Richards could be available tonight in St. Louis against the Blues, depending on how he handles the morning skate.
Remember Brian Savage? Well, after missing 11 games with torn ligaments in his left knee, the left wing is slated to play tonight.
Jeff Carter, who needed 52 stitches to reattach a portion of his left ear after being hit by a shot from Dennis Seidenberg, remained home. He is in pain but is expected back for Monday's game against the Buffalo Sabres.
If both Carter and Richards are diagnosed with concussions, league rules would mandate that they miss at least a week, so they would not be available against Ottawa on Thursday.
Donald Brashear's strained left shoulder will keep him sidelined until next week.
Goalie Robert Esche, who reinjured his right groin and didn't finish the game against the Canucks, will be shut down for 14 days.
"His groin issue isn't near as bad as the last time, but it's flared up again," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "It's meet me in St. Louis."
That means Jamie Storr will back up starter Antero Niittymaki in goal. Also recalled from the Phantoms were Matt Ellison, Pat Kavanagh, Josh Gratton and Ben Eager. If Richards plays, one of these players sits.
The injuries to the forwards are nothing new. That's been going on since before exhibition play began.
But the reinjuring of Esche is newsworthy because Hitchcock was trying to get him into a rhythm. Esche's play Tuesday in Columbus suggested he had turned the corner. Apparently, the corner was fraught with danger.
When Esche was sidelined at the month's start, Niittymaki played well with a 2-1-1 record. His 1-0 shutout victory against Calgary and fellow Finn Miikka Kiprusoff gave him renewed hope that he will make Finland's Olympic team as the third goalie.
"I don't really think about that right now," he said of those aspirations. "But the Olympics is one place I want to be. I just don't want to talk about it right now."
Henrik Lundqvist (Rangers) should be the Olympic starter for Finland. Niittymaki predicts that Niklas Backstrom, who played at the World Championships last spring, and Fredrik Norrena, who has significant international experience, will vie for the second spot. Niittymaki hopes he can steal the third spot from one of them.
He has certainly shown he's capable of being a starter in the league.
"When you come into the league, you don't know," Niittymaki said. "I only had played three games. You don't know until you do well. After a rough start, I had a couple of good games and realized I can play here.
"With every goalie it's the same thing. It's a lot easier when you play more. You get comfortable and your confidence goes up and everything seems a lot easier.
"I don't feel any different if I play 50 games or three games a year. You come to the rink every morning. Maybe you are more into the team when you know you play more, you have to be more into it. If Esche is going to play more, and he is going to play the next three games, you have to maybe hang around here a little bit. Maybe you feel a bit more into it."
Loose pucks. Carter will wear a protective shield over his ear when he returns. . . . Trainer Jim McCrossin said that when Esche returns, he won't initially be playing in back-to-back games, for cautionary reasons. . . . Simon Gagne (right groin tear) is slated to skate today. . . . Keith Primeau (post-concussion syndrome) yesterday saw Michael Ruckenstein, an ear, nose and throat specialist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, to get more input on his balance disorder and peripheral vision. "[Primeau] is going to have more testing to find out where this disorder is," McCrossin said. "This is a step forward. All Dr. Ruckenstein deals with is head trauma." . . . Thirty-five players have dressed for the Flyers this season because of injury. Carter, who had not missed a game, will become the 16th Flyer to miss a game tonight.
Contact staff writer Tim Panaccio
at 215-854-2847 or firstname.lastname@example.org.