Claude Giroux

Giroux practices for first time since neck injury


Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux resumed skating on Wednesday, his first foray onto the ice since suffering a neck injury while playing in Germany three weeks ago.

Needless to say, he was pleased with the development.

“I’m doing better, but it’s a process and I need to understand that,” Giroux told the Ottawa Citizen. “[Tuesday] was my first day back in the gym and today was just a little skate, some flow drills and stuff.

“It was good, and hopefully, it keeps getting better.”

Giroux skated for 90 minutes with the Carleton Ravens (a Canadian University squad, in Ottawa) and a handful of fellow locked-out NHLers. It was a noteworthy step in his recovery, especially given how cautious he and the Flyers were in treating the initial injury.

Shortly after getting hurt — Giroux was elbowed in the neck and shoulder while playing for the Berlin Polar Bears in mid-November — he was dispatched to Atlanta to visit with clinical neurologist Dr. Ted Carrick, famous for his post-concussion work on Sidney Crosby.

Giroux’s agent, Pat Brisson, said there was no concern about Giroux having possibly suffered a concussion and that the Carrick visit was purely precautionary.

But Giroux does have a history with head injuries, having been sidelined twice by concussions during his career — he missed five games during the 2008-09 season and another four during the 2010-11 campaign.

As such, he’s quick to point out he’s not back to full health just yet.

“Obviously, I’m doing something every day to make sure I get back in game shape,” he explained. “I still have some things to make sure I’m 100 per cent.”

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

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Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.

The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.

According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”

Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:

The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.

Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.

In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two:

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier

Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.