James van Riemsdyk and Tom Sestito Recommence SkatingBREAKING NEWS, Flyers, News, NHL Saturday, April 14th, 2012
Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on twitter today that both James van Riemsdyk and Tom Sestito were skating today during the practice session at the Virtua Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey. Van Riemsdyk had injured his foot blocking a shot against the New York Islanders on March 1 while Tom Sestito pulled his groin during a fight with Zack Kassian of the Buffalo Sabres (and now with the Vancouver Canucks) on February 17.
Although the news that Sestito is close to returning is good for the team for depth purposes, hearing that JVR is finally out of his boot is fantastic. It takes time for players returning from injury to build up their conditioning again, so it would be surprising if he was able to return before the start of the second round of the playoffs.
Depending on how this series with the Pittsburgh Penguins goes in Philadelphia will likely factor into that timetable. Chris Pronger returned early from injury last season to face the Buffalo Sabres in the Quarterfinals when he clearly wasn’t ready, but the team was stumbling badly enough through the series that even Pronger at 50% was considering an improvement.
When JVR returns, one of either Zac Rinaldo or Eric Wellwood will sit. Popular opinion is that Rinaldo should sit, as his reputation has caught the better of him twice in this series already, but Peter Laviolette chose to dress Rinaldo last year during the playoffs against the Boston Bruins in lieu of Nikolai Zherdev despite the vast difference in skill.
In two games so far, Rinaldo has averaged 5:15 of ice time per game with 3 hits and 0 shots. Wellwood has averaged 11:27 of ice time with 1 shot and 1 takeaway.
If and when JVR returns to the line-up he will likely start on the fourth line with Matt Read to slowly build up his ice time. If Pittsburgh thought they had trouble matching lines now, they would be treading water in this scenario.
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