Wayne Simmonds had every reason to pose for a brief photo op Tuesday night.
Albeit in a losing effort, Simmonds had just scored his 200th career goal as a Flyer, a rare accomplishment achieved by only 14 other players in franchise history.
Only one problem.
The Flyers didn’t secure the puck that found its way into the back of the Capitals' net, and perhaps it wouldn’t have mattered. Simmonds was nowhere to be found afterward in the visitor’s dressing room of Capital One Arena.
No one was quite sure of Simmonds' whereabouts, but perhaps this postgame tweet provided a glimpse into Simmonds' mindset after his 10-minute misconduct late in the third period.
Wayne Simmonds is throwing sticks in the hallway, screaming "FUCKING STUPID, HOW FUCKING STUPID CAN YOU BE???" 👀— Jason Rogers (@HeyJayJRogers) January 9, 2019
On TSN’s Insider Trading segment Tuesday, Simmonds was the first hot topic on the table and a player coveted by teams around the league, but with one caveat.
“The Flyers haven’t made a decision on the direction they want to go with Wayne Simmonds,” analyst Darren Dreger said. “They know he’s a big part of the culture in Philadelphia and has been for a long time, but he’s also a high-valued commodity.”
Dreger mentioned the Jets, Maple Leafs and Flames as contending teams that would have a strong interest in adding a player of Simmonds' caliber.
But mired in the muck of a midseason general managerial change, you can’t fault Chuck Fletcher for attempting to gather his bearings and make well-informed decisions regarding the future of the franchise. A month ago, Fletcher was just making introductory phone calls with agents and getting to know his players on a personal level.
Last week, Fletcher took time to watch the Flyers' prospects for the first time at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.
But this is the fallout of an in-season GM switch when the organization is trying to hit the reset button.
Fletcher may know where he’s going, but right now Simmonds is a compass without a needle, and he deserves better. The outspoken, heart-and-soul leader of this team over the past eight seasons, Simmonds shouldn’t be held in limbo like this.
He saw Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek both sign long-term extensions in the summer before their contract year, and the extension Simmonds was hoping to sign this past summer was inked by James van Riemsdyk, who has clearly underperformed so far in Year 1 of a five-year deal.
All of which makes you wonder how much lack of appreciation Simmonds keeps bottled up when he goes to the rink every day. Even Dreger pointed to a lack of patience on Simmonds' part.
“I don’t think Wayne Simmonds wants to wait around too much longer to determine what his direction is moving forward,” Dreger said.
Still, Simmonds soldiers on and tries to put this whole messy situation in some sort of perspective.
Playing in the league a long time, you’ve been through it before. You bring up the trade deadline, this is my 11th year, you get used to things like this. It just is what it is. You've just got to be a professional on and off the ice. You've got to come to work and do your job.
At the same time, you can understand if he’s not in the mood to put a smile on his face and pose for a photo.
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