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Flyers' Giroux to be evaluated on Monday

Flyers center Claude Giroux, the NHL's leading scorer, is making progress, but general manager Paul Holmgren did not give a timetable for his return to the lineup on Sunday.

Flyers center Claude Giroux, the NHL's leading scorer, is making progress, but general manager Paul Holmgren did not give a timetable for his return to the lineup on Sunday.

Giroux, who suffered a head injury in Saturday's 5-2 win over Tamps Bay, will be evaluated again on Monday morning.

In a statement, Holmgren said Giroux "felt better this morning." The general manager did not return calls and did not answer texts asking if the diminutive center had suffered a concussion.

Holmgren said goalie Ilya Bryzgalov was doing better and should be able to play Tuesday in Washington. He was removed late in Saturday's victory because of a lower-body injury.

Rookie defenseman Erik Gustafsson, recovering from wrist surgery, will start skating this week and may be ready to play in 10 to 14 days, according to Holmgren.

Giroux, who will turn 24 next month, was injured late in the second period Saturday, getting inadvertently kneed in the back of the head by teammate Wayne Simmonds.

If Giroux is sidelined for a while, it will weaken the Flyers in several areas: even strength, the power play and the penalty kill.

"He's our best player. He's a big catalyst for us," winger Scott Hartnell said after Saturday's win. "He's so strong with pucks. He's great defensively. We know what he can do offensively as well. Obviously, if he is out, we're going to miss him big time."

Despite a multitude of injuries, the Flyers are atop the Eastern Conference. Among the players on the current injury list are Giroux, captain Chris Pronger (possible concussion), center Brayden Schenn (mild concussion) and Gustafsson.

"When they come back and everyone is healthy, it's going to be scary," Hartnell said. "But the young guys that we have here . . . it's pretty incredible the minutes that they are playing, and they are playing really well."

Those rookies are Matt Read, Sean Couturier, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Zac Rinaldo, Harry Zolnierczyk and Kevin Marshall. Schenn and Gustafsson are also rookies.

Entering Sunday, Giroux was among the NHL leaders in several categories, including points (39, first); assists (23, tied for second); game-winning goals (five, tied for first); and goals (16, tied for fifth). He is also one of the Flyers' best penalty killers, leads the team in face-off percentage (51.5 percent) and is tops among their forwards in average time on ice, at 21 minutes, 28 seconds per game.

Jagr climbing. Jaromir Jagr's has 656 career goals, tying him with Brendan Shanahan for 11th place on the NHL's all-time list. Shanahan did it in 1,524 games, while Jagr has played in 1,297 games.

Shanahan, the NHL's dean of discipline, addressed the Flyers in Voorhees on Friday, talking about head shots, penalties and suspensions.

He also kidded with Jagr.

"He said he wanted to suspend me," Jagr said, smiling. "I said, 'How are you going to suspend me? I don't have a hit yet! Maybe you'll suspend me because I was too close to the player?' I don't think there is a suspension for this."

Next on Jagr's hit list are Luc Robitaille (668 goals) and Mario Lemieux (690).

Jagr's is ninth on the NHL's all-time points list with 1,623, 18 behind Joe Sakic.

Breakaways. Ed Snider, chairman of the Flyers' parent company, Comcast-Spectacor, will be inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday in Chicago. . . . Simmonds has scored three goals in the last four games. "I'm starting to get more comfortable, trying to do the little things right, and they're paying off. As of now, anyway," he said. "I'm just trying to go to the net and trying to make hard, strong plays along the wall." . . . The Flyers lead the NHL with an average of 16.3 penalty minutes per game, while the Rangers are next at 15.5. . . . HBO's 24/7, which chronicles the Flyers and Rangers en route to the Winter Classic, will debut Wednesday at 10 p.m.