Eyebrows were raised Thursday when injured Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger said he didn't know whether he would be ready for Game 1 of the NHL playoffs.

He said it with a smirk, so only he knows whether he was serious.

Pronger, recovering from a broken right hand that was surgically repaired, did what amounted to a three-minute stand-up routine with a horde of reporters after the Flyers' practice Thursday in Voorhees.

He refused to answer questions about when he would return.

Asked whether he was optimistic he would be ready for the playoffs, Pronger said: "I could play in Game 1, [or] I could not. I don't know. We'll see."

In a text message, general manager Paul Holmgren said that it was "hard to pinpoint a date" for Pronger's return but that he "gets better every day."

"I have no timetable, so don't ask," said Pronger, who did not skate Thursday. "I do not have much to tell you. When I'm out there, you'll know."

Pronger said he would "not get into the semantics of what happened or didn't happen" that caused him to have a setback recently in his recovery.

"It's kind of like Green Eggs and Ham," he said at one point.

Flyers fondly remember assistant McGuire

EJ McGuire died of cancer Thursday, and the former Flyers assistant was remembered fondly.

McGuire, 58, was the NHL's director of central scouting since 2005. He had two stints with the Flyers, serving as an assistant from 1984 to '88 and in 2001-02.

"It's sad news. EJ was a real positive guy, a real infectious guy to be around," goalie Brian Boucher said. "Always had a positive outlook on things and was real good with the young guys."

Because he was an assistant, "he probably spent a bit more time with the players than a head coach," Boucher said. "Those guys act as liaisons between the head coach and the players."

Boucher smiled.

"I can always remember him being down in my end, always cheering me on in practice. His saying was, 'Big as a house. Big as a house,' whenever I'd make a save."

Ed Snider, chairman of Comcast-Specator, the Flyers' parent company, called McGuire "a close, personal friend who loved hockey as much as he loved life," and Comcast president Peter Luukko said he was a "true technician of the game."

McGuire, who also was an assistant with Chicago and Ottawa, is survived by his wife, Terry, and their daughters, Jacqueline and Erin.


Sergei Bobrovsky will start at Buffalo on Friday. . . . The Flyers are 2-1 this season against Buffalo, a potential first-round playoff opponent. The Sabres are on a 7-1-2 run. . . . Goalie Michael Leighton, who cleared reentry waivers Wednesday, rejoined the team at Thursday's practice. Leighton said his surgically repaired back does not give him any problems on the ice. "Hockey-wise, I feel I'm back to where I was," he said. . . . The Flyers spent a lot of time Thursday working on shootout drills.

Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at 215-854-5181 or scarchidi@phillynews.com.