Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren acknowledged Friday that defenseman Chris Pronger was chewing out Claude Giroux after the team’s inartistic 4-1 win over Edmonton Tuesday.
Asked what he thought of the situation, Holmgren was blunt.
“I think it’s great,” he told reporters at the Flyers' practice facility in Voorhees.
As reporters entered the locker room after Tuesday’s game, Pronger could be heard shouting, “Some people just don’t learn.”
The Flyers dominated the first period in that win over Edmonton _ ending a four-game losing streak _ but were soundly outplayed in the final 40 minutes.
“Nobody likes the way we’ve been playing, and it just came to a head in that particular instance, I’m sure,” said Holmgren, whose team hosts Atlanta on Saturday night, a game in which Pronger is questionable because of a sore right hand. “Just got to get on the same page. I’m assuming you’re talking about Chris and Claude, right? Claude Giroux wants to win, but sometimes he needs to hear from the older guys on the team that this is how it’s done.”
Added Holmgren: “I don’t think it’s bad. Claude, maybe he didn’t like being spoken to like that, but I think he understands what’s being said to him, and he’ll benefit from that.”
Ironically, Giroux, an all-star who leads the team in points (63) and assists (41), has been one of the Flyers’ most consistent players this season. He had three turnovers in the win over Edmonton, and Pronger criticized the Flyers for their sloppy play after that game
Giroux, who could not be reached for comment, scored the game-winner in Thursday’s 3-2 victory in Toronto.
As for Pronger’s status for Saturday night’s home game, the Flyers might err on the side of caution and give the 36-year-old defenseman more time to rest his sore right hand.
Pronger missed Thursday’s win in Toronto with the hand injury, which he apparently re-aggravated in a recent game or practice. He injured the hand blocking a shot against the Islanders on Feb. 26, missed a game and then returned to the lineup and played in four straight contests before sitting out against the Maple Leafs.
“We’ll see how he is (Saturday),” Holmgren said. “He’s day-to-day with that and how he feels. Obviously he wants to play. And if he didn’t feel like he’s ready to play yet, then we’ll ride it out. It’s nothing to be concerned with long term. It’s just kind of a nagging, day-to-day thing right now.”
On Friday, Pronger skated on one side of the Voorhees practice rink with assistant coach Kevin McCarthy. Earlier in the week, Pronger had an ice pack on his hand following the win over Edmonton.
Pronger would not comment on his injury. If he cannot play against Atlanta, Nick Boynton will again be in the lineup. Boynton, in his Flyers debut, was paired with Matt Carle and played well in Thursday’s physical game in Toronto.
“It’s been a while since I had some body contact, but it felt pretty good, all in all,” said Boynton, an 11-year veteran who hadn’t played since Feb. 7, when he was with Chicago.
The Flyers will be facing an Atlanta team that is struggling to keep its Eastern Conference playoff hopes alive. The Thrashers, despite collecting five points over their last three games, are six points out of the final playoff spot.
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BREAKAWAYS. The Flyers' lead over second-pace Washington is two points, but the Caps have played two more games...If the playoffs started after Friday's games, the Flyers would face the Rangers in the first round.....Defenseman Matt Carle has 30 assists _ one shy of equaling his career best. Carle leads the Flyers with a plus-22 rating….Thrashers captain Andrew Ladd has eight goals in his last 11 games.....The Flyers and Thrashers will meet three times in a 20-day span. The Flyers defeated Atlanta, 5-2, on Jan. 14.
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