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Meszaros returns to Flyers practice, targets Round 2 return

Apr 24, 2012, 2:32 PM EDT

Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

The was a sight for sore eyes in Voorhees today when Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros returned to practice for the first time since undergoing back surgery on Mar. 21.

According to Philly.com, the 26-year-old rearguard wore a non-contact jersey during drills. The original estimate for his return post-surgery was 6-8 weeks — based on that, the earliest Meszaros could return would be midway through Round 2 — but his speedy return to practice has changed perceptions a tad.

“I’m really encouraged,” coach Peter Laviolette said.

Given the depleted state of their defense, the Flyers would love to get Meszaros back in the mix. Injuries to Chris Pronger, Nicklas Grossmann and Marc-Andre Bourdon forced Philly to ice a makeshift blueline in Game 6 against the Penguins — rookie Erik Gustafsson played 22:09 while Pavel Kubina, who started the series as a healthy scratch, saw just 4:31 in the series-clincher.

So yeah, Philly essentially played with five defensemen against the Pens.

  1. lasallehockey81 - Apr 24, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    I think the best case scenario for the Flyers would be a 2nd round Panthers matchup… then, although, its not the best matchup.. but would be a hell of series.. The Rangers in the ECF. They should get through the Florida without Mez.. then he’ll be able to come back for the Rangers with a week or two more rest and practice…. I’m not a fan of dodging NY, though, just for how great of a series it could be..

    • greggoldberg - Apr 24, 2012 at 4:58 PM

      I want no part of the Rangers. I would rather face Boston for the third straight year than get the Rangers.

      • lasallehockey81 - Apr 24, 2012 at 5:06 PM

        I understand why. I can see both ways of thinking. I’m looking at it this way: If we take the easiest road to the finals.. Florida and Washington… that wouldnt be as fun as the Rangers in the ECF… Its kind of a let down after coming off of a Penguins series and going into one with a team theres no rivalry with. Entertainment purposes only.

        That being said… I dont blame you

      • arobin511 - Apr 24, 2012 at 7:23 PM

        I would have no problem facing the Rangers. I think playoffs are a whole different season and the Flyers are playing good hockey. I think the Rangers beating us all year may come back to bite them and they find that We Can Beat Them and When It Counts! The Philadelphia fans and New York fans should know better then anyone….Phillies best team in baseball….knocked out first round by Cardinals who got in hot as a wild card and won the whole thing…New York Giants got in as a wild card…..won the Superbowl….I say if you want to avoid anyone then you don’t feel you are the best. I have faith in this young team!

      • tackledummy1505 - Apr 25, 2012 at 9:22 AM

        Until we find out the same thing the Penguins found out and that’s we can’t beat the Rangers. We owned the Penguins all year and they probably were thinking the same thing all of you are thinking. Though I wouldn’t mind a final matchup against the Rangers, I prefer not to test the beast. It’s like Japan attacking Pearl Harbor. Did the Japanese people think we weren’t going to drop bombs on them? Probably not, so just leave something we know that could be devastating a lone and just hope for 1 of the other 5 teams available.

    • hoarce7 - Apr 26, 2012 at 1:46 PM

      Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? “Not us, not us” replied the Philadelphia Flyers. Listen why should the Flyers be any more worried about facing the Rangers than they would be facing Ottawa, Florida or the Capitals for that matter? The regular season was the regular season and those games and results that occurred between the Flyers and Rangers are now history. The Flyers didn’t have the defense corps they’ll have for their upcoming series against any of the remaining teams. Furthermore Bryzgalov was not playing nearly as well then as he is or has been recently. Did you ever stop to think that just maybe it’s the Rangers who escaped playing the Flyers when all is said and done? Heck they’re having a heck of a time to get by the eighth seeded Senators for crying out loud. I say bring ‘em on!!!!

  2. philsosexy - Apr 24, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    A healthy Flyers defense would definitely be the best in the league. Pronger, Meszaros, Timonen, Kubina, Grossman, Coburn

    • ml3939 - Apr 24, 2012 at 3:12 PM

      I am a Flyers fan and not a troll, I can say that now as Pens fans are long gone from this board. Kubina sucks and is a shell of himself. He fell behind Bourdon on the depth chart in the last series and only got back in once Bourdon got hurt. There is a reason he only played 4+ minutes in the last game. He is even behind Lilja on the depth chart now.

      • phillyphever - Apr 24, 2012 at 3:56 PM

        Agree, Kubina’s been a major bust since he got here. Here’s wishing Grossmann, Meszaros and Bourdon get better soon so he, Lilja and Carle would be were they belong: in the pressbox.

    • arobin511 - Apr 24, 2012 at 7:25 PM

      I say leave Kubina out of the mix and let Guttfeson (sp) in…he did a good job for us and Kubina makes lots of mistakes and sometimes seems so unsure of himself out there.

  3. NJgriffNC - Apr 24, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Excellent news. I can’t tell who’s been worse: Kubina or Lilja. I say scratch Lilja when Mez comes back and leave Gustafsson. Use Kubina ONLY for the PP. And when/if Grossmann comes back, Kubina becomes a scratch.

    • maalea - Apr 24, 2012 at 3:05 PM

      I think it depends on the matchup. If it’s a bigger hard hitting team like Bos/Wash Kubina plays, if it’s a faster more skilled matchup Kubina sits.

      Kubina look veerrrrry slow out there against Pitt.

      • phillyphever - Apr 24, 2012 at 4:43 PM

        He looked like Hatcher out there somewhat. Too bad he didn’t have Hatch’s mean streak (I really miss #2 here).

  4. somekat - Apr 24, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    This is a huge return/addition. Anything to bring down Coburn’s ice time. That guy was a turnover machine the entire first round. It actually got to the point that my girlfriend found it hilarious. Every time he would touch the puck, I would say “turnover”, and sure enough, the announcers would say the same thing within a few minutes.

    Mez can play in all situations, and as long as Pronger is shelved (probably for good at this point), he is the Flyers best overall defenseman. Not only is his addition great for obvious reasons, but it lets guys like Coburn, Kubina, etc drop from mid 20’s to high teens in minutes.

    Any word on Grossman?

    • ml3939 - Apr 24, 2012 at 3:35 PM

      I think you may have Coburn confused with Carle.

      • lasallehockey81 - Apr 24, 2012 at 3:54 PM

        Yeah, I was going to say the same thing. I actually thought Coburn played a pretty good series, given the injuries. Carle makes me want to rip my hair out.

      • somekat - Apr 24, 2012 at 4:01 PM

        Not at all. Watch any game over, and pay attention to Coburn. He was not terrible defensively, but he was a disaster with the puck on his stick. Turnovers, failed (weak) clearing attempts, basically, anything you would not want your defensemen to do with the puck

      • ml3939 - Apr 24, 2012 at 4:19 PM

        Carle is a joke. There is a reason Coburn logged the minutes he did. The Flyers actually got lucky Carle is such a poor shot in OT that his rocket squeaked by Letang and Voracek was in the right place. Almost every shot he takes gets blocked or goes wide. For every nice defensive play he makes, he makes 3 poor plays. Sometime I wonder if he was the only player in the defensive zone if he could get the puck to the blue line.

        At least Coburn can skate, take the body, hang with bigger players and take a shot that could break a pane of glass. He can even drop the gloves if he needs to.

        The only thing Matt Carle does consistently is irritate the hell out of me.

      • epictron1 - Apr 24, 2012 at 4:20 PM

        My hatred for Matt Carle has no bounds….

      • lasallehockey81 - Apr 24, 2012 at 4:54 PM

        Yeah I watch every game… preseason included… and I dont know which game you’re watching if you dont like Coburn more than Carle… Even your description of Coburn is exactly why I cant stand Carle.. but hey… agree to disagree I guess

      • dsd3 - Apr 24, 2012 at 9:40 PM

        Carle is a great defenseman. He makes a dumb play or two and everyone wants him run out of town. Idiotic.

    • arobin511 - Apr 24, 2012 at 7:27 PM

      Really what game were you watching? Coburn had a good series….

    • dsd3 - Apr 24, 2012 at 9:39 PM

      Coburn was the best defenseman in that series. You’re crazy. And people need to stop complaining about Matt Carle. I don’t know where people get these ideas.

      • ml3939 - Apr 24, 2012 at 11:22 PM

        Sorry Matt.

      • dsd3 - Apr 25, 2012 at 1:14 AM

        Haha. Not Matt, but just someone who has eyes.

      • ml3939 - Apr 25, 2012 at 9:09 AM

        I guess you are gonna have to take off those Matt Carle rose colored glasses.

  5. icelovinbrotha215 - Apr 24, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Nice. Hopefully Mesz is on pace to play some time in the 2nd round. Idk who would be scratched. Most likely Lilja. Not a fan of Carle @ all but I know he isn’t going anywhere. If the defense plays like it did in games 5 & 6, there is less pressure on Mesz. Keep it going, still have some ‘knock knocks’ left.

  6. greggoldberg - Apr 24, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    I’m not really sure why everyone thinks Carle is some awful defenseman. Laviolette wouldn’t be playing him 25 minutes a night, mostly against Sidney Crosby, in the playoffs, if he was. He turns it over a decent bit, but so does any good defenseman who handles the puck a lot. He was 21st in the league in points for defensemen, which is pretty damn good. For every time a guy makes their way around him for a great chance and everyone flips out, he’ll make six or seven or eight great plays by staying in position that no one notices.

    I dunno. Maybe it’s just me.

    • mercyflush - Apr 24, 2012 at 5:19 PM

      Carle is good in terms of bodying the foward and getting him off the puck, but he’s absolutely terrible when it comes to puck handling.

      His full name should be Matt Cleared-But-Not-Out Carle. I’ve never seen anyone fail as often as he does when attempting to clear the puck. Plus he’s a giveaway machine.

      I believe he’s a free agent this year, and I pray to god they let him walk. I’ve had enough of him.

      • sizzle299 - Apr 24, 2012 at 5:59 PM

        Listen….Nobody is going to be perfect, and Carle has his drawbacks like anybody, but he fits well into the system they have here, is quick, has good conditioning, can play big minutes, can play on the power play, makes good passes and blocks shots. I know he loses points for having a weak shot and not being the typical big physical defenseman we like in Philly. Evenbody turns the puck over occasionally- I guess it’s in the eye of the beholder. But what the the future of this Defense? Pronger is likely done, Timonen’s clock is ticking. Kubina won’t resign here hopefully. Lilja is bottom 2. There’s no real good rookie Defensive prospect [the jury is out at best as much as I like MAB and Gust]. So we’ve got Coburn, Mez Grossman and…. ? If the price is right we NEED to resign Carle unless we’re bringing in a free agent which will be just as expensive or someone is coming in a trade [JVR=expendable with all the youth on this team]. Look at who our goalie is……defense is priority. It is likely a moot point since he’ll want more money than the Flyers can afford, but think through your frustration when you say drop him like a hot potato, remember the Cinderella song… you don’t know what you got..

      • dsd3 - Apr 24, 2012 at 9:43 PM

        Just wait until Philly loses him. You’ll be wishing you could get him back.

    • dsd3 - Apr 24, 2012 at 9:41 PM

      Carle is a great defenseman. Anyone who thinks otherwise is just not watching the games closely enough.

  7. feva4theflava - Apr 24, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    If only rocky would come back then the flyers would be really set.

  8. ml3939 - Apr 24, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    They are not going to resign Carle. He is going to get overpaid in the market somewhere in the James Wisniewski range and like Wisniewski is worth no where near that amount. Free agent defenseman and baseball relief pitchers at the trade deadline are usually grossly overpriced. I think a lot of people fell in love with the Carle that was paired with Pronger, and Mez at times when Pronger was out. You could put Kerry Huffman or Karl Dykhuis with Pronger and say you were impressed with their play too.

    Carle was atrocious the second half of last season and a big part of the downfall of that team.

    This year he has not been much better. He gets points because the Flyers are a top 3 offense in the league and he is afforded power play time because Pronger and Mez are out of the lineup.

    He played against Crosby because Malkin was the greater defensive focus and that went to Coburn (and Grossman when he was available). And it is not like Carle was shutting Crosby down.

    • sizzle299 - Apr 24, 2012 at 6:53 PM

      Agree that he is gone.. Hope you are right about the rest….

  9. dawglb - Apr 24, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    Gustafson, Grossmann, Coburn, Mesaros, Carle, and Kubina. Hmmm,.. Kubina looks like he is roller skating in sand, at times. He is slow when starting from a stopped position. However, a healthy Grossmann and Coburn will be the keys. But, they need 4 super solid D men. Carle is shaky. Being healthy and Having choices will be nice in round 2. PS: haven’t heard a Kerry Huffman reference in a long time!

    • dsd3 - Apr 25, 2012 at 1:16 AM

      Carle is the opposite of shaky. Kubina I suspect is still hurt.

  10. mclovinhockey - Apr 25, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    I hate lilja with all my heart, but he played pretty well. Coburn played well defending Sid, he always does. I thought Kubina would have been a good pick up, now I feel as if we wasted picks.

    • dsd3 - Apr 26, 2012 at 1:08 AM

      I agree with you on both hating Lilja and thinking he played pretty well. Coburn was excellent. I suspect Kubina is playing hurt, but unfortunately it looks like the move won’t pay off. I feel for the guy.

      At least the Flyers got Grossmann, who I love.

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