James van Riemsdyk entered the 2011-2012 season with high hopes and great expectations, having been given a contract extension along with a larger share of the scoring responsibilities after Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were traded. His performance in the previous season's playoffs also raised expectations. So far though, JVR probably won't look back on this regular season with anything more than a desire to move on from it. His scoring is down, and he's been banged up, including a concussion, and the subject of numerous trade rumors. To his credit though, he's been working to get it on track, including the body-sacrificing play that may have knocked him out for the next month or so.
With just under 9 minutes left in the first period of the Flyers' eventual 6-3 win over the Islanders, JVR went down to block a Milan Jurcina shot. Paul Holmgren updated his status between periods, saying he has a broken bone in his foot. Video of the play below.
Despite a few overall lapses on defense, the Flyers blocked shots well in the game, which hasn't been a particular strong suit lately. JVR may not be known for laying out, a point Scott Hartnell wasn't shy about making after the game, but he definitely deserves credit for nutting up here despite the recent concussion history and taking one shot off his goalie's total for the evening.
"JVR's first blocked shot gets a broken foot so you feel bad for the guy," Hartnell joked. "It's frustrating obviously. I think he was finally getting his timing back from his concussion and I'm sure he'll be out 4-6 weeks I'm guessing. I'm not a doctor but you look for a blessing in disguise and he'll be rested and ready to go come playoff time."
It may seem a ridiculously poor tradeoff, but shot-blocking by forwards is a hallmark of good team defense, and JVR took one for the emblem tonight.
Hopefully he's not out too long and can put in another great playoff performance for the Flyers.