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Concussion to sideline van Riemsdyk indefinitely

by John Manasso
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- About an hour before his team hit the ice for its morning skate at Bridgestone Arena, Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren issued a statement that forward James van Riemsdyk would be out indefinitely with a concussion.

"James was hit in the head in each of our last two games," Holmgren said. "He reported yesterday not feeling like himself."

For the Flyers, whose lineup has been hit hard by concussions this season, the news that van Riemsdyk, 22, with 11 goals and 11 assists in 37 games, would be out was just the latest.

Van Riemsdyk had been playing left wing on a line centered by Brayden Schenn with Wayne Simmonds on the right. Zac Rinaldo will take his place in the lineup on Saturday.

"Any time you’re losing personnel, you don't want that," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "It's unfortunate that it happened. I actually liked the way he was moving on that line, I liked the line, I liked the way it was moving. So when guys come out, it's a setback for them, a setback for the team. Now Zac comes back in the lineup, brings his energy, probably move the lines around a little bit.

"But we've been through it before, we'll get through this as well."

Some of the Flyers' most high-profile players have fallen victim to concussions this season. Defenseman Chris Pronger will be out for the remainder of the season. The team's leader in points, Claude Giroux, missed four games with one. And rookie Brayden Schenn dealt with one as well.

Laviolette was asked if the Flyers had only had a healthy lineup for one game.

"I don’t even know if we've had that," he said. "Someone's been on the injured list or injured reserve the entire year. But again, that's part of the sport and part of hockey and it is what it is and you deal with it."

Several Flyers said they noticed that van Riemsdyk was hit in the head recently in a game against Ottawa by Bobby Butler on Jan. 8. Danny Briere observed that van Riemsdyk did not practice on Thursday but thought it might have been a groin injury or something else.

"I remember the one hit against Ottawa," Briere said. "Butler kind of clipped him at home. Besides that, I don't remember. We get hit in the head all of the time. But sometimes it starts with one big hit. You see it with, I think (Pittsburgh's Sidney) Crosby's the perfect example of all that. All the battles, you always get hit in the head somehow. And you see it even more after."

Rinaldo echoed that sentiment.

"I think it's just wear-and-tear type of thing, game in game out getting hit in the head," Rinaldo said. "Maybe having a headache and thinking nothing of it and keep battling and stuff like that and just repetitive hits to the head cause concussions."

Rinaldo, who ranks second in the League with 120 penalty minutes, will bring a different element to the lineup than van Riemsdyk. He said he would "keep positive, keep banging bodies, keep doing what I do best and hopefully it works out for the best."

Laviolette said Ilya Bryzgalov will start in goal for the first time in three games on Saturday.
Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jaromir Jagr
Jakub Voracek - Danny Briere - Maxime Talbot
Matt Read - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds
Harry Zolnierczyk - Sean Couturier - Zac Rinaldo
Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn
Matt Carle - Marc-Andre Bourdon
Andreas Lilja/Erik Gustafsson - Andrej Meszaros
Ilya Bryzgalov
Sergei Bobrovsky
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