Philippe Myers walked into the Flyers' dressing room Wednesday morning, glanced into his stall and noticed that something wasn’t quite right.
“I asked the equipment guys, ‘Where’s my gear?’" Myers said. "I thought someone else’s pads were in my locker.”
Turns out it was Myers' equipment. The 22-year-old defenseman had no idea that the Flyers' players have two separate equipment bags — practice gear at the Skate Zone and their game day equipment.
His shoulder, elbow and shin pads that he’s worn with the Phantoms are at the Wells Fargo Center in preparation for Saturday’s game against the Red Wings, and then he’ll pack it all up and take to Detroit.
Until then, Myers is breaking in a new set of equipment, as well as trying to break into the league. There’s a feeling that Myers' debut was imminent once the team recalled him from Lehigh Valley last Saturday, but right now his NHL debut is in a holding pattern.
“For him to come up here for a week or two weeks, it’s not going to hurt his development,” Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon said. “You have to make sure you balance the schedule for what you need, and what you potentially could need.”
Essentially, Myers has taken over the seventh defenseman role vacated by Christian Folin, who was dealt along with Dale Weise to the Montreal Canadiens. Gordon can’t risk not having that extra defenseman, especially in back-to-back situations in which the second game is on the road.
Secondly, it doesn’t benefit Myers or the Flyers to receive a quick, last-minute call-up from Lehigh Valley when the defenseman is not acclimated to the speed of the NHL.
“There is a pace of play that can’t be replicated in the American Hockey League to get a player used to the harder passes, receiving, making [them], bigger, stronger players that are coming down on you," Gordon said. "Right now, if anything, it’s helping his development to experience that pace of play."
Gordon could give Myers that first game and have either Shayne Gostisbehere or Andrew MacDonald sit as a healthy scratch. Gostisbhehere played just 11:24 Tuesday in Minnesota, where he finished as a minus-3 while also committing a heinous turnover in the middle of the ice that led to a prime scoring chance.
MacDonald, Gostisbehere's partner, has performed like a third-pairing defenseman, blocking a ton of shots, but he doesn’t possess the athleticism and ability to move the puck like Myers does. However, Gostisbehere runs the point on the top power-play unit while MacDonald is utilized on the penalty kill where only Ivan Provorov and Radko Gudas see more time shorthanded.
Right now, Myers wouldn’t be utilized on special teams at all until he is better acclimated to the NHL and has worked extensively in those particular areas.
Myers will get his shot, and soon. He’s one injury away from being the next man up and Gordon knows how important that first game will be to Myers and his family, who live in Moncton, New Brunswick. The Flyers' coach just can’t say definitively when that game will be.
“Right now, he deserves to be here and the experience of being here and playing and practicing with NHL players every day is beneficial,” Gordon said.
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