Just one day after becoming a father for the first time, Flyers defenseman Matt Walker is back to work – for the first time this season.
His wife, Kate, gave birth to the couple's first child on Thursday at Pennsylvania Hospital. Both mother and newborn – Georgia Isabel Walker – are doing well.
So, apparently, is Walker. Walker, who was acquired in the Simon Gagne trade in July, had surgery on Oct. 20 to repair a boney impingement in his hip. The original prognosis was 8-to-10 weeks.
He is back quicker than that.
Walker was assigned to Adirondack on Friday to start a conditioning assignment. Friday's game with the Phantoms in Syracuse is Walker's first game of the regular season – at any level – since Walker first injured his hip during a preseason fight.
Since Walker has not been on the Flyers' long-term injury list – and his $1.7 million salary has been counting against the salary cap all season – Walker is eligible for a 14-day conditioning stint instead of being limited to the 6-day or 3 game regiment like Michael Leighton was last weekend.
Leighton, who had surgery on Oct. 11 to repair a herniated disk in his lower back, is also in net for the Phantoms tonight against the Crunch. The NHL approved the Flyers' request for a rehab extension earlier in the week. Leighton is also scheduled to play another game this weekend for Adirondack – either in Glens Falls, N.Y., on Saturday night or in Hartford, Conn., on Sunday afternoon – before returning to the Flyers. He cannot receive another rehab extension.
Tonight's Phantoms game is also interesting because it pits former Flyers David Laliberte and Pat Maroon against their former team.
Fans can listen to a broadcast of the game from Syracuse for free HERE and also a purchase a webcast on TheAHL.com. Tim McManus at the Glens Falls Post-Star will have a few updates if available on his Twitter account and Crunch beat writer Lindsay Kramer from the Syracuse Post-Standard will have all of his updates on his blog and on Twitter.
For the latest Flyers updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers