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Flyers’ Kevin Hayes on Tortorella’s Benching: It Wasn’t Warranted



Kevin Hayes

Kevin Hayes spoke in a measured, quiet tone after Monday’s practice in Voorhees.

For the first time since he was a healthy scratch for Saturday’s 6-3 loss to the New York Rangers, Hayes talked about coach John Tortorella’s decision.

He is still baffled by it.

Hayes leads the Flyers with 29 points in 31 games.

“I don’t think anyone enjoys being scratched,” he said. “I wasn’t happy, but it’s not my decision.”

He later added: “I’m never going to say there’s a benefit to being benched. I don’t think I should have been benched, but it’s not my decision. He’s the coach. I’m a player. He makes the lineup. He wants the best team on the ice to ultimately win, and that’s what he wanted that night.

“You can be benched and everyone writes about being better defensively,” he said. “I try every night to be the best player I can be, and some nights it goes well for me, some nights it doesn’t. I try to be consistent. He felt I was doing worse for the team than better, so he decided not to play me.”


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Hayes said his conversation with Tortorella was “between us.”

The 30-year-old center-turned-winger was asked what his coach wanted to see from him.

“I’m going to guess, be better defensively,” he said. “I try my hardest every night to do the right things here. Sometimes, things don’t go your way. I think the icing on the cake was the turnover in New Jersey.”

It appears Hayes and Tortorella still aren’t on the same page because the coach said Monday that turnover late in the second period — which led to a two-on-one for New Jersey — had nothing to do with his benching.

“I think everyone on this team knows I wasn’t trying to turn the puck over,” Hayes said.  “… I guess I should have gotten the puck deep and — who knows? — maybe I would have been in the lineup the next game.”

GM Chuck Fletcher said Tortorella doesn’t let bad feelings linger.

With Tortorella, “you’re always going to get that chance to get back in there,” he said.

Hayes will be the third-line left winger Tuesday against visiting Columbus. In addition to being a healthy scratch Saturday, Hayes was benched in the third period of two other games this season.

“Stuff happens,” Tortorella said,. “I have to make decisions on people. Standards are held for everyone in the organization — no matter what draft pick (you were), no matter what stature, no matter what you’re thought about. I have to hold the standard for everybody.”

He said that was the “proper way to build a hockey team, and I’m going to stick by it.”

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