Tuesday, January 6, 2009

List of injured Flyers, now nine deep, continues to grow

Okay, now this is just beyond ridiculous. The injury bug that has hit the Flyers this season has gotten completely out of control and has now inflicted over a third of the roster. The fact that the Flyers are even in second place in the Atlantic Division is a testament to just how deep and talented this team really is.

On Monday, GM Paul Holmgren went through the litany of injuries that the Flyers are dealing with, outlining the NINE players that are currently banged up. The latest major injuries are to winger Joffrey Lupul and goaltender Antero Niittymaki. Lupul is dealing with an abdominal pull and Niitty has a pulled groin and both players have been placed on Injured Reserve. Both figure to be out for about two weeks.

Adding to those latest injuries is news that Claude Giroux, Arron Asham, Josh Gratton, Darroll Powe and Jonathon Kalinski are all out with injuries. Giroux has a concussion and is day to day. Asham is dealing with a knee sprain but figures to return soon. Out with an abdominal injury is Gratton while Powe is dealing with a hip injury. Finally, Kalinski will be out the longest of this group as he was in the hospital getting blood drained from his left thigh. Look for him to be back in a week or so.

On top of all of these injuries, star players Simon Gagne and Danny Briere are still dealing with their own health issues. Gagne figures to try to play through the pain of his left shoulder but Briere will remain out for at least another week as he continues to recover from his groin injury.

All of these injuries leave the Flyers seriously thin at forward. With 7(!!) forwards likely out for the next game, several defensemen will continue to be forced to play offense. While the Flyers have called up Andreas Nodl to fill one of the forward spots and Simon Gagne will attempt to suit up, that still leaves three vacated forward spots. Luca Sbisa and Lasse Kukkonen are two likely candidates to move to the forward positions but the club is still one forward short. Goaltender Scott Munroe was called up from the Phantoms to replace Niittymaki in net so perhaps he could try his hand on the wings.

I have never before seen a hockey team have this many injuries. Luckily for the Flyers, key players like Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Mike Knuble are still healthy along with their entire defensive unit. There is enough talent in this group to keep the team afloat for the next few weeks but it will be difficult for them to remain atop the Atlantic Division.

The best thing for the Flyers right now will be to finish up this road trip and head home and start healing up. None of these players are expected to be out for the entire season so the team should be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Let's hope that light isn't a train that will run into the rest of the players and knock them all out with injuries.

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