If there was a loyalty punch card for player injuries, the Philadelphia Flyers would have earned a free week on the LTIR by now.
On Monday, head coach Alain Vigneault announced that center Kevin Hayes re-injured himself in just his second game back this season and is considered to be week-to-week.
Injury update: Per AV, Flyers forward Kevin Hayes suffered a re-injury vs. Calgary on Nov. 16 and is considered week-to-week.— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) November 22, 2021
The 29-year-old forward underwent off-season surgery to repair an abdominal injury and his absence was extremely noticeable. It certainly doesn’t help having late-summer free agent acquisition Derick Brassard centering your second line while Hayes attempted to recover, but overall, the difference between having him and not is stark.
In the two games that he has played this season, Hayes looked like the offensive glue that was somewhat missing through the overperformance to start the season. Add the visible cohesion to the fact that he scored an incredible emotional goal in dedication to his late brother Jimmy in his very first game back, this team felt somewhat whole.
Well, we might as well get used to some holes now.
Hayes now joins a daunting list of injured Flyers. Top defenseman Ryan Ellis has now gone through the same thing, coming back for a handful of games and re-injuring himself to now be out for a longer period of time; as well as some depth sparkplugs in Patrick Brown and Sam Morin, with the latter being out more indefinitely.
Not many teams can lose a top-six center and their best blueliner and still be all right. Only time will tell if the Flyers will fall in that same hole, losing their current playoff spot as the missing offense continues. They have now suffered two losses since Hayes last played and with the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Carolina Hurricanes on the horizon, that number might grow.