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09-27-2010, 11:42 AM
Ed finally concedes!
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Philadelphia
Country: Italy
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Meltzer's take

Much better than Panaccio's typical tweets....

it's true..depending on the severity...the issue is still of trying to evaluate Leighton as a legit #1. The injury just adds to the question marks....this is what happens when you sign a goalie based on loyalty....

I fully expect the Flyers to engage in the usual injury song and dance today when Paul Holmgren discussed the results of the MRI on Michael Leighton's back. Anything short of an unexpected announcement that Leighton needs back surgery will be spun as a minor issue that the club is optimistic the goalie can work through and be fine.

Maybe that really is the case. But let's just say the club's injury history, especially with the goalies, and the nature of back problems suggest that this won't be the last we'll hear about Leighton's back this season.

That begs a question, a host of questions actually:

If Leighton was having back problems during the summer, and the club knew about it, then why did the club not come into camp with a backup plan? By "backup" plan, I don't mean Brian Boucher, a rehabbing Johan Backlund or a rookie Sergei Bobrovsky. Even if Leighton were 100% healthy, goaltending would have been the club's biggest question mark heading into camp.

Was Leighton having these "back issues over the summer" before the club elected to sign him to a new contract? If he wasn't, at what point did he inform the club? Did he wait until he was at camp to tell personnel that he'd been battling back issues? If so, I would be all kinds of agitated if I were Paul Holmgren.

Lastly, if Leighton is going to be out for awhile, putting Boucher in the starting role, is the club better off going into the season with Backlund (who may or may not be sufficiently healthy by opening night to play if needed) or Bobrovsky as the backup? Or would the club give its fifth goalie on the depth chart, Nic Riopel, the "prize" of being opening night backup if it comes to it?

Despite Bobrovsky's excellent preseason so far, especially in shootouts, my view has not changed at all. He's better off playing with the Phantoms than backing up (or starting) for the big club. I think his long-term outcome will be better if he isn't rushed.

I don't expect any real answers to be given today, even to the questions that actually can be answered at this point. But count me among those who are more nervous about the Flyers' goaltending situation than we were a week ago at this time. All the "minor problem" spin in the world won't change that until Leighton proves he's healthy, and just as important, proves he deserves the faith the club placed in him.

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