Mike Richards has the spotlight. I look elsewhere. Wayne Simmonds. Superman. The player we loved, still do and, while I do that trade 100 out of 100 times, few wanted to see leave.
I was of the opinion, one shared by others, that Wayne Simmonds did not get a fair shake last season. Murray matched him against the opponent’s toughest lines, Wayne embraced his defensive role and naturally suffered in the offensive department. The Flyers’ head coach, Peter Laviolette, had a different plan. Simmonds gets close to 15 minutes of ice time per game, is placed on the powerplay (including the first unit), offensive situations as well as on the grinding lines. In other words, the Flyers are using Wayne Simmonds as a true power forward, as it should be. So far, he has a goal and assist in 3 games.
The Wayne Simmonds I watched for 3 seasons is going to have a chip on his shoulder tonight and will be ready to flex his muscles at both ends of the ice. Expect him on the first powerplay unit. Expect him in key offensive situations. Will the gloves stay on? We shall see. I will watch for his interaction with Jack Johnson. I do suspect Drew Doughty will have a smile for Wayne and vice versa. Perhaps after the game, regardless of the result, they may have a few minutes to catch up – Drew will be buying of course.
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