Flyers captain Chris Pronger, sporting a full beard and wearing glasses, attended Saturdays game and sat in club chairman Ed Sniders box for the Flyers' 4-1 win over the Canadiens (see story).
He was smiling, with his family, and appeared in good spirits. Pronger received a standing ovation from the crowd while players on the Montreal bench tapped their sticks on the ice.
The Flyers players themselves didnt know Pronger would be here. Pronger never left Sniders box and did not address the team or enter the dressing room.
I didn't know he was going to show up for the game, Danny Briere said. It's nice to see him out, taking a step in the right direction, I guess for him. You saw the reaction of the crowd.
There's always that thought that you wish he was sitting on the bench with us. But first and foremost, we're happy he's moving in the right direction and that he's able to come and enjoy a game here.
Jaromir Jagr waved to the scoreboard from the bench.
He was sitting next to Ed Snider, I thought he owns the team now? Jagr joked. We said Hes the new owner? and we all waved. Not many guys wanted to do it, but some guys did it. Hi.
I actually saw him two days ago at the practice rink. He was there when we had a day off. I thought he looked good. Hopefully he can come back.
Now heres where it gets confusing. The Flyers said there was nothing new to report on Prongers status. Pronger has traveled throughout the country this season, sources said, to see various neurologists, including those who have worked with Sidney Crosby.
Yet his status remains the same no end to his post-concussion syndrome.
During the game, however, NBC 10s Howard Eskin had a series of messages on Twitter that made it appear as though Pronger has made progress and is upbeat.
Again, the Flyers, via general manager Paul Holmgren, had no reaction except to say, status quo.
Defenseman Andreas Lilja is back out of the lineup with an undisclosed upper body injury and remains day-to-day.
It is unclear if his throat is bothering him again. He missed one game recently after taking a deflected puck to the throat last weekend in Boston.
Rookie Erik Gustafsson was recalled from the Phantoms and worked the game with partner Pavel Kubina.
Bryz the best
Ilya Bryzgalov has now allowed two or fewer goals in 11 consecutive starts. According to Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first Flyers goaltender to do that since Bernie Parent did so in 11 consecutive games from Dec. 8, 1974 to Jan. 4, 1975.
Rookie Matt Reads goal in the final period was his 21st of the season, trying him with Colorados Gabriel Landeskog for the rookie goal lead The Flyers clinched a playoff spot for the fifth consecutive season and for the 16th time in the last 17 years ... The Flyers were perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill for the 13th time in the last 15 games. They are now operating at 92.3 percent (36 for 39) over that span Claude Giroux recorded his 59th assist tonight, tying him with Henrik Sedin for the league lead (pending Vancouvers game Saturday night with Colorado).
E-mail Tim Panaccio at firstname.lastname@example.org