Defenseman Nick Grossmann is the latest Flyer to be sidelined by an injury, but don’t expect Andrej Meszaros to take his spot Thursday against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.
General manager Paul Holmgren on Wednesday said it was unlikely Meszaros would be ready to face the Penguins. The 6-foot-2, 218-pound defenseman has been out since dislocating his left shoulder on Jan. 24.
After skating during a practice with injured and extra players Wednesday in Voorhees, Meszaros sounded frustrated.
When he was at the Flyers Wives Fight for Lives Carnival on Sunday, he said, “I was asked 1,000 questions, ‘When you going to come back? When are you going to come back?’ I wish I knew. I wish I could go” Thursday.
Grossmann, who leads the NHL with 68 blocked shots, suffered an apparent hip injury in Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the Rangers in New York. He visited a doctor on Wednesday, and general manager Paul Holmgren said he was listed as day to day.
If Grossmann can’t play Thursday against the Penguins, Kurtis Foster will take his place, provided he has recovered from the flu, Holmgren said.
Meszaros said he is “slowly” making progress and he was “working hard every day” to try to return. The shoulder has good days and bad. “It’s like the weather,” he said, “so it’s tough to judge.”
Meszaros said he won’t be ready to play until he has full contact and tests the shoulder.
“I haven’t had had that yet,” he said.
The Flyers originally expected Meszaros to be back in the lineup last weekend, but the shoulder has healed slower than hoped.
Holmgren said Meszaros, not a doctor, will determine when he is ready.
“Yeah, it’s mine,” said Meszaros of his decision to return, “but I want to talk to a doctor about it and see…if he thinks it can get worse or not. You don’t want to go out there and feel shaky, and maybe a little scared to not do the right play and get scored on. That’s not the way I want to play. I want to go out there and do everything I was doing before.”
In the last year, Meszaros has had surgery on a herniated disk in his back, ruptured his right Achilles tendon, and dislocated his shoulder.
“As much as I really want to play….if you don’t feel right, you don’t want to overdo it and get hurt again,” Meszaros said, the words filled with frustration. “That would stop me maybe for the rest of the season, and I don’t want that.”
Meszaros said he has no timetable for his return. “At some point, it’s just going to stop,” he said of the pain and the limited motion, “and I’m going to go out there and play.”
Penguins’ visit. In what has become the NHL’s best rivalry, the host Flyers will try to end the Penguins’ two-game winning streak Thursday and get back to .500.
The Flyers scored a wild 6-5 win in Pittsburgh on Feb. 20, marking their fifth time (twice in the playoffs) they have defeated the Penguins after overcoming a two-goal deficit in the last two seasons.
Pittsburgh, which is tied with Tampa Bay for the most goals (81) in the NHL, is promoting rookie right winger Beau Bennett, the 20th overall pick in the 2010 draft, to a line with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal.
Flyers winger Jake Voracek, who had his first career hat trick in last month’s win in Pittsburgh, has seven goals and 10 assists in his last nine games.
Breakaways. Matt Read (ribs) was upgraded to day to day; he skated and continues to progress ahead of schedule…..Tye McGinn skated for the first time since he had orbital-bone surgery….The Flyers have $8.9 million in cap relief thanks to putting Chris Pronger, Matt Walker, Meszaros and Jody Shelley on the long-term injured list….Eric Wellwood was sent down to the Phantoms…Defenseman Paul Martin (lower-body injury) may return to Pittsburgh’s lineup….The Penguins are 9-4 on the road, including a 3-1, opening-game win over the Flyers.
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