Flyers defenseman Andreas Lilja, who underwent left hip surgery in mid-July, joined the Adirondack Phantoms on Monday in Glens Falls, N.Y., on a conditioning assignment.
Since Lilja was injured at the time the NHL lockout began on Sept. 16, he was not part of the group of players locked out. He has received his $700,000 salary in regular installments. Whenever Lilja is medically cleared to play, he will join his locked out brethren and stop receiving payments from the Flyers.
Defenseman Andrej Meszaros (torn Achilles) is also rehabbing and receiving his regular paychecks. Meszaros, though, just recently began on-ice workouts and is not terribly close to being game-ready.
For Lilja, the hip surgery repaired a degenerative condition that has been plaguing him for a few years. The former Stanley Cup champion from Sweden played 46 games with the Flyers last year.
Lilja is expected to remain with the Phantoms in practice for a few days but not play in any games. Previously, even players under a one-way NHL contract could join the AHL during a 15-day window for conditioning/rehab exercises, including games.
Lilja, 37, is in the final year of his deal with the Flyers. Should the lockout, which reached its 80th day on Tuesday, wipe out the entire season, Lilja's pro career in North America could be in jeopardy.
He hopes that won't be the case. In an effort to try and jumpstart negotiations, the NHL and its Players' Association have set up a meeting consisting of 6 players and 6 owners, plus staff and counsel from each side. The meeting will not include NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman nor union executive director Donald Fehr. Both men have been viewed by the opposing sides as a hindrance to making a deal.
This is a big week for hockey fans, as Tuesday's meeting will precede Wednesday's all-important Board of Governors meeting - also in New York. Depending on the tone of Tuesday's meeting, Wednesday should provide a sense one way or another how this entire lockout could shake out.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers