The Flyers received positive news Saturday: Battered right winger Ian Laperriere, who is becoming a Philadelphia folk hero because of his gritty play, will be ready for the second round of the playoffs and will not require surgery.
"I think hell would freeze over before he doesn't play," general manager Paul Holmgren said after the team practiced Saturday in Voorhees.
Laperriere was injured Thursday when he blocked a slapshot, dripping blood all over the ice. He needed 60 to 70 stitches above his right eye and missed Saturday's practice, but will be ready to play in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Holmgren said.
According to Holmgren, Laperriere suffered a nondisplaced fracture of the orbital bone that won't need surgery. He was blocking Paul Martin's slapshot in the third period of the Flyers' series-clinching 3-0 win in New Jersey.
Laperriere, who said he would wear a protective shield when he returned, "certainly looks a lot better today than yesterday - other than it being very colorful," Holmgren said.
The Flyers will not practice Sunday, and Laperriere will be reevaluated Monday before it is determined when he can resume skating.
"We kept him off the ice today even though he wanted to skate," Holmgren said. Sunday's day off will give him "another day to recuperate."
Laperriere was one of the main contributors on the penalty-killing unit that stymied New Jersey on 28 of 32 (87.5 percent) of its power plays in the conference quarterfinals, which the Flyers won in five games.
The Flyers are in a waiting mode. They won't know until Washington's series ends - the Caps have a three-games-to-two lead over Montreal - which team they will play in the next round. If the Caps end the series Monday, the Flyers likely will start the conference semifinals Thursday in Washington.
The delay between series "gives the guys a chance to catch a breather and get healthy. Also, it was a chance for us today to get a good practice in," said defenseman Chris Pronger, adding that he was forming a "mental Rolodex" as he watched the Caps-Canadiens game on TV Friday. "We haven't had a whole lot of practice time over the last month, month and a half, so it was a pretty up-tempo, a hard skate out there and a chance to kind of build yourself back up. We need to continue to push ourselves to stay sharp."
The gap between series helps left winger Simon Gagne, who is expected to miss three weeks because of a broken toe suffered Tuesday.
Breakaways. For the first time since he suffered a high ankle sprain on March 16, goalie Michael Leighton went through a full practice and continued to make progress. Brian Boucher was given a day off. There is a chance Leighton will back up Boucher in the next round. . . . Pronger on not being one of the three finalists for the Norris Trophy, awarded to the league's top defenseman: "I'm looking for a different trophy." . . . Dan Carcillo received a pair of Eddie Van Halen striped sneakers from the rock star on Saturday. Carcillo said he and the rocker are fans of each other. . . . The Flyers have just six healthy regulars from the 2008 team that upset Washington in the conference quarterfinals: Kimmo Timonen, Mike Richards, Danny Briere, Scott Hartnell, Braydon Coburn, and Ryan Parent.