The was a sight for sore eyes in Voorhees today when Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros returned to practice for the first time since undergoing back surgery on Mar. 21.
According to Philly.com, the 26-year-old rearguard wore a non-contact jersey during drills. The original estimate for his return post-surgery was 6-8 weeks — based on that, the earliest Meszaros could return would be midway through Round 2 — but his speedy return to practice has changed perceptions a tad.
“I’m really encouraged,” coach Peter Laviolette said.
Given the depleted state of their defense, the Flyers would love to get Meszaros back in the mix. Injuries to Chris Pronger, Nicklas Grossmann and Marc-Andre Bourdon forced Philly to ice a makeshift blueline in Game 6 against the Penguins — rookie Erik Gustafsson played 22:09 while Pavel Kubina, who started the series as a healthy scratch, saw just 4:31 in the series-clincher.
So yeah, Philly essentially played with five defensemen against the Pens.
Philadelphia Flyers forward Jaromir Jagr told Mark Masters what many assumed when watching some vigilant penalty-calling in Game 4 of Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins: officials weren’t going to allow things to unravel.
“They said there was a circus the last three games and they were going to be in charge and call everything,” Jagr said.
This video shows how swiftly referees dealt with moments that could have been catalysts for bad blood and general shenanigans. (Specifically when it came to Zac Rinaldo being, well, Zac Rinaldo.)
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That wasn’t the only moment of proactive whistle work, either. It might not have been totally fair to seemingly reformed forward Matt Cooke, but officials quickly defused a situation in which there was some rough stuff between Cooke, Pavel Kubina, Wayne Simmonds and Joe Vitale by handing out game misconducts like hot cakes.
Perhaps it took the fire out of any chance of having an especially interesting third period, but considering how things went at the end of Game 3 in particular, it was probably the right course.
We’ll see what kind of circus-like scenarios the rest of this series has in store for us soon enough, though.
Via CSNPhilly.com, the Flyers announced today that defenseman Andrej Meszaros will have back surgery and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.
A small disc fragment in Meszaros’ lower back will be removed in the procedure that, based on the timeline provided by the club, will keep him out of the lineup until at least the beginning of May. That would mean he’ll miss the first round of the playoffs and possibly more.
Meszaros averages over 20 minutes a game and is third among Philadelphia blue-liners with 25 points, so this is a significant loss that’s coupled with the fact Chris Pronger is out for the season.
Fortunately for the Flyers, general manager Paul Holmgren was able to acquire defensemen Pavel Kubina and Nicklas Grossman prior to the trade deadline. Otherwise they’d be seriously thin on the back end heading into the postseason.
Of note, Kubina remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury. And it would seem the club is being fairly tight-lipped about his status.
Good news for the Flyers today as they’ll have some reinforcements to take on the Devils tonight.
CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio reports that both defenseman Kimmo Timonen and forward Jakub Voracek will be back in the lineup for Philly. Timonen has been sidelined with a bad back recently while Voracek was clearing the cobwebs after taking a wicked hit from Niklas Kronwall last week.
As for fellow injured defensemen Pavel Kubina and Andrej Meszaros, they’ll continue to be out of the lineup with their various ailments. The Flyers are looking to rebound after losing to the Devils on Sunday. Philadelphia is trying to keep pace with the Pittsburgh Penguins for fourth place in the Eastern Conference, meanwhile the Devils are sneaking up on them from behind looking to get in the mix for fifth.
The Flyers have a host of guys hurt both on the blue line and up front, but with a day off today they could reassess where everyone was at and there’s at least a little good news to report.
CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio gets the scoop that forward Jakub Voracek might be back for tomorrow night’s game against New Jersey after missing his last three games with concussion-like symptoms. Voracek says he’s feeling a lot better since getting rocked by Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall last week.
On the blue line, Pavel Kubina, Andrej Meszaros and Kimmo Timonen continue hurting and Kubina tells Panaccio that he’s got a new injury unrelated to the eye injury he was put out of action with over a week ago. Timonen, meanwhile, is still hampered by a bad back and Meszaros has a groin issue and did not skate with the rest of the injured players.