CHICAGO – Chris Pronger smiled, before hanging his head and pretending like he was about to fall asleep – when asked about his health and how he was feeling after yet another 32 minute performance in Game 1.
"It's exhausting," Pronger said. "I don't know. I couldn't get up this morning. I don't even know how I'm sitting here, I almost fell asleep."
It sounds funny. And it's Pronger being his usual sardonic self.
But Pronger is human. And even though he is a guy that played 28 minute games in the preseason, 100-plus games eventually take their toll.
Pronger isn't getting any help from his teammates to cut back on ice time. Ryan Parent played just 41 seconds in Game 1. Troy Brouwer scored the Blackhawks first goal from the point, after Parent lost his stick behind the net, and Marian Hossa funneled the puck up the boards to Brouwer.
That was it. Parent didn't see the ice the rest of the game.
Lukas Krajicek wasn't much better. The former first round pick played just 7:03, slightly above his playoff average.
But Krajicek may not be completely healthy. He was woozy in the second period after being boarded by Adam Burish, who was penalized on the hit. On Krajicek's next shift back on the ice, Chicago scored to tie it at 4.
Krajicek did not skate with the Flyers on Sunday at practice, one of the few to not skate. Pronger also chose not to skate.
So, with four and a half defenseman, what do the Flyers do? Do they dress another, more able-bodied defenseman Danny Syvret who can add an offensive punch? Or do they subtract one, hope no one gets hurt and dress 13 forwards?
All signs point to Dan Carcillo being activated for Game 2 on Monday night.
Carcillo skated like a man on a mission on Sunday – and you could tell. He practiced breakaway drills on Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher with the other healthy scratches and was far and away the most impressive shooter.
"You hear guys say they're happy to be here," Carcillo said. "It's not enough to be happy. You want to get here and you want to make a difference."
Unprovoked, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette mentioned Carcillo in the post-practice availability.
"There was no reason for him to come out of the lineup," Laviolette said. "He's done everything we've asked. Those decisions are always the tough ones when it comes to telling players they can't be in the lineup or they're not going to get the call that night."
That decision still exists.
If Carcillo enters, someone has to exit.
That could be Parent. That could be Krajicek. That could be James van Riemsdyk or Darroll Powe. It could even be Ian Laperriere, who Laviolette pulled aside on the ice at one point during practice.
Laviolette correctly pushed these buttons with Carolina back in 2006, when he guided them to the Stanley Cup. He did just a little more than a week ago before Game 4 against Montreal.
Now, down one game with the chance that it is two heading back to Philadelphia, there is no margin for error.