Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Zolnierczyk, injuries etc. 2/12

Adirondack Phantoms winger Harry Zolnierczyk returned from the American Hockey League all-star break to discover a water pipe had burst in his home, leaving him without a place to stay.

Now, Zolnierczyk might have to start looking for a place in Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Flyers called up Zolnierczyk Tuesday afternoon and he joined the team in Winnipeg. He is poised to make his National Hockey League season debut in Philadelphia’s game against the Winnipeg Jets this evening.

"I’m real happy for him," Phantoms coach Terry Murray said after the Phantoms practiced Tuesday. "He’s been playing hard all year long."

The second-year pro, who had six points in 37 games with Philadelphia as a rookie, was summoned after former Phantoms center Sean Couturier came down with the flu. To make room for Zolnierczyk on the roster, the Flyers placed bruising winger Jody Shelley (hip) on injured reserve.

There is a chance Zolnierczyk could be sent down once either returns, but it isn’t rare for players to parlay what were expected to be brief call-ups into extended NHL stints.

Former Phantoms winger Tye McGinn and defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon come to mind as recent examples.

All told, Zolnierczyk had 17 points in 46 games with Adirondack, good for third among active Phantoms, and one of the speedy winger’s biggest assets is his versatility.

He was equally comfortable whether skating on Adirondack’s scoring or checking lines, and also saw extended special teams time with the Phantoms.

"He attacks the net," said Murray, who last month named Zolnierczyk's one of the team's three alternate captains. "He takes the puck with speed into the offensive zone, takes it to the blue paint. He battles. He’s been on the power play, he’s been killing penalties. It’s a great opportunity for him to get back there and to hopefully take advantage of the opportunity and play some real good games."

The Phantoms have enough depth to weather Zolnierczyk’s call-up, regardless of its length.

Forwards Garrett Roe (upper-body) and Tyler Brown (illness), who had missed time as of late, both practiced in full Tuesday and should be ready when Albany visits the Glens Falls Civic Center Friday night.

Defenseman Matt Konan (illness) also returned to practice Tuesday, giving the Phantoms 13 healthy forwards and seven healthy blueliners.

Winger Mike Testwuide took part in a half-practice wearing a no-contact jersey and also did an off-ice workout as he continues recovering from a head injury he suffered Jan. 23 at Connecticut.

Murray is hopeful Testwuide will also return this weekend.

Until next time,


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