Make your own free website on

April 25, 2006 - No Primeau; Esche to start in goal

Personal Statistics
Game Reports
Team Season
2005 Training Camp
2005-2006 Season Schedule
Hockey Cards
Audio Clip
Video Clip
Photo Album

My Keith Primeau Page

No Primeau; Esche to start in goal
Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Courier-Post Staff


Keith Primeau will not play for the Flyers tonight -- even though he's plainly trying to talk his way back onto the ice.

Primeau, who has missed all but nine games this season with concussion symptoms, is working out with the team and is openly talking about returning for this series. But Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock unequivocally shot down any rumors of Primeau playing in Game 3 against Buffalo.

"He's not playing tomorrow," Hitchcock said.

And Friday?

"He's not playing tomorrow," Hitchcock said.

Just because Hitchcock wouldn't rule out Primeau for anything past tonight doesn't mean Primeau is anything more than a remote possibility for any game in this series. After working out on the ice in Buffalo, Primeau experienced headaches -- obviously a setback, Flyers trainer Jim McCrossin said.

"You can't play through a head injury," McCrossin said. "Just in terms of Keith's health, we're not going to do it."

Primeau saw another doctor Tuesday and did not practice with the team. Hitchcock promised a more detailed report on his progress today. The coach isn't eager to let questions about Primeau's health and possible return be an everyday soap opera.

"Keith's health comes first," Hitchcock said. "I am not putting him anywhere close to harm's way.

"The stuff he's doing is ongoing," Hitchcock said. "It's ongoing, on a daily basis. He's trying to play. He's not going to play (today), that's for sure. He's an athlete trying to get better."

Primeau's teammates, noting that he wasn't on the ice Tuesday, aren't getting wrapped up in the captain's status.

"If he can play, great," Eric Desjardins said. "But he's got to think about his health first."

Esche again: As expected, Hitchcock confirmed Robert Esche would be back in goal tonight. Esche was brilliant in Game 1 but was peppered for five goals in the first period in Game 2. Esche did not speak to reporters Tuesday, but Hitchcock said he doesn't expect the goalie's confidence to suffer at all after being pulled in favor of Antero Niittymaki Monday.

"He's a competitor -- that's why he got the start," Hitchcock said. "He'll rebound nicely."

Trainer's room: R.J. Umberger will be re-tested for concussion symptoms today, and hopes to play in Game 3. Umberger suffered a broken nose after a crushing hit by Buffalo's Brian Campbell in Game 1.

Peter Forsberg and Mike Rathje got the day off, and are expected to play tonight.

No penalty: Hitchcock and Flyers defenseman Denis Gauthier said they'd heard nothing from the league about any impending discipline after Gauthier's hit from behind on rookie Thomas Vanek. Gauthier earned a five-minute major and a game misconduct.