PHILADELPHIA – When Flyers coach Alain Vigneault referred to Shayne Gostisbehere’s latest knee injury as “not too serious,’’ maybe he was putting it in context to 2020.
Last year the Flyers defenseman underwent a pair of knee operations. Also, some six years ago he missed the better part of a season after surgery to repair a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).
So the current problem, a sprained MCL (medial collateral ligament), doesn’t sound too bad, considering “Ghost’’ should only miss about seven to 10 days action.
Since the Flyers only have two weeks left on their schedule, it might mean we’ve seen the last of No. 53 for this season.
In a pre-game media Zoom call, Vigneault said Gostisbehere suffered the “minor’’ sprain in Friday night’s 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
“Nothing serious,’’ Vigneault said. “We expect him back in seven to 10 days.’’
Vigneault brought in Samuel Morin to replace Gostisbehere for Sunday night’s game against the New Jersey Devils.
>Prospects could see NHL action
Vigneault confirmed the Flyers might take a look at defensemen Cam York and Yegor Zamula along with goaltender Felix Sandstrom in one of the remaining games.
Sandstrom and Zamula have been called up to the Flyers’ taxi squad. York has been getting in some action with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
“(General manager) Chuck (Fletcher) and I have talked about a couple different possibilities moving forward,’’ Vigneault said. “York’s name has come up. We both agree we have to take this one game at a time, make sure our group is focused.’’
Zamula has been ranked as high as third on the Flyers’ prospect list and with the playoff hunt virtually over, what better time than now to see him under the NHL spotlight?
“He’s played well at Lehigh Valley,’’ Vigneault said. “With ‘Ghost’ out for a while, we’ll see what happens.’’
>Konecny discusses Patrick
It’s been a tough season for Nolan Patrick, who missed all of last year due to chronic migraine headaches.
Patrick was scheduled to return to the lineup on Sunday night after sitting out Friday’s game against the Rangers.
Patrick’s good friend, Travis Konecny, said the young center has had a tough time of it but doesn’t let it get him down.
“Any time off for any player to that extent, it’s difficult,’’ Konecny said. “But he’s smiling when he’s around the rink, working hard to try to get back to where he wants to be. He’s fun to be around.’’
>Hart injury slow to heal
Goaltender Carter Hart’s sprained knee is taking longer than expected to heal.
He’s been out since suffering the injury at Pittsburgh on April 15.
“I know Carter want to get back and play with his teammates,’’ Vigneault said. “But he still feels a little bit of discomfort. We’ve had four different doctors look at the MRI (magnetic resonance image).
“They all say the same thing, that it’s a mild sprain. We’re just being a little bit cautious. I know how badly he wants to get back at it. A goaltender never plays at a hundred percent – it’s the toughest position in hockey. We’ll see how he feels and hopefully he gets the green light (for Tuesday vs. N.J.).’’
>Devil of a schedule
Playing the Devils four straight times in the regular season is a first in Flyers team history.
Vigneault admitted it’s different.
“All we can do is prepare one game at a time,’’ Vigneault said. “So you can go out there and give yourself the best chance to win. That’s all you can do.’’