Found January 07, 2013 on
Buzz On Broad:
Flyers' defenseman Andrej Meszaros
When an agreement between the NHL and NHLPA to end the league's lockout was tentatively agreed on yesterday, many Flyers' fans donned orange and black with pride to celebrate the late arrival of a 2013 season.
After allowing a much needed day for rejoice, it's time to dive into the issues that the team faces heading into the 48-game season that begins in about two weeks.
The glaring weakness to start the season?
The Flyers face a scenario in which two of their top six defensemen will most likely not start the season and their seventh defenseman out as well.
Andrej Meszaros, who the Flyers consider one of their top 3/4 defensemen, tore his Achilles tendon over the summer and required surgery. Delaying the season a few months has certainly alloted Meszaros more time to nurture his injury, but he's still not 100%. Saying that he will miss a lot of time in the beginning of the season is pessimistic, but saying he plays in the opener is optimistic.
24-year-old Erik Gustafsson (+12 in 30 games in 2012) is still recovering from an ankle injury, and will likely start the season as a scratch for the Adirondack Phantoms. According to Phantoms writer Michael Cignoli, Gustafsson suffered a setback last week and is currently walking with crutches.
When he returns, he will need a few games with the Flyers' AHL affiliate to reacclimate himself to the game and work on his conditioning. Expect him back in Flyers' orange a few weeks into the season.
Marc-André Bourdon is another young defensive talent that the Flyers' organization will be without come the season opener. Bourdon suffered a concussion 17 games into the Phantoms' season and remains out indefinitely. He had four points (1 goal, 3 assists) for Adirondack before the injury.
Chris Pronger will most likely never play another game in the National Hockey League, so consider him out as a defensive candidate.
So who will Peter Laviolette plug into the glaring holes on defense?
The top candidates to fill-in at this point are veteran Andreas Lilja and free agent signee Bruno Gervais.
Lilja was a plus-9 with six assists and 34 asssists with the Flyers last season, average 13:41 of ice team in his 46 games played. The 37-year-old, who had offseason hip surgery, said that he "feels new again" and that he feels much younger than he did before the surgery. He is a solid plug-in blue liner that could help hold the Flyers' defense together until they're healthy again.
Gervais, who is Max Talbot's childhood best friend, is a 28-year-old right-handed defenseman that the Flyers signed to a two-year, $1.65 million contract this offseason. He played in just 50 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning last season, scoring 13 points (6 goals, 7 assists).
At full-strength, neither Lilja or Gervais would be in the Flyers' top three defensive pairings, but that's not the case. As it stands, they will most likely be the team's third defensive pair heading into the shortened 2013 season:
First pairing: Kimmo Timonen/Nicklas Grossmann
Second pairing: Braydon Coburn/Luke Schenn
Third pairing: Andreas Lilja/Bruno Gervais
C.J. Burns is a Flyers contributor for Buzz on Broad. Follow him on Twitter @CJBurns215.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Where can Flyers turn for Blueline Help?
I agree wholeheartedly with Tim Panaccio about whom to trust when it comes to interpreting sports injury information: If there is conflicting information between what a team says and what the injured player says, go with the athlete's self-report.
Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros (Achilles tendon repair surgery) said yesterday...
The player lockout may be over, almost, but Flyers stud defensman Chris Pronger will not be hitting the ice any time soon. He is still having concussion symptoms from last year’s (2011) injury. Pronger like the Penguins Sydney Crosby has had extensive issues getting back on the ice but where Crosby is in his twenties, Pronger is closer to 40.
There is a certain point where...
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette is back where he belongs, at the team's training complex, speaking to reporters and watching some of his players work out.
They're not all back yet, but they will be here soon, as the Flyers finally get a chance to wash away the sting of another short playoff run last season.
The standard group of workout regulars that included defenseman Kimmo...
According to a report from Flyers' beat writer Randy Miller, you can look for Claude Giroux to be named captain before the season opener. This is a move that was desired and expected by many Flyers fans.
The naming of Giroux has captain has not yet been made official by the team, but if true, you can expect to hear the announcement in the coming days.
With the lockout ending...
3.. 2.. 1.. Take off.
The Flyers' season doesn't begin for another week and a half, but goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov is already making headlines in the Philadelphia media with his quotes.
“He's like from the movie Cast Away. We need to buy some ball for him so he has best buddy Wilson," said Bryzgalov when asked about forward Scott Hartnell's hairstyle.
NHLTags: Anthony StolarzBrynäsFredric LarssonLondon KnightsUniversity of Omaha-NebraskaForgive the ambiguous title of the post, but the Philadelphia Flyers were informed of two developments today that affect two of their prospects from the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
The first is a bit of good news- the Swedish Ice Hockey Association has revised their...
Training camp hasn't opened.
Few players are even around.
And already, the Flyers are facing some bad news.
Back in November and even last month, Andrej Meszaros was all smiles about likely being cleared to play when the lockout ended.
Today, he was not smiling. And while GM Paul Holmgren did everything he could to downplay what is going on, I always trust the athlete...
Bill Guerin was around during the '94-'95 lockout-shortened season. He said he plans to tell the players not to get too caught up in it. Obviously much more at this link.
It's great to watch Pens YouTubes without crying afterward.
Two days since a handful of Flyers have trickled into pre-camp, we've had a bundle of news.
The bad: Danny Briere will probably miss the season opener, by his own admission, because of a badly sprained wrist. He might even miss a week.
Funny thing is, GM Paul Holmgren seemed more worried about Briere than Andrej Meszaros and anyone who has been around Achilles injuries...
Here are some Flyers quick hits for your Wednesday morning. I will be leaving shortly to attend the NHL's press conference in New York later today, along with Eklund and HockeyBuzz's Capt. EO.
* When Ilya Bryzgalov left CSKA Moscow ahead of the settlement of the NHL lockout, the official cover reason issued by the team was that Bryzgalov had an upper-body injury for which...
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Flyers All-Star Claude Giroux received the wakeup call he waited to hear for 113 days.
Locked out for months, the NHL was indeed ready to drop the puck.
"It's a beautiful day for Hockey," he posted Sunday on Twitter.
Call the overseas players and tell them to come on home to New Jersey and Pennsylvania and other states where the NHL only existed...