In a conference call this afternoon, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren announced that goalie Michael Leighton has a bulging disc in his lower back, and it will likely keep him out of action for about a month. Ian Laperriere, who suffered dramatic facial lacerations and a brain injury in last season's playoffs, is out indefinitely with post-concussion symptoms. Not exactly what we'd consider encouraging news with the 2010-2011 season nearing.
Leighton's disc is not believed to be herniated or to require surgery, but the condition is uncomfortable and a little unpredictable for anyone, much less an NHL goalie. Leights will continue in a strengthening and rehab program, and just give the disc time to heal. Lappy's symptoms are alarming, and he admitted to Homer that he hadn't been completely honest about them earlier in the summer. Given the severity of the injury this past spring and the fact that the symptoms are still lingering, there's reason to be concerned, and no option but to have the player shut down.
An amazing part of the Flyers' run to the Stanley Cup Finals was their ability to weather a series of significant injuries to key contributors, both all season and throughout the playoffs. So far, it looks like another run will have to involve a similar resiliency and ability to count on depth. Brian Boucher was a tremendous asset with Leighton unable to start the playoffs, until he himself was injured and Leighton had to resume his role. Behind Boosh on the depth chart, Johan Backlund is recovering from a hip surgery, but Homer indicated his process is going well, and that the team hopes to have Backlund see some preseason action. Sergei Bobrovsky has had as much attention as any Flyer in his first action with the team, but he must still get acclimated to the North American game. Still, his progress is encouraging, and after seeing seven different goalie dress for the Flyers last season, we'll take any encouragement we can get between the pipes.
The Flyers are also very deep in their forward lines, with new faces joining the club this off-season and Bill Guerin looking increasingly likely to make the team. More as we hear it.