Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers

Flyers’ Meszaros frustrated by slow shoulder rehab


Philadelphia defenseman Andrej Meszaros is fed up with being hurt.

The Flyers rearguard expressed frustration with his slow recovery from a shoulder injury while speaking with Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer on Wednesday.

“I was asked 1,000 questions, ‘When you going to come back? When are you going to come back?’” Meszaros said of his experience at the Flyers Wives Fight for Lives Carnival this past weekend. “I wish I knew. I wish I could go.

“As much as I really want to play, if you don’t feel right, you don’t want to overdo it and get hurt again. That would stop me maybe for the rest of the season, and I don’t want that.”

The 27-year-old defenseman has been out of the lineup since dislocating his shoulder on Jan. 24, a somewhat surprising length of time considering Philly originally pegged him to return last weekend.

The Flyers likely assumed Meszaros would heal quickly based on his history.

After tearing his Achilles tendon during a summer workout, Meszaros rehabbed diligently through the lockout and was able to play in Philly’s season opener against Pittsburgh on Jan. 19.

To come back from such an injury so quickly was impressive — original estimates had him returning in mid-February — but it also makes this latest setback all the more frustrating.

Meszaros’ recovery has been much slower this time around, and he’s now coming to grips with the fact that rest and patience are required before he can get back on the ice.

“At some point, [the pain] is just going to stop,” he explained, “and I’m going to go out there and play.”

With Jonathan Bernier sputtering, we’ll meet Garret Sparks

Garett Sparks
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You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.

With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.

Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).

In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:

Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.

Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.

Latest report leaves Carey Price’s injury timeline fuzzy

Carey Price
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There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.

So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.

Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.

(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)

Lightning lament life as a .500 team

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The Tampa Bay Lightning have plenty of time to rise above mediocrity, yet it still must be deserving to finish at .500 for two straight months.

After last night’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, that’s exactly where they find themselves:

Record at the end of October: 5-5-2

Record at the end of November: 11-11-3

As of this writing, the Lightning found themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. It all stands as a pretty tough thing for the reigning Eastern Conference champs to swallow.

The uncomfortable-yet-vital question is: can the Lightning break out of this funk?

Looking at their schedule, it won’t be easy, at least not right away.

They crawl through California during a three-game road trip to start December, and they also face six of eight on the road from Dec. 2 – 18.

The Lightning soak up home dates to finish 2015 after that, but what damage will be done by then?

Frankly, the Bolts will need to dig deep to break this pattern. If nothing else, they’ve fought with their backs against the wall before.