VOORHEES, N.J. -- James van Riemsdyk is itching to get into this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. He says he can play.
Whether coach Peter Laviolette scratches that itch, by inserting the forward into the lineup for Game 5 in Pittsburgh with the Flyers needing one win to oust the Penguins, is another thing.
Outward appearances from Thursdays practice would suggest JVR is a player for Game 5.
I feel a little better every day, said JVR, who is rehabbing off a fractured left foot. Its status quo every day. You have to deal with it.
This is the time of year, no matter what, when you number is called, you suck it up and you deal with it. Obviously, youd be crazy not to want to play.
Laviolette said hes not adverse to making lineup changes in this series if he has to.
I thought James looked good today and looks better every day, Laviolette said. At some point well make that decision.
Is he healthy enough to help the Flyers right now?
Through discussions with everyone involved, when hes ready to play, well consider playing him, Laviolette replied.
JVR worked with Matt Read and Jakub Voracek in Thursdays practice, an indication of a lineup change, especially since Zac Rinaldo was with Tommy Sestito and call-up Matt Ford.
Then again, Laviolette may have made that switch in case Rinaldo is suspended for his antics at the end of the second period on Wednesday (see story). Neither Rinaldo nor Laviolette had heard from the NHL so the assumption is Rinaldo is off the hook for his ejection, cross-checking, etc.
JVR wore plastic shells over both skates to protect him from shots. He broke his foot blocking one. You often see these shells on penalty killers.
If that is what it takes to get me on the ice, then I will gladly wear them, JVR said.
Van Riemsdyk, who had a poor regular season because of numerous injuries, more or less came into his own last season with three goals during the playoff's second round against Boston. He can have an impact off the bench.
Ive always prided myself on that -- I love playing in these type of pressure situations, he said. Last year I was given the opportunity to play a lot and contribute a lot.
I just ran with it and went from there. Its a fun time of the year to play and it sucks to be watching from the sidelines.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at firstname.lastname@example.org