Flyers general manager Ron Hextall addressed the media this evening via conference call on the status of defenseman Kimmo Timonen, rookie forward Scott Laughton, forward Zac Rinaldo and Steve Mason.
Hextall stated that there was no further update on Timonen, that the club is doing due diligence and that no answers are expected in the immediate future.
“This isn’t a knee or something we’re talking about here. Not that a knee unimportant, obviously every injury is, but this is more than that so we’re going to take as much time as we need to make what we feel is the right decision,” said Hextall.
Timonen has been sidelined the entire season when blood clots in his lung and leg were discovered in early August. However, Hextall announced last week that recent tests showed the clot in Timonen’s lung has cleared up but the leg has not, and further evaluation was needed.
“We have all of the information, but it’s not just one doctor involved here so we’re trying to talk to everybody [and] put everything together,” added Hextall. “Then we’ll make a decision when we feel comfortable, everything’s been discussed and all the information has been passed around to everybody… and Kimmo’s comfortable and we’re comfortable.”
ZAC’S HEARING WITH THE NHL
In regards to Zac Rinaldo, who was offered an in-person hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety for a hit on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang in Tuesday’s game, Hextall said that Rinaldo will have a hearing via phone on Monday, Jan. 26.
“I talked to Zac last night and I also got in touch with him today. He feels horrible about what happened. He regrets what he said,” said Hextall. “You know, some of it was in jest and he questioned his timing with everything so he’s very upset about the whole situation. He’s upset the player is hurt, he’s upset with the comments and he regrets them.
Rinaldo was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for boarding Letang at 15:36 of the first period. Letang left the game and did not return.
“In terms of the hit, the league will determined whether it was legal or illegal. From our standpoint, hitting is a part of Zac’s game and he needs to be a physical player and obviously he plays on the edge. So whether he went over the line will be up to the league to dictate.”
THE STATUS ON MASON
Hextall then gave a brief update on goaltender Steve Mason, who has been sidelined with a lower-body injury since leaving in the first period of the Flyers-Bruins game on Jan. 10 and has missed the last six games.
“He’s undergoing some rehab tomorrow, so hopefully we’ll get good information. He’s doing better, he’s improving and we’re hopeful that he’ll be back after the break.”
With Mason’s eventual comeback a decision will have to be made on who will serve as his back up. Rob Zepp has performed well on recall from the Phantoms, while Ray Emery stopped 33 of 35 shots to earn a 3-2 overtime victory over the Penguins on Tuesday.
Hextall said that as of right now, Emery will continue to serve as back-up to Mason.
In other injury news, Scott Laughton continues to be day to day with an upper-body injury suffered at Washington on Jan. 14. He has missed the last four games.