Grossmann injures knee against Pens
For the Philadelphia Flyers, 2011-12 was supposed to be about defense.
Unfortunately, it has for all the wrong reasons.
Battling injuries since the first month of the year, the Flyers defense is practically being held together by a thread.
During the first period of Sunday afternoon’s 6-4 come from behind win against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the final thread may have come undone when Nicklas Grossmann left the game with a ‘lower-body injury.’
On a play in the Flyers defensive zone, Grossmann was run into by Penguins forward, Joe Vitale and it appeared as those Vitale hit Grossmann with a knee-to-knee hit.
Grossmann fell to the ice in pain, struggled to get off the playing surface and immediately went to the Flyers locker room.
He would not return.
Grossmann only played a total of 3:58.
As of Sunday afternoon, there was no update as to the extent of the injury.
An extended absence from Grossmann could prove to be problematic for the Flyers and their Stanley Cup dreams.
Since joining the team via trade from the Dallas Stars on February 16, Grossmann has been a calming presence for a defensive unit who had been largely disorganized.
Adding over 230 lbs of force, Grossmann is a stay at home defenseman who has helped clear the front of the net and punish attacking players. Excelling in the physical component of the backend, Grossmann ties up players in the corners to slow down attacks.
It has even seemed like his play has rubbed off on younger players like Braydon Coburn, who has since discovered a newfound appreciation for the physical game.
His loss would leave a gapping hole that will not be easy to fill.
He is one of the team’s most talented shot blockers and is part of the team’s best shutdown pairing, partnered alongside Coburn.
In 22 games with the Flyers, Grossmann has registered 67 hits, 51 blocked shots, six assists and has averaged just over 19 minutes of ice time.
If he is to miss any time, it seems likely that Erik Gustafsson will be recalled from the Phantoms, especially considering that Andreas Lilja has been out of the line-up since March 24 with an ‘upper body injury.’
In 30 games with the Flyers this season, Gustafsson has five points (one goal, four assists), 35 blocked shots, nine hits and has averaged 16:47 of ice time.
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