Better With Popcorn

Van Riemsdyk Returns to Philly; Invisible In Leafs Win

The last man on the ice for warm ups was James van Riemsdyk.

Fans were decked in orange and black as well as blue and white no. 21 jerseys all through the Wells Fargo Center before the Flyers 4-2 loss on Monday to Toronto. Decorated with signs, there were a handful of people awaiting the return of the man they call "JvR."

So when the Toronto Maple Leafs left winger finally walked down the visitor's tunnel for the first time and hopped onto the ice, he received some scattered applause from the fans who were ready to acknowledge the returning young star.

Coming out last was a normal routine for van Riemsdyk, who claimed he wasn't doing anything special or different for his former fan base.

"I did my same routine so I didn’t do anything different," van Riemsdyk said after the game.

But he did acknowledge the fact there was a contingent of fans there waiting to welcome him with open arms with signs or a chorus of boos.

"I didn’t hear anything, so I don’t know," he said. "I saw some of those, those were funny. That’s Philly for you. There are a lot of passionate fans here. There are a lot of great people in the city that support this team and you would have to be crazy to say you don’t appreciate that stuff. It was pretty cool to see."

Van Riemsdyk was traded to the Maple Leafs this off season in exchange for defenseman Luke Schenn. And with the homecoming over with, it was down to business for van Riemsdyk. 

It was a rough game overall for van Riemsdyk, who has been an integral member of the top line for the Maple Leafs. Both Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel hooked up for the opening goal, but they were the only two on his line to register points in the win.

Van Riemsdyk was mostly invisible in the game. The Middletown, NJ native went pointless and recorded only one shot on goal while attaining an even rating. It was his second straight game without a point after rattling off a four-game span with at least one point.

On the season, van Riemsdyk has a team-high 11 goals and is second with 15 points.

Van Riemsdyk was noticeable out on the ice while battling former teammate Zac Rinaldo all game. In the third period, Rinaldo drilled van Riemsdyk into his own net, drawing a wild reaction from the fans as well as a shocked look on JvR's face as he wanted a penalty to be called.

"Yeah I was trying to be all over everybody just so happens that it was JVR that got the worst of it," Rinaldo said after the game.

Van Riemsdyk acknowledged the style of play by Rinaldo that has made him an integral part of the Flyers energy line. It's all a part of the game, van Riemsdyk said.

"No, it’s fun, it’s hockey out there. He does his job pretty well when he’s crushing guys out there," said JvR. "When he’s out there you have to keep your head up and know when he’s on the ice. It’s a challenge. We were able to get a goal. We were able to win the game. We did our good job and I’m glad to get the win."

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