Flyers

Flyers

Updated: 3 p.m.

TAMPA, Fla. — Not surprisingly, the news on Sean Couturier wasn’t good. It’s bad, but not as bad as it could have been.
 
General manager Ron Hextall announced Wednesday afternoon the soon-to-be 24-year-old centerman will miss four to six weeks.

Hextall said when he first saw the play, he didn't think much of the collision.

"It seemed like an innocent-looking play," Hextall said. "A lot of times that happens. You have some violent collisions and everybody gets up and they're fine. Other times, it seems pretty innocent … it's too bad."

Sources said Couturier suffered a small tear of his MCL in his left knee during the second period of Tuesday’s 3-1 victory in Florida. He will not require surgery, which is the only good news.
 
He and the Panthers' Vincent Trocheck locked up legs with the latter falling across Couturier’s left knee and ankle 1:40 into the second period.
 
For now, Couturier is on IR but could be moved to LTIR later. At the very least, Couturier will miss 15 games.
 
This is his worst injury since missing the final five games of last spring’s playoffs against Washington with an A/C joint injury to his left shoulder.
 
“He’s a big part of our team,” Nick Cousins said of Couturier after the Panthers' game. “He’s one of the best two-way players on our team and in the league.”
 
Couturier is the fifth Flyer to injure his left knee this season.
 
Earlier Wednesday, the Flyers recalled Scott Laughton from the Phantoms. He was expected to arrive in time for the game against the Lightning.
 
Laughton suffered a knee sprain in training camp. He hasn’t played here the entire season, starting out on LTIR and then doing a conditioning stint with the Phantoms earlier this month before being loaned to Lehigh Valley on Nov. 9.
 
Laughton might not be the long-term solution as Couturier’s replacement.
 
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol has moved Brayden Schenn into the center spot sporadically and did so in Tuesday’s game once Couturier was injured. Others were also used.
 
Hakstol has also moved Nick Cousins up and down the lineup. Either could be the long-term answer but that remains to be seen.
 
In addition to Laughton, the other left knee injuries this season were to defensemen Nick Schultz and Michael Del Zotto and goalie Michal Neuvirth.
 
“Coots is a big part of the team,” Steve Mason said Tuesday. “[But] you can’t dwell on it.”