Returning Players Should Make Philadelphia Flyers' Ice Smoother

By Sean O'Brien
Philadelphia Flyers Sean Couturier
Eric Hartline – USATODAY Sports

Sean Couturier’s fight with the flu bug wasn’t serious. As a result, he only missed a few games and appears set to return to the Philadelphia Flyers‘ active roster when they face the New Jersey Devils in tonight’s road game.

Scott Hartnell broke his left foot and has been out of action since January 23, but could return as soon as next week.

Andrej Meszaros has a sprained left shoulder. He’s been on the injured reserve list since January 25. He should be seen among the team’s blue line contingent when our digital calendars display March on the screens of our chosen cherished devices.

On a 20-man hockey team, every player matters to varying degrees.

Couturier’s points-per-game average (0.42) has increased since last season (0.35), but he hasn’t been as dominant defensively this year. However, twelve games into a lockout-shortened season isn’t a large enough sample to change any opinions about a second-year player who was a terrific 2011-12 addition.

Hartnell helped to form one of the top lines in the National Hockey League when he joined Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr last season.

Number 68 has amassed 11 points through his first 13 games with the Dallas Starswith two goals and two assists coming in his first game. Based on recent history, it will be interesting to see if the 41-year-old can maintain that pace.

Giroux has eight points in 14 games. Before his injury, Hartnell had one point in three games.

Obviously, the subtraction of the aforementioned future Hall of Famer and the lowered point production of “G” and “Hartsy” has resulted in less Flyers’ goals this season and more losses.

Working with a thinned defense, Peter Laviolette and his staff must be hoping that Meszaros returns to action as soon as possible. His place among the top two defensive pairings was and will remain key during this unusual year.

Every group faces injury issues. Everyone knows that topic can only be offered as a partial explanation of any team’s location in the standings.

The Flyers are hoping that they can maintain a healthy roster from here on out, so that a place among the top eight in the Eastern Conference is secured by April.

Follow Sean on Twitter @SeanyOB, Facebook, Google+ and read his blog Insight.

You May Also Like