Flyers

Changes may be looming for Nick Cousins, Matt Read in Flyers' lineup

Changes may be looming for Nick Cousins, Matt Read in Flyers' lineup

CHICAGO — Despite a shortage of players because of injuries and suspensions, Flyers coach Dave Hakstol is still trying to exert pressure so none of his players get too comfortable.
 
Nick Cousins has two assists in two games. Matt Read has a goal.
 
The forwards switched lines during Monday’s practice at Johnny’s Icehouse West in preparation for Tuesday’s game against the Blackhawks.
 
It also appears Roman Lyubimov will enter the lineup for the first time this season. He took some of Cousins’ shifts in practice.
 
Hakstol seldom changes his lineup when the Flyers win. Given Saturday’s 4-3 overtime loss in Arizona, he now has an excuse to make lineup changes.
 
“We’re going to consider different things,” Hakstol said of Tuesday's lineup. “Nothing is set in stone yet, but we’re looking at a couple different things.”
 
Read, who scored a goal and came within an eyelash of winning the game in OT — Coyotes goalie Mike Smith made a spectacular save — moved into Cousins’ spot on Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s line with Dale Weise.
 
Cousins dropped to Boyd Gordon’s fourth line with Chris VandeVelde. However, Lyubimov took some of his shifts, too.
 
“Yeah, he went on the right side a couple of times today on Gordo’s line,” said Hakstol, who mentioned over the weekend he wanted to get Lyubimov into a game on this trip.
 
“We’ll give it some thought and decide final choices in the morning.”
 
Lyubimov thinks he is playing.
 
“I think so, yes, I will play,” said Lyubimov, who speaks limited English. “It’s my chance to start to play.”
 
It’s entirely possible all three are in the lineup Tuesday and someone else — perhaps VandeVelde — comes out.
 
Hakstol lauded Read for his effort in training camp and said he’s had “an impact” on the team’s first couple games. This is a reward.
 
“I played maybe four, five shifts with Bellemare last game,” Read said. “We had some good offensive chances. I don’t know how, but our chemistry was there on the first shift with some scoring chances.
 
“Bellemare is a great centerman, always on the puck and in great position. Weise is kind of the same thing — a hard-nosed player who has an offensive side, as well.”  
 
Cousins played an excellent game against Los Angeles but struggled against Arizona. He wasn’t alone in the struggle department, either. Scores of teammates joined him.
 
“He does little things that go unnoticed and he contributes,” Hakstol said.
 
That Hakstol didn’t find criticism in Cousins’ play could imply that the 23-year-old is remaining in the lineup, but moving down.
 
Cousins himself wasn’t sure. He also lost his spot on the top power play in practice to Michael Raffl.
 
“There’s competition right now,” Cousins said. “Schenner (Brayden Schenn) is coming back. Someone will have to come out. If you’re not playing your best every night, you’re going to get taken out. That’s how it works.”
 
That’s the competition angle Hakstol is working here with his players.
 
“It’s healthy,” Cousins said. “That’s what you want. A healthy competition that brings out the best in everyone. It’s good.”
 
Cousins said he feels he’s done a “pretty good job” through two games, which Hakstol didn’t deny. Asked about sliding down a line, Cousins admitted he wasn’t sure what to read into that.
 
“What happens now is out of my hands,” he said. "That’s the way it is right now and what Hak sees. I think Reader played well last game.
 
“If guys are playing well, they’re going to move up in the lineup. I think that’s what happened here today.”

Flyers Talk podcast: Joel Farabee joins the crew to talk all things Flyers

Flyers Talk podcast: Joel Farabee joins the crew to talk all things Flyers

On the latest Flyers Talk podcast, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Katie Emmer and Jordan Hall are joined by special guest Joel Farabee.

From how Farabee is staying busy during the NHL hiatus to his bond with teammates, let's dive in:

1:30 — The Flyers' regular season would have finished by now

4:20 — Neutral site playoff games at smaller venues?

7:00 — More teams in the playoffs makes a lot of sense

13:35 — Farabee back home in upstate New York

15:00 — Cooking during the quarantine and life in the NHL

16:50 — Michael Raffl's haircut!

17:25 — Farabee "carrying" his teammates on Xbox

18:30 — Playing under a coach like Alain Vigneault

20:20 — Leaving home at 14 to pursue an NHL career

21:25 — Toughest players to compete against and the NHL adjustment

22:45 — Favorite road trip of the season

• 23:20 — Growing up a Philly sports fan

• 24:00 — Staying in shape during the stoppage

• 25:35 — Great to hear Flyers players in good spirits 

• 27:35 — An example of Emmer's Minnesota roots

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Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Scott Hartnell has a Gritty way to make your own mask

Scott Hartnell has a Gritty way to make your own mask

If you recall, Scott Hartnell and Gritty became good friends in December 2018.

No, they are not brothers or the same person. But their likeness created a special bond.

During this period of self-isolation because of the coronavirus outbreak, Hartnell is still finding ways to show his inner Gritty.

Preparing to go to the grocery store Monday elicited Hartnell's creativity. To stay as safe as possible, the beloved former Flyer made himself what could be a trend-setting mask.

Even when they're apart, Hartnell and Gritty stick together — just like all Flyers fans.

And a good reminder with Flyers flavor:

Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers