Flyers injury updates: Chris Pronger might miss opener, Michael Leighton won't be on LTIR

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prongerandleighton.jpgWe passed along word that Chris Pronger had “minor” knee surgery in August, but hadn’t heard much about his status since then. Apparently the menacing defenseman is still working his way back into playing form as Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inqurier reports that Pronger was “coy” about playing in Thursday’s opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“It’s progressing along and we’ll see,” he said, smiling and repeating the refrain to several questions about his availability against the archrival Penguins.

On Tuesday, Pronger practiced for the second time this preseason.

“As a goalie, we love having him out there,” Brian Boucher said. “. . ..He’s our leader back there and eats up a lot of minutes.”

“He’s like the big toe on your foot,” defenseman Sean O’Donnell said. “Things seem to work a lot better when he’s out there. I know he’s not 100 percent . . . but I think there’s 30 teams that would love to have him as their anchor guy.”

A big toe on your foot, eh? (I thought he’d say an elbow on your arm.)

Anyway, while Pronger seems day-to-day, goalie Michael Leighton is closer to week-to-week. Carchidi reports that the Flyers decided not to put Leighton on the long-term injured reserve.

Goalie Michael Leighton, sidelined with a back injury, is progressing, and the Flyers decided not to put him on the long-term injured list, in which a player must miss 10 games or 24 days. Instead, he was placed on the injured-reserve list and can be activated at any time, since seven days have transpired since the injury occurred, Holmgren said.

Leighton is not expected to be available for a few weeks.

With Leighton on injured reserve, his $1.55 million salary counts against the Flyers’ salary cap, but he does not count against the roster. Without Leighton, the Flyers have 24 players and can get down to the league maximum of 23 by placing Ian Laperriere on the long-term injury list on Wednesday.

So it might be a month or so before we “see” most of the Flyers team that made it to the Stanley Cup finals. Still, the team has enough talent that PHT readers think they’ll win the Atlantic Division over the Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils this season, so once they get to 100 percent they can might be quite the force.

Logan Couture can at least speak and eat following horrifying mouth injury

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As much as many of us suffer during a trip to the dentist, few can fathom the horrors hockey players often go through when a puck, stick or fist finds their teeth/mouths. Consult this vintage PHT post from 2010 if you want to cringe, a lot.

Much like Eddie Lack “only” dealing with a neck sprain, it’s strange to be heartened to hear that Logan Couture can speak and eat after his own painful ordeal, but that’s the positive update from the Mercury News on Tuesday.

Couture, Wilson said, did not need to have his jaw wired shut after a deflected puck caught him in the mouth on Saturday when the Sharks played the Nashville Predators.

“Hey, he can speak and eat … and his jaw isn’t wired shut!” Yeesh.

To little surprise, Couture isn’t playing on Tuesday. As far as the Sharks next three games (Thursday, Friday and Sunday), that remains to be seen.

As an aside, consider this: on the same day Jonathan Drouin‘s celebrating his birthday after helping the Lightning win, Couture is lucky if he can force down some birthday cake. Life: it isn’t always fair.

PHT discussed his trip to the dentist on Monday.

More mouth pain: When David Backes felt like his face was falling off.

Athanasiou got hurt during that Lack collision, too (and he blames Rask’s hit)

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The Carolina Hurricanes and Detroit Red Wings both exchanged signs of respect after Eddie Lack left last night’s game on a stretcher, but there’s a little controversy surrounding that situation … from the Red Wings’ perspective.

You see, Andreas Athanasiou may not have collided with Lack if not for a shove/cross-check by Hurricanes forward Victor Rask.

Athanasiou is out for the Red Wings tonight, and as the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James reports, he blames the Rask hit.

Here’s a screen grab of that moment via NBCSN/the Fox Sports broadcast:

Now, check it out in full motion:

It’s unfortunate that two injuries came of that overtime-clincher, though one may at least mildly defend Rask in noting that Athanasiou was really displaying his blazing speed on that play.

The Red Wings could very well be eliminated tonight, or soon, but Athanasiou has been a bright spot during a sometimes-glum season for Detroit. Hopefully, like Lack, this is merely a minor issue from an unfortunate collision.

More promising Eddie Lack news: Hurricanes label his injury a neck strain

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Yes, it feels a little weird to “cheer” a neck strain, but such injury news feels pretty fantastic for Eddie Lack.

The Carolina Hurricanes announced that he’s dealing with exactly that on Tuesday morning, not that long after Lack’s scare after being stretchered off the ice following a collision with Detroit Red Wings Andreas Athanasiou.

Lack ended up being hospitalized, but as it turns out, that was a pretty short-term situation.

With the positive news in mind, it’s already appropriate to wonder when Lack might be back, particularly since he’s been on quite a tear during Carolina’s unlikely push for a possible playoff spot. The Hurricanes didn’t provide a window of time for his recovery, and Lack himself was vague-if-positive:

In the mean time, the Hurricanes recalled Alex Nedeljkovic, who one would assume would primarily back up Cam Ward.

So, long story short: things seem very positive for Lack, though his rehab process remains cloudy.

Bruins recall McIntyre from AHL on emergency basis

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Update: As it turns out, Anton Khudobin might be the goalie dealing with an injury, according to the Boston Herald’s Steve Conroy. So, tonight’s starter boils down to Tuukka Rask or Zane McIntyre.

(Rask it is.)

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Tuukka Rask was supposed to be back in goal for the Boston Bruins tonight.

But then, just a couple of hours before their game with the Nashville Predators, the B’s announced they’d recalled goalie Zane McIntyre from the AHL on an emergency basis.

It’s not yet clear why McIntyre was recalled. Rask missed Saturday’s game in Brooklyn with a lower-body injury, but coach Bruce Cassidy said earlier today that Rask was healthy and ready to go.

“Tuukka is healthy,” said Cassidy. “That’s what he indicated to me and that’s all I needed to hear. He’ll be our starter tonight.”

If Rask is unable to play, expect Anton Khudobin to get the nod.

Khudobin backstopped the B’s to a 2-1 victory over the Isles on Saturday.