Do your job.
“Maybe it’s an overused term,’’ Flyers coach Dave Hakstol was saying after the morning skate before tonight’s home game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. “But in an oversimplified way, that’s what it is.’’
Minutes earlier, his first-line right winger, his hottest player over the last two months, tried out the left foot that was struck by a puck in Tuesday night’s game, affecting his most noticeable asset – speed. Travis Konecny showed immediate discomfort and retired to the dressing room quickly, and while Hakstol did not rule him out for tonight’s game — “game-time decision,’’ he said — he was certainly mulling how to construct his lines in case Konecny is scratched.
The most likely option is promoting Michael Raffl from the third line and activating Taylor Leier, who has been a healthy scratch over the last seven games. Rookie Oskar Lindblom, promoted for Tuesday’s game, can also play on the right wing, but it seems improbable that he would be asked to make that adjustment while still getting his feet wet.
Then again, Hakstol’s mantra, overused or not, has led to all types of combinations in a season that began so unpromising and injury tumultuous, but is now undeniably trending toward not only a playoff appearance, but a run as well. Defensive pairings have changed, and players such as Nolan Patrick, Jordan Weal, and Konecny have moved up and down the lineup.
“At this time of the year, when you’re part of a team, everybody’s got a role and you have to assume that role and do it to the best of your abilities,’’ Hakstol said. “Now there are some days where that role is going to grow, or it’s going to expand a little bit, or might change a little bit. Whatever you’re called upon to do.
“That’s something that grows within a good team. It grows from your individual players for sure. It grows from your leaders. A lot of times, it grows from your glue guys. Some of the guys who aren’t necessarily in the spotlight. Sometimes, the guys aren’t even in the lineup. But they’re ready to be in the lineup and assume a role.’’
This means you, Taylor Leier.
A number of Flyers stayed up to watch the U.S. women win the Olympic gold-medal game in a shootout Wednesday night, among them Hakstol. Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, who scored the winning shootout goal, and her sister Monique Lamoureux-Morando, who scored the tying goal with seven minutes left, played at the University of North Dakota when Hakstol coached the men’s team there and, he said, “were really good to my daughters.’’ But Hakstol is also Canadian by birth and upbringing, so when asked where his allegiance lay, he laughed and said, “See you guys.’’