Anytime Wayne Simmonds misses just one game, it’s big news.
So when Simmonds was forced to sit the last five with an upper-body injury, the Flyers felt the loss.
But the recently ended 10-0-2 streak lessened the blow a bit and there was more good news on Friday as Simmonds was able to practice at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J. for the first time.
He won’t put a timeframe on a return but knowing him, a possible appearance at either Tampa on Saturday or Florida on Sunday wouldn’t be out of the question.
“Not too far,’’ Simmonds said. “I can’t put an exact date on it but I’m out there today for the first time passing, shooting, stuff like that. Felt good.’’
At least the break gave him a chance to get some rest and allow some nagging things to heal for the final stretch run.
“It’s an unfortunate situation but I’m just trying to take advantage of it and get what I can out of it,’’ said Simmonds, who has 20 goals and 37 points in 59 games. “I’m working hard to get back in the lineup as soon as possible.’’
One player Simmonds has been keeping an eye on is rookie winger Oskar Lindblom, who was called up as his replacement.
“Really smart player,’’ Simmonds said. “Great on the boards. What I really notice about his game, he’s really good at making those in-tight plays. Those little give-and-goes and getting back open again.
“I’m surprised he doesn’t have a few points, even a couple goals. He’s been playing awesome.’’
Having Simmonds nearby can be a valuable resource for the young Swede.
“When I was younger, you seem to get down on yourself a lot,’’ Simmonds said. “There are some things you can’t control.
“To have a voice there. . .you can only control what you can control. Someone telling you it wasn’t your fault or a pat on the butt, I think it goes a long way and it helps build confidence. It helps you keep your head on straight.’’