Will the Kevin Hayes 'campaign' win over the Flyers?


Kevin Hayes seldom goes quietly.

His voice is easily discernible when he's on the ice with his teammates. He likes to have fun at the rink and wants to make sure everyone else does, too.

"As you develop that chemistry and do the team-building stuff, Kevin's a big part of that for us," James van Riemsdyk said at the beginning of training camp when Hayes was unable to be on the ice. "He's kind of the life of the locker room in that sense where people tend to gravitate toward him, they love being around him."

Hayes has been working his way back since Sept. 21, when he had to undergo his second type of abdominal surgery in fewer than four months. The second-line center is almost there. A few days ago, head coach Alain Vigneault said the earliest Hayes would possibly make his season debut was Tuesday of next week.

But that's if Hayes doesn't talk his way into Saturday's game.

"I'm telling you right now, Kevin is on a campaign right now to play on this road trip," Vigneault said with a laugh after practice Thursday. "He's gone to everyone in my staff, medical, the doctors, that he wants to play on this trip. He just hasn't come to me yet, but I know that's going to follow. So I would not count him out."

The Flyers have a back-to-back road set this weekend. The club faces the Hurricanes on Friday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and the Stars on Saturday (8 p.m. ET/NBCSP+). There's no chance Hayes plays Friday, but it sounds like a return Saturday is not completely outside the realm of possibility.


The key for the Flyers is that Hayes is nearing. The 6-foot-5 pivot is one of the club's top penalty killers and also plays on the power play. Over Hayes' first two seasons in Philadelphia, including the playoffs, the Flyers have gone 30-3-2 in games that he has scored a goal.

The Flyers could use a hand offensively. They've scored 1.40 goals per game over their last five games, a stretch in which they've been shut out twice.

When Hayes is ready to return, he'll have to be activated off of long-term injured reserve, which will require some maneuvering with the Flyers' salary cap and roster.

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