CHICAGO - MAY 28: Kimmo Timonen #44 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates up the ice during Stanley Cup practice at the United Center on May 28, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
When you're the seventh defenseman on an NHL team, you wait for injuries in hopes that you can find your way on the ice and into game action. When you're Matt Walker, you get waived when those injuries happen.
Walker was indeed placed on waivers this afternoon, according to TSN, although we don't know if he'll actually make his way down to the Adirondack Phantoms again. The good news is that with the Phantoms in town for tonight's game at Citizens Bank Park against the Hershey Bears, Walker won't have to go far.
The better news is that, with the Phantoms in town, Erik Gustafsson could get the chance to play outdoors tonight against the Bears, then could suit up at 1 p.m. tomorrow for the Flyers. With Timonen out of the lineup, a return to action for Gustafsson on Saturday would be perfect timing. Waiving Walker would allow Gus to get back into the lineup.
As for Kimmo, he aggravated his wrist injury in the game last night, and Paul Holmgren announced today that he's listed as day-to-day. It doesn't seem too serious -- just a relatively minor bump over the course of a long season. At least, that's the hope. We never really know for sure with this team, do we?
The fact that Timonen is missing game action at all is a big deal, considering he's played in about a million straight games and has only missed seven total since becoming a Flyer in 2007.
Who knows what the pairings will look like if Gustafsson does get into the lineup tomorrow and Sunday with Timonen out, but not having Matt Walker in the top-6 is obviously a very, very good thing.