SUNRISE, Fla. – In the start and stop world of Jordan Weal, another start doesn’t require him to stop and think about what this opportunity means.
With third-line center Nolan Patrick out of action due to an upper-body injury (expected to be out four or five days) he received in Thursday night’s 6-5 overtime loss at Tampa, Weal gets another chance to get back in the lineup.
Working in Weal’s favor is the fact he has played for new coach Scott Gordon when the two were together on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms two seasons agoW.
Weal is scheduled to play with Michael Raffl and Oskar Lindblom when the Flyers meet the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Saturday night.
Since he has played in only two of the Flyers’ last 12 games and none since Dec. 15 at Vancouver would indicate he probably has to shake off some rust.
“It’s been awhile, in December I haven’t been in a lot of games,’’ the 26-year-old Weal said. “It (coming back from a layoff) is probably one of the toughest things in hockey.
“You know you just have to take it one shift at a time. Simplify things, get pucks in, go to work from there and the rest will take care of itself.’’
Weal is on the second year of a two-year contract which pays him $1.75 million annually. He’s never really made an impact on the Flyers since joining them three years ago but there are occasional flashes of brilliance which helps keep him around the NHL.
He says he’s familiar with Gordon’s style and perhaps that can work in his favor. Weal hasn’t played since Dave Hakstol was relieved of his coaching duties a couple weeks ago.
“Gordo was really good for us down in Allentown,’’ Weal said. “We had a really good team when I was there. He keeps everyone accountable, keeps everyone in line. That’s all you can ask from a coach and I think that’s why we had so much success.
“I know what he’s like behind the bench and stuff like that, the kind of vibe he gives off. Other than that, you just have to go out and play.’’
Gordon wouldn’t confirm that Weal will play with Lindblom and Raffl.
Raffl hopes that is the case, though.
“He should be fired up,’’ Raffl said. “I’m sure he’s going to be excited to be out there.’’
Hart gets start vs. Panthers
Carter Hart will get back into action against the Panthers. He recorded wins vs. Detroit and Nashville, lost to Columbus, then sat out games vs. the Rangers and Tampa.
Gordon acknowledges Hart is getting valuable experience in what amounts to an emergency recall with both Brian Elliott and Anthony Stolarz out long-term.
“There’s no downside to it,’’ Gordon said. “It’s an opportunity for him to build on what he’s done so far in the three games he’s played.
“His confidence. . .he should feel pretty good about going into tomorrow’s game. Whatever happens, happens. It’s not something that right now we have to worry about.’’
Hart spent much of the Christmas break with captain Claude Giroux.
He hopes he can stick around a while longer.
“Just come to work and take things one day at a time,’’ he said. “I think we have a good group of guys here. It’s a lot of fun playing with these guys. We’ve been playing really hard the last four or five games.
“I don’t want to go anywhere, I want to stay here. That’s my goal. I’m going to do everything I can to stay here.’’
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