The Flyers avoided the league-wide injury plague long enough and now it’s time to pay their due
Danny Briere left Friday’s practice early with an apparent lower body injury that is likely to keep him out of Saturday’s contest against Carolina. David Laliberte has been called up in case Briere can not go. The official injury term is “lower body soreness.”
“It’s a tough break for Danny,” said general manager Paul Holmgren. “He was playing well. Early in the (Capitals) game he had an issue. He finished the game. We thought we’d give him one day off and it’s gone from there.”
The injury to Briere is the second major affliction hitting the Flyers’ forwards. Just days ago, Simon Gagne was diagnosed with a double hernia and was placed on LTIR. Briere has 5 goals and 2 assists in 10 games.
Laliberte, 23, scored 28 goals and 20 assists in 70 games with the Phantoms last season. The Flyers have been impressed with Laliberte’s maturity and finishing capability after drafting him in the fourth round of the 2004 draft.
Randy Jones’ cap hit haunted the Flyers for two years, now half of it will haunt them the rest of the 2009-10 season.
Jones, 28, did not clear waivers as expected on Thursday. He was picked up by Los Angeles for $1.37 million to solidify their defense corp. This gaff puts the Flyers on the hook for the same amount, which becomes dead space against their cap.
After dispatching defenseman Randy Jones into AHL exile prior to the start of the season, the Flyers seem to have had second thoughts.
As of Wednesday, the Flyers have placed Jones on re-entry waivers in an attempt to get him back on the active roster. If claimed, Philly would be responsible for half his $2.75 million salary, $1.37. All of which would remain on the salary cap.
According to an official release from the Philadelphia Flyers, forward Simon Gagne is very questionable for Tuesday’s game in Washington due to a lower body injury. The good news is — it’s not his groin.
As it stands now, center Blair Betts is set to return off the IR on Tuesday, moving either Darroll Powe or Mika Pyorala to a top-3 line to replace Gagne.
More injury is the last thing Gagne needs. After missing most of the preseason with a groin injury suffered in Team Canada’s conditioning camp, the 29-year-old winger has not been the same. Scoring 34 goals last year for the Flyers, Gagne has just one goal and four assists in nine games.
But it isn’t his statistics that are the issue — it’s his ice presence.
Gagne has noticeably floated aimlessly around the ice and has purposely not taken contact, to the point where many speculated a lingering groin problem.
According to Sarah Baicker of CSNphilly.com, after spending two promising but uninspired seasons in the AHL with the Phantoms, Flyers’ defensive prospect Oskars Bartulis, will get to see his first NHL action tonight as the Flyers take on the San Jose Sharks at the Wachovia Center.
Bartulis, 22, is a stay-at-home defenseman with puck-handling skills. A converted forward from his younger days, the 6-2, 195 lbs. Latvian had yet to prove his frame was strong enough to battle at the NHL level. But apparently general manager Paul Holmgren believes the former third round draft pick is ready.
Bartulis will likely take the place of sixth defenseman Danny Syvret and will wear number 38.
UPDATE: Bartulis was a late roster scratch. He was brought in just in case an unnamed defender couldn’t go due an injury or illness.
According to the Daily News, the NHL has ruled that Mike Richards’ hit on Florida’s David Booth in Saturday’s 5-1 victory at the Wachovia Center, was a hockey hit within the game’s legal parameters.
Both Florida’s Keith Ballard and Florida general manager Randy Sexton were enraged by the hit, calling it intent to injure and demanding a suspension. Flyers’ general manager Paul Holmgren snapped back, saying that if Sexton thinks it’s an illegal hit, he needs to “watch more hockey games.”
Credit goes to the league for seeing this hit for what it was — violent but not illegal. Credit also should go to the league office for staying consistent in their rulings. Often seen as inconsistent with suspensions especially when it comes to the Flyers, the NHL did not suspend Dion Phaneuf for a similar violent collision in the preseason and ruled in an identical fashion in favor of Richards.
Late in the second period of Saturday’s Flyers – Panthers contest, Mike Richards did his best Scott Stevens impression, colliding with Florida’s David Booth on the blue line, knocking the 24-year-old out cold.
The Flyers have an opportunity for atonement tonight, and they need to make the most of it.
Sputtering Philadelphia hosts the hapless Florida Panthers tonight at 7 P.M. at the Wachovia Center. It is the second time the teams meet within a nine-day span. In the team’s previous matchup on Oct. 16, the Panthers took down the Flyers 4-2, with the help of a late Radek Dvorak shorthanded goal, followed by a Steve Reinprecht empty netter. The contest highlighted the Flyers’ inability to hold a lead or take advantage of the struggling Panthers.
After going a lackluster 3-2-1 in their first six games of the season, the Flyers will get yet another chance to begin anew, playing just their second game in 12 days. The first game of three this season against the potential rival Boston Bruins will take place at the Wachovia Center at 7 P.M. Both teams will be wearing knit hats during the warm up skate to promote the Winter Classic.
According to Stefan Legein’s agent Doug Woods, the Flyers have had their eye on his client for quite some time.
Legein, 20, was acquired on Tuesday by the Flyers for defenseman Michael Ratchuk.
“Prior to Stefan being drafted by Columbus, Philadelphia had quite a write-up on him,” Woods told Columbus writer Adam Portzline. “They were very interested in him as a player heading into that draft. So that’s good for Stefan.”
Ryan Bright (Philabright@gmail.com) is a sports writer, born and raised in the Philadelphia area. A graduate of West Chester University, he has been with the Daily Local News in Chester County since early 2007, working as the paper's college and high school ice hockey beat writer. In 2010, began as a contributer for CSNPhilly.com, covering the Flyers and the Philadelphia Union.