NEWARK, N.J. - Paul Holmgren's statement about Ray Emery said very little.
But Emery's absence from the practice rink yesterday at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, less than 24 hours after Holmgren said Emery planned to "push it hard" in anticipation of tonight's game at the Devils, probably said all that Flyers fans needed to know.
Holmgren said the Flyers had not yet come to a conclusion on how to approach the goaltender's hip injury.
"The MRI study and X-rays on Ray's hip are still being looked at," the general manager said in an e-mail. "We hope to have more information in a day or two."
Holmgren was not available for further comment. He was in Canton, Mass., attending the funeral for Brendan Burke, the son of Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke who died in a car accident last week.
As reported in yesterday's Daily News, Emery may need surgery for a possible torn labrum in his hip. He has not started for the Flyers since Feb. 1 in Calgary, a 3-0 victory.
Emery was at the Skate Zone, but he did not practice and declined to talk to reporters. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette reiterated what Holmgren firmly stated on Monday, that Emery's injury isn't related to his abdominal surgery on Dec. 9 and isn't a result of returning to the lineup too quickly.
"He was healthy," Laviolette said. "He got cleared, he was waiting to play because [Michael] Leighton was hot for four games. He was ready to play and we didn't play him because we couldn't take Michael out of the net, he was winning and playing well. The schedule hasn't been that taxing.
"When someone is cleared to play and available, they're available to go into the lineup. He played a lot of games. He seemed to be finding his rhythm. To me, he looked his best in Calgary. He just got a little bit tight."
Laviolette said that Emery "got a little bit tight" with a shrug. The Flyers say they don't know what's wrong with the goalie.
In the meantime, Leighton is holding onto the reins in net. He is 9-3-1 as the Flyers' starter this season, and stopped 28 shots in a 3-2 victory over New Jersey at the Wachovia Center on Monday.
"I'm really not trying to think of that," Leighton said. "We've still got three goalies, so it's a tough situation for all of us. I'm just trying to keep that out of my mind, play well and hopefully that will work itself out."
Laviolette said he would base his goaltending decision on who has earned the starting spot. Right now, that's been Leighton.
"He's gets another opportunity,'' Laviolette said of Leighton. "He's been terrific. Even in the losses, he was terrific. We're here to win games. I think I've already shown I will go with a guy.
"You earn your ice. If you win and do the job, you're going to go back in there."
Tonight at the Prudential Center, Leighton will be focused on keeping Ilya Kovalchuk goal-less in a Devils uniform.
"Since we won the last game, keeping the momentum and carrying it over to the next game is usually difficult,'' Leighton said. "We know going into their building, they're going to be hungry for a win."
Leighton will be, too, knowing that Laviolette is watching - just in case Emery's injury is more serious than the Flyers have let on.
Carter to Olympics?
Anaheim forward Ryan Getzlaf, who left Monday's game against Los Angeles with an ankle injury, told reporters yesterday the injury wasn't as bad as originally thought. But that doesn't mean he's a lock to skate in Vancouver next week for Team Canada.
That leaves Jeff Carter still in the hunt for Getzlaf's spot.
Team Canada general manager Steve Yzerman said he will consult with doctors before making any replacement moves. Getzlaf said the injury isn't a high ankle sprain. He could play as soon as this weekend with the Ducks, but will be re-evaluated today.
Flyers scout Patrick Burke gave the eulogy at his brother Brendan's funeral yesterday. Brendan, 21, died on Friday in a car accident on a snowy road in Indiana. An advocate for gay rights, he was a student-manager of the Miami (of Ohio) University hockey team. His dad, Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, was the Hartford GM in 1992-93 when Paul Holmgren was the Whalers' coach . . . New York Jets coach Rex Ryan wore a Flyers jersey at last night's Carolina Hurricanes home game against Florida . . . As expected, the Flyers will not participate in the 2010 NHL Premiere to open next season in Europe. The NHL announced yesterday that Carolina will face Minnesota in Helsinki, Finland; Columbus will meet San Jose in Stockholm, Sweden; and Phoenix will play Boston in Prague, Czech Republic, next October . . . Newly acquired Ville Leino, who worked out with Riley Cote and the Flyers' assistant coaches yesterday at the Skate Zone, is not expected to be inserted into the lineup tonight . . . The Devils recalled defenseman Rob Davison from Lowell to replace the injured Anssi Salmela, who was knocked out cold by Jeff Carter on Monday night in Philadelphia.
For more news and analysis, read Frank Seravalli's blog, Frequent Flyers, at http://go.philly.com/frequentflyers.