VOORHEES – Sometimes when things get really urgent, it’s time to take a step back and exhale.
That’s what the Flyers did on Wednesday, as coach Scott Gordon made practice optional and most of the players took him up on that offer, settling for some light off-ice exercise.
The idea is this: The Flyers just went through a meat-grinder segment of their schedule, playing four games in six days, with all the opponents either in or quite near the playoffs (Montreal was one point out prior to Wednesday night action).
So, even though the Flyers’ postseason hopes are dwindling – six points out with nine games to play – the team needed a break, especially with Chicago, the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals coming up in the next four days.
Before the flight to the Windy City for Thursday’s game, Gordon explained why he believed it was necessary to rest his crew.
“We’ve played a lot of hockey here,’’ he said. “I don’t think we lacked energy from a try standpoint (in Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss to the Canadiens). I think, mentally, we’ve played so much, had a lot on the line for a long period of time.
“Sometimes it’s good not to watch any video and not hear the coach barking, telling you what you did wrong and what you need to do better. This was more of a mental break than anything else.’’
>Myers coming back
Rookie defenseman Philippe Myers had to sit out Tuesday night’s game due to the “bug’’ going around the Flyers’ room.
He skated Wednesday morning and pronounced himself ready for the Blackhawks.
“It was nice to get back on the ice, obviously the energy level was a little low,’’ Myers said. “I think I’ll be good for tomorrow.
“I wanted to play yesterday but I think it was better for the team that I didn’t. I probably would have had no energy. I think it was smart that I wasn’t around the guys because I was sick.’’
>Bailey shuttle continues
Justin Bailey was recalled from Lehigh Valley on Tuesday because Travis Konecny thought he might be coming down with the aforementioned bug.
That turned out to be a false alarm, so Bailey was back on the highway again Wednesday morning. That makes a total of eight transactions involving the 23-year-old right wing since March 5.
Konecny is enjoying another strong season but his goal production has dropped off of late, with only one goal in his last seven games.
Some of that has to do with James van Riemsdyk’s hot streak. JVR has 10 goals in his last 12 games, so he’s sort of taking over some of Konecny’s ice time on the second line.
“Right now I don’t think he (Konecny) is maximizing his offensive opportunities the way he should be able to,’’ Gordon said. “Some of that is decision-making.
“Overall, I think his game is. . .we’ve shuffled the lines around a little bit; JVR got a little bit hot. So he’s kind of taken TK’s place on that line. So maybe there isn’t as much offensive opportunity as there was before.’’
>Hartman: Sweet home, Chicago
Ryan Hartman was born in Hilton Head, S.C. but grew up in the Chicago area. He was drafted by the Blackhawks but then began a road tour, getting traded to Nashville and then to the Flyers by way of the Wayne Simmonds swap.
He says he’s played three games back in Chicago since he was traded away but still looks forward to going there. His folks live in the Chicago suburbs and his father owns a sports bar (“Bar Down Sports Grill’’) about a half-hour outside the city (a town called Hoffman Estates).
“He’s had the bar about a year now,’’ Hartman said. “It’s nice for fans that want to see a game and don’t want to drive into the city. It’s attached to a bowling alley so there’s a lot of stuff to do.
“I’ve been there a handful of times, done a signing to bring people in.’’
Hartman said he won’t be stopping off there on this trip. He’s got too much on his plate right now.
>Old Time Hockey coming soon
If you’re one of those long-time Flyers fans who gets nostalgic about the days of the Broad Street Bullies, this next event should be right up your alley.
The Flyers’ Alumni, led by ex-Flyers defenseman Brad Marsh, is putting on a “Friday Night Fights/Celebrating Old Time Hockey event on Friday night, 6 p.m. at 2300 Arena, 2300 S. Swanson St., Philadelphia.
All your favorites are going to be there, from Dave “The Hammer’’ Schultz to Dave Brown to Andre “Moose’’ Dupont and more.
For information, contact Marsh at 215-490-8424 or email brad_marsh@comcast spectacor.com.