PHILADELPHIA – Jake Voracek has been around long enough to have seen this, done that.
So, like his captain, Claude Giroux, he took coach Alain Vigneault’s calling out last Thursday in stride.
Vigneault said he needed more from the Flyers’ top players. That’s fine with Voracek, who got off to a bit of a slow start but had four goals, nine points with an even plus-minus after 12 games.
Actually, this isn’t the first time Vigneault has asked for more from his top line of Giroux, Voracek and now James van Riemsdyk.
It’s happened a time or two before this latest public critique.
That said, it’s OK with Voracek to hear it, regardless of the setting.
“Of course, I think I’ve always been a standup guy since I’ve been around this organization,’’ Voracek said before Saturday night’s Flyers-Toronto game at the Wells Fargo Center. “If he says it to me or says it to the public, all I can do is play. Either I find a way to make the team better and make him trust me more so he doesn’t have to say those things or I’m not going to play.’’
At one point, Vigneault had Voracek practicing with the fourth line during a three-game trip to western Canada.
For Saturday night’s game, Vigneault had Voracek switch places with third-line winger Joel Farabee.
At some point, Voracek probably will be reunited with Giroux.
“I think when we got put together as a line, AV told us after the Vegas game that we need to be better,’’ Voracek pointed out. “And I think we played better in the three games – we were in the plus numbers and we put up some points.
“Unfortunately we didn’t perform well in Pittsburgh (a 7-1 loss) as a line or as a team. We didn’t get scored on in Pittsburgh but just offensively it wasn’t working out. I think that what he was focusing on. He said it in the locker room to you guys (reporters on Thursday) but we had a meeting before that.’’
Voracek says he believes the Flyers are getting a handle on Vigneault’s system.
“As a team, I think we’re pretty comfortable,’’ he said. “We did have pretty bad losses in Long Island and Pittsburgh. But I think overall, the way we skate, the way we approach the games and the way we want to build our culture here. I think we’re going the right way.’’
>Couturier not at full strength
Sean Couturier has been limited in taking faceoffs the past two games. He took only five in Pittsburgh and three against the Devils in Friday night’s 5-3 shootout game in Newark.
That forced Travis Konecny and Oskar Lindblom into emergency faceoff duty.
“I’m not feeling 100 percent but it’s part of a season,’’ Couturier said. “It’s a long season. You gotta battle through injuries. I’m just trying to do what I can to help the team win.’’
Couturier was able to score the winning goal in the third round of the shootout at New Jersey.
But in truth, it’s still limiting his strength.
“It’s day-to-day. It’s something you just don’t want to aggravate and injure the pain for a long period of time,’’ Couturier said. “Just cautious being day-to-day and it should be fine.’’
Vigneault called the Flyers’ win over N.J. “not a Picasso. There were a lot of plays that could have been made but weren’t. It was more of a gritty, chippy up and down game.’’
In the Jersey game, Ivan Provorov recorded a season-high 27:08 of ice time, more than two minutes more than his previous season high.
Lindblom’s two-point game vs. the Devils was the sixth of his career.