Philadelphia Flyers General Manager Ron Hextall gave a short but sweet update for a few of the injured players prior to Saturday night’s game. Yesterday we dove into the Nolan Patrick quotes, in which Hextall said that Patrick, who had no setbacks in his recovery, is expected to travel with the team this week.
Hextall also gave updates on two injured defensemen. Andrew MacDonald has been out three weeks of his four-to-six week original diagnosis with a lower-body injury, and is getting close to returning. Sam Morin’s nagging injury was revealed when the Flyers planned to call him up two weeks ago, and he was back on the ice on Saturday night and could return later this week.
The Flyers have been with six defensemen this weekend as they loaned Mark Alt back to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms earlier this week, but they could recall him, or another defenseman, for their road trip this week.
Hextall anticipates traveling with seven defensemen. “I don’t mind it if we’re in New Jersey or something, but Minnesota and Winnipeg are a ways away,” he said.
MacDonald is on track to practice this week, hopefully on Monday with the team, and “he’ll be coming [on the road trip],” Hextall said. “Assuming he goes good Monday, he’ll be coming. He could return quickly as well. “Mac’s not a guy that takes a long time to get ready to come back to play,” he said. “He’s still been off for a bit so hopefully he gets some good practices this week and we’ll play it day by day.”
MacDonald will likely be traveling with the team, and could be that seventh guy, but don’t expect it to be Sam Morin. Morin warmed up with the Phantoms on Saturday night, and “right now they’re looking at the middle of the week” for a potential return. The Phantoms play on Wednesday night, so that could make sense for his return.
Hextall pleaded the fifth, with a laugh, when asked if Morin would be the seventh defenseman for the trip, “but he hasn’t played a game so you can read between the lines.”
Right now it looks like that seventh defenseman very well could be MacDonald, who is three weeks into his four-to-six week diagnosis. A quick recovery could mean a return to the lineup for him this week, or simply he could be traveling with the team just in case. They could still call up another defenseman, probably Mark Alt, to travel with the club in case anything happens to one of their top-six defensemen on Tuesday night.
If MacDonald is truly healthy, he will be the guy. If not, it will be Alt. Morin will likely need to play a few games with the Phantoms before even being considered for a call up.
The Flyers are getting healthier and just at the right time. They have had a few iffy games over the past week and an injection of youth, in Patrick, and stability and size, in MacDonald and Morin, could be just what the doctor ordered.
The Flyers will embark on a two-game road trip this week. First in Minnesota on Tuesday night, then Winnipeg on Thursday night. Let’s hope the Flyers can come away with at least two points out of the short trip.
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