Mayhew glad to be back after scary Motown crash

Gerry Mayhew, sporting a shiner around his left eye, skated on Thursday morning at the Wells Fargo Center and is scheduled to play Thursday night vs. Washington. (Zack Hill photo)

      With a guy who plays with the speed and fire of a Gerry Mayhew, it was bound to happen.

      Crashes into boards happen literally every minute of an NHL game, but not with the intensity of the one which knocked out Mayhew from last Saturday’s Flyers-Red Wings game at Detroit.

      Mayhew was on a rapid rush toward the Detroit net when he tripped over goaltender Thomas Greiss’s stick, lost his balance and slid headfirst into the end boards. Blood immediately erupted from his face.

      It would take a dozen stitches (six interior, six exterior) to close the wound around Mayhew’s left eye. Fortunately there was no injury to the eye itself but it sure was a scary moment.

      After Thursday morning’s skate in preparation for a game against the Washington Capitals at the Wells Fargo Center, Mayhew was able to smile as he recalled the incident.

      The sight of all that blood on the ice at Little Caesars Arena was enough to make the most hardened veteran witness wince.

      How frightening were those first couple minutes after the head-on smash-up?

      “Yeah, it’s kind of a flash before your eyes,’’ Mayhew said. “You look up and the boards are there. Next thing you know you’re bleeding. Tough situation, kind of unlucky but I’m glad I can feel better now.’’

      As for his vision, Mayhew wasn’t too concerned. He could see through all the red stuff, so that was a relief.

      “I could still see at the time,’’ he said. “I didn’t know. . .I was bleeding from my nose and my eye. I didn’t panic but (I knew) it could be bad.’’

      Mayhew passed concussion protocol and suffered no damage to the orbital bone around the eye. Had there been a fracture, he might have missed more playing time or been forced to wear a fuller, more protective facial shield.

      “The last couple days it’s gotten a lot better, maybe moving around helped it,’’ said Mayhew, still sporting a shiner around the eye. “I feel better.’’

     With Mayhew back in the lineup, he’s slated to once again be playing with Morgan Frost and Max Willman. Interim head coach Mike Yeo has seen some potential there.

     “I think a big part of it was the speed of Gerry and Max and just sort of the mentality of going north (on the attack),’’ Yeo said. “I thought the forecheck was very effective for those guys, creating turnovers in the offensive zone. When you put a player like Frost (with them), you want people who can help him get to the offensive part of his game.”

     Mayhew added: “I think we have some good chemistry together. We’ve played together for awhile now. I’m excited to see what we can do.’’

     >Braun draws praise

     Veteran defenseman Justin Braun is enjoying perhaps his best season as a Flyer. But the success story could be coming to an end rather sooner than expected. His contract is running out, which puts him near the top of the list of trade candidates at or before the March 21 deadline.

     “Probably the best word is reliability,’’ Yeo responded when asked to describe Braun’s role in the Flyers lineup. “That’s something that’s a real compliment. You get a lot of respect from your teammates and your coaches when you’re a guy who’s reliable, night after night, taking hits to make plays.’’

     With Ryan Ellis out for nearly the entire season, Braun has stepped up into the role as Ivan Provorov’s partner on the first defense pairing without missing a beat.

     “He (Braun) is first on pucks, he’ll block shots,’’ Yeo said. “He pays attention to detail. He does all the things asked of him and that’s a level of professionalism – you get a lot of respect, a lot of credibility from the people you’re working with when you do that.’’

      >Brown, Ristolainen possible for Monday

      Both Patrick Brown and Rasmus Ristolainen are back on skates as they recover from injuries. Yeo said neither one would play on Thursday night but possibly could be cleared after the game and be eligible to go for Monday’s home game vs. Carolina.

      As for Kevin Hayes, the team’s medical staff had set March 1 as the date for a possible decision on the center’s status. Yeo is now suggesting there might be a revision on the timeline, with things being moved up a bit.

      Derick Brassard, out after a brief comeback, is back to skating again but Yeo said the center’s hip injury continues to be an issue. “I’m not going to get too excited to see him on the ice for one day,’’ Yeo commented. “We’ll see what happens going forward.’’

      >Thoughts on Couturier

      The Flyers have reiterated a couple times regarding the recent back surgery for Sean Couturier that everything was done to try to avoid an operation – including a couple epidurals – before the decision was made to have the season-ending procedure.

      “I know in Coots’ case, this is something that needed to be done,’’ Yeo said. “Coots wanted to play. This guy did everything he could to try to play. People could say this is a lost season but this is a guy who wanted to play hockey. It was really hard for him to watch his teammates go through what they’re going through. He just wasn’t able to play.’’

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About Wayne Fish 1782 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.