do it is to treat every day the same, treat every game, practice like your trying to stop coming at you. If you do that, the rest will take care of itself.’’
Across the room, Neuvirth, just coming off a bout with a stomach virus, was answering questions about his readiness.
He says he’s a go and ready to take on a big workload down the stretch.
“I definitely have to earn the playing time,’’ he said. “I have to push myself and if you have a good game, ask for another one.’’
Reaction to Jagr’s departure
On Monday, Jaromir Jagr cleared waivers and his NHL career appears over. He will be heading back to his native Czech Republic to finish his hockey career there.
Fellow countrymen Radko Gudas and Neuvirth are sorry to see him go but marvel at his career, which began way back in 1990.
“He’s the biggest legend ever in Czech,’’ Neuvirth said. “And it’s going to be great for the Czech fans to see him. He’s going to play for the team he owns.
“I think he’s going to pack every arena. It’s going to be amazing.’’
Jagr was one of Gudas’ idols growing up.
“Every kid in Czech wanted to be Jagr,’’ Gudas said. “Watching his career, it’s something I don’t think a lot of people can accomplish. He is a legend in Czech. He’s been fun to watch.
“Sad to see him go. He’s still in great shape. He can still be an asset to a team he plays for. I think if he wanted, he could be president back home.’’