Jay Rosehill can't play hockey but he's in Flyers lineup anyway

USA TODAY Sports

Jay Rosehill is in the Flyers lineup on opening night. Jay Rosehill can't play hockey.

Here's a roster that the Flyers have the ability to put on the ice tonight:

Left Wing Center Right Wing
Scott Hartnell Claude Giroux Jake Voracek
Brayden Schenn Vincent Lecavalier Wayne Simmonds
Max Talbot Sean Couturier Matt Read
Adam Hall Scott Laughton Zac Rinaldo
Jay Rosehill

That's a good looking lineup. Two dangerous scoring lines, a very good two-way third line, and a fourth-line that can bang bodies, play solidly in their own end and add a touch of skill. Oh, and it features some toughness and grit on every single unit, too, with Hartnell, Simmonds, Talbot and Rinaldo all able to both play the game effectively and drop the mitts if need be.

Apparently not enough toughness and grit, though, because this is the lineup that's taking the ice tonight against the Leafs:

Left Wing Center Right Wing
Scott Hartnell Claude Giroux Jake Voracek
Brayden Schenn Vincent Lecavalier Wayne Simmonds
Max Talbot Sean Couturier Matt Read
Jay Rosehill Adam Hall Zac Rinaldo
Scott Laughton

Laughton sits, Rosehill enters. As a friendly reminder, Laughton is a 19-year-old first round pick who just made the team out of training camp. He was compared to Mike Richards on draft day and he's a very strong two-way center with a very bright future at this level.

Rosehill is ... well, Jay Rosehill will fight you. He's probably a great guy who will gladly stick up for his teammates, but that's literally the only way he's able to collect an NHL paycheck. By punching people in the face. He's an NHL caliber fighter, not an NHL caliber hockey player.

Inserting Rosehill into the lineup is a direct response to the presence of Colton Orr in the Maple Leafs lineup tonight (or just generally because the Leafs really like to fight a lot). The Flyers don't want the threat of Orr -- one of the NHL's premier face punchers -- running around unchecked. But that's extremely flawed logic, especially given the presence of other tough players in the Flyers lineup.

They don't need Rosehill, a guy who can fight but not play, in the lineup to keep Orr in check.

Let's go over a few scenarios:

  • Orr, on Toronto's fourth-line, is out for a regular shift, also against the Flyers fourth line. He goes after Laughton, and Zac Rinaldo shows up to take care of business. The Flyers are keeping Orr in check with Rinaldo's presence, Laughton isn't harassed, and oh yeah .... the Flyers fourth-line is worlds better than Toronto's because all three of their guys can actually handle a puck.
  • Orr somehow finds his way on the ice against the Flyers top line. Maybe he tries to fight Claude Giroux. You know what Claude Giroux does? He takes the puck and skates around Colton Orr, because Colton Orr can't skate.

Orr's presence in the Toronto lineup hurts their team. The Flyers opponent is weaker when they play their goon. You know how to respond to that in an effective way? Put skill in the lineup and use the fact that Orr can't match it to your advantage. Instead...

Jay Rosehill will get four or five minutes of ice time tonight, he might fight Colton Orr, and the Flyers will have completely wasted a roster spot. Makes a ton of sense.

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