Man Down; Another Flyer Facing SurgeryFlyers, News, NHL Saturday, October 16th, 2010
Flyers defenseman Matt Walker may be in need of hip/groin surgery after tweaking his hip during the preseason, according to reports from CSNPhilly. Walker was competing with defenseman Oskars Bartulis for the seventh defenseman position when the injury struck. Outside observers thought that coach Peter Laviolette was just more comfortable with Bartulis, but apparently that may not have been the case.
General manager Paul Holmgren told reporters, “[Walker] felt something pop during that fight he had [against] New Jersey and it’s just deteriorated…He tries to do things on the ice and he can’t. Everything gets all balled up in there.” Holmgren also said that they are waiting to hear back from another doctor before deciding whether to let him rest or if surgery is necessary. If surgery is the only option, Walker will be out for a substantial amount of time.
Walker hasn’t seen any action during the season, so his inactivity will not affect the way that the current roster is playing. Unfortunately, he isn’t the only Flyer out indefinitely. Goaltender Michael Leighton is out with a herniated disc and forward Ian Laperriere is out with post-concussion syndrome and nerve damage behind his right eye. Forwards Ville Leino and Blair Betts are still active, but both are playing through nagging soreness as well; Leino is feeling discomfort in his hip after offseason surgery and Betts is having issues with one of his knees.
It doesn’t surprise me that Walker is injured, or that the organization waited several weeks before disclosing the information. What does surprise me is the indication from CSN that even if Walker may miss a considerable amount of the season, the team will not place him on long-term injury reserve (LTIR). His $1.7 million cap hit isn’t doing the team any good if he’s not ready to play, and there are a number of Phantoms who would be worth a call-up if the team finds itself struggling early. Letting yourself be handcuffed by the cap over ailing players doesn’t make much sense.
Without rolling out a definitive list, the NHL 2010-2011 season is just over a week old and already the injuries have begun piling up throughout the league. In the Atlantic Division alone, Marian Gaborik (NY Rangers), Chris Drury (NY Rangers), Mark Streit (NY Islanders), John Tavares (NY Islanders), Anton Volchenkov (NJ Devils), Brian Rolston (NJ Devils), and Zbynek Michalek (Pittsburgh Penguins) have succumbed to the injury bug.
It’s in cases like these where a team’s depth has to step up and the general manager gets to show why he’s the boss. It will be interesting to see how goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky fares tonight in his rematch against Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.
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