Lauridsen, Hextall Playing For More Than Pride With Phantoms

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Oliver Lauridsen and Brett Hextall are both free agents after the season ends.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms are playing out the remainder of their 2014-15 regular season schedule - the final seven games - starting tonight at home against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. For the younger guys like Taylor Leier, Scott Laughton and company it’s a chance to leave a final impression before next year.

But for the more veteran guys on the team – like forward Brett Hextall and defenseman Oliver Lauridsen – these final games mean a lot more than padding stats and getting ready for training camp next fall.

“There's stuff to play for besides playoffs,” Hextall said after last Saturday’s 3-0 loss to the Penguins. “Whatever situation you’re in, if it’s a guy that wants a contract next year – there’s people watching him. Even a guy in that situation can find something to play for. I’m in that situation, my deal is up.”

Hextall is on a standard player contract at the AHL level this season – an AHL-only deal which expires at the end of the season. While Brett is the son of Flyers GM Ron Hextall, there are no guarantees when it comes to contract negotiations over the summer.

“Obviously it's hard not being in playoffs- it's frustrating - but there's no excuse for not working hard,” Hextall said, adding,” There’s other teams watching. If we’re not in playoffs, there’s motivation for everyone to work hard and other things to play for. “

Lauridsen took a very different approach when asked about playing for pride:

In my personal opinion I don’t think it should be very hard to find motivation to play the game that we all love and are fortunate enough to get paid to play. Not very many people get to do that. It doesn’t matter if you’re in or out of the playoffs, you play ‘til the end. You play for the guy next to you. Whether guys are playing for more playing time or playing for new contracts next year it doesn’t matter. You always need to play for the guy next to you.

As far as what Lauridsen is looking to accomplish in the final seven games of the season?

For me personally, obviously I want to play well. Play solid defense, be a steady piece on the back end for my teammates and for my goalies. Obviously I want to make a lasting impression here. My contract is up. You never know what’s going to happen, so like I said earlier you have to play until the end.
The Phantoms take on the Penguins at the PPL Center tonight at 7:05 p.m. ET. For all the latest breaking news and updates surrounding the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, follow me on Twitter @TonyAndrock_TCG and stay tuned both here online and at The Home News for all of your Phantoms coverage.


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