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Paul Holmgren's Acquisition of Nicklas Grossmann and Pavel Kubina Even More Crucial For Injury-Riddled Flyers

The acquisitions of Grossmann and Kubina were important for a team that was playing awful in their defensive end, but have become paramount with the injuries to the Flyers' blue line since the NHL's trade deadline passed.

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The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night with an already injury-depleted lineup. "Lower body injuries" to defensemen Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros have kept each of them out of the last two contests, but they are getting some more company in the press box tonight.

Forward Jakub Voracek, who was crushed by a devastating shoulder-to-face check from one of the NHL's premier hitters, Niklas Kronwall, will (not surprisingly for those who witnessed it) miss tonight's game, the Flyers announced today.

The status of winger Jaromir Jagr, who was hit clipped by a falling Valtteri Filppula after the Red Wings' forward was checked to the ice, is not as clear. The 40-year-old, who has battled groin issues for a good portion of the year, will be a game-time decision.

Today, the Flyers also announced that defenseman Brandon Manning and winger Harry Zolnierczyk were both recalled from the Adirondack Phantoms.

With Voracek out, it's clear the Flyers could use another healthy forward, and that's why Harry Z is back for the first time since February 5.

Tonight will be the NHL debut for the 6' 1", 195-pound Manning. The 21-year-old had four goals and nine points, has a -4 rating, and recorded 75 PIMs in 32 contests with Adirondack in his first year of professional hockey.

The recall for Manning, however, raises a question. Are there any additional blueliners who have been stricken with the injury bug? After all, with Matt Carle, Braydon Coburn, Nicklas Grossmann, Pavel Kubina, Andreas Lilja, and Erik Gustafsson, Philly was already icing six defenders.

Gustafsson, a recent recall with the injuries to Timonen and Meszaros, has taken a couple of tremendous hits in his first two games back. He was drilled by Troy Brouwer of the Washington Capitals Sunday night in an awkward position, and with such force that it opened the latched door to the Caps' bench. He also took another big hit against Detroit in a very physical, playoff-type tilt on Tuesday.

Another possibility is that Kubina, who was hit in the face with a deflected puck Sunday night in Washington, could be feeling the after affects.

As the stretch drive continues and every point becomes more crucial and the loss of Chris Pronger for the year still stinging, it appears Philadelphia's depth is about to be tested even further than it already has thus far this season. Especially on the club's back line, where it can ill-afford any more casualties.

At the time, the acquisitions of Grossmann from the Dallas Stars and Kubina from the Tampa Bay Lightning were important for a team that was playing awful in their defensive end.

With the injuries that have occurred following the passing of the trade deadline on February 27, Paul Holmgren's moves have gone from being considered good depth moves to the realm of absolute necessity.

So while things may seem a bit bleak at the moment, they could have been a whole lot worse had Holmgren not gotten the pair of solid rear guards.