DALLAS -- Coach Peter Laviolette says it might be a little harsh to say that James van Riemsdyk has been pretty much invisible lately for the Flyers.
Yet theres no denying that JVR doesnt seem to be the same player on the ice since coming back from an abdominal injury in early December.
Two assists in eight games is proof enough of that. In the previous four games before his injury, the left wing had two goals.
JVR was defensive this week when quizzed on whether hes playing with an injury, either old or new.
I dont want to get into all this kind of stuff; it can be a slippery slope, van Riemsdyk said when asked if something is still bothering him.
Do you feel youre the same player offensively right now?
Ah, Id rather not get into all that stuff, he replied. I go out there every game working as hard as I can. Thats all I really can do. That is pretty much it.
JVR scored in the shootout at Colorado on Monday with a shot so hard, it went into the net and out so quickly, some werent sure it was a goal. It was.
The coaching staff was hoping that would carry over at Dallas and perhaps into the weekend in New York when the Flyers meet the Rangers before the Christmas break.
As it was, van Riemsdyk three shots in the Flyers 4-1 win on Wednesday.
I think there is more there, Laviolette said. He wants to contribute there and be more involved offensively. When you are not scoring, you feel you are out. We could use him to do that as well.
Hes the type of guy who can maybe pick off on something like that shootout and send it in a different direction. When the playoffs rolled around, he had a stretch of games where he was dominant. We know where the level and the bar is. And we need to push him back to that.
During the VERSUS broadcast at Dallas, analyst Eddie Olczyk said that van Riemsdyk wasnt skating like he used to.
The suspicion remains that hes injured.
Nobody in that room is 100 percent healthy, Laviolette said. Everyone is battling.
Right now, van Riemsdyk seems to be battling the most.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at email@example.com