Monday, April 7, 2008

Danny Briere will play in Game 1

The Flyers will nearly be back to full strength when the playoffs begin on Friday. Danny Briere, who has been sidelined since April 2nd, will play in the playoff opener against the Capitals. Briere has been sidelined with a sprained knee, but will return after missing only two games. Other Flyers that are expected to return for the playoffs include Jason Smith and Sami Kapanen. Smith missed the season finale against Pittsburgh with a shoulder problem while Kapanen missed the last two games with head injuries.

That leaves only two Flyers on the bench due to injuries: Derian Hatcher and Simon Gagne. Gagne will only return if they Flyers make the Stanley Cup Finals, but Hatcher could be ready to come back sometime next week.

The Capitals have a few players returning to the ice, including defensemen Jeff Schultz and Shaone Morrison. They also have three players with major injuries who aren't likely to play against the Flyers: Michael Nylander, Chris Clark and Brian Pothier.

The playoffs are a war of attrition, so it's nice to see the Flyers expect to have almost everyone back for game 1. Derian Hatcher is a big, physical presence who will be missed, but Ryan Parent and/or Lasse Kukkonen will fill in just fine until he returns.

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