PRONGER OUT FOR GAME 5
The same people who have been telling me for weeks that Pronger would miss much of the first round of the playoffs after re-injuring his fractured right hand are the same people who assured me that Pronger would play tonight.
I just got a phone call that said, "Sorry, I was wrong" from both of them.
That's because Pronger just isn't ready, physically.
He took two slap shots in the morning skate with his team, then stayed on the ice for several minutes taking shots by himself to test his strength. The frustration was evident on his face and as he walked off the ice, he again declined to speak with the media.
After a meeting with coach Peter Laviolette it was determined that Pronger would not play tonight, meaning the Flyers will be without both their best defenseman and their best goal scorer, as Jeff Carter is also out of the lineup with a sprained ligament in his right knee.
Both sources who called me today told me that Pronger has been feeling a little bit of pressure to come back as soon as possible, but at the same time, the stalwart defenseman has been able to not let that cloud his judgment.
And yet, he is champing at the bit to get back into this series, but doesn't want to get on the ice in a limited role and would rather come back at 100 percent.
While the Flyers do miss him, defense has hardly been the problem in this series against the Sabres. The Flyers need to score goals on Ryan Miller.
If they were able to do that more consistently, this series could be over by now. Instead, after two 1-0 losses sandwiched their two wins, the Flyers are in desperation mode against a less-talented Buffalo squad.
It appears Ben Holmstrom will replace Carter in the lineup, with Darroll Powe playing alongside Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk in Carter's spot.
One other note...
If in fact there is a Game 7 in this series Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center, the Game time will be 7:30 p.m., not 7 p.m.
Great news for fans getting to the game, horrible news for those of us with ridiculously early deadlines who have to write about it.