Although sources pointed to Flyers’ rookie defenseman Luca Sbisa being relocated to the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL prior to All-Star weekend, Kevin Kurz, the manager of communications and new media for the Philadelphia Flyers, denied the transaction.
“This is a BS rumor,” bluntly said Kurz.
There has been no official word by the Flyers either way.
Regardless, it still looks dim that Sbisa will end up with the Flyers before his 40-game time limit is up. If Sbisa, who is on his 38th game with the Flyers, is with the club for 40 games total, he loses a year of restricted free agency on his contract, making him an unrestricted free agent a year sooner — something the Flyers want to avoid unless he is in the lineup full time. The delay in a decision also could be due to the Flyers diligent work in trying to trade away a blue liner and replacing him with Sbisa, gaining cap space in the process.
After undergoing a successful surgery on his stomach and groin on Thursday, the Flyers have announced that star center Danny Briere will miss a minimum of four weeks, averting the looming cap disaster. Briere, who has nine points in only nine games this season, seemed ready to return to action before the All-Star break, after missing 31 games with the lower body injury. But despite gaining his strength back, Briere was still feeling lingering pain, opening the eyes of doctors, who thought it could be a sign of a minor nerve problem.
“Danny had successful surgery this morning to repair a nerve entrapment,” said General Manager Paul Holmgren “His recovery time will be a minimum of four weeks.”
Briere’s return could come right before the March 4 trade deadline, giving the Flyers a more active market to search for cap relief. With Briere in the lineup, the Flyers are roughly $1.5 – $3 million over the $56.7 salary cap.
Two days ago, it seemed as if Flyers’ center Danny Briere would be ready to return to action from a chronic groin injury that has kept him out for 22 games. But after crossing words with General Manager Paul Holmgren about his readiness to play Wednesday night against the Atlanta Thrashers, Briere was suddenly sat back down with the injury and will undergo a minor surgery to try and correct the groin and stomach problem once and for all. But does the the trip back to the LTIR have to do with Briere’s injury or the Flyers’ struggles with the salary cap?
Since drafting James VanRiemsdyk second overall in the 2007 NHL draft, General Manager Paul Holmgren and the Philadelphia Flyers have been ultra supportive over the 19-year old power forward’s decision to go, and remain in college for his sophomore season. But days after watching team USA and JVR fumble at the World Junior Championship in person, Holmgren’s vernacular took a sudden turn for the surprisingly critical.
On Monday, General Manager Paul Holmgren gave the media a length hospital list of new injuries, old injuries and lingering problems facing the Flyers in the next couple of weeks. Already shorthanded to the point of having multiple defenseman play third and fourth line roles on the West coast road trip, the Flyers could look more like the Phantoms in the next two weeks.
Here is a truncated list of injuries..
James VanRiemsdyk may have had a nightmarish World Junior Championship with team USA, but that didn’t stop the top Flyers’ prospect from finishing the tournament off with an exclamation point.
JVR opted to give up the playmaking role he tried to establish all tournament and take it upon himself to lead the US victory over the Czech Republic, in the lowly fifth place game, Sunday in Ottawa.
The NHL disciplinary office ruled hard and fast on Ducks’ forward Corey Perry, giving him a four game suspension for a blatant elbow he put on Flyers’ rookie Claude Giroux, in Anaheim’s 5-4 loss Friday night. The elbow came at the 5:35 mark of the third period, when Giroux dished the puck and attempted to cross the blue line. Perry, guarding the line like Jimmy Snuka, came swooping in, parallel to the blue line and caught Giroux flush in the jaw with an elbow. Giroux looked to be in massive amounts of pain and reeled on the ice for two minutes and Perry was awarded a four-minute minor for high sticking, rather than the elbow, which was obvious in the replay. Perry was named first star of the game.
Giroux finished the contest, but is marked doubtful for the Flyers’ bout against the Los Angelas Kings, Saturday. He has two assists in four games this season.
Just four days after Simon Gagne suffered a strained rotator cuff, putting him out an expected 7-10 days, the Flyers announced Simon will attempt to make a unexpected return Saturday night against the Los Angeles Kings. Gagne will likely push Luca Sbisa out of the lineup once again. Sbisa, a defenseman his entire life, was asked to play right wing in the Flyers 5-4 shootout victory over the Anaheim Ducks, Friday night, to make up for the injuries to Gagne, Arron Asham (DTD – lower body), Darroll Powe (DTD – lower body) and Danny Briere (IR – Groin).
The quick return by Gagne will force rookie Claude Giroux off the first line, where he had much success, notching his first two NHL assists and a plus-one in two games. Giroux, who was injured on an elbow by Corey Perry, will likely be put on a makeshift third line with Glen Metropolit and Scottie Upshall, if he does play. Giroux is questionable. Joffrey Lupul is also questionable.