Leighton has been medically cleared to take shots and should see a conditioning stint with the Adirondack Phantoms of the AHL next week. Chuck Gormley of The Courier Post Online breaks down the specifics:
Michael Leighton (Oct. 11 back surgery) rotated in and out of the net at Friday’s practice and said he’s been medically cleared to take shots.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said players on long-term injury reserve are permitted up to six days of rehab time in the minors and that he plans on assigning Leighton to the AHL Phantoms next weekend when they play games Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Sounds like Leighton is about two weeks away from returning, how many starts he will get with the rookie Sergei Bobrovsky currently between the pipes remains a mystery.
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UPDATE#3: Sergei Bobrovsky has officially gained some more time to show his stuff. According to Sam Carchidi, Michael Leighton will have back surgery and miss 6-8 weeks.
UPDATE #2: Leighton will miss a month with a bulging disc in his back according to CSN Philly.
UPDATE: According to Anthony SanFilppo of the Delaware County Times, Leighton will be out until Thursday and then be re-evaluated. His MRI came back negative but the majority of Philadelphia seems very worried.
Last season the Flyers searched every bargain bin for a reliable starting goalie. Arguably they found that in journeyman Michael Leighton– who helped them travel all the way to the Stanley Cup. Last night, Leighton was forced to leave the game going into the shootout forcing backup Brian Boucher to backstop the team to victory.
According to Frank Seravalli – general manager Paul Holmgren and the team will remain “cautiously optimistic.” Seravalli holds a theory of his own, via Twitter, in which he explains that a back problem after only two games will be trouble when games actually matter. For now it appears Boucher will receive the brunt of the playing time as the team expects a more solid diagnosis when they return to Philadelphia.
In addition, young netminder Johan Backlund continues to recover from injury and has just started practicing his butterfly positioning, leaving Sergei Bobrovsky and 25-year-old Brian Stewart as the only other contracted goalies. If the team chooses to go with an external option, the free agent market includes Vesa Toskala, Jose Theodore, Manny Legace and last year’s options of Jeremy Dushesne and Michael Teslak.