Friday, May 14, 2004
Ragnarsson sidelined for playoffs
VOORHEES, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Marcus
Ragnarsson will miss the rest of the playoffs after breaking his
left index finger in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Ragnarsson, who underwent surgery Friday afternoon, played just
three shifts Thursday night in Philadelphia's 4-1 loss to the Tampa
Bay Lightning that put the Flyers behind 2-1 in the best-of-seven
"It's the same thing that has been going on all year. We'll
have to get over it and get used to it," Flyers coach Ken
Rookie Joni Pitkanen, a healthy scratch the last two games, will
take Ragnarsson's spot for Game 4 on Saturday. Dennis Seidenberg
will be called up from the AHL's Philadelphia Phantoms to be a
backup, and forward Sami Kapanen will remain on defense for the
rest of the series.
Kapanen first moved to defense when Kim Johnsson missed the
first three games of the first-round series against New Jersey with
a hand injury. He returned to his usual spot at right wing against
Toronto in the second round, then went back to defense when
Hitchcock decided to bench Pitkanen for Game 2 against the
"Sami is a product of the way hockey has developed (in
Finland)," Hitchcock said. "They are taught at an early age to
play all five positions except goal. He was well coached before he
got here. He has a great understanding of how the game is played."
Kapanen has two goals and six assists in the playoffs.
"Sami can get categorized as a special player," Flyers forward
Jeremy Roenick said. "Not many players can make that transition to
the back line."
Kapanen will be paired with Pitkanen, Johnsson will play with
Mattias Timander and Vladimir Malakhov and Danny Markov will stay
together on Philadelphia's defensive units.
Ragnarsson had one goal and four assists in 14 playoff games. He
had three assists in Philadelphia's 6-2 victory over Tampa Bay in
Game 2. His surgery was successful and the prognosis is excellent,
the team said.
"Ragnarsson has been tremendous," Hitchcock said. "He was
arguably the best defenseman for the two teams. Now other guys have
to step up."
Pitkanen, the fourth overall pick in the 2002 NHL entry draft,
had eight goals and 19 assists in the regular season. He has three
assists in 12 playoff games.
Hitchcock wasn't going to use Pitkanen in the playoffs, choosing
to go with more experienced defensemen, but had to play him once
Eric Desjardins went down with a forearm injury.
"We want him to be fearless with the puck," Hitchcock said.
"We want him to take off and go, skate with the puck. He's played