A second benching might get the message across to Myers

Philippe Myers

Philippe Myers might be learning the hard way that the National Hockey League is a “what have you done for me lately?’’ operation.

Even if Myers impressed everyone by leading all Flyers defensemen with a plus-17 last year during his rookie season, it doesn’t guarantee some sort of exempt-from-accountability status.

So it really wasn’t a big surprise when coach Alain Vigneault announced he was making Myers a healthy scratch for Thursday night’s game against Washington, the second time Myers has hit the bench in about a week.

Actually, the first clue this move was coming manifested itself at Wednesday’s practice when Myers was paired with spare defenseman Nate Prosser.

Myers’ numbers from last season – 50 games, four goals/16 points, plus-17 – simply don’t match up with this year’s: 16 games, no goals/five points, minus-1.

“I believe Phil has a tremendous amount of potential,’’ Vigneault said during a media Zoom call after deciding not to hold a morning skate on Thursday. “One of the challenges that any player has – but sometimes you see it a little more often in younger players – is that consistency issue.

“As much as we believe Phil has potential, great skater, good size, etc., there are some things in his game we’ve been pointing out that happen too often to him. . .one, being first on the puck and the ability to take the hit to make the play. He needs to improve in that area.’’

It’s fairly crucial the Flyers get Myers back on track because he, along with Travis Sanheim, pretty much have been making up the second defense pairing right now behind Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere.

“It (Myers’ play) has cost us the last few games,’’ Vigneault said, “in some situations. The next time he comes in the lineup, he has to find a way to play the right way and stay in the lineup.’’

Myers was not available for comment.

>Raffl still not ready

Michael Raffl’s hand injury will keep him out for at least one more game. Vigneault said he will be using center Andy Andreoff, who has played for the Flyers during the time when the team had a number of players recovering from COVID.

“I talked to Michael and his hand is not there yet,’’ Vigneault said. “It could be day-to-day, week-to-week (there is no fracture). It’s still very sore.’’

Vigneault also said Brian Elliott will start in goal on Thursday night against the Capitals.

>Laughton continues strong play

Unlike Myers, Scott Laughton is building off last year’s strong campaign during which he scored a career-high 13 games in the pandemic-shortened season.

So far, he’s picked up where he left off, with six goals/14 points in 20 games with a plus-8.

“He’s a good young man, fun to be around,’’ Vigneault said. “Very intense, has a bite to his game. For me, as a coach, he’s the type of player you like to have.

“He can go from one of the top six forwards to a bottom-six forward position in any role and not say a word and just play. Good team guy and very effective for us so far.’’

Laughton did some of his best work in the 2020 playoffs, going 5-9-14 in 15 games.

Lately he’s formed an effective unit with Kevin Hayes at center and Travis Konecny. All three are growing moustaches, so maybe call them the “Hairy Upper Lip’’ Line.

“I’m kind of building off what I did last year,’’ the 26-year-old Laughton said, “and the confidence I was playing with, especially in the playoffs in some key situations.

“I think that definitely helped my game. Then, coming in, I just trained as hard as I could in the summer, continued to work on my skating. I try to provide energy every night, consistency. It’s been a good year but still a lot of work to do.’’








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About Wayne Fish 2452 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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