Flyers rebut report that James van Riemsdyk is holding up trade with Columbus Blue Jackets

Posted: June 12, 2012

FIRST, James van Riemsdyk was being shipped to Toronto last February. This week, he reportedly was holding up a deal to be sent to Columbus.

Van Riemsdyk, 23, has heard the trade rumblings for the better part of a year now - since signing that 6-year, $25.5 million extension that kicks in this fall - but he can do little more than laugh.

On Sunday night, NBC10's Howard Eskin reported that van Riemsdyk has delayed surgery on a torn labrum in his hip to "make it difficult for the Flyers to complete a trade" that includes Blue Jackets star Rick Nash.

"Trades are part of the business," van Riemsdyk told the  Daily News on Monday. "I have way more respect for the game than that. People always say, if Wayne Gretzky can be traded, anyone can be traded. To suggest I'd deliberately try to hold one up is an absolute joke.

"I love my teammates in Philadelphia. Management has treated me extremely well. Honestly, I'm the type of person that, if a team did not want me here, I would not want to be here. I certainly would not hold anything up."

Eskin reported that Holmgren is "furious" that van Riemsdyk has not undergone surgery yet on his right hip. The season ended more than a month ago, on May 8, and four other players (Claude Giroux, Matt Carle, Wayne Simmonds and Kimmo Timonen) already underwent operations.

Holmgren emphatically denied Eskin's report on Monday.

"James' surgery has been delayed due to an infection in his foot," Holmgren said via text message.

Van Riemsdyk said that the foot nagged him throughout the playoffs, even though he was limited to only seven games, and that the infection has never gone away. Van Riemsdyk needed to have his foot drained of excess fluid after the playoffs ended. He originally fractured the foot on March 1, underwent surgery on March 2, and missed the next 23 games, returning in the first round against Pittsburgh.

Normally, surgeons are hesitant to schedule any surgery while an infection is present, because it can interfere with the body's ability to recover properly.

Van Riemsdyk said he intends to be fully healthy for the start of training camp in September. Whenever the hip surgery takes place, the normal recovery time is approximately 6 to 8 weeks. The expiration of the NHL's collective bargaining agreement on Sept. 15 could give van Riemsdyk even more time to recover.

In one recent report, Van Riemsdyk quibbled over the Flyers' definition of "labrum" as the area in his right hip that needs repair. The  Daily News first reported on Dec. 27 that van Riemsdyk would need hip surgery to repair a "cam impingement," something the Flyers also denied until announcing the injury for the first time in May.

Whenever the surgery occurs, van Riemsdyk is looking to put his injury-riddled season - with a concussion, abdominal tear and fractured foot, resulting in only 24 points in 43 regular-season games - in his rearview mirror.

"I know that I am going to be a strong and competitive player in this league," van Riemsdyk said. "I have no doubt about that. Right now, I'm just focusing on getting healthy and getting back to being that player." 


Contact Frank Seravalli at  seravaf@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @DNFlyers. Read his blog, Frequent Flyers, at  www.philly.com/frequentflyers.

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