Michael Leighton’s back pain has been attributed to a bulging disk that will keep him out of the lineup for a month. Also, Ian Laperriere is suffering post-concussion syndrome and is out indefinitely. This is the news Paul Holmgren broke during a conference call press release Tuesday.
A bulging disk for Leighton is more serious than original reports suggested as the Flyers made plans for him to be back on the ice by the end of preseason. This injury shouldn’t be as serious as many fans’ imaginations made it out to be, however, when details were slow to surface and the organization put off notifying the press.
So long as that is really the only problem ailing the Flyers’ starting goaltender, he should be ready for hockey again by the end of October. In the meantime, Brian Boucher will be the starting goalie with Sergei Bobrovsky dressing as backup until either Johan Backlund is ready or Leighton returns – whichever comes first.
The real concern here is Ian Laperriere. “Lappy”, as they call him, suffered a broken orbital bone and a concussion when he was struck by a puck while blocking a Devils’ shot in the Conference Quarterfinals. Originally listed as being out indefinitely and unlikely to return, Laperriere seemingly defied the odds by recovering in time to finish the Conference Finals series agaisnt the Canadiens.
As it turns out, he didn’t recover the way he said. It should come as no surprise that Laperriere lied his way to get back onto the ice, covering up his symptoms. As brave as this makes him, it may put his career in jeopardy.
Laperriere, voted the NHL’s toughest player last season by THN, let his heart decide – not his head – when he chose to force his way back onto the ice. It’s hard to fault him for this, as hockey is a sport built upon the sacrifice of its players, but one has to wonder now whether he’ll be able to step back onto the ice for the Flyers.
He’ll be turning 37 this January. For a player with his physical style, it’s difficult to continue a career much past that. If you begin adding concussions into the equation, his time looks short.
Here’s hoping that his symptoms don’t last and the man they call “Lappy” makes a full recovery to rejoin the team, but put me on record as “doubtful”.