Bryzgalov back on ice, but not ready to play

Bryzgalov back on ice, but not ready to play
March 30, 2012, 8:18 pm
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Ilya Bryzgalov was back on the ice Friday. Thats the good news.

Now heres the bad: he still has discomfort.

Although Bryzgalov, who has a chip fracture in his right foot, would not commit to Saturdays game against Ottawa, sources said he wont play against the Senators.

The earliest Bryzgalov could play, sources said, is Sunday in Pittsburgh. Yet the consensus appears to be Bryzgalov wont play until next Tuesday against the Rangers unless he tells the club he is 100 percent to go against the Penguins.

Though the Flyers badly want to clinch the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, they dont want it at the expense of further injuring Bryzgalov and jeopardizing a playoff run.

Well err on the side of caution, said one source.

Bryzgalov pretty much said he wont play until he is 100 percent.

You have to be ready and 100 percent to move and stop and react, he said. If you are not 100 percent, you cant play that game. Youre going to be half a second late every time and its going to be huge consequences -- the puck behind the goal line.

Translation: If the pain forces you to sacrifice how you play, then youre not helping yourself or the team.

In the end,while the player is the one who says whether he can play, coach Peter Laviolette is the one who says whether that player can be effective enough to list on his lineup card.

Laviolette said it was a positive sign that Bryzgalov practiced on Friday.

Given the importance of the goaltender come the playoffs, no doctor or anyone else is going to force Bryzgalovs hand if he feels he needs additional time to recover.

I would love to play, Bryzgalov said, but dropped off, saying what most of the players and others in the organization already feel: hes not ready yet.

We have a great group of guys, Bryzgalov said. Were always happy to see each other. And I didnt see them for like 36 hours. I miss them very much.

Bryzgalov took a shot from Jakub Voracek off his foot in warm-ups prior to the Tampa Bay game this week.

I felt pain, he said of playing the entire Tampa game. In the morning, it was the same thing. Not any better. I felt something was wrong and thats why we got the MRI and found the fracture in my foot, unfortunately.

I was lucky because it was not that bad, because Im tough and Russian.

Bryzgalov said the pain has lessened, but its still there.

Weve already had progress you see me on the ice today, he said, adding that the pain is not as bad as James van Riemsdyks broken foot which will sideline him past the start of the playoffs.

If it continues a positive way, I can come back on the ice very, very soon. I cant give you an exact date I dont have a crystal ball.

Laviolette said the Flyers would do what is best for the player and organization, with regards to Bryzgalov.

Were not going to put a goaltender in a situation where he goes out there and risks injury, Laviolette said.

Which means Sergei Bobrovsky has to carry the load a little longer.

E-mail Tim Panaccio at tpanotch@comcast.net

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