"I just wanted to nip that in the bud. I ended up getting a goal, so that worked."
Unlike some of the Flyers' other newcomers, Simmonds didn't struggle to adjust to Peter Laviolette's aggressive new system. He racked up two goals and three assists in his first seven games, but followed that up without a single point in six straight games.
"I started well," Simmonds said. "I guess I just tailed off a little bit. I think it was more of a reflection of myself. I've just got to stick to my game and play the way that I was playing in the first seven, eight games.
"I think I need to get back to focusing on the physical aspect."
That physical aspect was back in action on Saturday when he fought Columbus' Derek Dorsett late in the first period of a 9-2 win. He also had two hits on Saturday; he is fifth on the team with 19 hits this season.
Laviolette acknowledged that Simmonds "had a good game" and had "good jump."
It's not that Simmonds has been invisible, as he has posted multiple shots on goal in 11 of the 14 games, but he just hasn't been the same player - by his own admission. Simmonds said he doesn't think the Flyers' overall worry should be on offense, where they lead the NHL with 57 goals in 14 games (4.0 goals per game).
"This game is all about confidence," Simmonds said. "You want to keep the confidence level high. That's how you're going to succeed in this league. You've got to go with your gut, your first thought. If you start thinking about a second or third option, that's when you start getting into trouble.''
Read getting anxious
Even though rookie Matt Read - who already has entrenched himself as a go-to player - has only missed the last three games with what the team called an "upper-body injury," human nature began to set in. He was getting anxious.
"You don't want to miss any games," Read said. "Even if you're hurt, you don't know what's going to happen to you."
In fact, Read was given the opportunity to play in Saturday night's game against Columbus after skating with his teammates for the first time in a week. But he decided to pull himself out of the lineup.
Read, 25, has seven points in 11 games this season. Off to a strong start, he didn't need any bumps in the road.
"It's been tough to watch from the stands," Read said. "But it's a long season, you've got to take care of yourself."
Read has skated on his own for 5 days in a row and says he feels ready to play on the three-game road swing that starts tomorrow night in Tampa.
"Today's practice was pretty good, it gave me a good feeling," Read said. "I know I have one more practice [today] before we head to Florida, and I should be ready."
According to general manager Paul Holmgren, rookie Erik Gustafsson missed practice yesterday with a "maintenance day" after playing more minutes (23:00) than any other defenseman on Saturday night . . . Forward Andreas Nodl, who also missed practice, is still nursing a lower-body injury. Nodl sat out Saturday's game with the same injury. Eric Wellwood, who replaced Nodl in the lineup, was reassigned to AHL Adirondack yesterday . . . Chris Pronger participated in a full practice, exactly 2 weeks after sustaining a nasty eye injury, and appears to be able to play tomorrow should he received clearance from eye specialist Dr. Stephen Goldman.