It's doubtful Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn
will be able to play Tuesday night when the Eastern Conference Final resumes with Game 3 in Philadelphia, but it's likely he'll be back in the lineup for Game 4 on Thursday.
Coburn was hit on the left side of his face by a deflected puck less than two minutes into Game 2 Sunday night and he did not return. While Coburn needed more than 50 stitches to close a gash near his left eye, Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren
reported Coburn suffered no fractures and did not suffer a concussion.
"He had no loss of consciousness," Holmgren said during a press conference after the Flyers' practice Monday. "At the time he was cognizant and aware. He did have some issues on the plane last night, but they think it was due to the loss of blood. He lost a lot of blood last night from that injury."
Coburn was not available for comment, as he was visiting an ophthalmologist to see if there was any injury to the eye.
"We're still waiting to hear word on how his eye is," said Holmgren. "It's swollen shut. There are no fractures. He's doing better. We have no reason to think there's anything wrong with the eye. Our doctors thought he was fine, but we wanted him to get checked out by an actual ophthalmologist. Assuming there's no issues there, we'll just wait for the swelling to go down."
Flyers coach John Stevens
can emphasize with Coburn's injury. Stevens' playing career ended in the 1998-99 season when he was hit in the eye by a puck while he was playing with the AHL's Philadelphia Phantoms.
"My eye was more involved than his," said Stevens. "Hopefully his eye is going to be fine. It's just a cut and swelling we're dealing with, hopefully that's the case. Once the swelling goes down and there's no structural damage, which we hope there isn't, then he'll be ready to play."
Rookie Ryan Parent
will likely fill the void. "We have full confidence in him as he's a good, young player who continues to get better," Stevens said.
"He plays with a lot of poise I really think he's close to becoming an everyday NHL player. We obviously know we need some depth along the blue line and Ryan would provide that. I think he's a guy who can come in and do the little things for us. He has that quiet confidence yet is extremely competitive and that's something we will need."
If called to duty, Parent, who has not seen action in the playoffs since Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against Washington, admitted he's ready.
"I realize the intensity and pace of the game is going to be constant, so everything is just a little more intense and it's just one step up from the previous series," Parent said. "Part of my personality is staying calm and collected out there. I don't try to get overly excited when I play but that's just how I control my nerves."
Parent has been practicing with the team
throughout the playoffs and realizes he must be mentally ready despite the fact he hasn't played since April 11.
"Obviously, when you're playing, you're into the game and on a roll, but when you're not, you're always wondering if you're going to get in and get that chance," he said. "Whether I have to play two minutes or 20 minutes, it makes no difference. You just have to be ready. I've gone about my daily routine (in practice) in case they need me in the lineup and that's how I've prepared throughout the playoffs."
-- Mike G. Morreale and Adam Kimelman
Laraque rewards Therrien's faith --
After the Pittsburgh Penguins
were ousted from the playoffs last season, coach Michel Therrien
sat down with Georges Laraque
and was brutally honest with him.
Therrien, who coached Laraque and the QMJHL's Granby Predateurs to the 1996 Memorial Cup, told him he needed to be in better shape to play for his team. He needed to take care of himself over the summer, report in good shape, and that way he'll have an impact on a team of fleet-footed forwards.
"He was an impact player on our team (Granby) and that was the guy that we were looking to bring to our club," Therrien said. "The Georges Laraque
that I saw last year was not the Georges Laraque
that I knew."
Laraque took the words to heart and has become a regular fourth-liner for Therrien's squad. He contributed with a big secondary assist on the game-winning goal Sunday night, helping the Penguins take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals, which shift to Philadelphia for Game 3 tomorrow night.
"He's capable of playing and he's capable of a forecheck," Therrien said. "Guys like that are always going to bring some respect for your own team and I'm more than satisfied with the way Georges handles himself this year compared to last year."
-- Dan Rosen
Unwelcome visitor –
When Sidney Crosby
steps onto the Wachovia Center ice tomorrow night he may want to wear some ear plugs. Flyers fans may be the most hostile toward Crosby of all fans in the NHL.
"Yeah, I would say it's a pretty tough place to play," Crosby said. "At the same time in the playoffs it makes for a great atmosphere. They're just a tough crowd. They're not afraid to say anything. You know, they're just a very vocal group. A vocal group."
The Flyers' fans have reason to spew venom at Crosby. In 10 career games at the Wachovia Center he has eight goals and nine assists for 17 points. In 22 career games against the Flyers, including Games 1 and 2, he has 18 goals and 22 assists for 40 points.
"I just want to make sure that I'm getting those opportunities, because in the playoffs you don't always get so many," Crosby said. "So I want to make sure when I get them, I take advantage of them."
-- Dan Rosen
Still a no-goal? –
Crosby said he got a chance to take a closer look at video of the no-goal call from Game 2, when he thought he had one after pounding at the puck near the right post only to get thwarted by Marty Biron's glove.
He said he still thinks it was a goal, just as he did when he was on the ice and raised his arms.
"I saw a picture that showed it; it showed the puck over the line," Crosby said. "I don't know. I think from what I heard, they couldn't get the right angle and it was inconclusive. Then the call on the ice is I guess the next opinion.
"I'm glad we won," he added. "That would be a tough one to take if we lost."
-- Dan Rosen
Containing Briere –
Pittsburgh has done a masterful job of holding down Flyers center Danny Briere
and his linemates, Vaclav Prospal
and Scott Hartnell
. They have no points and are a minus-7 with only 10 shots on goal through two games after registering a combined 30 points on 14 goals and 16 assists against Washington and Montreal.
Therrien has for the most part utilized Jordan Staal
's line, including wingers Jarkko Ruutu
and Tyler Kennedy
, against Briere's line with the Sergei Gonchar
-Brooks Orpik pairing on the back end. The coach said Gonchar has been the biggest difference maker.
"Gonchar is doing a fantastic job, like yesterday, picking up three assists, playing so solid defensively," Therrien said. "He's been doing that for a long time for us and last night I thought he was phenomenal. He deserves more credit than he's receiving now. This is a guy that always goes under the radar. He's a good leader and he's capable to shut down the best player on the other team."
-- Dan Rosen
No nitpicking here –
Asked what he thinks the Penguins need to do better in Game 3, Therrien couldn't come up with anything. Can you blame him? His team is 10-1 in the playoffs and the goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury
, is sporting a 1.80 goals against average.
"As far as I'm concerned, we're pretty solid," Therrien said. "We're 10-1 in the playoffs. That's pretty good. As far as I'm concerned we've played pretty solid so far. We're going to need to play another solid game on the road."
-- Dan Rosen
Needing a spark – John Stevens
admitted his team still lacks that intensity that was such a big part of it's five-game elimination of the Montreal Canadiens
in the conference semifinal round.
"The game plan won't change, but the execution of the game plan can and I believe when you get to this point, you have to reach that next level," Stevens said. "I saw that in the Montreal series, where we got better as we went along but I haven't seen our guys play with that same confidence as we had earlier. I feel Pittsburgh deserves credit for that, but I we just need to worry about our game and begin executing the things that worked so well for us in earlier rounds. I feel our puck support needs to improve and we just have to manage our emotions a little better."
Perhaps a change in scenery, namely the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, is the cure for the Flyers in Game 3.
"Every game has its own impact on a series and we'll need to show a lot more urgency on our part down, 2-0," Stevens said. "I think there were times we did show that urgency in Game 2 but we couldn't sustain it. We're excited to be coming home in front of our fans (for Games 3 and 4). It's been an awesome place to play and our guys are excited to be coming home."
-- Mike G. Morreale