Flyers bit by injury bug, Laperriere and Leighton out

Flyers goalie Michael Leighton will miss one month with a bulging disc in his lower back.

Every NHL team faces numerous injuries throughout the long grind of a season. Those injuries have already begun for the Philadelphia Flyers.

GM Paul Holmgren revealed in a conference call with reporters Tuesday that starting goaltender Michael Leighton will be out for a month with a bulging disc in his lower back. The injury, which at first, was not considered to be serious, turned out to be a significant injury after Leighton was examined last night and again Tues. morning, and the bulging disc was confirmed by the club.

“Michael saw another doctor last night and a doctor this morning as well,” said Holmgren during Tuesday’s conference call. “It was discovered through those visits that right now we’re dealing with a bulging disk in his lower back and we’re going to put him on the shelf for about a month.

“My personal experience with bulging disks is they go back in eventually. It’s not a herniated disc, which is a bigger issue in and of itself. It’s a bulging disk, and we think with strengthening and rehab and time that he’ll be OK. Right now we think that time period is a month just to let everything settle down. In goal, it’s a little more dicey than a regular player because of the way he’s bent over all the time in net.”

The obvious question is where does the team go from here goaltending-wise. According Holmgren, the Flyers will not make a move to acquire a new goaltender. The will enter the season with Brian Boucher, Sergei Bobrovsky, & Johan Backlund (who himself is recovering from offseason hip surgery)

Furthermore, Holmgren also said that Bobrovsky’s contract will not impact the Flyers decision on him. The 22-year old apparent phenom can make $200,000 more than Leighton would if he makes the NHL roster sometime this season.

Bobrovsky’s deal is laced with performance-based bonuses. Approximately $875,000 of his $1.75 million deal is based on performance. The Flyers can choose whether to apply them to this year’s or next year’s cap.

“I don’t think finances are an issue, what we decide, either way, it will work,” added Holmgren.

To add-on to the bad news coming out of the conference call today, Ian Laperriere will be out indefinitely with “post concussion symptoms, likely from his shot block in game 5 against New Jersey back in April. With Lappy out and Blair Betts still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, the Flyers will now open the season next week without their starting goalie and  two of their best penalty killers.

“The second is Ian Laperriere,” added Holmgren. “He’ll be out indefinitely because of some post-concussion symptoms that he’s dealing with, probably from last year.  Over the next period of time… he’s getting an MRI today and Friday he’ll be going to see the doctor he saw in Pittsburgh last year when he had the injury in the playoffs. We won’t have any information on Ian until sometime next week.  But he’s going to be out indefinitely with post-concussion symptoms.”

Laperriere admitted to the Flyers that he wasn’t completely honest with the team doctors during the end of last season. Lappy tried his best to make the finals even thought throughout the entire series he still didn’t feel right. He told club officials that he had a rough summer.

“He never let on over the course of the summer that he was having any effects over the summer,” Holmgren said. “But in my talks with him on Saturday he did say he wasn’t completely honest about how he felt and he tried to work through some things and his summer was rough.”

More to come later……


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