It really doesn’t matter what the early spin is on the latest of Flyers injuries. We’ll know more soon enough.
General manager Paul Holmgren didn’t seem to sound serious alarms after Claude Giroux suffered a head injury and Ilya Bryzgalov suffered a lower body injury in Saturday’s 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
We’ve learned with the Flyers and really, any professional team, that initial statements mean very little.
Holmgren said Giroux was examined by a doctor and was feeling better. He said Giroux was held out of the third period for precautionary measures.
When asked if Giroux was experiencing any headaches, Holmgren replied, “not really headaches. This was really just precautionary at this stage.”
Not really headaches?
Again, it makes no sense to probe into whether Giroux is hurt or not or to what degree. Everybody knows how lingering head injuries can be, but it’s fruitless to speculate because nobody, including the doctors, could tell right away.
Giroux will be examined again Sunday and more will likely be known.
Teams, and it’s not just the Flyers, tend to suggest a player isn’t seriously hurt at first. And it’s not just with head injuries. How many tweaked hamstrings or groins turn into an extended time off for athletes of any sport?
Teams can’t be blamed for wishful thinking. In this media-driven world, we all want immediate answers. With most injuries, more is known as the days go by.
Bryzgalov tried to make light of things.
At first he told the media that he left the game for an equipment issue. Of course he departed with 13:01 left in the third period and no equipment issue takes that long to take care of.
When he was pressed, Bryzgalov finally came clean.
“I’m a bad liar,” he said.
That drew plenty of laughter, but no disagreement.
Then Bryzgalov decided to tell the truth.
“It was starting to bother me more and more during the game and we decided to be safe,” he said.
Both Holmgren and Bryzgalov seem to think he shouldn’t be sidelined.
The Flyers have survived so many injuries and still lead the Eastern Conference, but losing Giroux, who has played at an MVP level, would be the biggest of challenges to overcome.
One thing about Flyers coach Peter Laviolette is that he continues to have the mentality that he’ll compete with the available players. Nobody is probably more frustrated by the rash of injuries the Flyers have suffered, but Laviolette never makes excuses and attempts to plow along.
“Certainly any time a player is removed from the lineup it’s disappointing,” he said. “You know Claude is off to a terrific start and has been a very important piece for a lot of different reasons for our club, and any time a player like that comes out of the game you’re missing him.”
Then quickly Laviolette brought out the positive aspects of his team and how the Flyers played in the third period without Giroux.
“I thought the guys really picked it up for him in the third period and played an excellent defensive period, still created some scoring chances and we were able to win the game and that’s a good thing, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see right now,” Laviolette said.
Waiting will be the most difficult part – for Giroux and the Flyers alike.