Posted 07 October 2011 - 06:20 PM
Posted 11 October 2011 - 08:22 PM
NEWARK — Before the Flyers played in New Jersey on Saturday, a few of Matt Read’s teammates gave him some advice in the visiting team locker room.
“They were telling me, ‘If you’re going to score your first N.H.L. goal, you might as well do it against Martin Brodeur,’” said Read. “They were right. I mean, to score my first against one of the greatest goalies of all time would just be incredible.”
In the third period of Philadelphia’s 3-0 win over the Devils, Read blasted a slap shot that caromed under Brodeur’s arm and into the net. The wild ride continued for the 25-year-old rookie straight out of college.
Yes, he’s a 25-year-old rookie – seven years older than Sean Couturier, another rookie on the Flyers and Read’s sometimes penalty-killing partner. Read signed with the Flyers in March after finishing his college career at Bemidji State. As a sophomore, two years ago, Read led the team in scoring and was a key player in its run to the Frozen Four of the N.C.A.A. tournament. He scored 22 goals in 37 games last season.
Other teams were interested, including the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild, but the Flyers swept the 5-foot-10 forward off his feet with a contract that will pay him an average of $900,000 over the next three seasons whether he is playing in the N.H.L. or the minors.
At the time, the contract appeared to be more of a long-term investment. Surely, Read would need some development time in the American Hockey League. But he reported to the Flyers’ A.H.L. affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, and had seven goals and six assists in his 11 games. Read played in all situations.
“He is one of the smartest players on the ice,” said Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren.
Read, a native of Ontario, kept his expectations realistic when he arrived for training camp last month.
“Management can say a lot of encouraging things to you,” said Read, “but I took nothing for granted. I was going to give it my best shot, come to camp in the best shape of my life. I spent most of the summer in Philadelphia working on a conditioning program [Flyers trainer] Jim McCrossin put together for me. Everyone knows how deep in talent the Flyers are, but I saw it as an opportunity.”
Read was impressive from the start of camp and tied Claude Giroux for the team lead in preseason scoring. Partly because of space constraints, but also to keep him hungry, Read spent most of camp using the locker room assigned to the players headed back to the minors. “I hadn’t proved anything yet,” Read said.
When the 23-man roster was set last week, Read was on it. The 2-0 Flyers have their home opener on Wednesday against the Vancouver Canucks. Expect him to play somewhere between 12 and 18 minutes.
“He deserves to be here,” said Flyers Coach Peter Laviolette. “There never was really any doubt. Matt’s a versatile player and his focus and energy are as good as it gets.”
After the win in New Jersey, Read smiled for the cameras while holding up the puck from his first N.H.L. goal. Appearing embarrassed by the attention, he went back to his conversation with reporters. He stood up straight, his hands clasped behind his back. He was unfailingly polite, like most rookies of any age in the league.
When the media scrum dispersed, Read was asked if he was aware of a vote of confidence he received by one of the game’s most respected journalists. A few days before Read clinched a roster spot, Bob McKenzie of the Canadian sports network T.S.N. tweeted that the man from Bemidji State would win the Calder Trophy as the league’s best rookie. Among hockey fans, officials and players, especially in Read’s Canada, McKenzie is revered on a par with Peter Gammons on baseball in the United States.
“Yeah, I heard about it,” Read said. “I didn’t know what to think. It kind of surprised me. But after a while I figured, if someone big around the league is going to make a prediction about you, it could be a lot worse than that, right”?
Edited by PenaltyKiller, 11 October 2011 - 08:22 PM.
Posted 20 October 2011 - 04:27 PM
Great start for this kid so far, 6 points, playing powerplay, penalty kill, and moved up to the 2nd line with Briere and Simmonds. Go get 'em kid!
Posted 20 October 2011 - 05:56 PM
Posted 01 November 2011 - 12:24 PM
Posted 18 November 2011 - 09:14 AM
Posted 18 November 2011 - 03:29 PM
He was a steal!
This guy continues to impress. Just an all round good player. What a pickup by Homer.
@ least Homer did 1 thing right.
Posted 18 November 2011 - 05:59 PM
He was a steal!
@ least Homer did 1 thing right.
From the looks of the team I think he has done quite a few things right when it comes to roster. Now salary management, is still the suck.
Posted 18 July 2012 - 02:40 PM
Posted 30 July 2012 - 12:24 PM
5/7/14......the Hextall era begins....