Shayne Gostisbehere wasn’t hiding from anything Monday morning at the Wells Fargo Center.
He was honest.
He needs to believe in himself again and remember that he can be a dynamic difference-maker from the blue line.
Gostisbehere, an offensive-minded defenseman at his best when he’s eluding the forecheck and spearheading the Flyers’ attack up ice, has struggled to show those strengths, dating back to last season. He has now lost his role on the first-unit power play and will be a healthy scratch for the second straight game Monday night.
“Mentally, when you’re playing with a lot of crap in your mind and you’ve got a lot of confidence issues, it’s harder to make those plays and adapt,” Gostisbehere said after the Flyers’ morning skate. “I’ve just got to reflect on myself and how I’ve just got to realize how good of a player I am and that players like me don’t grow on trees. For myself, I’ve just got to get back to that game.”
Head coach Alain Vigneault wants to see more of the player that he can’t just pick off a tree and place in his lineup.
Obviously meetings between players and coaches are confidential, but I did tell him that we expect more as far as beating the forecheck, getting up in the attack, on the power play. He’s aware of that.
I like Ghost, I like what he can bring to our team. I am expecting a little bit more as far as offensive contribution, but he’s a good young man, he works hard — it’s just a little reset for him. We’re playing four games in five and a half days, so there’s no doubt that he’s going to be in our lineup real soon.
Everyone loves to bring up Gostisbehere’s 2017-18 season because it wasn’t that long ago and it’s when he scored the fourth-most points among NHL defensemen with 65. No NHL blueliner had more power play points that year than Gostisbehere’s 33 (seven goals, 26 assists) and the Flyers made the playoffs.
Through 22 games this season, the 26-year-old has six points (one goal, five assists), is fourth among Flyers defensemen with 37 shots and owns a shooting percentage of 2.7. On the power play, he has four assists and no goals.
“I’ve never battled this much playing before,” Gostisbehere said. “For myself, I’ve got to figure some things out mentally and really find that way to be a good teammate, as well. I think that’s a big part — stay positive and get back to it.
“I’ve just got to work on myself and get my game in order. When you get taken out of the lineup, it’s not for no reason.”
Gostisbehere plays a style well-suited for Vigneault’s system, which encourages defensemen to push the pace and help pin the opposition in the offensive zone.
“I’m going to watch the games, put myself in those people’s situations and see what I could have done there,” Gostisbehere said. “Pick up on little things that I can change to make myself better.
“You learn something every time you watch hockey.”
When he’s playing, believing in his game will be just as important as watching.
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