Injuries Have Flyers Hoping For The Best…Again

12 Dec

Hits to the head are one of the scariest aspects of hockey these days. The collective gasp when the NHL’s scoring leader took a knee in the back of his head could be felt all over the league. Claude Giroux was able to skate off the ice under his own power and general manager Paul Holmgren said he didn’t even have headaches after the game. But unlike Ilya Bryzgalov, the Flyers aren’t out of the woods just yet.

“Claude felt better this morning,” said Holmgren on Sunday. “He will be evaluated again [Monday] morning.”

Sure, the news that Giroux feels better is a good sign. But it is in no way a definite reflection of his actual medical status. For proof we look no further than Friday when Holmgren revealed that Brayden Schenn, who felt good after playing Phoenix, had been diagnosed with a mild concussion.

“I know he got hit in the nose in the game in Phoenix just below his nose, continued to play in the game, felt fine on the way home,” recalled Holmgren. “I think we had an offday the next day, came in Monday he didn’t feel great. We kept him off the ice. We checked Tuesday, did an ImPACT test, passed that, went out for practice, felt pretty good halfway through practice and comes off after the end of practice and ‘I don’t feel great.’ So, we’ve got to shut him down. Those are the rules and that’s what we’re dealing with.”

Will the same thing happen with Giroux? Hopefully not, but it could.

The outlook is far more stable for Bryzgalov, whose lower-body injury is thought to be very minor. According to Holmgren, he is “doing much better. Should be ready to play on Tuesday.”

He came out of Saturday’s game in the third period after making 14 saves on 16 shots. He headed down the tunnel to the locker room, but returned only a couple minutes later, sitting at the edge of the bench with his helmet on. While he said that he felt as though he could have re-entered the game, Peter Laviolette said he didn’t put any thought into putting him back in.

“It was starting to bother me more and more during the game and we decided to be safe,” said Bryzgalov.

Even though the veteran netminder said that he re-injured “an old boo boo,” it still isn’t as worrisome as Giroux’s potential head injury.

The Flyers have lost 69 man games to injury for players who have suited up this year. That’s not including Ian Laperriere and Blair Betts who are both on long-term injured reserve or Brandon Manning or Andrew Rowe who were also on that list.

“No, you know what…it is a part of the game,” said Holmgren. “Pittsburgh played their game [Saturday night] without [Kris] Letang, without [Sidney] Crosby, without [Jordan] Staal. I mean, everybody goes through injury issues, we’re just through our share right now.”

Only the Flyers have had to deal with this more than most teams. And while they can skate faster, check harder, shoot more and take penalties less, injuries are a facet of the game where they have no control at all. So all they can do with Giroux is wait and hope.

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