PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 24: Chris Pronger #20 of the Philadelphia Flyers falls to the ice after being hit in the face by a stick during the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Wells Fargo Center on October 24, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
News that Andreas Nodl will be out of tonight's lineup with a lower-body injury is just the latest in a ton of injuries that have plagued the Philadelphia Flyers in the last week. In chronological order, here's a list of injuries this team has faced in the last two weeks (!):
- Chris Pronger takes a stick to the eye, out several weeks.
- Brayden Schenn breaks his foot, out several weeks.
- Danny Briere suffers a lower-body injury, missed two games.
- Matt Read suffers an upper-body injury, has missed two games and is still listed as day-to-day.
- James van Riemsdyk suffers a lower-body injury, likely his knee, and is day-to-day.
- Andreas Nodl's lower-body injury, listed as day-to-day.
(Pretty sure we didn't miss anybody.)
Most of these injuries, save Pronger's eye and Schenn's foot, are less than serious. They're minor things -- of course, with the caveat that this team has an infamous history of reporting minor injuries, only to have them turn into something much more serious. But for the most part, these aren't horrible. Guys aren't out for months or for the year or anything like that.
Pronger has already returned to the ice and could be playing sooner than later. van Riemsdyk could play tonight, although that seems unlikely, as is the case with Read. They're at least seemingly closer to returning than not. Briere is already back and Nodl's ailment doesn't appear to be serious at first glance.
Really, these are just the types of injuries that happen over the course of a season. The only difference is that the Flyers are getting them all at once here in a bundle. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. These things really couldn't have come at a better time.
Consider first the schedule.
Flyers Schedule: October 27 thru November 23
|Montreal||Wed 10/26||L 1 - 5|
|Winnipeg||Thu 10/27||L 8 - 9|
|Carolina||Sat 10/29||W 5 - 1|
|@ Buffalo||Wed 11/02||W 3 - 2|
|New Jersey||Thu 11/03||SO - L 3 - 4|
|Columbus||Sat 11/05||7:00 PM EDT|
|@ Tampa Bay||Wed 11/09||7:30 PM EST|
|@ Florida||Sun 11/13||5:00 PM EST|
|@ Carolina||Mon 11/14||7:00 PM EST|
|Phoenix||Thu 11/17||7:00 PM EST|
|@ Winnipeg||Sat 11/19||3:00 PM EST|
|Carolina||Mon 11/21||7:00 PM EST|
|@ New York Islanders||Wed 11/23||7:00 PM EST|
This is an entire month of games, beginning with the first game missed by Chris Pronger. That Montreal game was also the game in which Schenn suffered his injury, and the Winnipeg game the next night was the last game played by Briere. The Carolina game was the first game missed by Read.
Since the start of this stretch, the Flyers are just a mediocre 2-2-1, and they haven't looked all that fantastic. Some of that almost certainly has to do with the fact that some of their most important players have been out of the lineup, especially in the case of Pronger.
But if you have to lose one of your best scorers (Briere), your best defenseman (Pronger) and several other important complementary offensive pieces (JvR, Nodl, Schenn, Read), this is the time to do it. Even if some of these guys are out for the next month or so, the winning percentage of the Flyers opponents (as of today) until November 23 is just .416.
Even further, after tonight's game against the NHL's worst team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Flyers have three full days off until their next game on Wednesday against Tampa Bay. After that, they have three full days off again before Sunday's game in Florida. Following tonight, the Flyers have two games in seven days. Perfect time to rest up and lick those wounds.
If you want to take it even further, think about the call-ups. The first-place Adirondack Phantoms (seriously) are missing some of their best players as a result of these Flyers injuries. Captain Ben Holmstrom was sent back to the team for last night's win over Springfield, but Harry Zolnierczyk, Eric Wellwood, Zac Rinaldo and Erik Gustafsson are all in Philadelphia.
Tonight, the Phantoms have a rare Saturday night off, and they won't play again until two home games against Syracuse and Toronto next weekend. That's a full week off for the Phantoms, and with seemingly half their roster in Philly, this also couldn't come at a better time for them.
Injuries suck, but they happen, and when they pop up on you, you have to hope they come at a good time. This seems like quite nice timing.