FLYERS DEFENSEMAN Andreas Lilja, who underwent left hip surgery in mid-July, joined the Adirondack Phantoms on Monday in Glens Falls, N.Y., on a conditioning assignment.
Since Lilja was injured when the NHL lockout began on Sept. 16, he was not part of the group of players locked out. He is receiving his $700,000 salary in regular installments. The surgery repaired a degenerative condition that has been plaguing Lilja for a few years. The former Stanley Cup champion as a member of the Red Wings played 46 games with the Flyers last year.
Lilja, from Sweden, is expected to remain with the Phantoms in practice for a few days but not play in any games. Previously, even players under a one-way NHL contract could join the AHL during a 15-day window for conditioning/rehab exercises, including games. Lilja, 37, is in the final year of his deal with the Flyers. Should the lockout, which reached its 80th day on Tuesday, wipe out the entire season, Lilja's pro career in North America could be in jeopardy.
Whenever Lilja is medically cleared to play, he will join the rest of the locked-out players and stop receiving payments from the Flyers.
Also, the NHL and players association have a meeting planned Tuesday in New York consisting of six players and six owners, plus staff and counsel from each side but without NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and union executive director Donald Fehr.