Archive | 4:14 PM

Flyers React To 24/7 Debut

16 Dec

VOORHEES, N.J. — We learned that Kevin Marshall has dance moves and Ilya Bryzgalov is a philosopher. We learned that Peter Laviolette has more of a foul mouth than he lets on and that Jaromir Jagr’s heart clamored for Philadelphia.

But most of the Flyers didn’t get to experience the first episode of HBO’s “24/7” live on Wednesday night.

“No, I didn’t see it,” said Ilya Bryzgalov. “Guys are making fun of me a little bit.”

The source of the ribbing is Bryzgalov’s diatribe on the universe. Apparently while in the crease, Bryzgalov’s mind has wandered to the scope of our problems on Earth in the “humongous big” solar system.

Bryzgalov was asked to elaborate on his theories of the universe, but understandably had better things to do. The goalie made an appearance at Virtua Voorhees to visit with patients in the hospital and spread some holiday cheer.

“It’s long conversation,” said Bryzgalov. “Buy DVD on universe on History Channel. Maybe you’ll find something.”

Bryzgalov’s expertise also extended to Russian liquor. When he first came to Philadelphia, he said in his introductory press conference that he stopped drinking at age 17, but seemed to know about a rare bottle of booze.

“Oh, I have nothing to do with it,” said Bryzgalov. “You have to talk to [Jim McCrossin]. Some Russian guy presented him with bottle. It’s actually good stuff. You can buy it. … I like to learn some things. I like to dig deep.”

Maybe he should write a book.

“Maybe some people write book about me.”

Well, fair enough.

One of the other stars was Marshall, who showed some dance moves for the second time this season. With the Adirondack Phantoms, he took part in a music video for 80s night with a few teammates. His dance moves got called up to the majors with his defensive play and it found him starring in “24/7” as the team enjoyed their victory song.

“I got some message from old guys that I played with in junior and they were saying I got some good memories from that dance,” said Marshall. “I guess I’ve been pretty much like that my whole hockey career. I like to win, and when I do, I just let it go. It’s fun.”

But he’ll keep his day job for now. No calls from Dancing With The Stars just yet.

“Not yet,” said Marshall. “We’ll see. I’ll check my cell phone. Maybe I’ve got some voicemail.”

Practice Notes

The Flyers held an optional skate on Friday as many members of the team went to Virtua Voorhees to visit with patients, hand out Flyers goodie bags and spread holiday cheer. Despite the voluntary nature, many Flyers took part. Braydon Coburn, Matt Read, Tom Sestito, Kevin Marshall, Matt Walker, Zac Rinaldo, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Ilya Bryzgalov, Jody Shelley, Sean Couturier, Jakub Voracek, Harry Zolnierczyk, James van Riemsdyk and Sergei Bobrovsky all skated.

Brayden Schenn did not skate, even though he did on Wednesday with the team. He is still dealing with concussion symptoms. Andreas Lilja is coming along, though. He was loaned to the Adirondack Phantoms on a conditioning assignment.

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Pronger Concussion Stemmed From High Stick

16 Dec

VOORHEES, N.J. — At the time, the fear was blindness. Chris Pronger took the stick of Toronto’s Mikhail Grabovski to his right eye and went down screaming. After sitting out six games, Pronger played another five. Little did the Flyers know, they say, the captain had a concussion during that time. Now the fear is his his overall health.

“I think that’s probably the initial thing that started this whole process,” said general manager Paul Holmgren. “Going through the timeline with him [Thursday] and what happened since that injury, he came back, practiced with the team prior to going to Florida and playing that game in Tampa. He felt like he was just out of shape when in fact he was still having some symptoms, which continued. He continued to play games and then it just came about in Winnipeg where it’s a smaller building where it’s really loud. It’s really a neat atmosphere there, but he just couldn’t deal with it.

“He couldn’t deal with the lights. He couldn’t deal with the noise and he just felt awful. From that point on, the process that we went through with the ImPACT test prior to our next game against Carolina at home, he’s continued to have these symptoms that are not feeling like himself, he has that headache, he’s nauseous. That’s where we’re at.”

Now, after honoring the recommendation of two neurologists in Pittsburgh, the Flyers have shut Pronger down for the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs. But there is still fear that it could cost him more than the next six months. Although the doctors didn’t say that Pronger’s severe post-concussion syndrome is career threatening, that remains a possibility.

“I guess you’d have to say yeah,” said Holmgren. “Chris is 37-years-old. I’m a glass is half full kinda guy and I hope for the best all the time. We’ll see how it goes.”

The symptoms that Holmgren listed are mostly in-line with that of Ian Laperriere a couple years ago when he was hit in the eye with a puck. His career appears to be over as after this season his contract will expire and he will have sat out two full NHL seasons.

“Certainly the light part is something,” said Holmgren about the similarities, “but I don’t know that he and Ian compared about the noise. Ian didn’t feel like Chris feels right now. Chris has had a fairly persistent heartache for quite awhile.”

Pronger toughed it out and was allowed to play through the headache until he couldn’t take it anymore after the Winnipeg game. That night, he had a team-high 26:41 of ice time and two assists. But, he was also on the ice for four opposing goals, a minus-2 for the evening.

Since then, the concern isn’t so much about Pronger’s struggles on the ice, but his health off the ice and his general well-being, hockey career aside.

Holmgren has no plans to replace Pronger as captain, noting the veteran leadership he has with Kimmo Timonen, Danny Briere and Jaromir Jagr.

“They’re good role models for our young players,” said the general manager. “In that regard, that’s probably the way I’m leaning right now.”

He also noted that the Flyers don’t have any immediate plans to make a trade. He said he definitely doesn’t anticipate anything happening before midnight Friday night, when the NHL’s holiday roster freeze takes effect until Dec. 27. But he did leave the door open to a move before the trade deadline on Feb. 27.

“Obviously if we have the chance to improve our hockey team both now and for the future, we’re probably looking at a lot of different things,” said Holmgren, “but I don’t think I made 29 phone calls since today or yesterday when I got this news.”

So far, the Flyers haven’t had any trouble surviving without their captain. They’re in the midst of a seven-game winning streak and sit atop the Eastern Conference. But there is still a lingering fear about Pronger and his future, both on and off the ice.