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No downplaying it, James van Riemsdyk's injury can be damaging for Flyers

No downplaying it, James van Riemsdyk's injury can be damaging for Flyers
Published On: Tue, Oct 09
Nov 20, 2015; Raleigh, NC, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs forward James Van Riemsdyk (21) skates with the puck against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 in the shoot out. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The next-man-up mentality is a popular mantra across sports whenever a teammate goes down.

In the NHL, it's especially beloved. Hockey players are held up as the toughest of athletes renowned for playing through everything and anything.A 

No excuses, whatever it takes.

So, naturally, when the Flyers left the practice ice and started to fill the locker room Monday, the feeling was like any other day, with regular energy and chatter.

But something was missing and there was no hiding it.

James van Riemsdyk's big 6-foot-3, 217-pound frame was not filling his locker stall. The left winger is out approximately five to six weeks with a lower-body injuryA (see story).A As much as the Flyers try to unflappably and admirably push onward, losing their free-agent splash for possibly a month and a half just two games into his reunion is no joke.

This will test the Flyers' character, depth and health out of the chute for a season expected to serve as the biggest step in general manager Ron Hextall's process.

"It's obviously a big loss for us," Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said. "But in the short term, it'll challenge us and challenge our depth and challenge somebody else to step in and do a good job."

There seems to be an outside perception of van Riemsdyk as a player that only scores goals and does very little else. He had just 18 assists last season and has been knocked for his defense in the past. Hockey, however, doesn't have to be so complicated. Ultimately, the teams that win are the teams that score and van Riemsdyk has a track record of consistently putting the puck in the net.

Read the complete news article here...

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