Day off jump-started Flyers' energy vs. Leafs
In 49 games as a Flyer this season, Steve Downie has three goals and 14 assists. (AP)
VOORHEES, N.J. – Flyers forward Steve Downie won’t be in the lineup Sunday against the Boston Bruins, but he’s getting closer to a return.
Downie, who sustained an upper-body injury in last weekend’s win over the St. Louis Blues at the Wells Fargo Center, participated in his first full-team practice Saturday morning.
“I feel pretty good, actually,” Downie said. “I’m almost ready. Nothing’s really bothering me, there’s just a couple more steps I need to take.”
Downie was injured in what he called a “fluke play” against the Blues, in which he was caught looking behind the play and had no idea center Patrik Berglund was approaching him. He hit the ice, hard, and required assistance returning to the locker room.
The Flyers haven’t called his injury a concussion. Instead, earlier this week, general manager Paul Holmgren said Downie had multiple upper-body “issues” occurring, though they were treating his situation as if it were a concussion.
Downie hasn’t yet received medical clearance to return, and neither he nor coach Craig Berube have an idea of when he’ll actually be back in the lineup, despite his improving health.
“I don’t know,” Berube said. “It’s a good question. I don’t know. It’s day by day right now.”
Berube said there’s a handful of reasons – in addition to the testing Downie still needs to undergo – the Flyers’ forward won’t be rushed back. Among them, the Flyers’ coach likes the team’s lines as they looked in Friday’s 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs (see story).
Downie himself isn’t targeting any specific games for return, either.
“That’s for the coaching staff and the training staff to decide,” Downie said. “I’ll let them evaluate it and see what their decisions are.”
In 49 games as a Flyer this season, Downie has three goals and 14 assists, along with a minus-1 rating. Understandably, he’s having a tough time watching his team from the sidelines – especially this week.
“Especially against Toronto,” Downie said. “It’s never fun to sit and watch the guys go to battle every night. I’m getting close to coming back, so I’m excited.”