Injuries have suddenly struck the Flyers hard.
On Tuesday morning, it was announced that goaltender Michael Leighton will miss a month with a bulging disc in his back and forward Ian Laperriere will be out indefinitely with post-concussion syndrome.
Leighton, 29, who left the Sept. 19 preseason contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs with a sore back, was originally diagnosed with a simple back strain. However, after an MRI on Sunday found inconclusive evidence of any damage, doctors discovered the bulging disc. The injury will likely keep Leighton out of game action until Nov.
“It is what it is, and we’ll deal with it,” general manager Paul Holmgren said.
Laperriere’s injury is deemed more serious, as the veteran winger has been keeping his battle with PCS a secret since suffering a puck to the face in the opening round of last season’s playoffs. The 36-year-old returned to play in the Stanley Cup Finals and actively participated in a couple preseason contests, before the symptoms became too much.
“He never let on over the course of the summer that he was having effects,” Holmgren said. “But in my talks with him Saturday, he said he wasn’t completely honest about how he felt.”
Until Laperriere recovers, his spot on the fourth line could be filled by Dan Carcillo, while tryout Bill Guerin will take over top-6 forward duties. Darroll Powe is also an option.
Replacing Leighton should prove a bit more tricky for the Flyers. Johan Backlund is finishing up his recovery from a hip injury, and should become the replacement as backup goaltender with Brian Boucher taking over as starter. But with just one NHL game under his belt (kind of), it could be a scary prospect to have to rely on Backlund. Also, rookie Sergei Bobrovsky has impressed during his short time with the Flyers. However, goalie coach Jeff Reese noted that he believe Bobrovsky has to tune up his game to be ready for any serious action at the NHL level.