PITTSBURGH -- At one point, during the hustle and bustle of the team’s routine morning skate, Peter Laviolette called the Flyers’ six rookies over for a chat along the boards.
The meeting between Laviolette and Matt Read, Brayden Schenn, Zac Rinaldo, Eric Wellwood, Marc-Andre Bourdon and Sean Couturier was simple and to the point. It didn’t last long.
“He told us he has confidence in us, always,” Bourdon said. “He thought we played really well this season. He wanted us to know that he knows we can do a great job. It was nice to hear.”
For Laviolette, it wasn’t just chatter. He’s proving it with his Game 1 lineup on Wednesday night at Consol Energy Center. Bourdon will remain in the lineup and veteran, Stanley Cup winner Pavel Kubina will be scratched. Nick Grossmann, who missed the last three games of the season, will be back in the lineup.
Kubina skated as an extra defenseman again on Wednesday after the morning skate with fellow scratch Jody Shelley. He played on the extra pairing all week in practice in preparation for the series opener. Practice lines are often tough to judge, but Wednesday’s skate confirmed what once seemed unlikely.
Kubina, a veteran of 46 playoff games, was acquired on Feb. 18 in exchange for second and fourth round picks because the Flyers apparently thought guys like Bourdon could not do the job. Kubina earned $3.85 million this season.
“For me, this is not a roll of the dice,” Laviolette said. “We didn’t go ‘Oh my god, it’s your first playoff series.’ I don’t think that would help. Our younger players have been used in every situation imaginable up to this point - they got to be part of HBO, part of the Winter Classic. Never once has there ever been any lack of confidence from the organization, our staff, and their teammates.
“They need to do their job. They’ve done it all year.”
Bourdon, 22, played 45 games with the Flyers this year. If you recall, Bourdon had a little bit of a hiccup in his game in February before Kubina was acquired, and that could be due to the fact that he was playing through a concussion.
Bourdon was outspoken when he went to Adirondack after the Flyers acquired Kubina, saying he believed he could fill that role for the Flyers.
He returned to Philadelphia on March 29 and played the final 6 games of the regular season with the Flyers. He is expected to be paired with Andreas Lilja on the third pairing, which could see limited minutes depending on the matchups. Wednesday night will be his first playoff game.
“I’m going to go in there and play like I have played,” Bourdon said. “I’m not a flashy guy out there, so I just try to get the puck out and play simple. I need to make sure my reactions are hard and fast and I finish my hits.”
Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jaromir Jagr
Brayden Schenn - Danny Briere - Wayne Simmonds
Jakub Voracek - Matt Read - Eric Wellwood
Maxime Talbot - Sean Couturier - Zac Rinaldo
Kimmo Timonen - Matt Carle
Brayden Coburn - Nicklas Grossmann
Marc-Andre Bourdon - Andreas Lilja
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers