Tim Kerr limped out of the Philadelphia Flyers' team meeting today and declined to shed any light on whether he would be able to play against the Quebec Nordiques in Tuesday's second game of the Prince of Wales Conference championship series.
"I have nothing to say," Kerr said as he worked with his way through a media swarm.
Asked how he felt, he replied, "I feel good." Asked about playing Tuesday, he said, "I don't know. I'm not the coach."
Mike Keenan, who is the Flyers' coach, hardly was more enlightening about the status of his leading scorer. Kerr suffered a strained right knee in the first period of Sunday's series opener, won by Quebec, 2-1, on Peter Stastny's goal in overtime.
"He's right, he's not the coach," Keenan quipped before he was persuaded to turn serious.
"He's feeling better than we expected, he's day to day and we'll decide after the morning skate tomorrow whether he can play," Keenan said. "He has a strained knee but it's not swollen and things look more positive today than they did last night."
Kerr was injured when he collided with a teammate and twisted the knee as he fell. It is the same knee Kerr banged up at Capital Centre March 8, when he was taken into the boards by Rod Langway. Kerr missed six games after that injury and has worn a brace since his return.
Asked if it was the same knee, Keenan said, "No . . . I don't know . . . I'm avoiding your questions . . . It's one knee or the other."
Keenan bristled when a reporter suggested that the Flyers had played games with the media by refusing to divulge any details of Kerr's injury until long after Sunday's game was over. Quebec revealed after the first period that winger Mark Kumpel had suffered a bruised shoulder and would not return.
"I think we've been forthright about the injury," Keenan said. "It's the policy of the hockey club not to make statements about injuries during a game.
"I'm not going to make a statement when I haven't talked to the doctor. And I'm not going to stop the game and go out in the hall and talk to him. Why should you know before I know?"
Kennan did say he would talk with both Kerr and the doctor after Tuesday's morning skate before reaching a decision.
"You can never risk a man's career to put him in to play if he's not ready," Keenan said. "However, from what I've been told, it won't get any worse."
Keenan abruptly canceled practice at Le Colisee this morning, a rather strange decision considering that the team had been idle for a week before Sunday's contest. He then met the media in a hastily scheduled news conference at a downtown hotel. It was held in the same room as the team meeting.
"I felt the team needed a rest," Keenan said. "The players weren't tired last night, but they were stale. We've had six days of good work, but the team came out a little flat last night and I felt a break from the arena was the right thing today."
Asked if he had learned anything from Sunday's defeat, Keenan replied, "Yes, Stastny's got a hell of a knuckle ball."
Stastny's game winner came on a spinning 40-foot shot that dipped and struck the crossbar, dropping behind goaltender Pelle Lindbergh.
The Flyers gave full credit to Quebec goalie Mario Gosselin for an outstanding game in the nets. Gosselin twice robbed Dave Poulin, the Flyers' center who was returning from a six-game absence because of a strained knee, stopping Poulin's close-range backhander not long before Stastny ended things.
"He did a remarkable job," Poulin said. "I had a deflection and I did exactly what I wanted to do, but he got his pad on it. Then on that backhander, I didn't get all of it, which can be more of a hindrance to a goaltender. But he stayed right with it. It was disappointing, but we'll be ready tomorrow."
If Poulin was disappointed, the French-language media here was even more upset with him when it learned that he did not speak French.
Most NHL teams have at least one player, like Washington's Gaetan Duchesne or Edmonton's Kevin Lowe, whose words are sought after almost every game to be distributed to hockey-mad French Canadians. The Flyers have no francophones, although because of Poulin's name, he was considered a good bet.
"My dad is fluently bilingual, but I never learned any French," said Poulin, from Timmins, Ontario, and a Notre Dame graduate. "I went to business school, not liberal arts, so I didn't study a language in college, either."