We passed along word that Chris Pronger had “minor” knee surgery in August, but hadn’t heard much about his status since then. Apparently the menacing defenseman is still working his way back into playing form as Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inqurier reports that Pronger was “coy” about playing in Thursday’s opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“It’s progressing along and we’ll see,” he said, smiling and repeating the refrain to several questions about his availability against the archrival Penguins.
On Tuesday, Pronger practiced for the second time this preseason.
“As a goalie, we love having him out there,” Brian Boucher said. “. . ..He’s our leader back there and eats up a lot of minutes.”
“He’s like the big toe on your foot,” defenseman Sean O’Donnell said. “Things seem to work a lot better when he’s out there. I know he’s not 100 percent . . . but I think there’s 30 teams that would love to have him as their anchor guy.”
A big toe on your foot, eh? (I thought he’d say an elbow on your arm.)
Anyway, while Pronger seems day-to-day, goalie Michael Leighton is closer to week-to-week. Carchidi reports that the Flyers decided not to put Leighton on the long-term injured reserve.
Goalie Michael Leighton, sidelined with a back injury, is progressing, and the Flyers decided not to put him on the long-term injured list, in which a player must miss 10 games or 24 days. Instead, he was placed on the injured-reserve list and can be activated at any time, since seven days have transpired since the injury occurred, Holmgren said.
Leighton is not expected to be available for a few weeks.
With Leighton on injured reserve, his $1.55 million salary counts against the Flyers’ salary cap, but he does not count against the roster. Without Leighton, the Flyers have 24 players and can get down to the league maximum of 23 by placing Ian Laperriere on the long-term injury list on Wednesday.
So it might be a month or so before we “see” most of the Flyers team that made it to the Stanley Cup finals. Still, the team has enough talent that PHT readers think they’ll win the Atlantic Division over the Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils this season, so once they get to 100 percent they can might be quite the force.