Giroux back this week? Starting to look that way
When he came off the ice, he was in a jovial mood - perhaps the best mood he's been in since before suffering a concussion Dec. 10.
He says he's symptom-free. He says he feels good. He says he's close to getting back to where he can take contact at practice from teammates.
And with each step he's getting closer to playing.
"I just want to test myself and see where I'm at," Giroux said. "If there's no symptoms I don't see why I shouldn't push myself to see where I'm at. I had a good skate today.
"I told myself when I went back on the ice I wasn't going to do it to just cruise around the ice. If I go back it's because I want to skate hard and that's what I'm trying to do. I'm still going day-by-day. I have two more days before (Dallas). If I'm ready to go then I'm ready to go. If not, then the Rangers (Friday) is good, and if not than after Christmas."
But almost certainly, he'll play in the Winter Classic Jan 2, and likely before then.
Giroux wasn't the only player skating long and hard after practice. So was Andreas Lilja, who is eligible to come off the long-term injury list Wednesday in Dallas.
And then there was Erik Gustafsson, who practiced with the team for the first time since left wrist surgery in November.
Gustafsson said he is still more than a week away.
Jody Shelley and Kevin Marshall also are scratches, meaning Matt Walker and Tom Sestito will be in the lineup, joining callup Ben Holmstrom as the three new faces since Saturday's game.
Ilya Bryzgalov will get the start in net.
Look for more here later tonight on a homecoming from Holmstrom, a clever nickname for Marc-Andre Bourdon, a look at Matt Carle and what he's meant to the Flyers without Chris Pronger and an item on Scott Hartnell embracing the #Hartnelldown counter on Twitter and putting it toward charity.