Flyers Notes: Pronger sits out Leafs game

Posted: March 11, 2011

Flyers Notes

TORONTO - Defenseman Chris Pronger apparently aggravated a hand injury and sat out Thursday's game in Toronto, opening the door for Nick Boynton to make his Flyers debut.

General manager Paul Holmgren would not give specifics on Pronger, calling it a upper-body injury and saying the veteran was day-to-day.

Pronger, 36, referred questions to Holmgren after taking part in Thursday's morning skate.

Pronger injured his right hand while blocking a shot against the New York Islanders on Feb. 24. He missed the Feb. 26 game at Ottawa - a 4-1 Flyers loss - and then returned and played the next four games.

Boynton, claimed off waivers late last month, was a healthy scratch in five games with the Flyers, and he hadn't played since Feb. 7, when he was with Chicago. He had been a healthy scratch in 18 of his last 22 games with the Blackhawks.

"It's been a while, but it's what I do, so I'm looking forward to it," Boynton, 32, said before the game. "It's better than practicing all the time."

Having not played in more than a month, Boynton figured to be a little rusty.

"Hopefully not too much," he said. "Get the first shift out of the way and then go from there."

"He's played a lot of hockey," coach Peter Laviolette said of the 11-year NHL veteran, "so I'm sure he'll be fine. He jumped into the playoffs [for Chicago last year] after not playing for a while, and I'm sure he wants to get in there."

Laviolette said assistant Kevin McCarthy planned to "mix and match" Boynton "until he gets his feet under him and is comfortable."

Boynton started the night paired with Matt Carle, Pronger's partner.

Chara fallout

Zdeno Chara's crunching hit on Montreal's Max Pacioretty has become the NHL's No. 1 topic in recent days. Pacioretty suffered a severe concussion and fractured a vertebra in his neck Tuesday, and the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder was released from the hospital Thursday.

In the Flyers locker room, the opinions differed on whether Chara, a 6-9, 260-pound Boston defenseman, should have been suspended. He was not suspended or fined.

The fact that Chara had never been suspended in his 13-year career, Flyers winger Dan Carcillo said, played a part in the NHL's decision.

And if it had been Carcillo who had hit Pacioretty, would he have been suspended?

"For the rest of the year, for sure - and maybe the playoffs," he replied.

Carle excelling

Carle is putting together an outstanding season.

Entering Thursday, the 26-year-old defenseman from Alaska was tied for the team lead at plus-21 - placing him in a tie for 13th in the NHL. He was tied for third (with Ville Leino) on the Flyers with 29 assists, behind Claude Giroux (40) and Mike Richards (36).

Besides Carle, teammates Jeff Carter and Andrej Meszaros took a plus-21 rating into Thursday.

Breakaways

Because he was 2-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average and .935 save percentage against Toronto this season, goalie Brian Boucher was given Thursday's start.  

- Sam Carchidi

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