September 28, 2010
Two interesting developments from the Philadelphia Flyers today, beginning where you'd expect most of the interesting developments to take place this season: in goal.
Leighton had originally been expected to return as soon as Thursday, but the bulging disc was then discovered Tuesday morning. [GM Paul] Holmgren said that, despite the injury, the Flyers have no intention to made an outside move for another goalie.
He emphasized that a bulging disc differs from a herniated disc, and Leighton was already at Skate Zone working out.
With Brian Boucher(notes), Jonah Backlund and the promising Sergei Bobrovsky(notes) in goal, no need to go out and seek another goaltender ... until the Flyers' keepers prove completely ineffective in the regular season. Got it. Plus, their cap situation isn't exactly the friendliest.
The Flyers might get some unwelcome cap relief from Ian Laperriere(notes), one of the team's best penalty-killing forwards, who is still suffering symptoms from a 2010 postseason concussion -- symptoms he hadn't shared with the Flyers until last weekend.
"He'll be out indefinitely because of some post-concussion symptoms that he's dealing with, probably from last year. Over the next period of time... he's getting an MRI today and Friday he'll be going to see the doctor he saw in Pittsburgh last year when he had the injury in the playoffs. We won't have any information on Ian until sometime next week. But he's going to be out indefinitely with post-concussion symptoms."
Laperriere, you'll recall, suffered a concussion and a brain contusion, along with getting 70 stitches, when a Paul Martin(notes) shot hit him near the right eye in the opening round of the 2010 playoffs. He would return to play in the conference and Stanley Cup Finals.
Here's where this story gets uncomfortable, via CSN Philly:
Laperriere, meanwhile, approached the Flyers' GM Saturday and expressed concerns about his physical state. "He never let on over the course of the summer that he was having effects," Holmgren said. "But in my talks with him Saturday, he said he wasn't completely honest about how he felt."
Holmgren says that Laperriere's injury has no say when it comes to Bill Guerin'(notes) s place on the team, but, well, we'll see about that. One other thing to think about: how long has Holmgren known about Lappy's prognosis? While some are quick to jump and say that he likely knew about it when signing Jody Shelley(notes) and Dan Carcillo(notes) over the summer, that seems doubtful.
National Post columnist Bruce Arthur captured this from Laperriere last postseason upon his return:
"That's what the neurologists told me, all four of them, and that's why I'm here tonight. I want to emphasize that ... if I was more at risk than before my injury, I wouldn't be out there.
"I said that before, when I got injured. I'm a family guy. I've got two kids at home. I've got a wife. I've got to think about that. I didn't want to be selfish, and all four of them were 100% sure that I wasn't. That doesn't mean I won't get hit, but I wasn't more at risk than before. And that's why I made my decision to come back. That's it.
One of the hallmarks of the concussion debate in hockey is disclosure: Are players still, in this modern era of diagnosis, hiding head injuries for, say, a chance at the Stanley Cup? If so, and if teams aren't proactive enough in diagnosing them, should an independent evaluator of a player's health be mandatory?
Laperriere, 36, is an old-school guy who plays an old school game. He literally leaves his blood and sweat on the ice. We can preach all we want about concussion prevention and the dire consequences that could face a player later in life for suffering through a career of brain trauma. But, in the end, this is who Lappy is, via Arthur:
"Trust me, it's like if I got a chance to go down, I'll go down again," says Laperrière. "If I'm afraid of that, I might as well retire, because I won't be effective. If I can't come back now, I might as well not come back at all."
Something to remember as he battles back from this.