(Voorhees, NJ, December 11) – With the official Flyers injury list currently at a grand total of nine players, the Philadelphia Flyers are dealing as best they can with their situation.
When Philadelphia takes to the ice on Tuesday night against the New York Rangers, they could have as many as six rookies that are dressed, including Ryan Potulny, Ben Eager, Alexandre Picard, Jussi Timonen, Stefan Ruzicka and backup goaltender Martin Houle.
The veterans on the team, including Mike Knuble, will be counted on to get the young players acclimated to their surroundings.
"It's a funny situation, but it's also an excellent chance for these guys to come up and get some games in and show what they can do when they have an opportunity to play," said Knuble.
"Clearly, we have some key veteran guys that can stabilize the situation and help us," said John Stevens. "We're going to have to lean on these guys heavily."
The Flyers also waived veteran center Petr Nedved. Stevens explained that the club wants to go another direction at the moment.
"The organization decided that [Nedved] kind of falls in the cracks where he's not going to play on the top two lines. We just feel like a guy like Potulny can give us more on a third and fourth line role," said Stevens.
"With a guy like Potulny, there's an opportunity for him to get a whole lot better in the middle. The more he plays the more experience he's going to get. He has an ability to do some really good things on the power play. We just think it's better to give him an opportunity right now than to keep going in the direction we were going."
Also, late Monday, it was announced that forward Geoff Sanderson will need surgery on his sports hernia suffered on Saturday against Washington. He will be sidelined for three-to-six weeks.
Holmgren Meets With Local Media
Holmgren met with reporters following practice and gave his assessment of where the team stands as well as the organization's philosophy moving forward.
"Right now, we're in a situation where we're just got to become a real hard working team every night. One thing about young players, particularly guys that are getting their first longer term crack at things, it might be easier to do that in that regard. I talked with John at length yesterday about things we can do with players we have in the system and some possibilities. Right now, this is just the way we're going to have to go because of the circumstances we're under," said Holmgren.
"We're actively trying to get some help without weakening our position long term or really jeopardizing any part of our future. It's a tough time for everybody. It's very difficult for me to have John in the position he's in, but you never know until you see these guys play what they're going to do."
Stevens agrees with the strategy of not giving up on any young players just to attempt a quick fix.
"Clearly, if we can get a veteran that's available to come in and help us, I think we'd do that. The thing you don't want to do is give up your future to have a band-aid solution short term," he said.
FLYERS NOTES Peter Forsberg took part in practice, and Holmgren said that Forsberg would be headed to Temple University later in the day to try to remedy his skate problem. … Joni Pitkanen and Sami Kapanen did not practice. … Phantoms forward and Philadelphia native Tony Voce practiced with the Flyers.