Flyers' JVR can't help but hear the rumors

Posted: February 24, 2012

EDMONTON - In Canada, where hockey and its looming trade deadline is No. 1 on the "SportsCentre" agenda instead of No. 8, James van Riemsdyk couldn't help but notice that he was at the center of all the trade talk last night.

Usually, trade rumors are a sensitive subject among players. Most are on edge in late February.

In Edmonton, van Riemsdyk's teammates wouldn't let him hear the end of it.

"That's the first thing I heard about from the boys when I went down to get breakfast in the lobby," van Riemsdyk said. "I saw my name and the video came up. I think they were calling me 'trade bait' or something like that. We were just laughing.

"It's out of my control, so I'm not really too worried about it."

For van Riemsdyk, 22, the rumblings are nothing new. In the NHL, power forwards with good wheels, huge upside and scoring ability are a valuable commodity. His name has been linked to Columbus, Toronto, Los Angeles and San Jose this month alone.

And one thing is for certain: If van Riemsdyk's name is being widely circulated through the media, it's clear that Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren hasn't exactly hung up the phone when the conversation turns his way.

On the surface, van Riemsdyk hasn't lived up to the promise he showed during last year's playoff run, when he netted seven goals in 11 games and was one of the most dominating players on the ice. He entered last night's contest against the Oilers with just 11 goals and 13 assists in 39 games.

But it's no secret than he has dealt with more than his fair share of injuries. The Daily News reported in December that van Riemsdyk will likely require offseason surgery to repair a cam impingement in his hip. He missed 15 straight games with a concussion from Jan. 14 to Feb. 18. And he's missed more time with an abdominal tear in his midsection.

So, is it really fair to compare this year's van Riemsdyk to the healthy player we saw last year in the playoffs? The one who earned a 6-year, $25.5 million deal last summer? Probably not.

But that doesn't mean it will save him from being dealt in the next 3 days.

"You know what, a lot of people don't realize that there is always more behind the scenes than what meets the eye," van Riemsdyk said. "People want to pass judgments but they never know the full story. I'm not really going to start talking about all that now. That's all I can really say about it. It's stuff you're better off keeping to yourself.

"And if people want to pass judgments without knowing the full story, then I don't really have the time of day for them anyway."

Couturier scratched

When Sean Couturier's name appeared among the scratches at Rexall Place last night, trade speculation immediately began to swirl on the Internet.

However, Couturier sat out against the Oilers with what the Flyers are calling a lower-body injury. He skated by himself for a long time after the Flyers' regulars at the morning skate yesterday.

Streak safe?

Technically, the Detroit Red Wings rewrote the record book on Feb. 14 by notching their 21st straight home win at Joe Louis Arena, erasing the 1975-76 Flyers' modern-day record of 20 at the Spectrum.

Detroit's streak ended at 23 wins last night against Vancouver.

We'd like to think Detroit's run will be marked with an asterisk since three of those wins came via the shootout and one was in overtime, two methods not available to the Flyers. Overtime started in 1983. The shootout was added in 2005. All 20 of the Flyers' wins were in regulation. That says something.

Bourdon confident

Defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon had a good run with the Flyers during his 4-month introduction to the NHL. Bourdon, 22, was reassigned to AHL Adirondack once the Flyers acquired Pavel Kubina last weekend.

In November, the Flyers had told Bourdon to pack enough clothes for 5 days after Chris Pronger and Braydon Coburn went down with injuries. He ended up sticking for 39 games - and he wanted more.

"I understand where they're going with that," Bourdon told the Glens Falls (N.Y.) Post-Star. "That doesn't mean I don't think I could have done the job. I absolutely think I would have."


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