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Injuries got best of James van Riemsdyk in long season


Guest Irishjim
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by DAVE ISAAC

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The turning point in James van Riemsdyk's season came early.

Like, really early.

A hit he took in the preseason shook him up and set the table for a frustrating season full of injuries and time spent in the press box instead of on the ice. He fought through a hip injury, groin strains, ab and oblique tears, a concussion and a broken foot.

Even when he returned from injuries, he wasn't the same. In the last week of the Flyers' season, his still-recovering left foot took a painful step backward when it was drained of fluid due to an infection.

What was a hopeful start to his playoffs in Games 5 and 6 against Pittsburgh soured against New Jersey, when he had trouble getting his foot back in his skate.

"I did play through a lot of [the injuries] and it did make me a less productive player than I wanted to be, but at the end of the day, I don't have much control over that," van Riemsdyk said. "I played with the cards I was given and dealt with that. I want to get healthy, learn my lessons from this season and move on and go from there."

The end result was a career low for the 23-year-old in games played, goals and assists and hip surgery is scheduled for this week, according to the Flyers. The power forward was also the subject of trade speculation, most notably when he sat out with a concussion. By rule, it isn't allowed to trade an injured player, but a small minority of fans actually thought van Riemsdyk was purposely staying out of the lineup to avoid getting moved.

"I guess there can always be speculation on what would happen if you weren't hurt," van Riemsdyk said, "but the notion that I 'got hurt' because I didn't want to get traded was outrageous.

"I love the group of guys here and management has treated me well. Obviously I want to stay here, but at the same time it is a business and you never know what can happen. I know what kind of player I'm going to be and what I can bring at this level. Whether that's here or somewhere else, I know I'm gonna be a productive, successful player. That's really all I have control over."

The Flyers still think van Riemsdyk is a key part of their future. The player who scored seven goals in 11 games and was the best player on the ice for much of the playoffs last season is what the Flyers see in a healthy van Riemsdyk.

"James, if I was grading him, I'd give him a huge incomplete just based on injuries," GM Paul Holmgren said about this season. "I think James is a good, young player that unfortunately for us was not a factor for the most part of the year because of injury."

Last summer, the then-22-year-old signed a six-year extension with the Flyers that will kick in next season. The future was bright and promising.

It still is.

But this season is one van Riemsdyk wants to put in the rear-view mirror as soon as possible so he can have the breakout year he's been waiting for.

"First and foremost I just want to get myself to feel healthy again," he said. "That's gonna be the key."

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JVR has all the skills to be a superstar, size, shot ,skating ability, right now he lacks the mental toughness, maturity and will to be a great player, it may just be in his personality , give me a guy like Lucic who is not as skilled, but has that fire inside and the will to win, over a more skilled but laid back guy like JVR.The problem with the Flyers draft picks like JVR and Carter for example is this...

They have high skill levels, but are lacking in the fire, desire and toughness categories. The Flyers have to stop drafting "nice guys", laid back guys and start drafting players that are mentally and physically tough.Players that are gonna show up game in and game out, guys that are gonna step up in the playoffs. The old Flyer teams had lots of players who were not the greatest in natural talent, but their guts and determination made them great players.I will use Tocchet and Clarke as examples. If you compare the hockey skills like skating, shooting, and overall natural ability ,JVR and Carter have much more than Clarke or Tocchett, but who would you rather have on your team? JVR and Carter are both big guys but are not aggressive, are not leaders, are not the kinda guys that are gonna do whatever it takes to win a game. Clarke and Tocchet were guys you could count on to show up and give a full effort every night.

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Let's hope next year is a breakout season for him. I'm still pissed about the draft lottery BS. We should've had Toews.

Dude, WTF with the pick of someone doing the technicolor yawn on the person next to them? Is that really the avatar you are going for?

My take on JVR is he is going to be a solid top line player.....somewhere else. Do you think Columbus would take him for Jack Johnson?

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Let's hope next year is a breakout season for him. I'm still pissed about the draft lottery BS. We should've had Toews.

Toews was drafted the year before. You're probably thinking of Kane, and I would say I'd rather have JVR. Kane is getting more attention for what he does off the ice (party) than on the ice these days.

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@hf101: don't like chunkman? It's an old Internet pic from my former Silicon Graphics colleagues. Also reminds me of how the Flyers exited the playoffs. Probably change it soon....once I decompress from the last couple of months of insanity.

I'd do that trade for J. Johnson. Especially if they give us their #1 pick again.

@Jack Straw: my bad. I thought Toews and JVR were the same draft class. So, would we have won game six if we drafted Kane? :-)

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@hf101: don't like chunkman? It's an old Internet pic from my former Silicon Graphics colleagues. Also reminds me of how the Flyers exited the playoffs. Probably change it soon....once I decompress from the last couple of months of insanity.

that was flyerrod not 101 just saying
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@Jack Straw: my bad. I thought Toews and JVR were the same draft class. So, would we have won game six if we drafted Kane? :-)

Only if Chicago had Leighton in goal.

PS: You worked for SGI?

Edited by JackStraw
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@Irishjim

How dare you break from forum orthodoxy and post a sympathetic article about JvR. Reported.

believe it or not there might be 1 or 2 members that like JVR :). and PS reporting a mod gets you banned to the islanders forum :D
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believe it or not there might be 1 or 2 members that like JVR :). and PS reporting a mod gets you banned to the islanders forum :D

Well, at least it isn't the Wild or Bluejackets forums, which would both be like solitary confinement.

For the record, I like JvR and think he'll be fine next season if he's healthy.

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@RonJeremy

While you need those grit and sandpaper and 100% effort guys, you still need to take the best player on the board when drafting (presuming he is not a total jackass). In this case, JVR was the best player on the board (known at that time). Turris (who many wanted instead of JVR) has not done anything- yet. JVR still put up better .ppg numbers than Turris in an injury riddled season even after Turris was traded and playing second line in Ottawa. You of course have Couture as the sleeper in that draft of top 10, but outside of that, JVR is still the guy you have to pick with #2.

I wouldn't give up on him yet. This is a HUGE year for him and he knows it. People say no fire- and it does look that way on the ice for stretches, but I do believe he has the desire to succeed. Last summer they chronicled how he was not out partying down in south jersey, but instead was driving an hour and 1/2 every day to train with the Flyers. The year before he trained with Giroux (who's training regimen has been well chronicled).

To me, I really think the kid lacks confidence. I also think if he can move past the injuries and put on some more muscle, that will go a long way towards that confidence. Does he a have a mean streak like Clarke or Tocchet, not that much. I do think he has the desire to succeed.

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Toews was drafted the year before. You're probably thinking of Kane, and I would say I'd rather have JVR. Kane is getting more attention for what he does off the ice (party) than on the ice these days.

No doubt I will take JVR any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Not just because of the off ice bullcrap with Kane. Just JVR's potential is so much more then what Kanes is I think. His size, speed, and his ability to go hard to the net is awesome. JVR is my favorite Flyer just because the possibilites this kid has is very very cool for us and potentially very scary for everyone else.
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Yeah. Did two stints there. '96-2001 and again in '02-'04. Second time around was depressing.

But back in the day, what a blast!

Yeah, the company wasn't managed too well but they made some great stuff. I used to work for a company called Autometric (back in the '90s) which eventually was bought up by Boeing. We did a lot of 3D satellite imaging and at the time SGIs were the only computers that could really do that kind of stuff well. Now of course, you can do it on your laptop.

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Yeah, the company wasn't managed too well but they made some great stuff. I used to work for a company called Autometric (back in the '90s) which eventually was bought up by Boeing. We did a lot of 3D satellite imaging and at the time SGIs were the only computers that could really do that kind of stuff well. Now of course, you can do it on your laptop.

Early to mid-90's they were the cats butt! I put a lot of servers in NASA & NOAA, plus some agencies that deny their existence for satellite ingest. Also did a few caves, virtual area networks, and a virtual roller coaster.

You're spot on about management being bad. When it was time to make a business decision, it was almost always a bad one.

I also remember Autometric.

Edited by MDFlyerFan
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No doubt I will take JVR any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Not just because of the off ice bullcrap with Kane. Just JVR's potential is so much more then what Kanes is I think. His size, speed, and his ability to go hard to the net is awesome. JVR is my favorite Flyer just because the possibilites this kid has is very very cool for us and potentially very scary for everyone else.

I agree. I don't think Kane will ever be more than what he is now, a good perimeter player. If JVR does ever put it together he'll be a force.

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No doubt I will take JVR any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Not just because of the off ice bullcrap with Kane. Just JVR's potential is so much more then what Kanes is I think. His size, speed, and his ability to go hard to the net is awesome. JVR is my favorite Flyer just because the possibilites this kid has is very very cool for us and potentially very scary for everyone else.

Difference is Kane has a Cup and played a big role in their win. JVR? He is talented, but is clearly injury prone and has not developed into the consistently good player we thought he would be. This next year has to be the litmus test for him, if he struggles or gets injured again, it's time to consider moving him.

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I agree. I don't think Kane will ever be more than what he is now, a good perimeter player. If JVR does ever put it together he'll be a force.

Kane is a much better player than JVR regardless of any off ice distractions. I'm hoping he outgrows them, but on talent, production, success... He's head and shoulders ahead.

I think JVR is a good player and may yet become a great power forward, but he's not intimidating to other teams yet. He barely gets any mention outside of Flyers channels. I think it's another example of team media hyping up a player more than he deserves as of yet.

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Dude, WTF with the pick of someone doing the technicolor yawn on the person next to them? Is that really the avatar you are going for?

My take on JVR is he is going to be a solid top line player.....somewhere else. Do you think Columbus would take him for Jack Johnson?

Not even up for Johnson. Flyers would have to add something to sweeten the pot.

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@JackStraw

you and i have agreed about this before.

@Polaris922

I think Kane is as good as he will get, which is good. but he's not going to suddenly figure out how to use his size better...the consensus even here where people hate JvR and have called him a bust etc is that he has great talent but a questionable motor. not good but "great talent" you can't teach size and speed both of which he has, if he develops the way most power forwards in the league do, he'll be a pretty damn good player and may have a better career that Patrick Kane, in spite of Kane's head start.

JvR's top end will probably look a lot like James Neal,not as physical but with better better speed. And his just kick around never pan out projection will have him as a 20/35-40 guy which has value.

bottom line: JvR is not a finished product like Patrick Kane.

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Kane is a much better player than JVR regardless of any off ice distractions. I'm hoping he outgrows them, but on talent, production, success... He's head and shoulders ahead.

I think JVR is a good player and may yet become a great power forward, but he's not intimidating to other teams yet. He barely gets any mention outside of Flyers channels. I think it's another example of team media hyping up a player more than he deserves as of yet.

Kane has accomplished more to this point, obviously. But I stand by what I said, Kane will never be more than what he is now. JVR has a much higher ceiling. Kane has the advantage (so rar) in production as you say, but not talent.

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I agree about potential but my point was simply that he's not there YET. The true gamble is whether his heart is able to live up to his potential. Barring any recurring injuries if course, which I don't wish upon anybody. I'd take Kane over JVR right now. Give it a season or two though and that may reverse.

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