AFTER MORE than 17 years in the NHL, Chris Pronger has become a creature of habit and game-day ritual.

That's why it was a surprise when Pronger, who missed the first five games of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a hand injury, skipped the Flyers' morning skate yesterday before Game 2 against the Bruins.

Shortly after the pregame skate, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren released a statement saying that Jeff Carter (knee), Michael Leighton (back) and Andreas Nodl (eye) would remain day-to-day with their injuries.

"Pronger is fine," the last sentence of Holmgren's release said.

That's why it was an even bigger shock, with the Wells Fargo Center abuzz, when the Flyers declared that Pronger would sit out Game 2 with an undisclosed injury.

Some reports originally had Pronger suffering from a minor head cold. Others suggested that Pronger suffered a hamstring injury in Game 1 against Boston on Saturday, when he was a minus-3 during 19 minutes' worth of work. Still others said Pronger suffered a back injury.

Did anyone really think Pronger, even at half speed, would miss skating in his 174th career playoff game because of cold symptoms?

Still, the Flyers have been tight-lipped about Pronger's status, as they have been with all of their injuries in the playoffs, using a blanket blackout policy.

It could be all or none of the above, but the Flyers aren't saying. None of those reports, however, listed a possible aggravation of the right hand injury that caused Pronger to miss 22 consecutive games from the end of the regular season through Game 6 of the first round.

Holmgren declined to speak to the media during last night's game.

In Pronger's absence, defenseman Danny Syvret rejoined the lineup after playing in all seven games against Buffalo in the first round.