I'll lay out some facts, then offer an opinion, then leave it up to you to interpret what's what.
Let's start with a timeline:
Wednesday at Noon - Walker clears waivers.
Wednesday at 12:05 - Walker tells us that he expects to be in the lineup for the opener; playing alongside Braydon Coburn. Walker also adds that he's completely healthy. This something coach Peter Laviolette also talked about earlier in the week, saying it's nice to see Walker healthy and happy after a trying season last year.
Wednesday at 12:15 - Coburn confirms Walker's belief about the two playing together and discusses what it will be like playing with a right-hand shot and being the guy who makes the switch to the left side.
Wednesday at 3 pm - the Flyers send out a press release confirming Walker is in fact on the roster and that Oskars Bartulis, the other defenseman to clear waivers, will be sent to the Phantoms.
Thursday at 1130 am - the Flyers take the ice for their morning practice at TD Garden in Boston. Walker does not skate.
Thursday at 1230 pm - Laviolette directs all questions about Walker to Paul Holmgren.
Thursday at 1245 pm - Holmgren says there is nothing wrong with Walker and that he didn't skate because he "wanted to work on other things."
Thursday at 1pm - I get a text confirming Andreas Lilja will play and Walker won't.
So what happened?
I can't figure honestly. I do not believe he's injured at all. If he were, Holmgren would have offered an obligatory "upper" or "lower" body injury. He didn't do that.
I guess they could be holding him out of everything because of a pending trade. But I'm not sure they want to do that now. Bartulis would have to clear recall waivers to come back... Which is unlikely as teams could get him for half his salary (which would be $300,000) and Erik Gustafsson needs to play in the AHL to improve.
Or maybe, and this is really just speculation and not confirmed by anyone at all, maybe Walker was pulled from the start because of something disciplinary.
Hey, stranger things have happened.
I mean seriously, what other things was Walker working possibly working on if he wasn't skating with the team or even in the building?
Was he working out alone at the team hotel? Was he putting new numerical stickers on his teammates helmets? Was he sharpening his Scrabble skills playing Words with Friends on his smart phone?
Seriously. The Flyers need to be more up front about stuff like this.
And they wonder why no one regularly believes them.
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