The Philadelphia Flyers announced on Tuesday that starting goalie Michael Leighton has a bulging disc in his back, and will miss at least one month. This is coming one day after general manager Paul Holmgren told the media he was not "real concerned" with Leighton's lower back strain.
It turned out to be worse than he expected as revealed after second and third medical opinions, when Leighton was diagnosed with a bulging disc. His original MRI was negative, according to CSNPhilly.com
The 29-year-old suffered what he thought was a lower back strain during offseason workouts. He aggravated his back injury in the overtime portion of the Flyers' preseason game against Toronto this past Friday.
"Michael saw another doctor last night and a doctor this morning as well," Holmgren said in his conference call on Tuesday. "It was discovered through those visits that right now we’re dealing with a bulging disk in his lower back, and we’re going to put him on the shelf for about a month."
In case you're wondering if the Flyers will look outside the organization for goaltending help, the answer is no. Holmgren said that he will not make a move to acquire another goalie, and that the Flyers will go into the season with Brian Boucher, Johan Backlund, and rookie Sergei Bobrovsky.
Boucher will begin the season as the Flyers starter, however Bobrovsky could push Boosh for the gig if he continues to play as strong as he is during the preseason. Then again, Holmgren didn't rule out Backlund as a potential backup to Boucher.
Backlund is recovering from offseason hip surgery.
"Over the last few days, there’s been a noticeable improvement on how he’s felt,” said Holmgren in regards of Backlund. “We’re hoping he will be able to play in one or both of the last two games and have a read where he is at."
If Bobrovsky makes the Flyers roster, he will make $200,000 more than Leighton. His contract consists of performance-based incentives. The 22-year-old carries a cap hit of $1.75 million, but $850,000 is based on performance.
Holmgren said finances will not affect their decision on Bobrovsky.
More bad news followed on the injury front for the Flyers as Holmgren announced that warrior winger Ian Laperriere will be out indefinitely with post-concussion syndrome. One could predict that it's from the block shot to the face he took against the Devils in the Quarterfinals.
"The second is Ian Laperriere," Holmgren continued. "He’ll be out indefinitely because of some post-concussion symptoms that he’s dealing with, probably from last year."
Lappy admitted to the Flyers that he wasn't completely honest with the team's doctors at the end of last season. He returned to action in the Stanley Cup Finals, but clearly wasn't the same player.
Now, Laperriere's career is in jeopardy.
The Flyers will likely place Leighton and Laperriere on the long-term injury list, which will give the team $3.5 million in cap space.
Due to Lappy's injury, it appears as if Bill Guerin now has a guaranteed spot on the Flyers, however do not rule out him not being rewarded a contract. Guerin, 39, will have to make a big push in the final week of preseason because rookies Ben Holmstrom and Mike Testwuide are right there with him.
At the end of the day, the Flyers are facing adversity before the start of the regular season. Last year, they faced a ton, and they overcame it.
This year, they're carrying over the "Relentless" slogan because it's the perfect word to describe this team.
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