Voorhees, NJ – Eric Desjardins is the latest Flyer to fall victim to an injury, as he left Thursday's 8-1 win over Washington after sustaining a concussion from a hit by the Capitals' Chris Clark.
Flyers Strength and Conditioning Coach Jim McCrossin had the following update on Desjardins:
"I told him to stay home [from Friday's practice], because he didn't get a good night's sleep last night, so we told him to rest up. I'm going to go over to his house and check him out after I get done here. He actually got better sleep this morning. He said he's feeling a little bit better at this point."
Desjardins has been having a stellar season in the early going. He is tied for fourth in the league in scoring by a defenseman with 13 points (1g, 12a), a total that also has him third on the team in points, behind only Peter Forsberg and Simon Gagne.
He is the second player this week to be diagnosed with a concussion on the Flyers, as center Keith Primeau has missed the last two games after taking a blow to the head at Montreal on October 25.
McCrossin said that it is difficult to compare the two injuries.
"With Keith, it's different. Keith didn't get his symptoms until five days [after the hit]. It was Sunday at 9:30 when he called me and we played Montreal on the Tuesday prior to that," he said.
"To say that somebody's worse, I wish I could say. They are both bad. When you are concussed, you are concussed. I don't know how to answer that one. When Eric came off, he walked off right before the period ended. I looked at him, and when Eric Desjardins says that he's stuck in first gear and everyone else is in fourth and he couldn't keep up, you know something is up. He had all of the clinical signs of a concussion."
Despite losing two key players with head injuries, Ken Hitchcock showed no signs of bitterness towards the opposing teams. He is, however, concerned with certain hits that he has been seeing in the NHL of late.
"Hits happen in hockey. I don't think the guy in Montreal wanted to hit Keith in the head. It was a shoulder that hit him. It wasn't an elbow. The ones that concern me as a coach are the ones where a player is in a vulnerable position. When you're checking a player who has the puck, you don't expect to get checked back. That's what happened. The player had the puck, 'Rico' opened up to check him properly, he was using the proper technique, and he got hit on the side of the head. Those things are the ones that are really dangerous."
While Desjardins will be out of the lineup for an unspecified time, defenseman Kim Johnsson should rejoin the team for Saturday's game against Atlanta after missing Thursday's win with a left groin strain.
Another blueliner who will be getting more ice time is Dennis Seidenberg.
"I always judge it with Dennis that when his passes are clicking and his shots are getting through, then I know he's getting more comfortable. I think you're seeing that now," said Hitchcock. "His shots are getting through. He was a little nervous at the start of the year when they were getting blocked. That, to me, shows composure. I think his composure is getting better and better, and that is a process, especially for a young defenseman. He's just really getting started in his career on the back end. He's getting better and better."
The Flyers have been able to deal with all of their injuries quite well so far, and hope that it continues as they proceed through their season-high five-game homestand.
"Everybody is playing the way we should, and whoever's name is on the back of the jersey doesn't matter, as long as they work hard," said Forsberg. "It's going to be tougher as the week goes on, and we'll see what we're made of."FLYERS NOTES
Robert Esche, who has won his last three starts, will be in net on Saturday. Simon Gagne is tied for second in the league in scoring with 12 goals with Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson. Jaromir Jagr
of the Rangers has 14. Forsberg leads the league in assists with 19.