DENVER -- For the past 3 games, rookie Sean Couturier has been counted on to fill in for concussed star Claude Giroux.
Now, the Flyers are looking for a replacement for the replacement.
Couturier, 19, did not travel with the Flyers to the Mile High city on Saturday after taking a Kimmo Timonen shot to the back of the helmet on Saturday afternoon. He remained overnight at Pennsylvania Hospital on Saturday for observation. He is expected to be released at some point on Sunday, though the Flyers do not know when.
According to general manager Paul Holmgren, the doctors were checking for possible skull fractures and/or internal bleeding.
Since Couturier will likely not be returning to the ice any time soon, the Flyers have re-called center Ben Holmstrom from Adirondack to help fill the void down the middle. Holmstrom, 24, is a Colorado Springs native and has played 3 games for the Flyers over the past 2 seasons.
In order to make room for Holmstrom on the active roster, the Flyers moved Giroux to the injured list. Giroux’s stay on the injury list can be as short - or as long - as the Flyers require, since his injury can be made retroactive to Dec. 10.
Holmgren said both Giroux and Brayden Schenn, also out with a concussion, are “probably not options for the short-term.”
So, against the Avalanche on Monday night at Pepsi Center, the Flyers will need to piece together a lineup that is a shell of the one from opening night. Matt Read will likely move to center, with Holmstrom, Danny Briere and Max Talbot also picking up the slack.
“We’ve just got to plow through it,” Holmgren said on Saturday.
The good news about Couturier is that he never lost consciousness after taking the shot - when he turned at the last possible second to avoid getting hit in the face - and he also passed his baseline ImPACT concussion test. In fact, Holmgren said Couturier’s baseline score was better on Saturday than it was in training camp.
The bad news is that both Chris Pronger and Schenn also both passed their initial baseline tests. Both are out indefinitely with concussions.
Presumably, the Flyers will continue to take a slow course with their latest head injury. As they’ve learned, it’s not always the initial head trauma - but a secondary shot - that can make a lasting, unfortunate impact.
LUCIC HEARING: According to CSNNE.com, NHL dean of discipline Brendan Shanahan will hold a telephone hearing with the Bruins' Milan Lucic on Monday morning for his hit on Zac Rinaldo on Saturday.
LILJA CLOSE? Andreas Lilja skated with the Phantoms in Binghamton, N.Y., on Friday night in his one-game conditioning stint. He is now with the Flyers in Denver for their practice on Sunday afternoon. Lilja, 36, is eligible to return to the active roster from the long-term injury list on Wednesday in Dallas.
WAKE-UP CALL: After winning 7 straight games, including 5 on the road, Kimmo Timonen said he could have seen the Flyers’ 6-0 drubbing at the hands of the Bruins on Saturday from miles away.
“I’ve seen this happen so many times,” Timonen said. “You play a lot of games in a row, you beat a lot of good teams on the road, then you get home for one game and it's an afternoon game and you know you're going to go on the road for a week again. It’s not an excuse. It shouldn’t happen, but it always happens to everybody.”
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers