‘Says a lot about him' — Flyers take another hit with Hayes having to miss time


The embattled Flyers are dealing with another absence in their lineup.

Kevin Hayes will miss three to four weeks after undergoing a procedure Tuesday morning to drain fluid from his adductor region (core area).

Hayes had tried to prevent the absence as long as possible. Despite the 29-year-old center refusing to make excuses or reveal his limitations, he has clearly not been himself on the ice. Hayes had to undergo two abdominal surgeries in fewer than four months before the season.

"Just for him to try to get back and healthy, he was trying to battle through some things," Scott Laughton said Tuesday. "He's going to miss some time and hopefully when he comes back he feels a little bit better and relieved a little bit I guess.

"I commend him for playing through what he has and what he's gone through. Unbelievable teammate and guy, a guy we'll miss in the room but for him to try to get a little bit healthier and come back and feel a little bit better on the ice."

Hayes suffered a reinjury on Nov. 16 in his second game back from the second surgery recovery. He returned on Dec. 1 but has been hampered. Playing 15:51 minutes per game, Hayes has recorded nine points (three goals, six assists) and a minus-12 rating through 20 games. His 41.1 faceoff percentage is well below is career numbers.

Interim head coach Mike Yeo said the Flyers and Hayes are staying positive. They believe he can come back and be effective.

"Obviously Kevin's been dealing with some issues, he's been battling," Yeo said. "It's not easy playing through pain and discomfort and whatnot. I think this was more, I would say, almost a doctor's call that something needed to be done."

Hayes is a big piece to the Flyers' operation. The 6-foot-5 pivot plays in all situations. He played 16:57 minutes in the team's 4-1 loss Monday night to the Islanders.

"Kevin knew this was going to happen yesterday and he still went into New York and played the game for us, which I think says a lot about him," Yeo said. "But he was in good spirits. He expects to be back here. I'm not exactly sure what the timeline is, but I know that he's very optimistic that he can be back even before that timeline says.

"He's a guy that wants to play. He's been through a lot. I think for him being at the rink, being with the players, helping his teammates has done a lot for him. And obviously he does a lot for us. We're just hoping that this is a quick recovery and we can get him back on the ice very soon."

The Flyers are decimated down the middle of the ice. Hayes joins Sean Couturier (upper body), Derick Brassard (hip), Nate Thompson (shoulder) and Patrick Brown (MCL sprain) as Flyers centers out with injuries.

Morgan Frost will move up and see more minutes while Max Willman is going to reenter the lineup on the wing with Connor Bunnaman playing fourth-line center.

"Different guys are going to have opportunity and I'm one of those guys, I have to step up in a time like this," Laughton said.

"We've got to do it collectively. I don't know if anyone's going to fill their shoes, but you've got to do your job and be able to come to work every day and be able to do it."

The Flyers are enduring another frustrating and disappointing season. They entered Tuesday 13-18-7 and trying to quell an eight-game losing streak.

The Hayes news is just the latest dose of adversity.

"Obviously it's a big loss for us at a time when we're very thin at the center-ice position," Yeo said. "You look at losing Thommer earlier in the year, Coots and what he brings to the team and Patrick Brown, losing him. Now we've got Hayesy out of the lineup, Brassard was playing center for us. It's a challenge and we need guys to step up right now."

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