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April 27, 2006 - Primeau's return distracting Flyers

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Primeau's return distracting Flyers


PHILADELPHIA — Keith Primeau says he doesn't want his comeback try to be a distraction to the Flyers, but he's still talking about the subject with the media, which only seems to add more fuel to the speculation machine.

Monday, Primeau spoke with a couple reporters, who apparently came away with the impression that he was hopeful of playing sometime this week.

Tuesday, the Flyers countered by saying that Primeau wasn't doing anything until cleared by doctors. Basically it was the hockey talk of the town for a day.

Wednesday morning, the Flyers captain-in-limbo said that his comments on Monday were misinterpreted and that he was concerned that all this fuss was taking the focus off hockey.

“Apparently I've become a distraction,” Primeau said at Wednesday's morning skate. “That is not my doing, and it is not the organization's doing. I made it open and clear that if I become a distraction, I will back right away and start skating alone again. It's not me and it's not the team, so I guess we know where the blame lies. So I'll have to discuss it with the team as far as my course of action.”

Primeau said he suffered a setback a couple days ago in a contact drill in practice.

“I have a slight head headache, still,” Primeau said. “I don't feel well enough to go on the ice today. I don't know if it is my head or because I am frustrated, but it is a minor setback. It is not the end of the world. I am not right back to where I started, but I felt it a little bit and I have to plow through it.

“I still feel like I did a couple of days ago. Other than the contact affecting it a little bit, it's not good. But I still feel close and hope I can be a little closer.”

A decision to get on an airplane and accompany the Flyers to Buffalo over the past weekend only raised the media hype that Primeau might try to get into a game against the Sabres. That, says Primeau, was jumping the gun.

“I can't explain this any more clearly: My goal is to come back,” Primeau told reporters. “It has not changed from the start. Whether it is Day 1 of Series 1, or Series 2, 3 or 4, or next September, I don't know.

“My focus is getting back in the lineup. That has not changed. If that means it's the next series, it is the next series. I've been trying to get you to understand there is no time frame for this. No one in the organization is pressuring me to do this. I wish I could get that through to you.”

So now the comeback is back to becoming more of an open-end thing. Primeau isnt getting his hopes too high, and he doesn't want anyone else to either.

Wayne Fish can be reached at 215-949-4215 or

“I can't stress enough: There has never been a time frame,” he said. “That has never come out of my mouth. As far as I know, it has never come out of anyone in the organization's mouth. If it did, it was no more than an assumption. I am preparing myself to get ready and hope we can find ways to win games. And maybe I will get the opportunity to play.”

“He's not playing,” said coach Ken Hitchcock. “He got hit during one of the pregame skates, and he had same concussion syndrome again, so he's out. I don't know until he feels better whether he's going to come back in or not, but he's certainly not playing Wednesday or Friday, that's for sure.”

Head trainer Jim McCrossin doesn't believe Primeau will see any action in this series.

“Yes, I would say it's safe to figure that,” McCrossin said. “He's still progressing. I'd hate to stop everything. That would be ridiculous. Everybody knows he's only played nine games in the last two years, and he needs conditioning. It's going to take a while to get him there.”