Laughton’s leadership role a key to career-best season

Scott Laughton

VOORHEES, N.J. – Although the Flyers decided to go without an “official” captain this season, Scott Laughton did an admirable job filling in as an alternate.

Head coach John Tortorella made it clear before Tuesday morning’s skate at the Flyers Training Center that he’s not only satisfied with this arrangement for the current season but will go with the same one for next year.

In a way, that says a lot about Laughton’s leadership skills.

Years ago, as a teenager, Laughton played in the World Junior Championships and was nicknamed “Captain Canada.”

Maybe he was just born to lead.

“I’d like to think so,” he said. “As a young kid, I had a lot of guys who helped along the way in minor hockey. I learned a lot from a guy like Boone Jenner (captain of the Columbus Blue Jackets) in junior. You learn and try to take different things from different guys. Then try to be yourself at the end of the day.”

Laughton said it’s been a good experience to have a letter on his jersey this year. As for next year, who knows.

“It is out of our control,” Laughton said. “Just try to be the best team guy everyday. Bring the same element, so I think that’s what you try to do, play your role to the best of your ability and help these young guys.

“I’m not going to change anything no matter what it is.”

Tortorella said he doesn’t rely on a traditional leadership group of four or five veterans. Basically it’s just a one-to-one partnership with Laughton.

“We do have a lot of young guys in here,” the player said. “I’ve had that experience of being in the minors here, going up and down and having that experience. I know what the young guys are going through. I try to help them out that way.”

Laughton is enjoying his best season since joining the team for a five-game trial way back in the 2012-13 season. His 18 goals, 23 assists and 41 points are all career highs.

“I’ve been a pretty vocal guy and try and lead that way,” he said. “And have some fun doing it. I’m not going to change because I have a letter or anything. I haven’t changed since I got here and I won’t.”

The 28-year-old native of Ontario, Canada hasn’t experienced too much success with the team.

“I mean I’m not getting any younger,” he said. “You want to win in this league. That’s what you play for, to play meaningful hockey games when it starts to get warm outside. It starts to get tiring going home every year in April and having that long summer of training.

“It’s kind of like the dog days of doing the same thing over and over. I want this franchise to do well, I want it to take a step. I think we have some good pieces to do that. Obviously, the words rebuild and like that. . .you pretty much control what you control. Hopefully get some injured back next year and start fresh.”

 

>Deslauriers returning to action

 

After missing a couple games, Nicolas Deslauriers was scheduled to return to action for Tuesday night’s game against Montreal.

“I’m happy to be back,” he said. “I had to work hard to get back out there.”

He suffered an injury during a pre-game warm-up and it took awhile to get things straightened out.

“I knew there was something wrong,” he said. “It’s never happened before. I’m lucky enough that it wasn’t major.”

 

>Thoughts on Flyers Carnival

 

Tortorella took in his first Flyers Carnival at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday and said it was a great experience.

“There was a lot of energy,” he said. “I saw all the players along the way. Great cause. People were so good. I’ve heard so much about it. Really good stuff. It was a lot of fun. Met a lot of great people.”

One thing Tortorella got asked a lot about was how long he believes it will take for the Flyers to get back into serious contention.

“It’s the same thing I’ve been talking about since day one,” the coach said. “Just the passion that people have, the feedback I got back throughout the day. They’re just dying for it to go the right way and get it back to where we all want it to get to. I said, ‘you’re going to have to be patient.’

“A lot of people didn’t like hearing that. But there has to be some patience and process to it. I just love their passion and enthusiasm.”

 

>Short shots

 

Cayden Primeau, son of former Flyers captain Keith Primeau, was scheduled to start in goal for the Canadiens. He was set to face the Flyers’ Carter Hart. . .With the schedule getting tight at the end of a long season, the Flyers will not practice on Wednesday or Friday.

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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.