WALKER TO THE PHANTOMS/FLYERS GO TO THE MOVIES
Matt Walker was sent to the Phantoms today for a conditioning assignment. He will join goalie Michael Leighton there, who is on an extended conditioning stint of his own.
Walker had surgery to repair a torn labrum and other cleanup in his hip on Oct. 20. He was expected to miss eight-10 weeks. Technically, he's back sooner than that.
This will be the first action since the preseason for the 30-year-old defenseman acquired in the Simon Gagne trade with Tampa Bay.
Now, here's the crazy rule the NHL has in place - someone find the common sense in this one:
Because Walker was not placed on the long-term injury list - as Leighton was - his conditioning assignment can be longer than Leighton's at 14 days maximum.
Leighton was limited to six days, with an additional three after the team petitioned the league for an extension.
Why is it then, that a player who is on long-term injury, presumably because of a more serious injury, is afforded less time to recondition in the minors than a player who was not on long-term injury.
Granted, Walker's surgery was one of the more serious you find in the sport, it's just that the Flyers never put him on the long-term injury list, but technically, couldn't a team who has a player sidelined by a much lesser injury, who it is keeping scratched from the lineup, be sent on a two-week conditioning assignment at the whim of the organization?
Maybe I'm misunderstanding something here - and please, correct me if I am - but it seems foolish that an injury that takes longer to recover from is granted a shorter rehab leash than a lesser one.
Anyway, now that I'm back from my tangent, this means the Flyers will have to make not one, but two roster decisions in the coming two weeks - well, a little more than two weeks because no moves are allowed to be made until after Christmas and Walker's conditioning stint ends on Christmas Eve.
Still, Leighton is due back with the team Monday, and two weeks later a decision will have to be made about Walker - and if he's brought back to the big club, who does he replace?
It's almost as if the Flyers are dragging their feet a bit in anticipation of an injury to an active player - there always is one at this time of year, isn't there?
But, if the Flyers cheat fate, and everyone stays healthy, than the decisions will have to be made.
With a complete off day in Boston Friday, the Flyers were able to do whatever they wanted - some went Christmas shopping, some just enjoyed the town. Others went to the movies to see "The Fighter."
We'll try and get reviews for you tomorrow at the morning practice, but the team was looking forward to a day off on the road to just relax. They'll need it too because it's going to be a ramped up atmosphere at the TD Garden tomorrow as the Flyers return to the scene of the crime for the first time since their historic victory over the Bruins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals last May.