PHILADELPHIA – He played in Toronto for six years and just a few months ago left to join the Flyers as a free agent.
So of course it’s going to be somewhat emotional when the Flyers visit the Leafs at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night.
The trick for JVR will be to keep his feelings on an even keel and prevent them from becoming a distraction.
Aside from that, it should be fun going back to where he spent most of his 20s.
“Obviously it will be emotional,’’ JVR said after Friday’s 4-0 win over the New York Rangers at the Wells Fargo Center. “When you spend a lot of time in one place, you become pretty invested there.’’
Van Riemsdyk enjoyed the best season of his career just last year, scoring 36 goals. While with the Maple Leafs he earned a spot on Canada’s roster for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
“I really enjoyed my time there, being a Maple Leaf,’’ said the Middletown, N.J. native. “It’s all that meant to me, just what the Maple Leafs mean to a lot of different people.
“Again, you feel a part of something that’s much bigger than yourself. That was a special thing to be a part of that. Looking forward to getting in there and getting two points.’’
Goalie Calvin Pickard also played a while for the Leafs, so he’s looking forward to Saturday’s game as well.
“I only spent a year there,’’ he said. “But it’s nice to get back to Toronto for sure. We’ll fly up there tonight, have a good dinner and get ready for tomorrow night.’’
Weise stirs things up
Coach Dave Hakstol thinks so much of Dave Weise’s recent play, he promoted him to the second line on Friday.
Pretty heady stuff playing with Jake Voracek and Nolan Patrick, right?
“It’s easy to play with those guys,’’ Weise said. “They’re so skilled. They can make something out of nothing. I’m just trying to keep it straight line for them, win some battles, get on the forecheck.’’
Weise kind of creates space for his two skilled linemates.
“They need someone to kind of get in there and get gritty,’’ Weise said. “Win some battles and get the puck. I think we did that tonight.’’
Late Friday the Flyers recalled goaltender Anthony Stolarz from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The Flyers did not report any new injuries to Pickard or backup goalie Alex Lyon, who was pulled early from Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss at Buffalo. Both Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth are already on IR.