Developing Gostisbehere out to send a message

Developing Gostisbehere out to send a message

July 11, 2013, 2:15 pm
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Shayne Gostisbehere was selected in the third round (78th overall) by the Flyers in the 2012 draft. (Flyers)

Shayne Gostisbehere admits he never thought he had it within himself to do what he did.
 
“I just saw red and something snapped in me,” said the Flyers’ 20-year-old defensive prospect. “I haven't seen that in myself before. Other people would say they hadn't seen that in my game, but it looked pretty bad, I guess.”
 
What the 5-foot-11 defenseman did was launch his stick from behind between the legs of Slovakia’s Matus Matis and into his groin at this past winter IIHF World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia.
 
Gostisbehere earned a one-game suspension yet returned in time to help the Americans win their third world title -- first since 2010.
 
“My stick just floated up there, I guess,” Gostisbehere recalled this week at the Flyers' development camp at Skate Zone.
 
He wanted to send a message.
 
“Just because I'm a little guy, people can't pick on me,” he said. “There are guys on my team that will take care of those guys, but I like to take care of myself sometimes. I'm not saying I'm a big fighter, but I don't like to take any crap from anyone. I never got into a fight before. Never dropped the gloves. Nothing serious. It'll come.”
 
Obviously, this is one prospect who seems to fit the image of the Orange and Black.
 
“I got that little snot, I guess,” he smiled. “As everyone says, that little Flyer in me.”
 
Gostisbehere was the Flyers’ third-round pick in 2012. He completed his second season at Union College this past year.
 
“He had a very nice year,” said Chris Pryor, the Flyers' director of hockey operations. “From where he was -– nobody knew about him -- to where he is this year. Being on the world stage and being compared to others, it was good to see where he stacked up against his peers. Named an All-American, too. He had a strong year.”
 
Indeed, he had 26 points (eight goals) in 36 ECAC games at Union.
 
“It's definitely a quick learning process,” he said of his collegiate experience so far. “When I got there, I didn't touch the offensive side of my game. Definitely, they polished off my defensive side greatly.
 
“They helped me a lot. You learn. At Union, you play with guys who are 24 years old, older guys. You learn quick. Nothing's a joke out there. You gotta go learn and put in all your effort every day.”
 
At 170 pounds, he hopes to add some weight and get above the six-foot range, too, though that may not occur.
 
“They don't want me being too heavy out there,” he said. “I'd lose my quickness, my speed and my agility. But definitely I'm putting on 10 more pounds or so. I weigh 165-170. I'd like to see 10 more. I'll try to do it. We'll see how it goes.”
 
Gostisbehere was born in Margate, Fla., and grew up a fan of the Florida Panthers. His sister, Felicia, now 23, was a former figure skater and because of her, he took up hockey.
 
“I don't know how she got into figure skating, but she was really high level and I was always at the rink,” Gostisbehere said. “My grandpa moved from Montreal with my mom to Florida when she was little and he wanted to put me on the ice right away. So when I was three, I jumped on the ice and stuck with it ever since.”

Pryor said the Flyers are in no hurry with Gostisbehere, one of eight defensemen the organization has drafted in the last two years as it tries to replenish an area of concern for the Flyers.
 
Gostisbehere said as much as turning pro would be tempting right now, he gave his word to stay in college.
 
“I made a commitment for four years to my coach Rick Bennett, and that's what I intend to do,” he said.
 
He feels he needs more time, anyway, to develop all aspects of his game.
 
“If I need a year of polish in the AHL or anywhere in any league, that's what I'll have to do,” Gostisbehere said. “I'm taking it one step as a time right now.”