Flyers Notes: Flyers' Pronger back at practice

Posted: January 15, 2011

Flyers Notes

ATLANTA - For the first time since he suffered a broken right foot on Dec. 15, Chris Pronger practiced with some of his Flyers teammates on Friday.

That doesn't mean the defenseman will play in the next few games.

"We want to take things slowly," general manager Paul Holmgren said before Friday's game against the Thrashers.

Holmgren said there was no specific date for Pronger's return; he added that Pronger will not play Sunday in New York against the Rangers, or Tuesday against visiting Washington.

"We've got to get him some full practices," Holmgren said. "He hasn't really had a full practice with the whole team. We're certainly not going to rush him, and we'll see how it goes in the next few days."

Friday morning in Atlanta, Pronger was on the ice with Dan Carcillo, Oskars Bartulis, and Sergei Bobrovsky.

"It was fun to get out there and do some drills and finally get my feet underneath me," Pronger said. "You can do all you want on the bike and work out and all the rest, but there's nothing like just skating. There's 'gym shape' and then there's 'hockey shape.' "

The earliest Pronger could return is Thursday.

Walker in lineup

Defenseman Matt Walker was in the lineup for the second consecutive game.

Sidelined this season because of surgeries on each hip, Walker made his Flyers debut in Thursday's fast-paced 7-5 loss in Boston. Walker was minus-1 in 13 minutes, 29 seconds. He blocked three shots but looked rusty in the first two periods.

"It took a game to get my timing and feet down, but I felt pretty good," said Walker, who was paired with Matt Carle on Thursday. "The first period seemed so fast, the second period I got tired, and the third period I felt great."

Holmgren said he wasn't surprised it took Walker a while to get acclimated.

"People don't understand how fast the game is when you don't play for a long time," he said. "It took a little while for him to catch up to the speed of the game, and I think he'll get better as we go along. But overall, I thought he did OK."

Walker said being around his newborn daughter, Georgia, while rehabilitating his hip, was "the only thing that kept me sane through the whole ordeal. To have a beautiful baby girl gawking at you is pretty awesome."


The Flyers lost all four games to Atlanta last year - after taking a 14-game winning streak against the Thrashers into the season. . . . Friday marked the teams' first meeting this season - and the first time the Flyers opposed beefy Dustin Byfuglien since last year's Stanley Cup Finals, when he was their nemesis as a Chicago Blackhawk. Byfuglien has moved back to defense; he entered Friday tied for first in the NHL among blue-liners with 41 points (16 goals, 25 assists). . . . Carcillo and Bartulis were healthy scratches Friday.

- Sam Carchidi

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