Flyers' Andrej Meszaros still not ready to return from shoulder injury

Posted: February 27, 2013

AMID FRUSTRATION, Andrej Meszaros tried to put on a smile after the Flyers' pregame skate Monday morning.

More than 4 weeks removed from dislocating his left shoulder, Meszaros is still not quite ready to return. Meszaros, 27, played 298 consecutive games with Ottawa and Tampa Bay to start his NHL career - but he has hardly been able to stay healthy since first injuring that shoulder in 2009.

Meszaros underwent surgery to repair a torn left labrum in March 2009, while with Tampa Bay. Since then, he has had back surgery to repair a herniated disk, rehabbed and played in one playoff game with the Flyers, and then tore his Achilles' tendon over the summer, just before the NHL lockout.

Once Meszaros returned from that injury, he played the first four games of the season with the Flyers and then hurt that same shoulder again when he was crunched on the boards against New York on Jan. 24.

This time, Meszaros was thrilled not to need surgery. He's missed the last 4 weeks trying to strengthen the area - and that initial surgery may have prevented further damage this time.

"I don't need it apparently, that's the good news," Meszaros said. "Now I just need to get it stronger, do some battle drills and go out and play. That surgery has helped me, all of the stuff [repairs] that I have inside - if that were to fall apart and tear - that would be bad. That helped, thank God. It's still painful, but this is better than surgery.

"You try to stay positive. You don't want to come back too soon, because then you could reinjure it and be out even longer."

Meszaros looked good in practice on Monday, pivoting and turning and passing the puck, but he is unhappy with his usually heavy shot. He has changed to a lighter flex in his stick to lessen the blow on his shoulder, and is waiting to see whether that works.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said last week that Meszaros was 7 to 10 days away from a return. His mobile game would be a huge boost, but he doesn't appear to be that close. Meszaros wants to take his time, no matter how frustrating.

"I'm going to see the doctor, talk to him, and see what he says and go from there," Meszaros said. "I want to get back as soon as possible."

Sights and sounds

Philadelphia was the place to see and be seen Monday in the NHL. Not only was the game televised nationally in Canada, but "The Great One" himself, Wayne Gretzky, took in the game live.

Gretzky, 52, attended the game on a promotional appearance for TD Bank. He received a roar from the crowd in the first period when introduced with fellow Hall of Famer Bernie Parent. It was thought to be Gretzky's first time back in Philadelphia since Nov. 22, 2008, while he was coach of the Phoenix Coyotes.

More than 21 scouts and front-office members from around the league also watched from the press box, including the general managers of both Winnipeg and St. Louis.

Jake 'Scoracek'

After racking up 11 points last week, it came as no surprise that Flyers forward Jake Voracek was named the NHL's First Star of the Week. He led all skaters in points and assists (seven) for the week, including the first four-point game of his career against the Islanders on Feb. 18.

Voracek received a good-natured ribbing from his teammates when they learned about the honor, including Max Talbot joking that Voracek has taken off solely because they're no longer linemates. Voracek skated alongside Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell for the second straight game.

His coach, Peter Laviolette, called it a "well-deserved" honor.

"Everything is clicking," Voracek said. "Even when you aren't playing good, you have a four-point game with two secondary assists. We started going toward the net. When you're going to the net, we started scoring goals and started winning games."

Minor trade

The Flyers sent forward Mike Testwuide to Calgary in exchange for center Mitch Wahl. Testwuide, 26, never lived up to the hype set forth by the Flyers brass as an undrafted power forward out of Colorado College.

Wahl, 23, is a former second-round pick who has spent most of this season in the ECHL. He racked up 59 points in 45 games with the Utah Grizzlies and has one goal in six games with AHL Abbotsford. Wahl will be assigned to Adirondack.

On Twitter: @DNFlyers


comments powered by Disqus