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Thursday, February 28

5:00 p.m.
Flyers Jason Smith and Scott Hartnell were part of the NHL's Hits of the Week highlight video for the week ending February 26. To see the complete Top 10, click here.

Monday, February 25

2:31 p.m.
Jesse Boulerice will make his return to the Flyers lineup tonight playing on a line with Jim Dowd and Riley Cote. The Flyers are in Buffalo tonight to take on the Sabres in a nationally televised broadcast (7:00 p.m., Versus).

The forward was suspended by the NHL for 25 games after hitting Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler in the face during Philadelphia’s 8-2 win there on October 10.

“I spoke with that whole line this morning. I think Jesse understands where he went wrong before,” said Stevens. “I don’t know if people realize how well he skates, how he can really get in on the forecheck, and spend some time in the offensive zone when he’s playing well.
Ryan Kesler lays motionless on the ice as Jesse Boulerice is held back by the referee after he struck Kesler in the face with his stick on Oct. 10. (Getty Images)

“The big key for that line is that they bring us energy, and they’re the most disciplined guys on either team. They need to be out there to help create a forecheck and not be taking themselves off the ice.”

Boulerice, who has two goals and three assists to go along with 65 penalty minutes in 30 games with the Phantoms this season, is also eager to make his return.

“I’m looking forward to getting back in the lineup,” said Boulerice. “I didn’t think I was going to play, but I talked to the coaches this morning and I just want to play hard, [be] effective and help out the team right now.”

Steve Downie is a game time decision.

“It’s been frustrating to not be in there with the team,” commented Downie, who has been out of action the last four games since suffering a mild concussion at Montreal on February 16. “I just want to go out there and do what I can to help the team.”

Despite their current struggles, the Flyers realize what is very much true. They are still in the thick of things, certainly for the playoffs and even for a top spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

“The way the whole league is set up, whether you’re in the East or the West, you’re going to play all the teams that you’re fighting with,” said Flyers Head Coach John Stevens after the morning skate on Monday.

“I’ve said along, what really matters is what we do. If we don’t win hockey games, then it doesn’t matter what everybody else does, so even though we’re chasing teams now, we’re playing teams that we need to catch and we will for the rest of the year.  We need to worry about ourselves right now.”

Even though the Flyers haven’t broken their winless streak just yet, the past couple of games have been a big turning point, according to Stevens.

“I think it’s important to stay the course and the direction and do the things we need to do to help us win hockey games. We need to continue to play the way we played against Florida. We created a lot more chances than we gave up. To me, that’s a big key.”

Sunday, February 24

4:06 p.m.
Mike Richards today spoke about his visit with doctors after suffering a left hamstring injury during the Flyers-Panthers game at the Wachovia Center on Saturday night. Richards is expected to miss three weeks.

“The doctors told me to take my time and to rest it up and see how it goes from there,” said the All-Star center. “It is right in the middle of my hamstring, and from what I hear it is better [than] being high or low.  When I had my groin surgery last year it healed a little faster than I expected, so hopefully this is the same way.

“It is disappointing. Everybody hates being out of the line-up. At this time you want to be out there helping your teammates going down the stretch.”
Mike Richards gets tangled up with Florida's Jay Bouwmeester during the Flyers-Panthers game on Saturday night at the Wachovia Center. (Getty Images)

Paul Holmgren also discussed the injury, as well as a couple of roster moves he made on Sunday.

“Mike Richards initiated rehab today. Obviously he is very sore today, right in the middle of the muscle belly in the hamstring,” said the general manager. “He has noticeable weakness, but nothing that we didn’t expect. In terms of a time frame, we’re still looking at a minimum of three weeks and we will see how he tolerates things over the next few days. 

“This time frame could change. It could be a little longer than that.”

Holmgren loaned defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick to the Phantoms and recalled forward Jesse Boulerice.

“[Fitzpatrick] is finally cleared to play and we think it is important for him to get playing again,” he said. “We recalled Jesse Boulerice today. That will give us 13 forwards and seven defensemen for our game tomorrow. 

“Steve Downie is a possibility of playing tomorrow so we will have to wait and see.”

Fitzpatrick had been recovering from a sports hernia, while Downie has missed the last four games with a mild concussion.

Wednesday, February 20

7:11 p.m.
Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren released the following statement today regarding left wing Simon Gagne, who saw a doctor today in Denver, Colorado:

"Simon was seen by Dr. [Jim] Kelly today. His advice to Simon was to shut it down for the remainder of the season. As soon as we have had the opportunity to speak further with Dr. Kelly and Simon, we can shed more light on this. Needless to say, we are very disappointed with this news."

Gagne has been in and out of the lineup this season due to concussion problems. In 25 games, he has seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points and four penalty minutes. He had 88 goals in the previous two seasons combined.

Tuesday, February 19

2:05 p.m.
Claude Giroux will make his NHL debut tonight, playing right wing on a line with Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell. Giroux, who was the team's first round draft pick in 2006 and is leading the QMJHL in scoring with 88 points (33g, 55a), spoke with the media after the team's morning skate in Ottawa.

To see the interview, click here.

To see footage of Giroux during the skate, click here.

Philadelphia plays the Senators tonight at 7:30 p.m. (Comcast SportsNet).

Monday, February 18

5:18 p.m.
The Philadelphia Flyers have recalled forward Claude Giroux from the Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL) and forward Stefan Ruzicka from the Philadelphia Phantoms (AHL), according to club General Manager Paul Holmgren.

Gioux, the Flyers' first round draft pick in 2006, will be making his NHL debut when the Flyers play the Senators on Tuesday night in Ottawa (7:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet).

A Flyers spokesman caught up with Giroux regarding the call-up.
Claude Giroux, drafted by the Flyers in the first round in 2006, will make his NHL debut Tuesday night in Ottawa. (Getty Images)

Q:  What is your reaction being called up?
Claude Giroux:  "I really didn't think I was going to get that call, but when I did, I just could not believe it. It is an unbelievable feeling.  I am very excited. I can't wait to start playing. I just want to prove what I can do on the ice.  I wish the Flyers’ game was tonight."

Q:  How did you find out?

CG:   "The Flyers called told me that I was going to be able to play against the Sens. But a couple of hours later, they called me back [and said] that I wasn't going to play because the league wasn't allowing me to play. Then, about four hours later, the Flyers called me back and told me I was going to play.  It was a pretty long day."

Q: What kind of player are you?
CG: "I think I can make some good plays with the puck and without the puck I can position myself [well].  Playing in the NHL won't be the same as juniors. I will just have to adapt myself quickly and do the best I can.”

John Stevens was asked about Giroux as the Flyers checked into their team hotel in Ottawa on Monday evening.

"He was really an impressive player in training camp and he had a great series against the Russians at the end of the summer. He was a dominant player and impressed everybody with not only his skill with the puck, but also his ability to play without the puck," said Stevens. "He continued to impress in our training camp and was a terrific player in the intrasquad scrimmages.  He played well during the Flyers preseason and has gone back to juniors where he has put up big numbers all year long. 

“He has the vision and awareness with the puck that you can't teach, and has a real passion to play hockey, so we are looking forward to seeing him play in a regular season game."

So he will definitely play tomorrow?

JS: "He will definitely play tomorrow and we will get him acclimated, and have him playing with some guys he is going to have success with.  We are going to sit down tonight and take a look at everything.  He might even get the opportunity to play on some special teams."

Who will be his linemates?
JS: "We don't know yet.  I have an idea, but I don't want to speculate. We may even look at him with a guy like Danny Briere. Both of them think the game very well.  He may play with a variety of people, but he will get the opportunity to play with some very good players.”

Giroux leads the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 88 points (33g, 55a) in 47 games. He is a + 31 with five shorthanded goals and eight game-winning goals.

In 12 games with the Flyers this season, Ruzicka has a goal and two assists for three points and 25 penalty minutes. In 40 games with the Phantoms, he has 14 goals and 21 assists for 35 points and 79 penalty minutes. He is tied for third on the team in scoring.

Sunday, February 17

8:40 p.m.
Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren held a conference call with the local media during Sunday’s game to address a number of topics, including the team’s injury situation and free agent center Peter Forsberg.
Derian Hatcher, seen here hitting New York's Nigel Dawes, is expected to miss another three weeks. (Getty Images)

On Joffrey Lupul:
Paul Holmgren: “Lupul’s got a high (right) ankle sprain. Right now he’s probably going to be out anywhere from two to three weeks. It just depends on how he responds in the next couple days."

On Steve Downie:
PH: “Our doctors saw Downie before the game and he’s got a mild concussion. He’s probably day-to-day and we’ll see how he is tomorrow.

“I’m not sure how (the concussion) happened, but it happened late in the game (on Saturday). He actually played a couple shifts after it. He felt he was okay after the game but he woke up this morning a little more tired than normal. Jimmy [McCrossin] checked him out and we pulled him from the lineup. It’s a mild concussion and we’ll take it a day at a time."

On Derian Hatcher:

PH: “Derian has some (right) knee pain that will keep him out of the lineup for probably at least three weeks. On top of the knee pain, it’s now caused his quadricep muscle to shut down a little bit. So he’s dealing with knee pain and a lack of strength. We can spend some time to work with him, first of all try to get rid of the pain, then hopefully build his strength back up. He’s going to be out of the lineup for three weeks.”

What is the cause of Hatcher’s pain?

PH: “I think more than anything it’s just a buildup of all the problems he’s had that are coming to a head for him. We’re going to try to get Derian through the pain and try to strengthen it and get him back in the lineup, but we do believe it’s going to be a minimum of three weeks.”

On trade deadline possibilities:

PH: “You don’t want to be put in a position where you’re going to make a rash decision. If there is a minimal deal we can make to help the hockey team, we will. But any major deal, if we were to go down that road, would impact the club long-term, not short-term.”

On Simon Gagne:
PH: “Nothing new on Simon. He’s going to go out to Colorado to see Dr. James Kelly. He’s leaving on Tuesday and going to see him Wednesday morning, so we’re hoping to get his feedback on that and go from there.”

On Peter Forsberg:
“The last I heard is Peter is going to decide probably by Tuesday whether he’s going to play or not.”

5:16 p.m.

Defenseman Braydon Coburn will return to the Flyers’ lineup tonight when they host the Montreal Canadiens. Coburn has missed the last four games recovering from a ruptured artery in his buttocks.
Steve Downie will miss tonight's game with an upper body injury. (Getty Images)

Out for the Flyers will be Derian Hatcher, who will miss his third straight game with a sore knee; Steve Downie, who has an upper body injury; and Joffrey Lupul, who left last night’s game in Montreal with a high ankle sprain.

John Stevens gave an injury report prior to the game.

“[Downie] has an upper body injury and is going to be re-evaluated at the game. It happened in the game last night. He finished the game and was okay, but came in this morning and was more bothered than he was last night.

“[Lupul] has a sprained ankle, so he could be awhile. I think they are going to cast him for a few days like they did with [Scottie Upshall], and progress him from there. I think he hurt it pretty good there, so he could miss some significant time.

“[Hatcher] still doesn’t have the strength in his leg, and it’s still sore. He did not skate again today, trying to get the strength back in his leg.”

Denis Tolpeko was recalled from the Phantoms today, while Kyle Greentree was reassigned to the Flyers' American Hockey League affiliate.

Saturday, February 16

5:24 p.m.
John Stevens met with the media before Saturday night’s game in Montreal, and said that Scottie Upshall will make his return tonight after missing the last four games with a sprained right ankle. Also, defensemen Braydon Coburn and Derian Hatcher will each get at least one more game to recover from their respective injuries.
Danny Briere will start Saturday's game at right wing with Mike Richards and Scott Hartnell. (Getty Images)

Also of note, though, is that Stevens has made a change to his line combinations. Danny Briere has been shifted to the right wing and will start the game on a line with Mike Richards and Scott Hartnell. Upshall will be with Jeff Carter and Joffrey Lupul, while R.J. Umberger will move back to the center position between Mike Knuble and Sami Kapanen.

Stevens has noticed chemistry with Richards and Briere in the limited time they have played together.

“I said in the beginning of the year it seemed like every time Richie and Danny were on the ice together, something good happened,” said Stevens. “I know they only played power play, but I remember in the Vancouver game (on Oct. 10) I kind of noticed. With [Simon] Gagne being out and Danny having played right wing before, we’re just going to try it and see.

“Danny played a fair amount of right wing in Buffalo. There are a lot of times when Danny, because of where he plays in the offensive zone, he ends up playing like a winger after the puck drops,” continued Stevens.

1:20 p.m.

Flyers head coach John Stevens revealed on Saturday morning that defenseman Derian Hatcher will miss his second straight game tonight with a sore right knee. Defenseman Braydon Coburn and forward Scottie Upshall will be game-time decisions prior to the team’s matchup with the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre (7:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet).

“We’re playing so many games right now, he doesn’t have the opportunity to get the rest that he needs,” said Stevens of the veteran Hatcher. “We’ve given him the rest when he’s needed it and give him time to work on the strength of his leg. We drained the fluid but still the muscles aren’t firing. The strength isn’t there that he needs to play. We’ll get him off again here today and continue to try and work on the strength around his leg and see how he responds.

“He’s on meds to try and get the inflammation out of there. Sometimes it takes a couple days to kick in, and then he feels a lot better. A day can make a difference, but he’s just unable to play today.”

Hatcher, Coburn and Upshall all skated on Saturday morning with the team. Coburn has missed the last three games with a ruptured artery in his buttocks, while Upshall has been out the last four games with a sprained ankle.

Thursday, February 14

5:15 p.m.
Flyers defenseman Derian Hatcher will miss tonight's game due to fluid on his right knee. He is listed as day-to-day, and is probable to play this weekend when the Flyers have a home-and-home with the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday at the Bell Centre and Sunday at the Wachovia Center. Both games are at 7:00 p.m. and will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet.

Defenseman Ryan Parent was recalled from the Phantoms yesterday and will make his season debut tonight.

1:24 p.m.
The Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning both held full-team morning skates today in preparation for tonight’s game at the Wachovia Center (7:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet).

It will be Tampa’s first trip to Philadelphia this season. The teams split the first two games of the season series, both at the St. Pete Times Forum. Tampa beat Philadelphia on October 25, 5-2, but the Flyers came away with a 4-2 win in the most recent matchup on December 29.

The Flyers will be trying to put an end to a four-game losing skid, all in regulation.
Joffrey Lupul scored on a penalty shot in the Flyers' 4-2 win in Tampa on Dec. 29. (Getty Images)

“It’s never easy,” said John Stevens of trying to get back into the win column. “They are all games we had a chance to win. If you look at the games we’ve had, we get behind and then play with all kinds of urgency to try and catch up and we come up a little bit short. I think we need to start playing the beginning of those games with that same kind of urgency.”

The game could mark the season debut (and second NHL game overall) of defenseman Ryan Parent. Parent was recalled from the Phantoms yesterday as Braydon Coburn continues to recover from a ruptured artery in his buttocks, but Stevens said Coburn could return as soon as this weekend. The Flyers are in Montreal on Saturday and host the Canadiens on Sunday.

Coburn skated with the team on Thursday morning for the first time since the injury.

“I think that initially it was going to be a couple weeks but I don’t see it being that long. There is speculation there was a chance he could play today, but if not today then hopefully by the weekend,” said the coach. “There’s nothing that can be done that would set him back long-term, so as soon as the soreness goes away and he feels like he can play, he’ll get back in and play.”

The Lightning are currently in last place in the Eastern Conference, but are just six points behind a three-way tie for first place in the weak Southeast Division. They are 3-0-1 in their last four games, though, including a 3-2 win in Montreal on Tuesday.

“Tampa Bay is coming off one of their better outings of if not of the year, then of awhile for sure,” said Stevens. “They have some really dangerous offensive players.

“But, I think it’s very important that we worry about ourselves. We need to get back to our roots.”

Some of the Lightning players were asked what it’s like to play against the physical style of the Flyers after their skate at the Wachovia Center.

“It’s both a positive and a negative,” said defenseman Dan Boyle. “The positive is it gets you involved in the game. Certainly, on the other side it wears you down a little bit and makes you make some mistakes.”

“To be honest we’ve played a lot of physical teams lately and it’s something we’ve stepped up as a team, our physical play,” added Martin St. Louis. “We’re not shying down from anything and we’re initiating quite a bit. We’re looking forward to it.”

The Lightning return to the Wachovia Center on March 6 to wrap up the season series.

Wednesday, February 13

3:38 p.m.
The Philadelphia Flyers today recalled defenseman Ryan Parent from their American Hockey affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms.

In 53 games with the Phantoms this season, Parent has one goal and seven assists for eight points and 42 penalty minutes. He has played in one career NHL game, late last season with the Flyers.
Ryan Parent lines up for a faceoff during a preseason game earlier this year. (Getty Images)

“I’m trying not to be nervous, but nerves are something that’s always going to be there,” said Parent after the Flyers skated on Wednesday at the Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone. “I think you have to use them to your advantage. Last year’s game helps with the nerves a little bit. I know what to expect a little bit, and playing the games in the American League so far this year helps to build your confidence.”

The 6’2’’, 201-pound 20-year-old has been used primarily as a shutdown defenseman in his career. Still, he is continuing to work on his offensive game as he develops as a pro.

“Typically what I’ve been playing my whole career is more of a defensive side,” he said. “Everywhere I’ve been they have been working on me to move the puck a little bit better and be more of a puck-moving defenseman. My strength right now is definitely my defensive game.”

Parent was acquired from the Nashville Predators last season along with Scottie Upshall and a first round draft pick in exchange for Peter Forsberg. He will wear uniform number 77.

Tuesday, February 12

1:44 p.m.
The Philadelphia Flyers held a full-team morning skate today at the Nassau Coliseum prior to tonight’s game with the New York Islanders (7:00 p.m., Versus).

After dropping their third straight game on Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh, and second in a row against a divisional opponent, the players know that this would be an opportune time to get back to their winning ways. After being in first place in the Atlantic Division at the All-Star break, the Flyers are now in third place, four points behind the first place Penguins.
Kimmo Timonen skates with the puck against the New York Islanders during a 5-3 Flyers win on Jan. 19. (Getty Images)

“This is an absolutely, playoff-type game for us tonight,” said R.J. Umberger this morning. “We have to go out there and get two points. We really need to come with the right attitude and break this streak we’ve got going. We need these points.”

“It’s obviously an important game,” added Jason Smith. “You look at the standings and you see how tight it is, there’s no real margin for error right now. We need to get things back on track here tonight with a win.”

There are some current trends working in the Flyers’ favor entering tonight’s contest. Philadelphia has won all three games against New York this season, and the Islanders have lost seven straight games overall (0-6-1). That streak has dropped New York to 13th in the Eastern Conference and six points from the eighth and final playoff position.

“It probably shows from their end how important it is for them, too,” said Smith. “We know that they’re going to come out and work hard and we have to counter that work ethic with ours and execute at a high level and play well.”

In the previous game between the two clubs on January 19 at Nassau Coliseum, the Flyers erased an early 3-1 deficit and scored four unanswered goals in a 5-3 victory.

“The last time we were here we came from behind and beat them, so they’re going to be hungry to go out and try and get the early lead on us and get their first win against us,” said Umberger.

The game will also mark the NHL debut of Kyle Greentree, who was recalled from the Phantoms to take Simon Gagne’s spot in the lineup. Gagne suffered a mild concussion during Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh.

Greentree was on a line with Mike Knuble and Jeff Carter in the pregame skate.

“I’m not going to try anything too crafty out there,” he said. “I’m just going to play hard and play my game and not get out of how I got here.”

Greentree spent three years playing college hockey at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, before joining the Phantoms late last season. He is currently the team’s second-leading scorer with 37 points (16g, 21a).

“I’ve been putting some numbers up in the American League, and it’s nice to get the call and get recognized,” continued Greentree, who is listed at 6’3’’ and 212 pounds. “I’m just still in my first year so I’m still learning, and it’s great to get the call here now in February. I just have to try and make the most of it.”

Antero Niittymaki will be in net for Philadelphia.

Monday, February 11

1:15 p.m.
The Flyers have recalled left wing Kyle Greentree from their American Hockey League affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms.

Greentree is currently second on the Phantoms in scoring with 16 goals and 21 assists for 37 points in 48 games. He has 13 points (6g, 7a) in his last 10 games.
Kyle Greentree will make his NHL debut on Tuesday night against the Islanders. (Photo courtesy Philadelphia Phantoms)

The 24-year-old Victoria, British Columbia native was signed as a free agent by the Flyers on March 15, 2007. He will wear jersey number 65.

John Stevens said of Greentree: "Kyle came in late last year with the Phantoms and had continued to play well the the Phantoms ,and has continued to get better. He is a big, strong guy, wins a lot of board battles, and has been consistently scoring all year.  He is a real consistent performer down there.  We figured this would be a good opportunity toget him in and see him at this level."

Greentree was asked about making his NHL debut on Tuesday night against the Islanders (7:00 p.m., Versus).

"I'm a little bit nervous, but more excited, though," he said. "I have been waiting for this chance my whole life. I think that I am ready, and it is obviously going to be a very exciting game for me. I am looking forward to helping the team win.

"I'm a big power forward. I get the puck in deep. I try and make big hits and when there is a chance to put the puck into the net, I try and do that. I just like to be a presence out there on the ice, kind of muck it up and create space for other guys."

Greentree will be taking the roster spot vacated by Simon Gagne, who left Sunday's game in Pittsburgh with a mild concussion. Gagne saw Flyers team physician Dr. Gary Dorshimer on Monday in Philadelphia.

Sunday, February 10

4:36 p.m.
Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren updated the condition of Simon Gagne, who missed the final two periods of today's game at Pittsburgh.

"After further consultation, Simon Gagne's injury will be listed as a mild concussion.  Simon will be re-evaluated tomorrow morning."

11:24 a.m.

Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn will be out of action for approximately two weeks, according to general manager Paul Holmgren who updated his status on Sunday morning.

“Braydon Coburn had a ruptured artery which has been repaired,” said Holmgren. “He is doing well and resting comfortably.  He will be out of action for approximately two weeks.”
Lasse Kukkonen hits New York's Miroslav Satan during a 3-1 Flyers win on October 13. (Getty Images)

In 54 games this season, Coburn is the team’s second leading scorer among defensemen with 24 points (4g, 20a). He is tied for the team lead with Mike Richards with a +11 rating.

With Coburn out, it will offer the opportunity for Lasse Kukkonen to be re-inserted into the lineup. Kukkonen has been a healthy scratch for the last 14 games.

“Of course it’s kind of hard, but you just try to keep doing the same things you do when you’re playing,” said Kukkonen of his time off.

“You don’t want to see anybody go down like what happened to Coby, getting rushed to the hospital. But, I heard that he’s okay, and I talked to him last night, and he’s getting better so that’s the good news.”

Kukkonen was asked how he’s been able to maintain his mental approach to the game.

“You have to think less and practice harder,” he said. “Just do your job. There’s things that you can’t control, so you just have to not think about those things.”

In 35 games this season, Kukkonen has a goal and four assists for five points and 22 penalty minutes.

Saturday, February 9

4:15 p.m.

Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn sustained a lower body injury during the team's 2-0 loss to the New York Rangers at the Wachovia Center on Saturday afternoon. General manager Paul Holmgren updated Coburn's status after the game.

Q: What’s the injury update on Braydon Coburn?
Paul Holmgren: “Right now, I’m not sure what hospital he is in, but he is having surgery done. He tore a muscle in his [buttocks] and started to bleed internally, and harden up internally, so they had to go in and give it a release. He’ll probably be out a couple of weeks.”

Q: Did the injury happen during the game?
PH: “I guess he told Jimmy [McCrossin] that he felt something during the first period when he went to make a move, and they checked it, and it hardened up. So, Jimmy decided to just pull him out. They checked him and took him right away to the hospital.”

Friday, February 8

4:56 p.m.

Flyers winger Joffrey Lupul will be in the lineup when the Flyers host the New York Rangers on Saturday afternoon at the Wachovia Center (1:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet). Lupul has been out of the lineup with a spinal cord contusion and mild concussion since he collided with teammate Derian Hatcher on January 5 at the Air Canada Centre.
Joffrey Lupul is helped up onto his skates after getting hit during a game in Toronto on January 5. (Getty Images)

Lupul skated on a line with Mike Richards and Simon Gagne, as Flyers Head Coach John Stevens continued to shuffle his lines with Scottie Upshall now out for at least a week with a sprained ankle. Danny Briere was in Richards’ old spot with Scott Hartnell and Steve Downie.

Lupul is fifth on the Flyers in scoring with 16 goals and 19 assists for 35 points.

“I think putting Danny with Hartnell and Downie, who is relentless on the cycle, is a really good fit for Danny. I’d like to see Danny become more of a scorer on his line. He’s such an unselfish guy. I think at times when he could take the puck to the net he’s looking to pass it off. To me, the strength of his game is the first option he gets to attack, that he does.

“Richie and Lupul play really well together, and I do think it gives us size and some grit and some energy on all of our lines. It’s a nice balanced attack for scoring, and it gives us a balanced attack in terms of size and grit and skill all combined on each line.”

Briere, whose linemates have been in flux for most of this season, is still looking for that perfect fit.

“Chemistry is a weird thing,” he said. “Sometimes it’s [with] guys that you don’t even expect, so I’m excited. We’ll give it a try. It’s something new again, and we’ll see what happens.”

Thursday, February 7

7:25 p.m.
Philadelphia Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren gave an update today as to the injury status of Scottie Upshall. Upshall will be out for 7-10 days after sustaining an ankle sprain, and will remain in a cast until the weekend.

It is a different injury from a high-ankle sprain and also separate from his previous injury (sprained right ankle) that kept him out of the line up for five games from December 30, 2007 through January 10, 2008.

Upshall suffered the injury in the second period of last night's 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals.

Tuesday, February 5

1:45 p.m.
The Philadelphia Flyers and Atlanta Thrashers both had full team morning skates this morning at Philips Arena to prepare for tonight’s game (7:00 p.m., CW-57). After the skate, both coaches met with the attending media.

The Thrashers' Don Waddell, who took over for Bob Hartley early in the year, has since led his team to a first place tie with Carolina in the Southeast Division. It appears that in order for any team from that division to make the playoffs may have to come in first, as Atlanta’s 56-point total would put it three points behind the eighth-seeded Boston Bruins were the postseason to begin today.
Antero Niittymaki looks for the puck during a 4-1 Flyers win in Atlanta on Jan. 8. (Getty Images)

Ilya Kovalchuk, second in the league in goals with 38, will be a game-time decision but seems to be on the doubtful side. He has missed the last two games, but the Thrashers won them both, including a 2-0 shutout by Kari Lehtonen over the Washington Capitals on Saturday.

“Lehtonen is probably coming off of his better outings in awhile, and he’s a very good goaltender capable of stealing a game on his own,” said John Stevens on Tuesday. “I’m not sure if Kovalchuk will play or not, I heard that he wasn’t, but sometimes a guy like that goes down and there’s a real sense of urgency from everyone else.

“It looks like that’s what has happened here and other places like Pittsburgh, when you look and see what they have done,” said the Flyers’ coach, referring to the Sidney Crosby-less Penguins.

Lehtonen will be back between the pipes tonight to face countryman Antero Niittymaki. The two Finland natives have faced each other several times with Niittymaki holding a decisive edge, dating back to the Calder Cup Finals in 2005 when the Philadelphia Phantoms swept the Chicago Wolves for the AHL championship.

Niittymaki lifetime is a perfect 7-0 against Atlanta with a 1.58 goals against average. He allowed just one goal in a 4-1 Flyers victory here on January 8.

Even with the recent success against the Thrashers, Stevens knows Atlanta is no pushover opponent.

“They’re dangerous, in my opinion,” he said. “I think they’ve played very well as of late.”

The Flyers will be trying to recapture sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division tonight. Philadelphia, New Jersey and Pittsburgh all have 63 points, although the Flyers have played two fewer games than the Devils and Penguins.

Monday, February 4

1:15 p.m.
Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren recently returned from a scouting trip to Sweden and met with reporters on Monday at the Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone regarding unrestricted free agent center Peter Forsberg.

“I talked to him about 10 days ago about how the progress with him and his foot was going. He thought he was on the right track, and he wanted some more time to push himself in practice,” said Holmgren.

“He felt he was getting ready to make a decision somewhere within the next few weeks and I think we’re probably right around that time. I would assume at some point here in the next little while he’ll make a decision if he’s going to come back to the league, and then make a decision to which team he’s going to go with.”

To watch video of Holmgren’s media availability, click here.

Saturday, February 2

4:57 p.m.
Flyers winger Joffrey Lupul, out with a mild concussion and spinal cord contusion since January 5, passed his baseline and impact tests on Saturday. He will be going to the doctor on Monday to get checked for the spinal cord contusion.

“Hopefully he will get the green light to [resume] full activity,” said General Manager Paul Holmgren via text message. “Then, [it’s] just a matter of conditioning and timing.”

Lupul was hurt when defenseman Derian Hatcher ran into him during a game against Toronto at the Air Canada Centre.




1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52


2013-2014 PLAYOFFS
J. Voracek 3 1 1 1 2
S. Hartnell 3 0 2 1 2
C. Giroux 3 0 2 3 2
M. Streit 3 1 0 1 1
A. MacDonald 3 1 0 0 1
W. Simmonds 3 1 0 -2 1
L. Schenn 3 1 0 1 1
J. Akeson 3 1 0 -1 1
V. Lecavalier 3 0 1 -2 1
A. Hall 3 0 1 -1 1
S. Mason 0 0 0 1.000 0.00
R. Emery 1 2 0 .888 3.49
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