Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Skate Blades and Surgical Knives

For the 2005-2006 Philadelphia Flyers, the name of the game was injuries. Losing players for an astounding 461 man-games (third all-time), players could not stay healthy enough to put up a consistent, concentrated effort. However, they managed to make the playoffs with a majority of their regulars in the lineup (save captain Primeau and D-man Kim Johnsson) However, lack of scoring and abundance of bodily damages forced the Flyers out early, losing their opening round series to the streaking Buffalo Sabres 4-2.

But Chris, what’s funny about that?

Among other things, the post-season calls for many members of a professional sports organization to try and stretch their day-to-day operations to span the long, boring gap until the puck drops again. Coaches start reviewing tape of went wrong. Mascots begin off-season cross-training, walking around amusement parks and scaring children. And Official Team Webmasters start searching for something, anything, new to post for devoted fans that happen to stop by after that final horn has sounded.

For the Flyers, who were expected to contend for the Stanley Cup this year, their webmaster had to scramble for new content, figuring he was on easy street for at least a few more weeks. But with no additional playoff series in the Orange and Black’s near future, he had to go to his old stand-by – interviewing the team’s trainer, Jim McCrossin.

All I can say is wow.

According to McCrossin, 14 Flyers are preparing in the next two weeks to go under the knife for some post-season surgery. Yes, a whole baker’s dozen plus one. Reading this laundry list of players, it would have been more efficient for the trainer to report which players are not getting surgery. “Jeff Carter is doing just cool – he’s going to go play some golf now.” But no, we’re treated to the casualty list of a season gone wrong.

This is where things get strange.

Now everyone knows that super-center Peter Forsberg will be shelved for a double-foot surgery that will put him out of commission until next January. And Primeau, despite the concussion, is going to get that broken nose of his fixed. Sami Kapanen’s got some shoulder work to get done, and Hatcher and Stevenson have some knee issues. And now that you mention it Donald Brasher and Branko Radiovojevic have some outstanding on their shoulders, too. (Thanks to Branko, SpellCheck just commited suicide. Again.) So that takes care one-half of the 14. But the other 7? Here’s a sampling from the article.

Michal Handzus had successful surgery on Friday to repair his left rotator cuff and torn LABRUM. Eric Desjardins will have surgery to repair a torn LABRUM in his left hip. Both Mike Rathje and Robert Esche will see Dr. Byrd and have surgery performed at that time to repair LABRUMS in their right hips. "Antero Niittymaki, we found that he does have an extensive tear in his superior and anterior LABRUM in his right hip. Both Denis Gauthier and Brian Savage will be having surgery to repair torn posterior LABRUMS both in their right shoulders.”

Oh. My. God. What the hell is a labrum?!?

Forget the Sabres, the Devils, the Rangers, all of ‘em. The Flyers’ number one opponent this year was clearly the Labrum. 7 key contributors (including both goalies) need work to repair something I’ve never even heard of. Is Jim McCrossin making things up? Some phantom appendage / muscle / tendon / soulpiece affected this many players? It’s nowhere to be found on WebMd.

Hold up – Medicinenet.com has it. According to them, a labrum is a ring of fibrocartilage around the joint of a bone. That clears things up. Thanks, guys.Ok, for the 2006-2007 Flyers to be competitive, Bobby Clarke needs to make some changes. Pick a number 1 netminder? No. Get another speedy winger? Nay. Force Desjardins into retirement? Uh uh.

Ban labrums from the locker room. Those things are bad news.


Mattias A. Caro said...

Maybe the flyers should work on aquiring players who aren't eligable for Social Security. That I think would be a better strategy . . . :)

Chris Condon said...

Average age of the Flyers: 29

Yeah, good point on that one.