It’s on again for off-and-on defenseman Zamula

Egor Zamula

PHILADELPHIA – Sometimes the best classroom for young NHL defensemen is a seat off the ice.

Guys can learn a lot just by watching other, more experienced players go about their business.

Such has been the case with the Flyers’ Egor Zamula, who has sat out five games this season as he picks up pointers from a seat away from the action.

Coach John Tortorella knows the Russian can get the job done but the issue is consistency. Some nights he looks like Slava Fetisov, others like he belongs with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Tortorella announced at Thursday morning’s skate that Zamula would be back in the lineup for the New Jersey Devils game after sitting out the last two. With Zamula in, veteran Marc Staal gets a night off.

“I still think he (Zamula) is inconsistent and I don’t expect that to change overnight,” the coach said. “But our job (as coaches) is to continue to send the message. I just want to see a more determined personality on the ice.

“At times he’s really good with the puck. Still I want to see the puck snapped to where it wants to go. Everything about his game is I want it with pace. Pace isn’t always with your legs, it’s with your mind, it’s with your hands, it brings in determination. That’s what we’re working with him on. It will not be cured overnight.”

Zamula is aware of what has to be done and, in addition to watching games, he’s been working on things in practice.

He is a plus-10 so he must not be messing up too badly.

“I’m excited to be back,” he said. “I need to play a little bit faster. Move the puck, support your teammates on the ice. Every player wants to play but I learn a lot because when you watch a game, you’re looking for good plays, bad plays, mistakes. I hope it’s going to help me.”

Tentatively, Zamula was scheduled to play with Rasmus Ristolainen in Staal’s absence.

“You want to play every night,” Zamula reiterated. “The game is quick and (watching), I learn from that. I’m trying to keep my level of play up. I watched a lot of clips with (associate coach Brad) Shaw. He’s tried to help me by watching these clips. I try not to make the same mistakes again.”

>Laughton on second line

Scott Laughton has been all over the lineup this season and recently was playing as a center on the fourth line after Ryan Poehling was promoted.

For the Devils game, Laughton was penciled in to center the second line with wings Joel Farabee and Cam Atkinson. Poehling was back on the fourth centering the PHD line with Nick Deslauriers and Garnet Hathaway.

Totorella said Laughton’s lack of production (one goal, 10 points) might stem from a bit of inconsistency.

“It’s been up and down,” Tortorella said. “I haven’t talked to him. . .he knows what he needs to do. He’s gone through an adjustment of losing some ice time. It’s a different team this year, different circumstances. It’s been a little bit of a struggle, him finding his way. He will, he’ll work it out.

“A lot of times a player will determine how much ice time he will get. He’s been inconsistent. But the lineup has changed, too. Poehling has had a pretty good start to the year. The ultimate equalizer I think is they let me know how much ice time they’re going to get by how they play. So if you’re playing really well, I’m not looking to take that away from you.”

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About Wayne Fish 2451 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.