VOORHEES, N.J. – One might expect Tyson Foerster to be slightly overwhelmed by the bright lights/big city atmosphere of the NHL and Philadelphia.
Judging by what he’s shown in his first seven games in a Flyers uniform, intimidation isn’t even in his vocabulary.
Seven games, seven points, including the tying goal in the dying minutes of Thursday night’s dramatic 5-4 shootout win over the Central Division co-leading Minnesota Wild.
The rookie right wing sent a rocket past Wild goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and made it look easy.
Did he ever imagine the transition from minor league to major league hockey would go so seamlessly?
“No I don’t think so,” he said with all modesty after Friday’s practice at the Flyers Training Center. “I just wanted to come up and try to build my game and show the coaching staff and the guys around here that I can play up here and gain more confidence.
“I feel like I’ve done that.”
The shot to beat Fleury kind of epitomized Foerster’s style of play. He quickly analyzes a situation and knows how to make the best of it.
“I just kind of blacked out there,” he said with a chuckle. “We’re down 4-3 – just to score, it felt really good. I had some space, I ripped it and I was lucky enough for it to go in.”
Coach John Tortorella said one quality he admires about Foerster is his poise with the puck. He’s the kind of player who feels comfortable holding onto it rather than making anxious moves.
As for their brief player-coach relationship, Foerster joins a significant group of young players who might experience a little bit of nerves.
“I’m still a bit nervous,” he said. “He’s been great. I feel like I’ve been playing pretty good. I think he’s happy with that (play).”
Foerster missed nearly all of last season due to major shoulder surgery. But he worked hard at his rehab and didn’t allow himself to get too down.
He says his parents played a key role in keeping his spirits up.
“I think a lot of people were there by my side,” he said. “They knew I was upset not to be able to play down there at Lehigh Valley (Phantoms). I wanted to play every night. But obviously I couldn’t.
“My parents, just talking to me, saying it was going to be OK, helped a lot.”
Tortorella has mentioned that he expects Foerster to return to the Phantoms for a game this Sunday as the team pushes for a playoff spot. If the Phantoms do make a postseason run, Foerster is expected to compete for them and understands the importance of going through that postseason experience.
“I want to go on a deep playoff run down there,” he said. “It’s where I started and where I’ve played the whole season. I miss those guys and I’m looking forward to it.”
Nick Deslauriers, who missed his first game of the season on Thursday night with an upper-body injury, did not practice on Friday. Tortorella said he’s listed as day-to-day. Also, Owen Tippett, who got banged up a bit in the Florida game, did not skate but is expected to play in Saturday afternoon’s game against Detroit.