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Flyers' Mason skates, but questionable for Game 2

by Adam Kimelman

NEW YORK -- Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason was on the ice with teammates at an optional practice Friday but his availability for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers on Sunday (Noon ET; NBC, TSN, RDS) remains unknown.

Mason has not played since sustaining an upper-body injury Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins and his hour-long session Friday was the first time he skated with teammates since Tuesday.

"Felt pretty good for being on the ice for the first time in a couple days," Mason said. "It was a good step."

Mason worked at Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers with teammates Chris VandeVelde, Erik Gustafsson and Jay Rosehill, along with backup goalie Calvin Heeter and goalie coach Jeff Reese.

While the skaters went through a few drills of their own with assistant coach Ian Laperriere, the practice mostly was set up for Mason to continue working his way back from injury.

"I felt great movement-wise," Mason said. "Doing a lot off goalie-oriented stuff out there, so it was a pretty controlled setting. ... We were doing skating drills, but also tracking [pucks]. Did a lot of outside shots. Feel-good goalie stuff more than anything. Not really a practice for the skaters out there."

Mason said he expects to practice with the team Saturday and a decision could be made on whether he plays Sunday at that point.

"Health is the most important thing," coach Craig Berube said during a conference call while Mason practiced. "I'll talk to him [Friday] and see how he feels and see how things look. I'll talk to Jeff Reese and we'll go from there."

Mason joined the Flyers in time to see their first game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in person but said it wasn't easy to watch. After tying his career high with 33 wins in the regular season, he was looking forward to his first Stanley Cup Playoff game since 2009.

In Mason's absence, Ray Emery allowed four goals on 36 shots in a 4-1 loss.

"It was very frustrating," Mason said. "This is a time you worked all season to get to, to see the team go out there in a playoff atmosphere in Madison Square Garden, where the stakes are so high. It's something you don't want to be sitting out and watching. So it was difficult, especially since the result ... I think everybody expects a much better game on Sunday. I don't think anybody was happy with how the team played."

Mason said he expected to meet with doctors at least one more time prior to knowing if he could play Sunday but wouldn't comment when asked what he thought his chances were.

"I'll know exactly when I'm ready to go physically, but there's also management and doctors decision as well," he said.


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