VOORHEES, N.J. – It looks like rookie defenseman Robert Hagg will be back in the Flyers’ lineup for Game 5, but what about star center Sean Couturier?
At Thursday’s practice, Hagg was paired with Shayne Gostisbehere and Travis Sanheim was skating with the spares.
So Hagg might be returning to action for the first time since late March after suffering a foot injury when he blocked a shot.
Meanwhile, Couturier, who suffered a lower-body injury in a collision with teammate Radko Gudas on Tuesday, met with the media and told them he’s “day-to-day.’’
And, he would not rule himself out of Game 5 at PPG Paints Arena.
Later, general manager Ron Hextall would only disclose that Couturier “will be in Pittsburgh,’’ leaving the door for an appearance ever so slightly ajar.
Couturier missed Game 4 with what is believed to be some sort of “charley horse’’ leg injury. He reportedly spent some time in a hyperbaric chamber to help accelerate the healing process.
In addition, he skated on Wednesday and Thursday, so at least we know the injury does not appear to be too serious.
“I’m not going say how close I am or far I am,’’ Couturier said. “It’s really on me, seeing how I feel every day. Hopefully it keeps getting better.’’
Couturier said he had no ill well toward Gudas.
“It was bad timing and a fluke accident,’’ Couturier said. “I don’t know. There’s no one to really blame. It was a fluke accident. I should have, maybe, had my head up there.’’
Unfortunately, the timing was real bad.
It’s frustrating,’’ he said. “I’m not going to lie. You want to be out there battling with your teammates, especially this time of the year. It’s an accident. It’s stuff that happens in hockey, I guess.’’
Even though there was no one to blame, Gudas did offer an apology.
“Yeah, he felt bad,’’ said Couturier. “Like I said, it wasn’t his fault, a total accident. He never saw me. I never really saw him. I saw him last second. It’s just a bad accident. There’s no one to really blame in there. It’s just a really freak accident. It’s a drill we’ve been doing all year.’’
Hagg isn’t sure why he lost his job. He was leading all NHL players in hits when he left the lineup and was among the top three rookies in blocked shots.
““What can I say? I’m looking forward to it tomorrow,’’ Hagg said. “Hopefully, I can bring something to the team; some energy. We need a win tomorrow and that’s it.”
Any problem with the timing? After all, he hasn’t played in a while.
“I think it’s perfect,’’ Hagg said. “I can’t wait to go in and show what I can bring to the team – and if it’s something good, I guess people will talk about it.”
“I’m not going to change anything in my game. I’m just going to go out there and do what I did my whole season and we’ll see how it goes.”
Hagg referred reporters to coach Dave Hakstol when asked why he basically “lost’’ his job after returning from a foot injury.
“I was back in,’’ he clarified. “I played two games after my injury, but I don’t have an answer to that. I guess you have to ask ‘Hak’ about that.”
Couturier honored to be Selke Trophy finalist
Couturier was asked about being named a Frank Selke Trophy (best defensive forward) on Wednesday night along with Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar and Boston’ Patrice Bergeron.
“It’s a great honor,’’ Couturier said. :It means a lot just to be a finalist, especially with the two other nominees. I kind model my game, I love the way they play the game. I think they play it the way it should be played. I kind try to play the same game. Just to be nominated with Kopitar and Bergeron, it’s an honor for sure.’’