Flyers uncertain, hopeful of Bryz's return

Flyers uncertain, hopeful of Bryz's return
March 28, 2012, 11:50 pm
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TORONTO -- There was a noticeable air of uncertainty that permeated the Flyers' dressing room back in Voorhees on Wednesday.

Players said they hoped for the best with regard to goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, while at the same time admitting that no one knows for sure when his next game will be.

Most of the team seems resigned that Bryzgalov, who has a chip fracture in his right foot, needs a break before the playoffs and should use this time to rest up.

The feeling is that Sergei Bobrovsky, who will start Thursday against the Maple Leafs, might be in net for more than a few of the remaining six games on the schedule before the playoffs begin.

While the Flyers seem overly optimistic Bryzgalov will be back in goal this weekend, perhaps in time to face the Penguins in Pittsburgh, he took treatment today and was noticeably limping according to those who saw him.

Its all about pain management and keeping fingers crossed that such pain doesnt prevent him from being the most dominant goalie in the NHL during the month of March, where he is 10-2-1 with a 1.44 goals against average, a .947 save percentage and has four shutouts.

Yeah, Ill be honest with you, I am not too sure what is going on, Claude Giroux said. I think Bryz is going to be fine. Hes a tough guy. He wants to play, wants to win. Im sure everything will fall together soon here.

If he comes back and hes the player he was for us before, that will be great. I think he will be fine.

Danny Briere was thinking the best, but emphasized that Bryzgalov should rest up for the playoffs. The Flyers have clinched a berth and thats what matters most.

Maybe Im nave, but I dont think its too bad, Briere said. Hopefully, he comes back and we try to stay positive as much as possible. I still believe he will be back soon and wont miss much time.

Maybe you see it as a little break before the playoffs start. But hes been playing so well. Hopefully, he keeps that run going. For us to be successful, well need him to get back and keep that same level once the playoffs start.

Most of the players feel Bryzgalov is going to miss at least two or three games.

As devastating a loss as this is, less than a week before the big showdowns with the Penguins and Rangers, the Flyers are used to bad news.

Team captain Chris Pronger hasnt played since Nov. 19 and wont play again this season at the very least. Giroux, Briere and a host of others have missed multiple games this season because of concussions and broken bones.

Still, the Flyers have been resilient to stay among the league leaders while challenging for the Atlantic Division crown.

That said, there is no denying that losing the top goalie in the league (at this point) is about as bad as it gets.

Again, the only silver lining is the hope that the injury is exactly what the doctors say it is a small chip and Bryzgalov can play through it, pain permitting.

Coach Peter Laviolette said there was no win for the Gipper speech coming from him today when he addressed his players.

Is it different than losing Pronger, your captain? he asked. Or Giroux, your leading scorer? Its just part of the business and that is it. There is an expectation that we go up to Toronto and win a hockey game. None of that changes. Its unfortunate.

Weve got great guys in the locker room here. Bob has been a terrific solider here. Waiting to get in there and play more games. Now he has an opportunity.

If this were the first injury we had all year, maybe wed have to have a conversation. But there has been enough adversity where guys understand we need to go in and win a hockey game. That is the most important thing.

Bring on the Leafs.

Loose pucks
Giroux and Nicklas Grossmann missed practice with maintenance days Andreas Lilja remains day-to-day with an upper body injury Lilja made the trip to Toronto while Bryzgalov and Kimmo Timonen (back) remained home Marc-Andre Bourdon will replace Timonen in the lineup.

E-mail Tim Panaccio at tpanotch@comcast.net.