NEW YORK -- When Steve Mason declared himself unfit to play for Game 2, he took any guesswork or intrigue out of the Flyers' lineup. He may, however, have given Flyers management at least a little bit of a surprise.
Ray Emery will be the Flyers' starting goaltender on Sunday for Game 2 at Madison Square Garden - the man who helps decide whether they return to Philadelphia tied or trailing two games to none.
However, since the Flyers sent Game 1 backup Cal Heeter back to the AHL to play against Hershey on Saturday night, it is possible that they were banking on Mason being healthy enough to at least sit on the bench for Game 2. Mason said that is not the case. Heeter will now need to shuffle back to New York.
"I'd like be able to help the team rather than be a liability out there," Mason said.
Mason did not look like himself in practice Saturday. He would stop after a few shots and then rest his head on the cross-bar.
Mason made the decision after speaking with coach Craig Berube and general manager Paul Holmgren following practice.
"We talked it over, as an organization and he's not ready," Berube said. "I thought Ray was fine. He looked sharp again today. Those third period power play goals, there's no much you could do on them in my opinion. We've got to do a better job in front of him."
Mason, who has suffered two previous concussions in his career, said he did not suffer a setback in practice on Saturday.
"I think it's all part of the process," Mason said. "I think we're doing everything that we can to make sure we're treating it the proper way. As much as it is frustrating, I think everybody understands it's going to be a process."