Flyers welcome back Gudas physical presence in lineup

First Andrew MacDonald went down with a knee injury.
Then Radko Gudas took an elbow to the head at Chicago last week and suddenly the Flyers’ defense almost didn’t look old enough to drink or shave.
MacDonald is out long-term, so there’s no point in discussing a return date.
But Gudas practiced for the first time on Tuesday and could ready for Thursday night’s home game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Gudas realizes his presence is more important than ever because Philadelphia’s backline is real short on experience.
First-year defenders Robert Hagg, Travis Sanheim and Mark Alt have shown improvement but there are still nights when things can get a bit scrambly.
So Gudas is hoping to get back in against the Hawks, providing he gets clearance from team doctors.
“Watching hockey, especially when my team is playing, that’s the toughest for me everytime,’’ Gudas said after Tuesday’s workout. “I hope I’m able to jump in there.
“Anything I can do to make it faster. . .I’m trying to do as much as I can.’’
Gudas has been up among the NHL team leaders in hits the past couple seasons, so he provides an important physical presence.
“I was thinking at the beginning of the season, this is a pretty young lineup,’’ Gudas said. “A pretty young D-corps. Me and ‘Mac’ going down, it’s not the best thing.’’
Several other Flyers, including No. 2 overall draft pick Nolan Patrick, have suffered head injuries this season.
Just bad luck?
“I think it’s really unlucky,’’ he said. “Hopefully we get it out of the way early in the season, and it doesn’t bite us later in the season. If we can get it out of the way, I think it’s a good thing.’’

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About Wayne Fish 2471 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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