"It's a pretty slow process," van Riemsdyk said. "But I have to keep the good mind-set. That's all I can do."
Last night, van Riemsdyk watched from the press box as fellow concussed teammate Danny Briere returned to the lineup after missing six games over a little more than 2 weeks.
Sunday will mark exactly a month since van Riemsdyk's last game. Aside from Chris Pronger, none of the Flyers' other concussed players - Briere, Claude Giroux, Brayden Schenn, Matt Read - has sat out as long as van Riemsdyk.
Doctors say concussions are like fingerprints, in that no two are the same. Every player handles concussions differently.
For van Riemsdyk, Briere's quicker timeline is not nearly as frustrating as his symptoms, which vary throughout the day.
"I've tried not to let that word, frustration, seep into my vocabulary," van Riemsdyk said. "[I] just try to stay positive. Obviously, when you are in a better mind-set, it's better for healing and getting better. That's what I'm trying to focus on. Just little positive things every day, and take it from there.
"If you talk to me at different times of the day, maybe I will feel a little better sometimes than other [times], when I feel really sick."
Van Riemsdyk skated only briefly in yesterday's pregame skate, taking less time on the ice than the Flyers' regular scratches, Harry Zolnierczyk and Jody Shelley. He skated no more than 10 minutes in one of the morning skates last week, then took the next day's practice off.
For now, van Riemsdyk's status remains unchanged. He is on injured reserve. One player would have to be reassigned to AHL Adirondack to make room once he returns.
Yesterday, Hartnell could have been right. Or, his prognostication could be weeks away from fruition. There is no way of knowing what impact yesterday's physical activity will have on van Riemsdyk until his head pops off his pillow this morning.
And even then, as Schenn guessed as a guest on Comcast SportsNet's "Daily News Live" last night, it's impossible to tell, especially with the heightened awareness surrounding concussions, when a routine headache is just a headache or something more than that.
Danny Briere returned to the Flyers' lineup, just in time to see his son, Cameron, take part in the second intermission's youth hockey shootout.
"I'm 100 percent," Briere said. "It's all about the symptoms. It's not like a knee or a shoulder where you're finding your way back. Basically, when you don't have symptoms, you're ready to go. It's not something that's lingering and preventing you from doing a few things. Whenever you're symptom free, you're 100 percent. It shouldn't be an issue."
Briere played 20 shifts, a total of 19 minutes and 21 seconds, and had two shots on goal.
Briere's oldest son, Carson, was also presented on the big screen with 20 players who will represent Philadelphia at the Quebec International Pee Wee Tournament beginning on Friday in Quebec City. There are four other Flyers' connections on that team, including Derian Hatcher's son (Kelton), John LeClair's son (Jagger), Keith Primeau's son (Cayden) and Bob Clarke's grandson (Peter White Jr.).
The tournament runs from Feb. 10-19 and features 2,300 players from 16 countries.