The Flyers have had to deal with a myriad of issues that threaten to wreck them. And now Peter Laviolette is juggling his lines on almost a nightly basis.
The latest finds Wayne Simmonds, out indefinitely with what has been confirmed as a concussion, suffered when he took a vicious elbow to head from Washington’s John Erskine. Simmonds had just moved to the top line, with Claude Giroux and Danny Briere after Scott Hartnell broke the big toe in his foot.
So 22-year-old rookie Tye McGinn will be lining up with the new captain and Briere when the Flyers try to avenge last week’s 5-1 loss to Tampa Bay Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Not too shabby for a kid who didn’t even make the team coming out of training camp. Since being recalled, however, McGinn has a goal and two assists with nine penalty minutes in six games.
“It’s been up and down, but it’s been a great journey for me,” said the 6-foot-2, 205-pounder. “The organization has been unbelievable to me with all the positive things they’ve said to me. I’m just trying to do my best to contribute back.”
Certainly his coach has liked what he’s seen.
“Tye’s done a really nice job since he’s been here,” said Laviolette, whose club has fallen to 14th among the 15 teams in the conference, and has played more games than 10 of them. “I thought his training camp was real strong, with guys out of the lineup due to injury, there’s always opportunity. He’s a big body on that line that can make some space out there. He’s done a nice job.”
Considering how small both Giroux and Briere are, that’s desperately needed as long as the bigger and more physical Simmonds and Hartnell remain out.
“He’s a big kid,’’ said Giroux, who finally broke out of a scoring slump with a goal and assist in Saturday’s 5-3 win over Carolina. “He protects the puck well. Danny and I are having fun playing with him.’’