Hakstol giving second line a chance to find chemistry

Oskar Lindblom

VOORHEES – It’s all about the patience.

There are times when NHL coaches make in-game changes with their lines, sometimes out of necessity, sometimes just to get a new look.

In the case of the Flyers and coach Dave Hakstol right now, it’s a little bit of both.

Basically, he’s reconstructed a new second line of center Jordan Weal (filling in for the injured Nolan Patrick), with Travis Konecny (transferred off the top line to replace Jake Voracek) and Oskar Lindblom on the wings.

Although the trio has yet to produce offensively, it’s really only been one game (Saturday’s 1-0 loss to San Jose) and it sounds like the coach is willing to stay with this unit a while longer.

“Some of it is short-term, period to period, but there’s a balance there between giving guys an opportunity to work together and have confidence together,’’ Hakstol said after Monday’s practice at the Skate Zone.

“That versus a gut feel of who’s going and who’s not going. You saw a little bit of both of those on Saturday. It will be the same going into tomorrow night’s (home) game (vs. Florida).’’

Konecny has had chances in the first five games for the Flyers (2-3) but all he has are three goal posts to show for it.

“The new line you saw with Jordan in the middle, Oskar and TK had a lot of good moments in that game, especially in the first half,’’ Hakstol said.

“That’s one of those cases where I think they have the opportunity to go and build on that chemistry, to be better in game two than they were in game one.’’

 

Lindblom OK after hit

Lindblom got drilled into the boards pretty good  by Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb in the third period of Saturday’s game. He limped off and, surprisingly, no penalty was called on the play.

At Monday’s practice, Lindblom said he was OK.

“I feel good,’’ he said. “After the hard hit I was a little shaky. I got a good day off yesterday (Sunday). I came back to normal pretty quick so it was good.’’

Should a penalty have been called? Was the hit a bit high?

“Maybe a little bit,’’ Lindblom said. “At the same, I felt he was close to me and I turned around a little bit (face to glass). I need to be ready for that and I can’t blame him.

“It (a penalty) is not my call. Maybe they should have called it, I don’t know.’’

Lindblom confirmed he went through concussion protocol, which is partly why he did not return to the game.

 

Voracek humored by his Chia Pet beard giveaway

At Saturday’s game, the collective creative genius of the promotions department came up with a Voracek “Chia Pet’’ beard giveaway.

Basically, the grass grows in the formation of Voracek’s beard.

What will they think of next?

Voracek apparently was not all that well informed this was going to happen.

“I had no idea I was Chia Pet,’’ Voracek deadpanned as the crowd in the locker room broke up. “I had no idea what it was. I was like, ‘we’ll see how it goes!’ ”

Asked if they have Chia Pets back in the Czech Republic, Voracek shook his head.

“I have no idea what’s coming out of that thing,’’ Voracek grinned. “I’m not going to have one at home, that’s for sure. I don’t think my girlfriend would appreciate that.’’

Speaking of promotions, Voracek was asked if he would like to have matching bobblehead dolls, with his alongside one of new mascot Gritty.

“Trust me,’’ he said. “I haven’t thought about shaving as much as I did last month since Gritty came out.’’

 

Florida dangerous

The Panthers are off to an 0-2-1 start, their one point the fewest in the NHL after a week and a half of league action.

Hakstol knows at some point Florida, which had one of the best records over the last two months of the 2017-18 season, will get it in gear.

“You look at (Aleksander) Barkov, he’s one of the top two-way players in the league,’’ Hakstol said. “He’s an absolute beast when he’s on the puck. Good player, proud player.

“They have other players to go along. It would be a mistake to mention one guy on the roster. Their group of forwards is tremendous. They are a good team. It’s a big test in our building.’’

Wayne Fish
About Wayne Fish 1093 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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