JvR In Tonight's Line Up
The long-awaited playoff debut for James van Riemsdyk is finally here.
The left-winger, who had missed the last seven weeks with a broken foot, will be in tonight’s line up for the Flyers for Game 5 in Pittsburgh. He will likely be skating on the third line with Jake Voracek and Matt Read.
Tim Pinaccio of CSN tweeted the update: "JVR arrives with first group of players which indicates he is in rinaldo was not with that group."
Going by that tweet, Rinaldo will not dress for tonight's game even though he was not suspended for his actions in the 10-3 loss during Game 4.
After a good practice on Thursday, the man they call “JvR” said he is ready to play. But whether he will play will be up to the people in charge.
“This is the time of year where, no matter what, if your number's called you just suck it up and deal with it,” van Riemsdyk said. “You'd be crazy not to want to play. I'm just trying to feel better every day and get to the point where I can contribute."
Even head coach Peter Laviolette acknowledged the decision to start van Riemsdyk, saying the young forward "looked better every day."
After battling a season filled with injuries, poor play and trade rumors, van Riemsdyk is looking to put all of that behind him as he takes ice for the first time since breaking his foot while blocking a shot against the Islanders on March 1.
The broken foot wasn’t the only injury the 22-year-old van Riemsdyk had to sustain this season. He battled a lower body injury from the beginning of the season, slowing down his fast stride and affecting his ability to create scoring chances.
Then on January 12, also against the Islanders, van Riemsdyk was hit twice in the head, knocking him out of the game and putting him on the shelf for over a month with a concussion.
Fortunately for van Riemsdyk, the concussion may have saved him from wearing a different sweater at the trade deadline. The deadline say JvR’s name thrown around quite a bit in trades for defensemen like Shea Weber, Luke Schenn and Ryan Suter.
That all tied into his lack of scoring presence this season. In the 43 games van Riemsdyk did play in, he scored only 11 goals and tallied 13 assists and 24 points, all obvious career lows in a season that was supposed to be his break out year with a new contract
Last playoffs was the inidication that van Riemsdyk was ready to step up with the trading of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. In 11 playoff games in 2011, van Riemsdyk scored seven goals.
Many thought van Riemsdyk would be a 30-plus goal scorer this season despite only scoring 15 and 21 goals in each of his first two seasons. Fans will have to wait until next year to see if he'll stay healthy and reach those expected numbers.
But for now, van Riemsdyk will have to help his Flyers finish off the Penguins and move on to the next round.