It was a good news-bad news day Thursday for Philadelphia Flyers defenseman and former Union College hockey star Shayne Gostisbehere.
First, the good news: Gostisbehere was named the Philadelphia Pro Athlete of the Year by the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association.
“Just to be associated with the award is something special to me and my family as well,” Gostisbehere told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s a tremendous honor.”
Gostisbehere, who led Union to the 2014 NCAA hockey title, burst on the scene for the Flyers last season after he was recalled from the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He scored 17 goals, a record for a Flyers rookie defenseman. He was a big reason the Flyers made the playoffs last season when there considered a team in transition.
The Flyers were 34-19-11 with Gostisbehere in the lineup. When he didn’t play, they were 7-8-3.
Gostisbehere finished second in the Calder Trophy voting for Rookie of the Year.
He will be honored at the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association dinner Feb. 3.
Now, the bad news: For the first time in his NHL career, Gostisbehere was a healthy scratch for Thursday night’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.
“I was a little taken aback by it, but I think right now it’s what’s best for the team, I guess,” Gostisbehere said after Thursday’s morning skate. “I can learn a lot from up there. When I was injured the whole year [two seasons ago], that’s where I sat and I learned a lot and it helped me in my rookie year. It’s a good learning curve right now. It hits home, for sure, and makes me work that much harder.”
Gostisbehere has three goals and seven assists in 17 games. However, he has a minus-4 defensive rating.
Ironically, Gostisbehere was a plus-2 in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators.
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol told the Inquirer that he doesn’t consider it a wake-up call for Gostisbehere.
“It’s not a small thing to have Shayne out of our lineup, yet I think it’s a good thing for him in his growth and development on a few things we’re asking him to concentrate on,” Hakstol said.