"I don't remember it ever being like this. We were in a situation (in Los Angeles) where we could only dress less than 18 healthy skaters. That's obviously not a good situation to be in, and thankfully our goalies and defensemen were healthy anyway. The forwards getting hurt now are starting to pile up."
-- Paul Holmgren regarding the current injuries
Let's try to wrap our brains around all of this.
Goalie Antero Niittymaki pulled his groin in overtime against Los Angeles, and that could be the reason the Flyers lost in the shootout on Saturday night. "It felt really bad. I tried to suck it up. I don't think the shootout helped," Niitty said before Tuesday's game with the Caps. Holmgren added that Antero feels better today but that its still going to be a week until he can return to action. Expect Biron in goal with Scott Munroe as his bench warmer for the time being, just as we saw against Washington. So much for the goalie's being healthy.
And defenseman? Well, Kimmo Timonen is fine (it's all relative) but he's been playing with a chipped bone in his ankle since the Columbus game on December 27.
Now when it comes to the forwards, we already known Danny Briere is out for a while. He's only played in seven games this season thanks to a groin strain, but he told the media that he's about a week or two away from returning now. It's nice that Danny isn't rushing it this time.
Simon Gagne was hit from behind in the first thirty seconds of the game in Vancouver on the 30th, and thankfully it wasn't another head injury, but he did hurt his shoulder. Gagne missed two games before returning against Washington.
Joffrey Lupul suffered an abdominal pull in the Anaheim game on Friday and has been placed on IR. He'll be out at least two weeks. Aaron Asham has a knee sprain and its possible he'll play Thursday against the Wild, but there are no guarantees.
Those are the regular guys. You know its bad, though, when the guys who come in to fill the injury void start getting hurt themselves. Darroll Powe had a hip injury but was able to play in the Washington game, albeit only six minutes. Josh Gratton also returned against the Capitals, but like Powe only played six minutes. Claude Giroux suffered a cheap elbow to the head from Corey Perry of Anaheim on Friday (Perry was suspended five games), and while Giroux was able to finish the game, he hasn't played since. He's day-to-day with a mild concussion. And finally, Jon Kalinski is out with probably the most painful sounding injury. Holmgren:
"Jon [Kalinski] is actually in the hospital. He had to have surgery on his thigh yesterday because of a contusion on his thigh that we couldn't get the swelling down. They had to go in and get the blood out of there. So, he's lying in a hospital with an open wound, letting it drain. We just have to see how it goes, but it's going to be significant time. Probably a couple weeks.
Desperate times call for desparate measures. Luca Sbisa played 17 shifts on the first line against LA. His linemates were Mike Richards and Mike Knuble. Believe it. Lasse Kukkonen also played a few shifts at forward. Jeff Carter, Richards, Timonen, Braydon Coburn, and Knuble all played over 25 minutes, while Scott Hartnell played just under 23. And they somehow got a point against both LA and Washington. Coburn also played just shy of 30 minutes (half the friggin game!) against the Capitals, while Timonen played 27.
This sucks, but it's better it happens now rather than later. If they can survive this, as the recent road trip proved they can, it'll only help them. This is a t-e-a-m. Just keep it together til the help comes, boys.