NEWARK — The roller coaster has gone back to its highest point.
Certainly, it’s been an interesting ride lately for Tye McGinn, who is set to make his National Hockey League debut for the Flyers tonight at the Prudential Center in Newark. The 22-year-old forward was a somewhat surprising name on the list of Philadelphia’s training camp invites when the lockout finally ended, but he was eventually sent back to the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms.
But when Zac Rinaldo was injured in the Flyers last game, it opened the door for McGinn, who could barely wipe the smile off his face while he was addressing the media after the morning skate.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking to play in your first NHL game,” McGinn told The Trentonian. “But I’m just trying to stay calm right now and just do what I can do to help the team.”
A fourth-round pick of the Flyers in the 2010 draft, McGinn, brother of Colorado Avalanche forward Jamie McGinn, certainly has the potential to bring a lot to the table tonight. In 33 games with the Phantoms, he tallied 11 goals and posted 52 penalty minutes, showing development in his game after a somewhat sluggish first year.
“He’s a good player, I had a chance to see him a couple times,” said Flyers captain Claude Giroux.
“He’s a big body, and he’s going to be hitting here and there. But he’s got a lot of skill too, so I’m pretty excited to see what he can do on the ice.”
McGinn skated on the third line with Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn in the morning, the latter of whom he was also on a trio with in Adirondack. Although he was certainly reserved in his comments in addressing new line combinations, Philadelphia bench boss Peter Laviolette admitted he took that into account when figuring out where to insert McGinn into the lineup. For McGinn’s part, it seems like the gesture was an appreciated one.
“It’s definitely a bonus for me,” he said. “I was mostly with Schenn, he was my centerman (in the AHL). We kind of rotated right wingers throughout the year, but it was mostly that we stuck together. We’ve played almost half the season together, and I know what he likes to do out there and he knows what I liked to do out there. Hopefully, we can contribute to each other out there.”
With Daniel Briere skating as well — his return is apparently imminent — McGinn’s stay in the NHL may be a short one. But he’ll certainly enjoy his stay at the top of the tracks for now.
“It’s a roller-coaster ride, but it’s been all good experiences,” he said.
“I haven’t went down at all. Just getting the call-up from camp was something special. But going back down, I went down with a lot of knowledge of what the NHL is kind of like. To get the call back up now, it’s something amazing.”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com