Romy to miss Olympics with leg injury

By Al Alven

Philadelphia Flyers prospect Kevin Romy has been forced to pull himself out of the upcoming Olympic Games in Torino, Italy due to a leg injury, officials from the Swiss National Team confirmed yesterday.

According to a statement released by his regular club, HC Lugano, Romy recently suffered a “muscular tear at the femur.” Further magnetic resonance exams revealed the presence of hematoma, a large buildup of blood, at and around the damaged area.

It is unclear at this point exactly when the injury occurred, and just how much time the 21-year-old forward will miss for Lugano, which currently sits in a first place tie with SC Bern atop the Swiss National League standings at 24-6-11 .

Like the NHL and most other major pro circuits, the SNL will shut down for the next few weeks during the Olympics. Lugano returns to action on Feb. 28 against Bern, in what will be the first of three final regular season games for the team.

“I can confirm at this time that Kevin has indeed been forced to remove himself from the [Swiss] national team due to his injury,” explained Lugano public relations representative Luca Righetti.

“He will be reevaluated in the coming days, as we cannot reveal at this time the true severity of the injury or speculate on if or when he will be returning to the lineup for our team.”

Romy was unavailable to comment on the injury and the possibility of his return to Lugano’s lineup for the playoffs, as he remains in Torino with the national squad.

While the opportunity to take part in the Olympic experience will be a good one for the 5’11, 185 lb. forward, his inability to represent Switzerland in competition is obviously a major disappointment.

The Flyers, in particular, were looking forward to watching Romy challenge himself against some of the top players in the world on hockey’s biggest international stage.

“The injury is a real shame for Kevin, and a definite down note to end the season, if that winds up being the case,” said Flyers assistant general manager Paul Holmgren.”

“Kevin is a feisty competitor, and an up-and-coming player in his home league. We were looking forward to seeing how he measured up against NHL-quality opposition at the Olympics, but that will just have to wait now.

Though the La Chaux-de Fonds native is considered to be among the handful of top young stars in his homeland, his developmental progression is difficult to gauge due to the SNL’s reputation one of the lesser quality leagues in Europe.

The Olympics were to serve as a measuring stick for Romy, who made his major international debut at the 2005 World Championships in Austria. There, he went scoreless in seven tournament games for Switzerland, which finished eighth out of 16 competing teams.

Originally selected by the Flyers in the fourth round (108th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Romy was in the midst of his best season in the SNL to date when his injury occurred.

He began the campaign as a member of a mediocre Geneva-Servette team, for whom he had registered a total of 40 points (18 goals, 22 assists) and 46 PIMs in 115 games over the past three seasons.

A trade just three games into the season changed Romy’s fortunes, landing him with perennial league powerhouse Lugano. The young forward initially struggled to find his niche on a much more talented squad, but soon settled into a solid, two-way role.

Romy has displayed a great deal of improvement in virtually all aspects of his game throughout the season. Once he gained an appropriate level of confidence, he became a much more effective player in every situation, and his ice time and level of responsibility rose in accordance.

Despite his young age, he has even begun taking on a leadership role with the team. He is a not an overly vocal player, but will speak up when he feels to be heard.

To date, Romy has collected a very respectable 17 points (9 goals, 8 assists), a +3 rating and 51 PIMs in 36 games for Lugano. His potential return could play a major factor in the team’s efforts to hold off Bern and ultimately challenge for the SNL championship.

Though he is unable to perform at this year’s Olympics, look for Romy to continue to develop into one of Switzerland’s top hockey talents. He will likely get several more opportunities to represent his country, both at the Winter Games and the World Championships, in the years to come.

“We continue to have high hopes for Kevin, and will see if we can get him under contract to come over after the season,” said Holmgren.

“He’s a good looking young player, one who we intend to watch quite a bit, be it here in North America or over in Europe, in the near future.”

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