Flyers glad to get back in win column
In his return to the ice after missing six games with a concussion, Matt Read assisted on Vinny Lecavalier's game-winner. (USA Today Images)
VOORHEES, N.J. -- It almost felt like Matt Read never left.
The Flyers’ forward returned to the team’s lineup Tuesday night in Buffalo after missing six games because of a concussion he suffered Dec. 31 in Calgary.
He was plunked right back into the line he’d been playing on for much of the season, logging 18:42 of ice time and assisting on Vinny Lecavalier’s last-second game-winning goal.
“I felt good,” Read said. “I thought I would be out of shape, but I was well-rested and my legs were good, and things kind of went my way a little bit. But it was just one game, we’ve got a lot more to go and I’ve got a lot more things to do to help my teammates.”
Coach Craig Berube seconded his assertion: "He did good," Berube said. “He skated well. He made a nice play on the game-winning goal. But I thought his skating was really good in the game.”
Read was injured on an open-ice hit he took on New Year’s Eve against the Flames -- one, he said, he “saw coming.” Though he passed the baseline test he took that night, he was later diagnosed with a concussion. His memory was never affected, but he suddenly began to struggle with motion and exercise a day or so later.
Lucky for him, though, it didn’t take long for him to be able to work out. That was key to his strong return.
“You’ve got to do a lot of stuff off the ice when you’re not playing,” Read said. “I took care of my body better than I have in the past, just riding the bike, doing a lot more cardio. I know when I came back, I wanted to play 20 minutes again in all situations.
“You’ve just got to do everything you can, so when you come back to the lineup, you can be a role player and do your job.”
Read admitted he was a bit unsure at times early Tuesday night, but to his linemates Lecavalier and Sean Couturier, it seemed like he never missed a beat.
“He said he was a little rusty in the first period, but I thought he did pretty good,” Couturier said. “We seemed to find each other like he never missed any games.”