PHILADELPHIA – That collective sigh of relief you just heard came from somewhere around the Flyers locker room area at the Wells Fargo Center.
On Wednesday afternoon, general manager Chuck Fletcher announced top center Sean Couturier will not require surgery to address what might best be characterized as a “reinjury’’ to his surgically repaired back.
Couturier underwent an initial operation back on Feb. 11 and missed the rest of the 2021-22 season.
Doctors thought they had the problem completely rectified but Couturier disclosed he had some “ups and downs’’ while training this past summer.
Then, about 10 days ago, Couturier reported some unusual discomfort and was immediately shut down.
So now Couturier is officially listed as “week to week’’ and is doubtful for the Oct. 13 season opener against the New Jersey Devils.
But it is presumed Couturier won’t miss a significant amount of playing time and that rest and rehab can correct the problem.
>Ristolainen talks accountability
Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, now entering his second season with the Flyers, talked about the need for more accountability in the team’s play on the ice and in the locker room.
There seemd to be a bit of shortage in that department last season.
“Well, last year the guys in leadership roles (Couturier, Kevin Hayes, Ryan Ellis) were injured a lot,’’ Ristolainen explained. “We’re all good friends but sometimes you can’t be nice to each other.’’
Ristolainen predicts the situation is going to change this season because of the presence of new head coach John Tortorella, who’s known for holding players accountable to a fault.
“It started with the first speech he gave when he walked into the room,’’ Ristolainen said. “He’s exactly what we needed.’’
It goes without saying some of the younger veteran younger players such as Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim need to step up in this department.
“Sometimes you have to go at it a little bit more,’’ Ristolainen suggested.
It looks like Tortorella will keep the pairing of Ristolainen and Sanheim together again this year.
“I feel very comfortable playing with him,’’ Ristolainen said. “I played a lot with him last year and I hope we stay together.’’