DENVER – So much was made of James van Riemsdyk’s return to the Flyers and now they have to cross their fingers that a lower-body injury he suffered in Saturday night’s game isn’t too serious.
Van Riemsdyk played only eight shifts (5:13 ice time) before he left the ice.
If JVR has to miss a significant amount of time, it would be a blow to the Flyers.
After the 5-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center, Sean Couturier was asked how tough it would be if the injury to van Riemsdyk requires a lengthy recovery.
“I don’t know what happened,’’ Couturier said. “He’s a big part of our team, big body in our lineup. He brings some skill and some size. He’s a guy we want to see in our lineup.’’
Coach Dave Hakstol does have skill players like Jordan Weal in reserve but Weal wouldn’t have the same impact on a game as van Riemsdyk.
“I’m concerned that he wasn’t able to come back,’’ Hakstol said. “I don’t know the extent of it (the injury). We have to wait until we get back. We’re at the end of a long trip here. We’ll get home and figure where everything is at.’’
Controversial no-interference call upsetting
Both Hakstol and goaltender Brian Elliott were upset with the non-goalie interference call on Colorado’s third (and winning) goal by Gabriel Landeskog at 7:18 of the second period.
Hakstol challenged the initial call of good goal and lost his timeout for the effort.
Landeskog appeared to make contact with Elliott’s arm before tipping a shot into the net.
Replay officials in Toronto ruled that defenseman Travis Sanheim pushed Landeskog into the goalie.
That’s not necessarily the way Elliott saw it.
“That’s another one of the rules that I really don’t understand,’’ Elliott said. “I was talking to the ref and he (Landeskog) is in my crease, impedes my arm coming across; that is interference in the rulebook.
“So, they said they don’t call it anymore. Toronto is calling it. That’s all I know. I have to work to find out the rules this year.’’
Avalanche speed an issue
Clearly, the Flyers were having trouble handling Colorado’s speed in this game. There were several break-ins and a number of quality shots from close range generated by the Avalanche’s quickness.
“They’re definitely a high-speed team,’’ Gostisbehere said. “For us, making the plays, we need to have poise with the puck, make the easy play. Chip it off the glass.
“Some of it (mistakes) is self-inflicted. But they’re also a pretty good team.’’
Couturier agreed with that assessment.
“They’re a fast team,’’ Couturier said. “They transition pretty well, pretty quick. They do a lot of their plays at top speed.
“That’s definitely a game where you need to be ready to skate.’’
Rough ice an issue
The Flyers didn’t want to make any excuses but the ice at the Pepsi Center was clearly an issue.
At one point, the puck just stuck in place and Ivan Provorov overskated it, then had to go back and retrieve it. Later, Claude Giroux completely lost an edge and took what could have been a dangerous fall if closer to the boards.
True, both teams have to deal with it but the Flyers aren’t used to this lousy a surface and maybe Colorado is.
“At the beginning of periods it wasn’t bad,’’ Gostisbehere said. “It’s like any building. The ice is going to get bad at the end. For us, keeping it simple is key when the ice is bad. But it’s no excuse.’’
Vorobyev happy with first goal
Well, it only took rookie Mikhail Vorobyev two games to get his first NHL goal. That came in the second period to tie the game. It helped that goaltender Semyon Varlamov was wiped out by a teammate on the play, leaving the net wide open.
“I really wasn’t ready (for that),’’ Vorobyev admitted. “When I got the puck, I just shot it. It feels good though. I’ve thought about this for many years, scoring my first goal in the NHL. It’s amazing.’’