Blogs > In The Room with Anthony SanFilippo

Daily Times beat writer Anthony J. SanFilippo takes you inside the locker rooms of the Philadelphia Flyers and the rest of the NHL.

Monday, November 28, 2011


After missing the last four games with a virus, Flyers captain Chris Pronger will now need surgery on his left knee.

O.K., so maybe one doesn't have much to do with the other, but the latest injury - and fourth surgery for Pronger in less than a year's time - will keep him out of action for at least another month - putting his appearance in the Winter Classic in question.

Of course, the way injuries are going for Pronger at age 37, maybe he should start considering returning for the alumni game.

All rim shots aside, this is not a palatable predicament in which the Flyers find themselves.

Pronger has already missed time this season with an eye injury and a virus and now this knee issue, that seemed to come out of the blue a little bit.

"This has been an issue probably for the last month or so for him that's been nagging," general manager Paul Holmgren said in making the announcement. "He's been playing through it up until his recent bout with his virus. We had believed that through continued rehabilitation and some medicine that it would start to feel better, but Chris saw the doctor yesterday, had another MRI and we just decided that this was the time to go and get this taken care of."

Pronger has what Holmgren termed as "loose bodies" in his left knee that are causing him pain and discomfort. While saying that anytime any player has surgery, there is a concern from an organizational standpoint, Holmgren feels confident that this is a minor surgery that won't affect Pronger long-term despite his age.

"The structure of his knee is fine," Holmgren said. "He's got good cartilage on both sides of that knee, so this is just kind of a maintenance thing more than anything and to get him a little more comfortable.

"We're worried because he's (having) surgery, yes, but long-term I still think Chris has a lot of miles left on his body, and based on his attitude about this and the way he takes care of himself and prepares, I think he'll be fine."

Holmgren insisted Pronger would have been playing in the games he missed despite the knee injury if it weren't for the virus zapping his health.

"The reason he missed games was because of the virus," Holmgren said. "This (knee situation)came up just recently - (Sunday) - and we decided the best way to attack this is with surgery now. He'd been missing games with the virus. It had nothing to do with the knee."

The Flyers are likely going have to pursue the possibility of trading for a veteran defenseman this week, as the team isn't comfortable going a hefty segment of the season with Phantoms call ups Marc-Andre Bourdon and Kevin Marshall (who is being recalled).

Holmgren added that Pronger and Andreas Lilja (high ankle sprain) will both be placed on the long-term injury list, which means they must miss a minimum of 10 games or 25 days, whichever comes first.

Couple that with the placing of forward Andreas Nodl on waivers and the Flyers suddenly have a lot of salary allowance to play with.

The Flyers now have $4,261,767 in available space, and that's after recalling Marshall and Brayden Schenn, who is ready to return to the lineup from his broken left foot.

If Nodl is claimed on waivers or sent back to the Phantoms, the Flyers cap space would creep up over $5 million.

That means the Flyers could, in fact, acquire a significant salary, and not just a stopgap defenseman - if there were one available on the trade front.

"We're talking about a lot of things here," Holmgren said. "I think initially we'll probably just recall Kevin and try to figure out where we're at."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


What a dreadful loss by the Flyers to Carolina Monday. They had no jump, no energy.

Yeah, they were missing Chris Pronger and Braydon Coburn, but that's no excuse to be miserable.

Speaking of Coburn, it's always fun guessing injuries with the Flyers.

Right now they're calling it an Upper Body injury that will cause Coburn to miss 1-2 games tops.

But what is the upper body injury?

Immediate speculation was a head injury/concussion.

Some nice research by Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News uncovered that Coburn was hit twice in the game against Winnipeg, the last time coming in the third period. Coburn skated off the ice within seconds of the hit, and then rested for a full four minutes of game action - his longest stretch of the season. He then finished four minutes below his season average of ice time.

Combine that with Paul Holmgren saying he can skate, but hasn't been cleared for contact and it sure sounds like a concussion.

However, I spoke with a Flyers source via text message last night who said simply, "it's not a concussion... it's a lot lower on the body than that."


What I do know is the Flyers are hoping Coburn can be back by Friday, if not Wednesday. Ditto for Pronger.

One report had sources saying it was a bruised kidney, but that there was no internal organ damage.

Considering the location of the kidneys, calling the injury "upper body" would be somewhat misleading, if, in fact, that is the injury Coburn sustained.

Can we ask the NHL to create a "middle body injury" classification?

Tomorrow's practice will be a lot more telling and revealing.

For now, here's some video of me and Dave Isaac of talking about the loss to Carolina:

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Jaromir Jagr got hurt. Nobody saw what happened. It happened on the second shift of the game. The Flyers are calling it a lower body injury. One report is calling it a groin injury.

One former player suggested jokingly that it was a veteran move by Jagr since the Flyers are headed to Winnipeg - an undesirable location.

But, in all seriousness, if it is a groin tweak, it shouldn't keep him out longer than that and he should rejoin the team Monday against the Hurricanes.

He did not travel with the team to Winnipeg, so he's out for Saturday's game.

As for Bryzgalov: good for him that he took the high road and didn't go off on his former teammates in return after they ripped him.

Our friends at got a transcription of the interviews by Derek Morris and Adrian Aucoin about Ilya Bryzgalov.

However, I can tell you Bryzgalov was bothered by it. I spoke with him after the interview session along with a few other writers, and he was still shrugging it off, but you can tell it was bugging him too.

A lot of people came to his defense, including GM Paul Holmgren.

Q: A couple of the Phoenix players took some shots about Bryz; what kind of person he is, and the goal keeping he has been doing, do you feel like that is sort of like a low blow?

A: “We love Bryz. He’s a huge part of this team, and a great person. Whatever other people say, who cares?”

Q: He looked good tonight too, like he was himself and had that confidence, is that how you felt?

A: “Yeah, we never lose any faith in him. He’s our guy, and when we can play a full game and help him out, then we can be really good.”

As for Zac Rinaldo, he was given a penalty for "inciting" tonight. Never head of that before, but it's in the rule book under 75.4(iii).

Rinaldo, who is tied for the league lead in penalty minutes with Ottawa's Zenon Konopka, didn't react well to the call though:

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Stephane Auger and Kelly Sutherland had a tough night calling the Flyers 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers.

Flyers fans will contend that they screwed up far more calls against the Flyers than the Panthers - and they would probably be right this time, but they were hearing it both ways.

The Flyers were wondering why they were being called for goalie interference five feet in front of the crease but the Panthers were allowed to run Ilya Bryzgalov.

That did happen.

Meanwhile, the Panthers were livid that with a two-man advantage Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros got away with a mugging in front of Bryzgalov, but Jason Garrison was called for hooking Matt Read and Read was awarded a penalty shot seconds later.

They were right too.

Of course, Auger didn't like the complaining of Panthers forward Stephen Weiss after that play and slapped him with a 10-minute misconduct and a game misconduct too.

I can only imagine what Weiss said.

Most upset of all was Max Talbot, who was dinged with a double minor for a high stick on Brian Campbell that didn't draw blood, but had nothing called on a play where Garrison took a two-hander to his face that cost Max a tooth and a split lip.

Of course, he too was correct.

I talked to Chris Pronger afterward and he said, Auger and Sutherland told him they didn't see the high stick on Talbot.

To which I ask - how could they not?!?!

We saw it from the press box at the other end of the rink. Auger was six feet away and the play was right in front of him.

Maybe, as it was pointed out to me privately by one Flyer, Auger didn't blow the whistle because Talbot's initial reaction was to try to finish his shot rather than throw his head back to embellish the penalty as many players tend to do.

Auger is getting a reputation as a ref who reacts to those whiplash efforts to draw a penalty. That doesn't mean there wasn't one if the show wasn't put on.

Oh well, at least Bryzgalov is playing better:

YouTube Video

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 11, 2011


Just arrived in Ft. Lauderdale where I'm rejoining the Flyers after a three-day hiatus back home - and I've arrived in time for news that the Great One may have changed his mind.

When he was asked a couple weeks ago if he would participate in the Winter Classic Alumni game, playing for the Rangers against the Flyers on New Year's Eve, Gretzky declined - citing family commitments and nobody wanting to watch a 50-year-old skating.

Then came a call from Rangers G.M. Glen Sather, who was Gretzky's coach in Edmonton.

In an interview with ESPN, Gretzky said after speaking to Sather that he'd think about it.

“Glen called and we talked for 45 minutes,” Gretzky said. “I really respect the Rangers doing that. That’s classy of Sather, Mike Keenan (who is coaching the Rangers' alumni team) and the Dolan family. So I told Glen I would think about it.”

With the names that are lining up for that Alumni game, it could be the most star-studded old-timers contest in a long, long while.


The Flyers spent the last two days away from hockey, vacationing together in and around Naples, Fla./Sanibel Island. There was golf. There was lounging by the pool. And there was fishing.

Boy, was there ever fishing.

The coaches went fishing and assistant coach Craig Berube nabbed a whopper. Check out the photo of the 200-pound Goliath Grouper that was hauled into their boat. Any bigger and it would have been Moby Dick:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I think today was evidence that Chris Pronger will play tomorrow in Tampa.

He wouldn't say yes. Coach Peter Laviolette will never confirm a lineup decision the day before a game and Paul Holmgren wasn't available.

But it sure looked like he was playing - taking a regular turn in practice with partner Matt Carle, and with his surly attitude with the media afterward, it seems like Pronger is back.

He event went so far as to change into a t-shirt that read "go screw yourself," prior to meeting with the media (which you'll see as I pan down a couple times in the video).

What you won't see is what happened after I turned the camera off where Pronger said he didn't know whose decision it would be for him to play- as he didn't exactly say he had been cleared to play, but didn't exactly say he hasn't been cleared either.

You also won't see Pronger grit his teeth as he talked about playing while wearing a shield. It's a safe bet he's not long for it as he complained about having to constantly wiping it in warmer rinks (namely, Tampa and Florida).

But, I still think he plays against the Lightning. You tell me.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


We already know Eric Lindros and John LeClair are playing in the Alumni Game on New Year's Eve afternoon at Citizen's Bank Park, but who will be skating with them?

The Flyers haven't released the roster yet, but organizational sources have informed me of a series of players who will take part.

This is not a complete list, but just some names that I've gleaned tonight:

Confirmed players:
Eric Lindros
John LeClair
Mark Recchi
Brian Propp
Dave Poulin
Bobby Clarke
Orest Kindrachuk
Kjell Samuelsson
Bill Barber
Reggie Leach
Chris Therien
Eric Desjardins
Derian Hatcher
Mark Laforest

Also, despite reports that Mikael Renberg will not play, there is still a chance that he'll be there, the sources indicated.

Renberg is broadcasting the World Junior Championships in Canada for Swedish television and is still trying to get a fill-in for New Year's Eve so he can attend.

As for who will play for the Rangers? That's still an unknown, but one source said the Rangers were trying to bring in as many guys from their 1994 Stanley Cup team as they can.

When I get more names I will be sure to post them here.