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Short of healthy bodies, Flyers turn to VandeVelde

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- An injury or an illness to one player is an opportunity to another. That’s the situation facing Chris VandeVelde on Thursday.

The Philadelphia Flyers signed VandeVelde to a one-year, two-way contract Thursday and will have him available when they face the Montreal Canadiens.

The Flyers had recalled forward Tye McGinn from their American Hockey League team when Vincent Lecavalier was placed on injured reserve with a back injury. However, McGinn brought some bad germs with him and hasn't been able to play, so with the team in need of an extra healthy body, they went for VandeVelde.

VandeVelde was one of the Flyers' final cuts from training camp. He had seven goals and six assists in 23 games with the Adirondack Phantoms, the Flyers' AHL affiliate.

"Just from training camp and when I saw him in a couple exhibition games," Flyers coach Craig Berube said, "he was a good-sized centerman, penalty killer. Seems like he's a smart player."

If VandeVelde plays Thursday it would be his first NHL game since March 7. He has 28 games of NHL experience, all in the previous three seasons with the Edmonton Oilers. He had no points in 11 games with the Oilers last season.

Berube said VandeVelde will take the pre-game warmups and then he would decide on the makeup of the roster.

The Flyers' only significant change likely will be in goal, where Steve Mason will start. He stopped four of five shots Wednesday in relief of Ray Emery in the Flyers' 7-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The game Thursday is the Flyers' first since Nov. 29. They went 2-3-1 on their six-game, 12-day road trip. They're returning against a Canadiens team that hasn't played since Tuesday, when they absorbed their own rough loss, a 6-0 defeat against the Los Angeles Kings.

"We have to be ready," Berube said. "They're coming off a bad loss too. It's going to be a hard game. Guys have to understand that and be ready to go right form the start. We need a 60-minute game."


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