The last three games for the Flyers have been overshadowed by three things:
Injuries, injuries and more injuries.
The latest is another big blow to the lineup as the Flyers have lost defenseman Andrej Meszaros for at least a month.
Meszaros was hit on the final shift of the second period and left the ice clutching his left arm. The news only got worse from there.
“He’s going to miss some time here,” general manager Paul Holmgren said. “Right now we’re hopeful it’s about a four-week rehabilitation of the injury. It’s a muscle injury in and around the [AC] joint and we just got to try to get it stronger and we believe he’s going to be out about a month.”
This comes on the heels of losing Zac Rinaldo for a week last Sunday in Buffalo and losing Scott Hartnell to a broken foot Tuesday in New Jersey.
Of course the team started the season without Danny Briere, who had a fractured wrist suffered while playing in Germany during the lockout.
“As far as being snake-bitten with injuries… I’m not sure we’re much different than a lot of teams in the league,” Holmgren said. “We just have to fight through it and take the approach that it’s an opportunity for other players. If you look at the impact of some of the players that were in the lineup last night with our injury situation – Tye McGinn, Eric Wellwood Tom Sestito, Jody Shelley… we were certainly happy about their performance.
“That’s the way it’s going to be and we’ll have to deal with it on a day-to-day basis. The coaches have done a good job with it. Hopefully we can break this streak of losing a guy a game and stay healthy.”
Briere is closer to returning, although Holmgren still called his status for Saturday’s game in Florida as “50/50.”
“He has a better chance for Sunday and an even better chance for Tuesday,” Holmgren said. “But we’ll see how he is tomorrow morning.”
In the interim, the Flyers have recalled Andreas Lilja from the Adirondack Phantoms. He will join the team in Florida and is available to play as the coaching staff has to decide how they want to piece together their third pairing right now between Kurtis Foster (two games played, two healthy scratches), Bruno Gervais (two games played, two healthy scratches) and Lilja.
“He’s played very good for the Phantoms and he’s a good guy with a lot of life to his game and he was really good for our young players down there,” Holmgren said of Lilja. “They got to play with a guy who played on a Stanley Cup Championship team who had good enthusiasm and a good attitude for the game. He’s played well and we’re happy to have him back.
“You’re going to need players to play in a short season and we believe we have depth in our organization and have had some of our young kids up and playing already. We’re being tested for sure, which is good and bad, but we’d like to get ourselves healthy and we know we’re in for a dog fight with what we have left in the rest of our schedule.”
There was a report out of Canada that the Flyers had contacted Montreal about the availability of restricted free agent defenseman P.K. Subban, however a Flyers source said they had not contacted Montreal as of Friday afternoon, however nothing is ever outside the realm of possibility.
In another bit of news, the Flyers officially signed Mike Knuble Friday to a pro-rated, one-year contract worth a cap hit of $750,000.
Knuble, 40, was on the team plane to Florida and is available to play. He will wear uniform No. 9.
This is the first time I’ve double-dipped on a team,” Knuble said. “It’s a place where you feel very comfortable and know your way around and a few guys in the locker room. It’s a great organization and a place I had to leave because of salary cap reasons. I didn’t want to leave – and I said that at the time - but I’m glad to be back and be able to help out.”
Knuble, who scored 114 goals as a Flyer in four seasons with the team from 2005-09, said he doesn’t think he’ll have a defined role this time around.
“That’s going to be the interesting thing,” he said. “I’m ready for anything. I have to be realistic that for a guy like me I’m going to be a spot-filler and fill some holes at times. Come in and do what’s asked of you and play where you need to play.
“You’re going to come in and do your best to play that role that night and do what you can do. You got to be ready to move around a lot and be ready for anything.”
Knuble said he wasn’t certain he would be afforded another chance to resume his career in the NHL, but wanted to be ready just in case he was needed somewhere.
“I think it was [touch and go] for awhile,” he said. “Life moves on for everyone and you adjust and other things in your world come into focus. But, I stayed active this fall with the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL and practiced with them to wait to see what would happen… Everybody’s adjusting this year and trying to make the best of things this year.”
Knuble will be asked to be a net-front presence for the Flyers, but at the same time will be expected to add some veteran leadership to a young locker room.
“It’s part of being a veteran guy,” he said. “You want to talk to guys and be a good guy. I guess act like a veteran player. The things you try to do or say on the ice. Sometimes it’s do as I say not as I do, but hopefully you can be somebody the staff can count on to do the right things on and off the ice and have fun with the guys and be a positive influence in the room, so that’s part of the role too.”
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