Some guys stand in front of the media game in and game out and say absolutely nothing. Then, every once in a while, a forgotten soul steps forward and seizes the moment. On Thursday night, that man was Dale Weise. In what was perhaps the longest media availability, at over eight minutes, Weise answered questions in such a candid way that you just couldn’t help but feel good for the guy. Following a 5-4 overtime win, everyone felt good.
Weise, who rarely finds himself in position to make an impact late in games, took a beautiful stretch pass from Shayne Gostisbehere and tied the game at 4-4 on a breakaway:
DALE WEISE WITH THE BREAKAWAY pic.twitter.com/Ygi9GcueO8
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) November 9, 2018
No, really. If you missed the game, Dale Weise scored a breakaway goal with 2:13 remaining in the game. If you were surprised to see Weise in that position, imagine how he felt. The Greater Philadelphia area held its collective breath and Weise did the rest.
The breakaway goal was his first since December 20th, 2017 in a 4-3 home win over the Detroit Red Wings. Goal-scoring isn’t what he’s known for, but when asked if it felt like a long time coming, he said, “Yeah, it was great. It feels great. I think the situation to tie the game like that, I think that feels better. I’m not a guy who stresses over points or goals or things like that. I’ve been all around it. I know it’s going to come. I don’t really judge myself on goals, if I’m playing well that’s a huge plus for me, you know it obviously feels good to score.”
Weise looked ready, perhaps a little too ready for the pass from Ghost. He came clean. “Yeah, I was cheating a little bit. You know we’re down a goal, I was hoping to kind of turn the puck over then Ghost gets it and I took off and, like I said, I honestly thought he was going to catch me. His stick just wasn’t there at the end and [it’s] just awesome for our team to come back like that.”
I asked him where his head was at when he wound up in such an unfamiliar position on a breakaway:
Crossing Broad: Are there any kind of nerves when you find yourself in position like that? It’s not a position you find yourself in all that much, receiving a long outlet like that and going in on a breakaway. Is that just something where you go back to instincts of playing as a kid?
Dale Weise: Yeah, for sure. I think everybody in those situations, you get late in a game like that, and the game’s on your stick you get an opportunity to make a difference, that’s something you want as a player. Like you said, when you’re playing as a little kid, that’s just instinct. Late in the game, you want a chance to tap it on your stick, you and goalie, and tie up the game.
It was a refreshing answer, especially coming from a guy who’s gotten down on himself at points this season. Shayne Gostisbehere provided some excellent insight:
Reporter: You guys know how hard Dale’s worked. To see him get that goal, it’s been a long time.
Gostisbehere: It’s awesome. Dale’s been in some dark times when he thinks he’s not gonna play again the rest of the year, but he works every day. Even when he’s not in the lineup. It’s showing out there right now. He’s getting the results and he scored a big goal for us tonight.
Weise was asked what’s led to him playing some of his best hockey as of late, which he attributed to confidence:
“Confidence is a huge thing. You get in a regular role, you’re not sitting on the bench for 20 minutes waiting for another shift. I know two, three minutes, catch my breath, I’m going back out there. That’s huge for me. I think my physical play, getting back to get into the body, I think that’s how my game starts to roll. I think our line is really, really good. We gotta lot of chemistry. I think we had instant chemistry. I think we just hound pucks. We’re physical. I just love playing with [Jordan Weal and Wayne Simmonds].
I’m comfortable playing wherever. I think when you get a string of games to play this well and you get your confidence, I think it’s easy to keep it rolling. Whether I go back to the fourth line and play eight minutes, I think when you get that confidence, it’s easy to keep things rolling. You get that belief back in yourself to start contributing a little bit offensively. That’s huge.”
The best exchange might have been on the question of what the team did differently on the road trip to find success.
“I don’t know know if was too drastic. Obviously, you get on the road, you get a little more sleep. You don’t have your kids waking you up in the morning or your wife… nagging at you from time-to-time. It’s just the boys on the road. You get that team bond when you’re out for dinner. It’s obviously all hockey when you get on the road. Lots of guys got families, and kids, and girlfriends and stuff like that. Not that it’s a distraction, but it’s just a different mindset when you’re at home. We gotta find ways to translate that road trip back into our game tonight. We had spurts. We lulled in the middle, then we came back. Lots to build on, lots of stuff to work on.”
In his post-game press conference, Flyers coach Dave Hakstol repeatedly hammered home the idea of this game being a character win. I asked Hakstol if Weise’s effort and watershed moment of scoring on the breakaway was a microcosm of what the team has gone through in the last five games:
Crossing Broad: With that in mind, Dale Weise is a guy who’s been maligned by fans over the last year. Seeing him work hard and then getting the game on his stick and converting, is that a microcosm of what this team’s been doing in the last five games of getting back into it and taking advantage?
Hakstol: It’s just everybody doing their part. Everybody working, everybody doing their part, everybody chipping in. We had a couple of good wins on the west coast. We had an ugly win, the last one in Arizona was an ugly win, but we found a way to do it. We had real good goaltending. Everybody did their part. It was just one of those road games you just find a way. Our guys have been doing that. In terms of a guy like Weiser stepping up and scoring a huge goal to tie the game, yeah, that’s significant ’cause that’s him doing his part and chipping in.
Doing his part indeed.
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