Skate Update: Matt Read returns vs. Sabres

Skate Update: Matt Read returns vs. Sabres
January 14, 2014, 2:00 pm
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Matt Read missed six games with a concussion. (USA Today Images)

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- After missing six games with a concussion, Matt Read is back in the lineup to give the Flyers an all-around boost.

"He's an 'every situation' player for us," coach Craig Berube said. "Penalty kill, power play, five on five, he's fast and has the ability to put the puck on the net. It's speed and he's an all-around player."

Given the green light, Berube will not hesitate to use Read in any situation.

"I'd probably get him going right away on everything."

Read has posted 10 goals and nine assists in 39 games this season.

Fourth-liner flying
Berube likes what he's getting from forward Chris VandeVelde recently. The 6-foot-2 forward has appeared in five games since a five-game stretch in the press box ended Jan. 4.

"He's done a good job killing penalties," Berbue said. "He's good in the middle of the ice. He can skate, and he's big and can handle the puck decently."

VandeVelde's been credited with two or more hits in four straight contests, and Berube gave them credit for the fourth line's performance in New York. 

"In New York, that fourth line did a pretty good job there, gave us a little energy."

Backing Leino
Sabres forward Ville Leino experienced a breakout season in Philadelphia in 2010-11 that earned him a six-year, $27 million contract with Buffalo.

His production has been an abject disappointment in Buffalo, with just 37 points over 106 games in three seasons with the Sabres. He's battled a number of injuries and become a maligned figure amongst Buffalo fans.

Still, Leino's former Flyers linemate Scott Hartnell's backing him to succeed.

"Ville's got a lot of heart," Hartnell said. "He's got a lot of skill. I think he had a couple injuries that hampered him a little bit to get things going but give this guy the puck in a tight space and he's going to come out with it.

"I think he'll be fine, just give him time."

Leino returned from injury in Buffalo's 2-1 win over Washington on Sunday. He has six assists in 27 games this season.

What's been better?
Simmonds was asked what inspired the Flyers' massive turnaround. 

"Obviously we had the coaching change, our system's changed up a bit," he said, "And I feel like the way we play now, we play more from above the puck and when you're not chasing it as much, you have a lot more energy to play in the defensive end."

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