PHILADELPHIA – When Kieffer Bellows arrived on the Flyers via waivers from the Islanders a few weeks ago, it was clear he was brought aboard to help fill some vacant roster spots caused by injuries.
But no one could have imagined how many more sidelined players were about to be headed to the trainer’s room by late November.
While Bellows is sorry to see so many players left inactive, he realizes this is an opportunity which should keep him in the lineup for some time to come.
Travis Konecny (right arm injury), Scott Laughton (upper-body injury) and Wade Allison (hip pointer, oblique strain) are the most recent additions to the medical scratches.
Those have opened the door for Bellows and he acknowledges this could be a chance to prove his worth.
“You never want to see injuries to any of the guys,’’ Bellows said before Friday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Wells Fargo Center. “It’s bad to have injuries.
“You know right now, I’m just taking it day to day. Focusing on today’s game, focusing on the first shift. As time goes on, you focus on the next game.’’
Coach John Tortorella has shown faith in Bellows, even giving him some time on the power play.
In turn, it looks like Bellows is starting to look more sure of himself in crucial situations.
“I think it’s just being more confident with the puck,’’ he said. “Just going out there and knowing I have the skill set to make plays and create scoring chances for myself and other guys. Being good defensively for coach.’’
Bellows conceded it wasn’t easy learning a new system when he wasn’t in the lineup on a consistent basis when he first arrived.
“But the coaches have made it (somewhat) easy just from the video,’’ he said. “It is hard going to a new team. . .getting into systems, getting into game-like situations, the chemistry with the guys can be tough.
“I think the coaches have dona a good job of helping me out. The players on the team have been great about supporting me.’’
Tortorella sees potential.
“I think he led our team in scoring chances (on Wednesday) in Washington,’’ the coach said. “He’s shown me that he does have some offensive instincts that I haven’t seen in prior games. He’s going to be put in a more offensive position. Hopefully it will help him.’’
The Flyers endured winless streaks of 10 and 13 games last season. So with the Flyers heading into Friday’s game on an 8-gamer, Tortorella was asked if he’s addressed the subject with the team to avoid a recurrence.
“I don’t even talk about streaks,’’ he said. “About losing streaks or playoffs. We just try to get ready for each and every game. I’m not a measuring stick guy against a certain team. That doesn’t come into my thinking as far as getting ready to play.’’
The Flyers are in the midst of one of their busiest parts of the season, playing virtually every other day until Dec. 18.
Tortorella said that was a reason why he decided to ship rookie defenseman Egor Zamula back to the Phantoms because there are going to be a lot of off days vs. practice days. No point in sitting a kid if he’s not even going to practice with the NHL team.
“With a real banged-up lineup, we have to make adjustments,’’ Tortorella said. “We’re trying to develop our team, we’re trying to go through the process. We just have to be doing it with the (video) tape, rather than on the ice.’’