DENVER – When the Flyers made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010, James van Riemsdyk was just a rookie straight out of the University of New Hampshire.
He looked around the locker room and it was loaded. With talent, that is.
Chris Pronger over here, Danny Briere over there, Simon Gagne in one corner, Scott Hartnell in another.
And even a fellow youngster named Claude Giroux.
Well, it’s eight years later now and JVR is sort of living that story about the return of the native son after a six-year stopover in Toronto.
The only one left from that almost-did-it 2010 team is Giroux.
But van Riemsdyk, who learned from the best, glances around the dressing area now and he believes there is similar potential.
This time, though, he’s become more the teacher than the student.
Veterans helped van Riemsdyk in ’10 and now he’s returning the favor with youngsters like Mikhail Vorobyev and Oskar Lindblom.
What are some things he’s trying to impart?
“I think it’s just constant communication,’’ van Riemsdyk said. “Especially when you’re going through it the first time.
“There are ebbs and flows throughout the course of a season and you realize it the more years you play – how you just have to be even-keeled through everything. You can’t get too high or low. You want to try to have that consistent sort of approach.’’
Vorobyev got off to a hot start against the Knights, picking up an assist and coming to the aid of teammate Nolan Patrick when defenseman Nick Holden roughed up the young center on the end boards.
“It’s knowing that when things are going well, it’s because you have a good process and you’re doing the right thing and you want to keep doing the right thing,’’ van Riemsdyk said.
“You don’t want to start doing anything crazy when things are going well and when things aren’t going well, just fall back on your process. Preparing the right way and making sure you’re taking care of the details in your game and go from there.’’
Van Riemsdyk says he was all eyes and ears back in ’10.
“I was lucky,’’ he said. “I always have had that curious personality, so I kind of gather a lot just by watching and being around.
“I had ‘Lappy’ (former Flyer and current assistant coach Ian Laperriere), Danny (Briere), Chris (Pronger), Hartnell, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter. We had an unbelievable team my first year.
“It wouldn’t be real smart by me if I didn’t learn from guys like that. That was the key for me, make sure you’re paying attention about what’s going on around you.’’
The Flyers were scheduled to practice at Denver University on Friday but their flight from Las Vegas got in so late that coach Dave Hakstol decided to give his players a day off. That probably means a slightly extended morning skate on Saturday leading up to the night game against the Avalanche . .The Flyers posted a whopping 41 hits against the Golden Knights during Thursday night’s 5-2 win at T-Mobile Arena. Wayne Simmonds led the way with seven and Robert Hagg contributed six. That’s the most hits the Flyers have had in a game since they had 43 in a game against the Islanders on March 30, 2017. Hagg had a goal, an assist, three shots and was a plus-2.