Flyers suffer tough break with van Riemsdyk, who has seen this injury before


James van Riemsdyk has been through an injury just like this one.

But the last time, he didn't miss many games because there were no games. When van Riemsdyk suffered a broken finger in March 2020, the coronavirus forced the NHL to shut down about a week later. When play resumed in August, van Riemsdyk was good to go.

In October 2022, the Flyers' big winger is dealing with another fractured finger. The injury occurred during the first period of the Flyers' 3-0 loss Sunday night to the Sharks. Van Riemsdyk will undergo surgery Friday.

Following practice Tuesday, head coach John Tortorella was uncertain about van Riemsdyk's recovery timetable. However, coming back from a fractured finger can typically take four to six weeks.

In 2019-20, Scott Laughton also had surgery for a broken finger and ended up missing 13 games. He suffered the fracture Oct. 26, underwent his procedure Oct. 30 and returned to game action Nov. 23 — a span of four weeks (28 days). He wasn't 100 percent, but was "pretty much good to go," he said then.

Not having van Riemsdyk for at least a month is a considerable loss for the Flyers. The 33-year-old led the Flyers in goals last season with 24 and entered Sunday with five points (two goals, three assists) and a plus-5 rating through five games this season.

"I think he has played really well, I think he has played hard," Tortorella said Tuesday. "I think there's been a little black cloud hanging over him with a lot of people of what he is and what type of player he is. I think he has played really well right from the start of the season.

"It hurts. It hurts our power play, it hurts some of the balance of your lines. He has been a good player. Nothing we can do about it now."

Laughton is expected to take on some of van Riemsdyk's power play responsibilities around the net.

"He's a bigger body, but he's always in the right spot, he gets his stick on everything," Laughton said. "I think he has been the best guy in the league for a while in front of the net like that. I don't think you can really replicate it, but try to do some little things at the end of practice and stuff like that."

The Flyers were already without Cam Atkinson (upper body), who has yet to make his season debut. The 33-year-old winger was second on the club in goal scoring last season with 23 markers.

"Status quo," Tortorella said of Atkinson's status. "Just trying to find his way."

Is there concern his injury could linger for the whole season?

"I talked to Cam this morning, I don't think so," Tortorella said. "I think it's just a matter of him feeling comfortable enough to get on. He's as frustrated as anybody.

"I just don't see it going down that road. I don't know what else to say on it. I'm going to leave it up to him. The guy wants to play, I know him so well. He has played through so many injuries with me. It's legit, that he just doesn't feel comfortable. I know once that door cracks and he says, 'I feel ready to go,' I think he's going to jump right in."

In good news on the Flyers' health front, Owen Tippett (upper body) and Rasmus Ristolainen (lower body) practiced Tuesday.

Tippett would help fill the void left by van Riemsdyk. The 23-year-old winger was injured in the first period of the season.

"Tip feels great," Tortorella said. "He's just got to pass the protocol, so we'll just see."

Tippett had a purple-tinted visor for his helmet at practice. Tinted visors are often utilized for a player recovering from a head injury.

"You see guys that are wearing the black smoke ones. The one I had on today was just to take some of the glare off the lighting," Tippett said. "I've been wearing it the last week and a bit. It's another thing we'll have to see what happens with it on Thursday."

The 4-2-0 Flyers finish October with home games against the Panthers on Thursday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and Hurricanes on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

In the second half of Tuesday's practice, which featured battle drills, Tippett put on a yellow non-contact jersey. It sounds like there's potential for his return Thursday.

"It's just testing and making sure I'm fully back," he said of the next step to being cleared. "It's not something you want to rush. It never ends well if you do, so I think it's just a slow process from here but feeling better every day."

On the back end, the Flyers will see how Ristolainen does in practice Wednesday before making a decision on when he'll play his first game this season.

Here's how the Flyers looked at practice Tuesday, with Ristolainen rotating in on the third defensive pair.


Joel Farabee-Kevin Hayes-Travis Konecny

Noah Cates-Scott Laughton-Owen Tippett

Nicolas Deslauriers-Morgan Frost-Wade Allison

Tanner Laczynski-Lukas Sedlak-Zack MacEwen


Ivan Provorov-Tony DeAngelo

Travis Sanheim-Justin Braun

Nick Seeler-Egor Zamula

Tortorella said he has seen "tremendous improvement" in the 22-year-old Zamula.

"He'll make some mistakes that you notice, but he's also very good with the puck," the head coach said. "He's one that I just want to continue with, because when you start seeing improvement with that size and a defenseman that sees the ice, that's really good."

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