Deslauriers key to Flyers’ camaraderie

Nick Deslauriers

PHILADELPHIA – He might be a throwback to the Broad Street Bullies but Nick Deslauriers gives the Flyers more than just a tough-guy presence in today’s modern hockey.

      In some ways, the 33-year-old left wing provides inspiration with his physical play, and that means more than just dropping the gloves.

      However, during Saturday’s game against the New York Rangers, Deslauriers did exactly that. The 6-foot-1, 218-pound left wing took on the Rangers rookie Matt Rempe, who only goes 6-foot-7, 241.

      “He’s a very important guy for us,” said Flyers coach John Tortorella after Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Blueshirts at the Wells Fargo Center. “That’s a good old-fashioned hockey fight there.

      “And he’s a big part of our chemistry. What he does, what he has to do, how he prepares for a game. I think the guys respect it. The coaching staff certainly does. It’s a huge part of the camaraderie.”

      Deslauriers knows he has a a job to do and taking on the much bigger Rempe falls into that responsibility. The Flyer slugger managed to pull the Ranger winger’s jersey partly over his head, got in a good shot and then dropped him to the ice.

      “He (Rempe) is tall,” Deslauriers grinned. “I’ve been in those shoes, to prove something and stick in the league. That’s what I bring. . .I haven’t had one (a fight) in a while. I have to give credit to both of us. It’s a hard job but, like I said, I’ve been in those shoes before.”

      Deslauriers said he saw Rempe kind of “lurking in the warm-up” before the game.

      “He doesn’t usually take ‘no’ for an answer often,” Deslauriers said. “I’ve fought some tall guys before. Just two grown men trying to do our jobs. I think we respect each other well.”

      Deslauriers has only played in 50 of the Flyers’ 58 games but he understands there will be nights when everyone is healthy and he might have to sit. It’s all part of the job.

      “We’re young, we put ourselves in this spot and we’re playing well,” he said. “At my age, I know there are going to be some nights when I’m not in. It’s easy (to sit) when you win and you have a good group of guys like this. It sucks not playing but at the same time when you have success, the ultimate goal is to make the playoffs. Whatever it takes, I’m always ready.”

      Goaltender Samuel Ersson enjoys the way Deslauriers patrols the ice looking for troublemakers.

      “He’s an absolute dynamo,” Ersson said. “He’s a warrior for us out there. I wouldn’t want to fight him. You could feel the atmosphere in the building and for us, as a team, it provides us with so much energy.”

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About Wayne Fish 2426 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.