Zac Rinaldo said he had not heard from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for his game misconduct involving repeated hits to Pittsburgh defenseman Zbynek Michalek in Game 4.
But that doesn’t mean that Rinaldo will definitely be in the Flyers’ lineup for Game 5 on Friday night, as his team tries to close out the Penguins in their best-of-seven series.
That’s because James van Riemsdyk appears poised to return to the lineup any day now, after skating for the fourth consecutive day on Thursday. He skated on a line with Jakub Voracek and Matt Read.
Coach Peter Laviolette said he would not hesitate to make a lineup change, without commenting specifically on van Riemsdyk being used.
“I think lineup changes are made all the time, constantly,” Laviolette said. “I thought James looked good today. It was just a 20 minute skate. He’s looking better every day. I think, at some point, we will make that decision.”
Van Riemsdyk, who has missed 23 straight games since fracturing a bone in his left foot, has not played since March 1. Through an injury-riddled season, van Riemsdyk added 11 goals and 13 assists in 43 games.
He led the Flyers with 7 goals in last year’s 11 Stanley Cup playoff games.
“It’s always a fun time of year to play and it sucks to watch from the sidelines,” van Riemsdyk said. “I’ve always prided myself growing up in playing in these pressure-type games. Last year, I was given an opportunity to play a lot and I just ran with it.”
An extra forward, Matt Ford, joined the Flyers in practice on Thursday. He will travel with the team to Pittsburgh. The Penguins will get forwards Craig Adams and James Neal back from their suspensions for Game 5.
GROSSMANN OUT?: Defenseman Nick Grossmann missed Thursday’s practice.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said that Grossmann suffered an “upper-body” injury in Game 4 against Pittsburgh. He is officially listed as “day-to-day.”
Grossmann left the game in the second period after taking an elbow to the head from Evgeni Malkin. NBC 10’s Howard Eskin is reporting Grossmann suffered a concussion. The Flyers had no comment on the report.
Should Grossmann not be available to play, he would be replaced by one of Erik Gustafsson or Brandon Manning. Both Phantoms players saw time with the Flyers this season and practiced with the team on Thursday.
The Flyers also re-called defenseman Oskars Bartulis from Adirondack, starting the waiver process for him. If Bartulis clears waivers, he is yet another possibility to replace Grossmann in Game 5.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers