The most expensive healthy scratch in Flyers history will be back in the lineup on Tuesday night when the Anaheim Ducks visit.
Defenseman Andrej Meszaros will get another chance to impress Craig Berube in the place of Erik Gustafsson after sitting out for five consecutive games since Oct. 11. You could sense an instant change in Meszaros’ attitude at practice on Monday; he was clearly demoralized when we caught up with him two weeks ago.
“I waited for my chance and now it’s here and I’m really happy about it,” Meszaros said.
The Flyers were parking Meszaros’ $5.5 million salary in the press box each night. He has played just 16 games in the last 600 or so calendar days, coming off multiple injuries. Berube said it didn’t make sense to keep playing Gustafsson after a tough game on Long Island on Saturday.
“I think last game was a little bit of a down game for him, but other than that, he’s been pretty good,” Berube said. “I didn’t like his last game as much. But I also want to get ‘Mez’ in there, too. He’s been out for a little bit and he needs to play, that’s my reasoning.”
Gustafsson, 24, waited the first five games of the season to finally get his chance. He believed his mistakes in Saturday’s game came down to little things, like putting passes on the tape, and not big things like poor positioning.
He’s been under the watchful eye of the Swedish Olympic team’s assistant coach Peter Popovic. Gustafsson has an outside shot to represent Sweden in the Sochi Olympics after an impressive national team debut in last May’s World Championships. Popovic has visited him at least once this season in Philadelphia.
“I’m happy for the games that I got but I need to keep working and hopefully use this time to be better than I was,” Gustafsson said. “I made a couple mistakes that ended up as a few chances for them, I wasn’t really on top of my game. It was not my best game, but I wasn’t terrible.”
This seemingly minor lineup change is just another example of Berube’s marked change in accountability.
“If somebody is not playing well, (it doesn’t make sense) to keep putting them out there when someone is playing well,” Berube said. “You play guys that are playing good. Not everyone has their best game every night. You wish they did.”
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