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January 8 Philadelphia Daily News:
“Over the 3 weeks since his foot surgery on Dec. 17, Chris Pronger said he has spent more time at the Flyers‘ Skate Zone rehabbing than he does when he is healthy and in the lineup.
That might soon pay off.
Following a healthy CT scan and evaluation earlier in the week, Pronger lightly skated on his own on Thursday and again yesterday. He has downsized from a large walking boot, which he wore for 2 weeks, to a small one. And he is set to rejoin his teammates on the ice this week.
A team source with knowledge of the situation told the Daily News that Pronger, who will be re-evaluated by Dr. Steven Raikin on Wednesday, is scheduled to join the Flyers on their road trip in Boston and continue on to Atlanta and New York to get back in the practice routine.
Pronger’s tentative return to the lineup is Jan. 18 against the Washington Capitals, which would be a little more than 4 1/2 weeks into his original 4- to 6-week time frame.
Pronger, 36, originally hinted just after his surgery that he could use the All-Star Game break from Jan. 27-Feb. 1 as an extra buffer in the schedule to allow for more healing. Now it looks as if Pronger might be ready for the game. While the All-Star Game is the least of his concerns, Pronger finished fourth in fan voting with 292,944 votes.
“It’s still very early,” Pronger said yesterday. “I guess the next step would be skating with my teammates and incorporating a couple pucks and some bodies.”
January 8 Philadelphia Daily News:
“BRIAN BOUCHER has found his Zen.
On the ice, Boucher has helped push the Flyers to the top of the Eastern Conference with an 8-1-1 record over his last 10 starts. Off the ice, Boucher has taken up a mentoring role with rookie partner Sergei Bobrovsky – promoting a healthy goalie-to-goalie relationship that isn’t always the norm in the NHL.
Watching Bobrovsky, a 22-year-old undrafted and unheralded rookie, beat you out for the Opening Night starting job would have thrown most veterans over the edge. Not Boucher, who acknowledged that he probably would have struggled to come to grips with the decision earlier in his career.
“Now, as an older player, I think that I’ve been able to tell myself that I’ve played a long time, I know that I’m capable and I know the mindset that I need to have to play at that level,” Boucher said. “Being stressed out isn’t a way to achieve that.”
Boucher, now 34, questioned many decisions earlier in his career, including a stressful relationship with partner Roman Cechmanek, which partially led to a trade to Phoenix from the Flyers in 2002.
“It was like 2 or 3 years there where my career went sideways and you’re questioning things,” Boucher explain. “Then I had shoulder surgery one offseason and I couldn’t get a job. I came back here to the Phantoms [in 2007] with a goal in mind to get back to the NHL.
January 8 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros downplays the fact that he leads the NHL with a plus-26 rating.
“It’s a whole team effort,” he said after the Flyers‘ practice in Voorhees on Friday. “It’s nice to be ‘plus’ because the last few years haven’t been that good, but it has a lot to do with winning games and the guys up front scoring and playing good D.”
Meszaros, a 6-foot-2, 218-pounder, was minus-14 in Tampa Bay last season. After a great rookie season in Ottawa when he had 10 goals, 29 assists and a plus-34 rating, Meszaros was a “minus” player in three of the last four years.
“I just feel good here,” said Meszaros, 25, acquired last summer for a second-round 2012 draft pick. “I like the system; it’s perfect for me. . . . I’m more involved in the game.”
“I feel I’m playing as good as I did in Ottawa.”
Remarkably, Meszaros, who has been paired with Matt Carle since Chris Pronger was sidelined last month, has been a “minus” player in just four of his 39 games this season.
“I really like his game,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “He’s in great shape and playing a lot of big minutes. He’s been so strong with his aggressive play and it sets up what we’re trying to do.”
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