It’s amazing how in one day, the Flyers starting goaltender can be expected back within the week and the next, he’s out for a month, but that’s what reporters were told in a conference call earlier today.
Second and third opinions of the MRI taken of goaltender Michael Leighton’s lower back indicate that the netminder has a bulging disc, which may or may not have been aggravated earlier this summer during a workout session. According to WebMD, “Spinal discs absorb shock and provide flexibility within the spine. With age, spinal discs break down, becoming drier, less flexible, and more easily damaged. Injury and prolonged overuse or misuse can speed the formation of tiny tears in a disc’s capsule… In most cases, symptoms of a bulging disc can be managed with nonsurgical treatment and will go away over time. In a few cases surgery is needed.”
In other words, Leighton’s injury is unlikely to be one that will end his career the way that former Flyer goaltender Ray Emery’s did, but with proper care, he should be back before long.
The more saddening news of the day is that fan-favorite Ian Laperriere will be out indefinitely with post-concussion syndrome from the puck that he took to the face during the first round of the 2010 playoffs. Laperriere returned to the line-up in the third round, but now it seems that his heroic return was a mistake. According to CSN, Holmgren stated that, “He never let on over the course of the summer he was having any effects. In my talks with him on Saturday, he did say he was not completely honest about how he felt. He tried to work through some things. The prudent thing for us now is to get him check out properly and see what we’re dealing with.”
Boston Bruin Marc Savard, who returned during the second round of the playoffs after a severe concussion, is also out indefinitely, having failed every single neurological test and now suffering from severe depression.
It’s easy to feign ignorance when it comes to injuries, but this organization’s track record is abysmal. It’s difficult to say that Leighton’s lower back strain should have been run past every single test when he seemed OK, but what would they have to lose by not doing their due diligence? Laperriere’s concussion may have possibly ended his career. He may be suffering from further physiological damage as well. As of now, Laperriere will be put on the long-term injury reserve (LTIR) and his spot on the roster will be available.
The Flyers do not plan on signing another goaltender in the meantime. Should Johan Backlund’s injury keep him out longer (another blotch on the track record), prospect Sergei Bobrovsky will back Brian Boucher. There is also a good chance that Phantom Andreas Nodl will now be given a shot at the fourth line to replace Lappy on the penalty kill.