By Mary Cunningham
The Flyers made virtually no moves in the off-season because their supposedly brilliant management was over the salary cap.
And the only meaningful news in their just-begun training camp has been:
Kimmo Timonen will probably miss all of this season with blood clots in his legs; and
Captain Claude Giroux is now out for the rest of pre-season for the second consecutive year.
According to general manager Ron Hextall, Giroux will miss approximately two weeks with a “lower-body” injury.
“It just happened today,” the general manager said. “It’s the first day of camp and guys go 100 miles an hour and things happen.”
With the timeframe of two weeks, that puts Giroux out for every one of the eight NHL preseason games the club is scheduled to have. Last season, Giroux missed nearly all of the preseason with a hand injury and it took him 15 games to score his first goal of the season. The team isn’t having déjà vu just yet.
“I’m not thinking like that at all,” coach Craig Berube said. “He’s out right now. We’ve got lots of players, lots of good players. We’ve got to deal with it. That’s the best way to look at it: we have to deal with it and get through it and we’ll be fine.”
Before the 26-year-old center left, he took line rushes twice with Brayden Schenn on his left wing and Jake Voracek on his right. He was replaced in drills by Darroll Powe, who signed an AHL contract with the team this summer. That will probably change Saturday in practice.
Giroux didn’t have a limp when he walked off the ice. Thursday, the captain spoke of how he trained hard in the offseason and changed his eating regimen.
“Weight’s pretty much the same, just the body fat went down a little bit,” Giroux said. “That was the main focus from Chief and Ron Hextall.”
Giroux had been in town for a while, taking part in informal workouts with his teammates. It’s unclear exactly what the injury is, but it’s groin pulls are a typical early-season injury. Hextall wouldn’t confirm that it was a groin issue for Giroux, just calling it, “lower body.”
The injury doesn’t mean Giroux is in poor shape. He’s come into camp perhaps as fit as he’s ever been. Although his off-ice regimen didn’t change much this summer, his diet did.
“The only thing I changed is basically how I eat,” Giroux said Friday. “A lot of salads…and I’m not a big fan of salads, either. I didn’t enjoy that, but it’s good. I feel a lot better. I think everybody feels a lot better.”
It’s unclear what will happen Saturday in practice, but Schenn has mostly played center in his 192 career NHL games. He studied this summer on playing left wing.
“I was preparing for both,” Schenn said. “I wasn’t told either left wing or center. Mentally you prepare yourself, not in summer, but preparing for camp. When you start skating, I was playing a little bit of left wing and center just to be familiar with both positions because I didn’t know what was going to get thrown at me.”
With an injury to Giroux, Schenn will likely be thrown back at center. Berube doesn’t want to make wholesale changes to the lines he debuted Friday morning.
“Well, you get guys to fill in,” Berube said. “You play. It’s one guy, so you have to work to get healthy.”