Being in a coach’s doghouse is not a fun thing. It’s not the end of the world to be healthy scratched a time or two, but it means something else: it’s a lot easier to end up back there again.

It’s kind of like being suspended in the NHL – if you’ve been through it before, it only gets worse as you go.

Well, James van Riemsdyk is in there now, and he’ll start figuring out how that process works beginning….oh, yesterday.

Last night, JvR showed up in New Jersey ready to rock. He skated that morning in the team’s optional skate, stuck with his gameday routine, then warmed up with his liney’s Briere and Couturier. Game time.

Only then did he get “the tap.”

Teams often warm-up more players than are allowed to actually play in the game, if only to throw off their opponent’s ability to game plan for a certain line-up. In this case, they opted to have New Jersey think their line-up would be the same as usual. ….It wasn’t.

After the scratch, the team reported that JVR has a “lower body injury,” but just a head’s up to them – it doesn’t look good when a guy takes part in an optional skate, then you report he’s injured. Hell, if I had a multi-year contract I’d be taking the “option” 9 times out of 10.

From Frank Seravalli of sports:

According to a team source, speaking to the Daily News last night on a  condition of anonymity, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette was “especially critical”  of van Riemsdyk’s performance on Wednesday night – despite the fact that he  scored a highlight-reel goal against the Sabres – and called him out during a  team meeting.

Ah, the dreaded “call out” in front of the team during video. This is always especially awkward because video doesn’t lie. If you’re lazy on a play, it looks far worse when shown frame by frame.

Seravalli goes on to point out that van Riemsdyk played just 14:12 of the game on Wednesday night, which remarkably wasn’t a season low. As a reminder, this is for a kid who just signed a 6-year, 25.5 million dollar extension. And he’s getting under 15 minutes a game?

Clearly GM Paul Holmgren is a bigger fan of JvR than Peter Laviolette.

It’s not hard to get yourself in the doghouse, but it sure is to get out of it. That’s the task at hand for van Riemsdyk at this point.

With his 6-year deal he’s sure to be around – the only question is, how much will he be used?

Or doghouse. Whichever.