Wrapping up a disappointing 2021-22 season, Philadelphia Flyers provided injury updates and their off-season plans as they met with the media.
As it has gone so often in the 2021-22 season, the Philadelphia Flyers ended their year on a losing note. A 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators last Friday gave the club a final record of 25-46-11 for 61 points.
That .372 points percentage is second-worst in franchise history, ahead only of the 2006-07 season. And the Flyers finished 29th overall in this year’s NHL standings.
It’s now official: they’ll have a 9.5% chance of moving up to the first-overall pick at the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery next week, on May 10.
Also like it was through most of the season, injury updates were front and center for the Philadelphia Flyers players last Saturday. One by one, they spoke with the media at the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees, N.J., clarifying details, prognoses, and offseason training plans.
Ryan Ellis Has A Recovery Plan
Let’s start with the man of mystery, Ryan Ellis. He managed just four regular-season games in a Philadelphia uniform after he was acquired from the Nashville Predators during the offseason.
Ellis said the medical staff now has a plan on how to treat what he called “a multi-layered problem” that has impacted “the complex of the whole pelvic region, more or less.
“It wasn’t just a one-thing fix-all,” he explained Saturday, “and that was the problem, trying to figure out what was going on. It had multiple levels of what the problem was.”
When describing his training plan, Ellis said, “It’s treatments, it’s corrections. Healthier tissue, healthier everything, really. A lot of workouts and therapy in that sense,” while adding, “Nothing’s broken enough to do surgery on.”
Ellis confirmed that his initial injury happened during the preseason. “I tried to play through it, and then it happened again,” he said. “I guess looking back, I probably rushed it and just made everything worse. Ultimately when the first couple things didn’t work, it was ‘Well, what is it then?'”
Explaining his offseason training plan, “In the next month or so, I plan to get more and more active in the gym,” Ellis said. “Obviously, skating is my job, so I wouldn’t doubt a couple weeks later is get on the ice and get moving again.
“I just think it’s a process that needs to unfold. Because I haven’t been skating much, it would be nice to start skating immediately. There’s all progressions in there and then ramp it up in July, August and then get going for camp.”
Couturier Is Progressing
As for Couturier, the lifelong Flyers center is nearing the end of his recovery from the back injury and subsequent surgery that has kept him out of the lineup since late December.
“I feel pretty good. I wouldn’t say a hundred percent, but I’m getting there,” said the 29-year-old, who has been spotted on the ice a few times in recent weeks.
It’s been good to see Sean Couturier on the ice to finish out the season. Obviously he’s been done for the season for awhile, but he appears to be moving well. pic.twitter.com/QI97PocwJV
— Ariel Melendez (@a_melendez10) April 23, 2022
“Going back to December when it happened, I don’t know, I think it was just a little bit of wear and tear,” he explained about the injury itself.
“I think three, four weeks prior to that, I was having some back pains, where everyone has those in the year at some point. These ones just wouldn’t go away. At one point, it just got so painful that I couldn’t sleep at night. That’s when I had to step back and see if it would heal. It just wouldn’t go away so I had to go the surgery road.”
The most likely candidate to wear the captain’s ‘C’ next fall, Couturier is cautiously optimistic that the procedure will correct his issue over the long term. “You never know in this business,” he admitted. “It’s a tough sport out there and we can get hit. It can happen again, just don’t know. I feel pretty confident that I’ll be back to a hundred percent, so no extra worries, I guess.”
Around Full Press Hockey
More Walking Wounded
The Flyers finished the season with 10 players on the injured list. Here’s the latest on some of the others:
“It’s just kind of that snowball effect,” said Cam Atkinson, who led the Flyers with 23 goals and was named Team MVP, but missed the last nine games of the year.
“Prior to the Washington game, it seemed like every other game something happened — blocking a shot with my foot, getting whacked in the mouth, lost a tooth.”
“It’s one of those things now that I just need to let it heal and let mother nature heal itself,” he said about his recovery process. “I’ve been able to work out and skate a little bit. Maybe just another week and I’ll be ready to rock.”
Goaltender Carter Hart said a lower-body injury kept him out of action for the last nine games of the year.
“I’m feeling a lot better,” he said Saturday. “I got some good recovery; we have been in treatment. It’s feeling a lot better. I should have a lot of time for a long-but-beneficial offseason here.”
Other than a rough bout with Covid-19 when he was still with the Buffalo Sabres, defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen has remained relatively injury-free in his career. “Thought I was bulletproof, but I guess not,” he admitted Saturday after missing the last nine games with an upper-body injury.
Rookie Cam York had a ‘Welcome to the NHL’ moment when he suffered a hairline fracture in his foot after blocking a shot from Alex Ovechkin while killing a penalty.
“Pretty banged up, not going to lie,” said the 21-year-old, who also missed the last nine games. “I should be good to go for workouts. Just trying to continue to progress here and get back at it at the start of June.”
Yandle Likely Retiring
Keith Yandle declined to speak to the media on Saturday, but defenseman Nick Seeler said Saturday that when the post-game handshakes began on Friday, it looked like the 35-year-old is planning to retire after 1,109 career NHL games.
Every Flyers player hugs Keith Yandle coming off the ice. Kevin Hayes, of course, gives him the final hug. pic.twitter.com/0S8GJYGnwS
— Olivia Reiner (@ReinerOlivia) April 30, 2022
“It was great to be able to play with him,” Seeler said. “Last night when he was starting to shake hands with everybody, I kind of understood what was happening, but I didn’t know prior to that.
“I could feel the emotion and what a career he had. Unbelievable. The Ironman Streak. He has earned, every step of the way, what he has gotten.”
“That was a cool moment,” said Yandle’s good friend, Kevin Hayes, who addressed the retirement rumors without speaking to them directly.
“At lunch, I asked him the question and he answered,” Hayes said. “I honestly forgot throughout the game everything going on. I realized as we were walking out for the third period. We had a little moment there.
“Keith is a special human to a lot of people, especially me. I know we took a lot of heat this year, but what he’s done is incredible. Not even talking about the Ironman streak. He’s just an all-round good human that doesn’t need to help people, but every day he does.”
Earlier this season, Yandle set a new record, with 989 consecutive games played. He finishes the year seven games ahead of Phil Kessel, an impending unrestricted free agent whose Ironman streak remains active.
Fletcher Up Next
After such a disappointing season, Chuck Fletcher has plenty of work ahead this offseason — perhaps with the question of coaching at the top of the list.
Fletcher is scheduled to meet with the media on Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET.
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