MONTREAL – Flyers interim coach Scott Gordon concedes that losing veteran defenseman Radko Gudas to a two-game suspension is costly.
“He’s played so well that he’s one guy I haven’t had to worry about," Gordon said after Thursday’s morning skate at the Bell Centre. "He’s obviously a big loss for us. He’s played a lot of really good hockey. He’s consistent, and we know what we’re going to get from him every night.”
Gordon said he had confidence that rookie Phil Myers could fill in for Gudas. Myers, 22, was in the lineup Thursday in Montreal, and he will play Saturday against Pittsburgh at Lincoln Financial Field.
Myers was one of the few bright spots Thursday as the Flyers fell to Montreal, 5-1. The big defenseman played 20:28, took nine shots (one on net), had three hits and was plus-1.
The fact Myers made his NHL debut Sunday in a 3-1 win in Detroit -- he was on the ice for nearly 10 minutes and played solidly -- should help the 6-foot-5, 210-pound defenseman, Gordon said.
“He was starting to stretch into a time frame where he was sitting for a while, and that was my mindset – to get him into action in case a situation arose where we had an injury," Gordon said. The coach didn’t want him "going two or three weeks without playing. Having had the benefit of playing the game against Detroit, I think he’s going to go into this game a lot more sure of himself. He played well for us, and this is a great opportunity for him, and I have no doubts he’ll do well.”
At the start of Thursday’s game, Myers was paired with Shayne Gostisbehere, who had been with Andrew MacDonald. MacDonald was with Robert Hagg.
From a skill standpoint, Gordon said Myers and Gostisbehere complement each other the best. Myers was alongside several defensemen Thursday.
“He was excellent,” Gordon said after the game. “Everybody saw tonight what we’ve been seeing for a while down at Lehigh (Valley). He certainly made a statement.”
Before the game, Myers said he and Gostisbehere would “try not to complicate things too much. Just keep it simple and get pucks out, and if we have a chance to jump in the rush, [one of us] will do it, and the other will stay back.”