It’s hard enough to get crunched by a big hit in the NHL or try to chase down a speedster in a race for the puck. It might be even harder to be watching that race from the press box, wondering when you’ll get back in the lineup, especially when you’re told you’ve done nothing wrong. “It’s always a mental battle. That’s part of the job,” Flyers winger Taylor Leier said. “That’s why only so many people can play professional sports. It comes with the territory. Speaking personally, I always put a lot of pressure on myself to perform at my best whether it’s practice or games.” The last two games, Leier has been in. Prior to that, he sat out nine of the previous 10 games because call-up Tyrell Goulbourne was in the lineup. Both play a fourth-line role that typically averages less than 10 minutes per night. There can be five, six, sometimes seven minutes of real time between shifts, so legs seize up and speed and effectiveness can drop. Since he’s gone back into the lineup, Leier has done well in his limited minutes. Goulbourne has been loaned back to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Leier has also been part of the second power-play unit, a faction of the game he hasn’t played since last year with the Phantoms, which gets him a little more ice time and keeps his legs from getting stale on the bench. “He’s kinda been a victim of circumstance in some of these cases,” coach Dave Hakstol said the other day. “Recently, Tyrell has gone in and played extremely well and done his job, so we’ve left the roster the same. For Taylor he just has to go in and play with pace, play with tenacity, do the things that he does and he can help our team … with the pace of his play.” He had been on a line with Scott Laughton and one of Michael Raffl, Jordan Weal or Jori Lehtera. He now finds himself with Lehtera and Valtteri Filppula, two much slower players who can make plays with the puck, but win few races to it.
Flyers' Taylor Leier making the best of his limited minutes
Courier-Post | Feb 5