PITTSBURGH - The point of the season is upon us where injury news about the Flyers will begin to leak out little by little, offering a more complete view into their troubles this year.
Defenseman Luke Schenn is tentatively scheduled to undergo surgery this morning in Philadelphia to repair a torn abdominal muscle. His season is over, and he joins Wayne Simmons (fractured left leg), Andrew MacDonald (fractured right hand) and R.J. Umberger (abdomen/hip surgery) on the shelf.
Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said Schenn's expected recovery time is 6 weeks. The injury occurred recently, possibly presenting itself during the Flyers' loss in Calgary on March 19.
There are other players who have been playing hurt this season, but we do not know the extent of their injuries. That news likely will not come until after the season ends next Saturday.
"There are very few of our guys right now who will tell you they feel 100 percent," Hextall said 2 weeks ago.
For instance, Matt Read revealed to the Daily News this week he played 2 months this season with two separate tears in his same ankle ligament as part of a high-ankle sprain that was first reported on Jan. 14.
"I've had a lot of ankle problems, blocking shots off the ankle and stuff," Read said. "I don't know if it's anything you can prepare against. My skate got caught in a rut on the ice and my body was being pushed the other way. I couldn't do anything about it. Both tears happened at the same time. It's a flukey event. You're in a solid boot and your ankle shouldn't be able to bend that way. It's kind of a freak accident."
The injury occurred on Nov. 1. Read has been more or less healthy since mid-January. He joked it doesn't fully explain how he "forgot" how to score goals. He's averaged 23 goals in each of his first two full NHL seasons - and he's scored just seven goals this year.
"I think we're a playoff team," Hextall said last night. "I've said that last summer and I'll say it again now. If every player plays within a reasonable standard of the expectations, we're in the playoffs. We're not that far out now and how many poor games have we played? How much inconsistency?"
Ron Hextall said the Flyers would like to re-sign forward Ryan White for next season, though negotiations have not yet begun. White, 27, has five goals and six assists in 28 games for the Flyers since rehabbing from a torn pectoral muscle last summer.
The Flyers have earned a point in 22 of the 29 games White has played this season (12-7-10). He has surprised the coaching staff with his scoring output.
His game is almost perfectly modeled after a player like Montreal's Brandon Prust. Then again, maybe it shouldn't be a surprise, considering White put up better numbers in junior hockey for the WHL's Calgary Hitmen than Prust did for the OHL's London Knights.
"He's been a real good player for us," Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "He's done a real good job emotionally, with the team. He's got a real good emotion to his game, on and off the ice. He's a competitor. But the thing I see is he's got real good composure with the hockey puck. He makes good decisions."
Inking White to a new deal would give the Flyers 13 forwards on one-way NHL contracts for next season, leaving Chris VandeVelde as the only unsigned player. VandeVelde, 28, has been the Flyers' most improved forward, netting nine goals in the last 63 games after scoring just once in his first 50 NHL games.
The management staff for Hockey Canada's entry into next month's IIHF World Championships in the Czech Republic has not been announced yet, but Flyers GM Ron Hextall said he has not been contacted to participate. Hextall served on Canada's staff last May with Los Angeles' Rob Blake and Calgary's Brad Treliving.
Hextall did receive a call from Hockey Canada about the potential availability of Wayne Simmonds for the tournament. Simmonds, 26, will be sidelined for another 4 weeks with a fracture of a bone in his left leg - which could have made him a possibility for the May 1 start. That won't be happening.
"I don't see how he can play," Hextall said. "I don't see why they'd want him. I did get a call, but he's non-weight bearing for 4 weeks. It's not fair to him. It's not fair to the team."
Other Flyers, such as Claude Giroux, Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier - if healthy - could be invited to play for Canada. It will be especially interesting to see what Giroux decides, particularly since he was snubbed by Canada for the 2014 Olympic team, despite having the most points in the NHL since the start of the 2011-12 season.
"I've always felt like the younger guys owe it, a part of giving back to the game," Hextall said. "I know it's overseas and takes time out of your schedule and stuff, but I think it's a good thing for players if they play."