Upon learning of the sudden death of his mother, France, on Thursday, forward Martin St. Louis flew to Montreal, and whether he will play in Game 5 here in Pittsburgh was unclear at 1 p.m. today.
"Your heart just drops," said goaltender Cam Talbot, who said he found out last night. "We're all thinking about him in his time of need." Talbot was one of five Rangers on ice for an optional skate, along with Jesper Fast, J.T. Miller, Justin Falk and Raphael Diaz.
"What happened was very sad....very sad," Fast said in the visitors dressing room after the skate, where St. Louis' No. 26 white jersey was hanging in his locker.
Head coach Alain Vigneault was to brief the media at 5 p.m.
"Terrible...My heart goes out to Marty and his family," said Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. "I only know him a little bit through another person, I wanted to reach out last night. I don't know if he's going to be playing tonight but I certainly feel for him and his family." France St. Louis was 63.
The initial word of the tragedy, reportedly from a heart problem, came from reports in Tampa, where St. Louis, 38, had starred for 13 years before being trade to the Rangers for Ryan Callahan at the March 5 trade deadline.
A Rangers team spokesman confirmed it late last night, and Friday a post on the team's Twitter account read: "We send our deepest condolences to Martin St. Louis on the passing of his mother, France. Our thoughts are with the St. Louis family."
St. Louis had two goals and four assists in the first five games of the Flyers series, and is pointless in the six games since.
If St. Louis does not play in Game 5, the indication from the optional skate, which is generally for healthy scratches, is that either Derek Dorsett or Dan Carcillo will be in the lineup. And John Moore would be in on defense for Diaz.