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BY CHRIS LOMON
TORONTO -- He missed the last seven games of the 2014-15 regular season with a broken tibia. His team missed out on the playoffs after finishing sixth in the Metropolitan Division.
No wonder Wayne Simmonds isn’t short on motivation these days.
A fairytale ending to the season it was not.
Moments after he lit the lamp for a team-leading 28th time, his 100th tally in a Philadelphia Flyers jersey, Simmonds was sent to the sidelines after he stepped in front of a shot. The end result was a fractured left leg and the end of his campaign.
Up until the injury, Simmonds recorded 50 points and had appeared in all 75 games. He had missed just nine total NHL games dating back to 2008.
The Flyers finished with 84 points, 14 back of the final Eastern Conference wild card spot.
Yet, despite the less than memorable outcomes, Simmonds’ sights are set on shared goals for both himself and his team: getting out of the gates strong and being consistent.
“Thirty is a definite goal for me,” said the right winger, who scored 29 and 28 goals, respectively, over the past two seasons. “I’ve come close a couple of times. As long as we’re winning games and making the playoffs, I really don’t care how many I get.”
Are the Flyers up to the postseason task?
“We’re a good team right now,” Simmonds said. “We played really well against the good teams and we somehow faltered against the teams that had around the same amount of points as us or were below us in the standings. We just have work out our inconsistencies and we’ll be fine.”
Helping lead the Flyers – Simmonds was named an alternate captain last October – is a key area of focus for the player who turns 27 tomorrow.
“I work on being someone who can provide leadership, to do whatever I can, on and off the ice, to support my teammates. The bottom line is that we all work together so we don’t have a repeat of last year.”
If his spirited showing at the recent BioSteel Camp is any indication of what’s in store for Simmonds and his teammates, Flyers fans have cause for optimism.
“I took about a month off at the end of the season,” he noted. “It was a very tough way to end the year. It took a little bit of time to rehab that going into the summer. I’ve been focusing on training and making sure I’m as strong as possible coming into the new season."
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