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Briere still waiting

He's skating in practice, but uncertain of return date

VANCOUVER - There is little point in asking Danny Briere how he is feeling.

The look on his face, on the ice, in the locker room, in the hallways of the arenas these past few days, says it all.

He's frustrated, and disappointed not to be playing, due to a groin pull and abdomen tear that have kept him sidelined most of the season.

"I don't have much to report," Briere said after practicing with the Flyers on Monday at GM Place. "It's feeling a little better. I can do a little more. It's been 5 days since I last practiced and it was good to be out there. But I know I'm not talking about playing, that's for sure."

Briere has been out since reinjuring his groin Dec. 2 against Tampa Bay. He has been on long-term injury, and his minimum stay of 10 games/24 days on that list will be up this week. Technically, he will be eligible to play against Anaheim on Friday night, but that is unlikely to happen.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said that Briere could play by the end of the current road trip, which will be Jan. 6 in Washington.

"It's possible, but I really don't know," Briere said. "I wish I could know. This has been going on for 2 months now, not knowing.

"I'm always hoping maybe next game, maybe next game. I wish I would be ready to play but at this point I can't give an answer. It's frustrating not knowing what's going on, why it's taking so long.

"The thing is, it's gotten better the last few days, so that's some progress."

Sundin is back

After dangling sugar plums over the heads of several NHL teams, Swedish superstar center Mats Sundin made it back to the ice as a Canuck and skated with his new team yesterday, but was not thinking about playing against the Flyers last night.

Sundin took from last spring to this month to decide if he wanted to play, and 2 weeks ago signed an $8.6 million, 1-year contract. He held his first press conference yesterday afternoon.

"The way last season ended and what happened at the [trade] deadline, I wasn't sure I was going to continue playing," the 37-year-old former Toronto Maple Leafs captain said.

He added that the time off helped him to, "get the hunger back to compete in the National Hockey League and have a chance to win." *