The Flyers announced today that Michael Leighton will undergo surgery on his back Monday, October 11th and miss 6 to 8 weeks.
This is just another in a long line of questionable disclosures made by the Flyers front office, who consistently claim an injury is nothing, only to have that player require surgery and miss multiple months.
The worst part? Leighton was quoted as saying, “I kind of dealt with it a little bit in playoffs last year.” Naturally, questions arise about how much the Flyers new about Leighton’s injury when they decided to re-sign him, but GM Paul Holmgren is once again strangely cryptic. “We didn’t really know that much about it until he had an issue in the summertime, and we’re still not certain it was related to this.”
Taking that literally, they knew he was injured, but not how severely. They opted to sign him to a two-year extension without knowing much about his nagging injury. And oh, they’re still not certain if what ailed him in the playoffs will even be fixed by the surgery (it may not be related!). So no, Mr. Holmgren, this isn’t “what it is.” It’s a lot more than that.
For more, check out Broad Street Hockey.
The Flyers announced their official opening day roster today. We pretty much knew what the roster would be so, there's not really any surprises here. One notable move was that Andreas Nodl had to be loaned out to the Phantoms for a short time while the Flyers worked out the injury situations of Ian Laperriere and Michael Leighton. Those two have been put on long term injured reserve and Nodl will come right back up.
It’s a calculated risk from the Flyers, for sure. Backlund could be claimed by another team in the next 48 hours, never see the AHL again and go on to be somebody’s next great goaltender. It wouldn’t be a shocker, especially the way the Flyers goaltending past has played out over the last 23 or so years.
That’s definitely a worst-case scenario, but there is a distinct possibility that Johan Backlund’s days in the Flyers organization are numbered. Maybe there’s a reason the only game Backlund played this preseason was one where he was almost guaranteed to fail. Maybe.
According to CSNPhilly.com, the Flyers have released Bill Guerin from his professional tryout. The news comes from Guerin himself, rather than the team, but it seems likely that Guerin knows whether he was released or not.
While this is a surprise, it isn’t all that shocking. Guerin simply wasn’t very impressive during the preseason and was mostly relying on previous knowledge of his game to win him a spot in the lineup. As a result, it makes it much more likely that one of Andreas Nodl, Mike Testwuide, and Ben Holmstrom make the team.
According to General Manager Paul Holmgren, Ian Laperriere is suffering from post-concussion syndrome and will be out indefinitely while Michael Leighton will be out at least a month with a bulging disc in his back.
While it’s not at all surprising that Leighton is more injured than initially let on – almost nobody believed he would be back on Thursday – the notion that Laperriere is still struggling with the effects of a concussion from the first round of last year’s playoffs is deeply troubling.
Not only did Laperriere return later in the post-season, but he dressed for a preseason game this year. Since he is still feeling the effects nearly five months later, memories of Eric Lindros and Keith Primeau are unfortunately coming back.
Leighton was injured on Friday and had an MRI taken on Sunday. Coach Peter Laviolette sounds like he’s expecting Leighton to miss more time though:
“He’s not available to us. So we’ll play the goaltenders we think we need to get ready for the regular season. So we’ve got two goalies and those are the two goaltenders you’ll see on the ice tomorrow.”
As Frank Seravalli hints at in the article linked above, this notion that everything is fine isn’t easily believed. With Johan Backlund still rehabbing his hip from offseason surgery, the Flyers are left with only two healthy goalies – Brian Boucher and Sergei Bobrovsky.