MONDAY’S FLYERS – PENGUINS INJURY REPORT
FLYERS PRACTICE BUZZ: Some good news out of Flyers circles today in that all signs point to second line center Daniel Briere (back contusion) and No. 1 pairing defenseman Nicklas Grossman playing in Game 1 on Wednesday night.
Briere dealing with a back contusion, was a surprise at today’s practice and skated on the second line with Brayden Schenn and Jakub Voracek, according to Frank Seravalli of Philly.com. Briere had a down year in the regular seasonÂ with 16 goals and 49 Points in 70 games,Â but he’s a proven playoff performer with 96 points in 97 career games and solidifies the second line center position for a young Philadelphia team up font.
Grossman though is the player who might be more important to knocking off the Penguins.
Fresh off a new four year, $14 million deal, Grossman has emerged as a top pairing defenseman for the Flyers and is expected to play a No. 1 pairing role with Braydon Coburn against the Malkin or Crosby line. If Grossman is not at full strength, the FlyersÂ deep blueline will be tested as Andrej Meszaros is not ready toÂ return for the series.
Meanwhile, some bad news for the Flyers is that they’re not expecting James Van Riemsdyk to return for the series. That’s a huge blow for Philadelphia.
FLYERS MONDAY PRACTICE LINES
Hartnell – Giroux – Jagr
Schenn – Briere – Voracek
Wellwood – Read – Simmonds
Talbot – Coturier – Rinaldo
Coburn – Grossman
Timonen – Carle
Bourdon – Lilja/Kubina
PENGUINS PRACTICE BUZZ: (updated: 12:35 p.m.) – The Pittsburgh Penguins saw the return of top-6 wingers Steve Sullivan and James Neal to ice this morning where both players were full participants and will be ready to go for Game 1.
Defenseman Ben Lovejoy, two weeks removed from arthroscopic knee surgery, is back on the ice today and practiced as he’s working his way back to possibly being an option to play at somepoint in the series. Head coach Dan Bylsma said today that Lovejoy is ahead of his initial 3-4 weeks schedule.
Matt Cooke is not practicing today (should practice tomorrow) and defenseman Matt Niskanen (shoulder) also did not practice. Niskanen’s status for Game 1 is believed to be up in the air. Bylsma said Niskanen is skating on his own.
PENGUINS MONDAY PRACTICE LINES
Kunitz – Malkin – Neal
Sullivan – Crosby – Dupuis
Park – Staal – Kennedy
Asham – Vitale – Adams
(Tangradi – Jeffrey extras)
Orpik – Michalek
Martin – Letang
Strait – Engelland
CROSBY NAMED THIRD STAR OF THE WEEK
Sidney Crosby (8G-29A-37Pts) has been named the NHL’s third star of the week, the NHL announced today. Crosby collected 3 goals and 3 assists in three games played.