Flyers now call him coach Hatcher

Derian Hatcher: with Flyers
Derian Hatcher: with Flyers
Posted: April 15, 2009

When the Flyers lost Jason Smith to free agency and Derian Hatcher to bad knees, the veteran presence in the locker room was significantly reduced.

Yesterday the Flyers brought some of that back by asking Hatcher to travel with the team as a player/coach. Hatcher was on the ice for yesterday's skate and will be with the team through the playoffs, watching the games from the press level, helping during practice, and just being in the locker room for support and guidance.

"[General manager Paul Holmgren] just asked me to travel with the team yesterday," Hatcher said. "Obviously I said yes. They want me to be more of a player role than a coaching role and be around the guys, joke around, help them out when I can or whatever."

Hatcher has been on long-term injury all year because his knees just can't take NHL hockey any longer. He has stayed around the team, training and trying to stay in shape.

So does this means he could try a comeback?

"No-o-o-o," he said. "Does it look like it? I have to wear a brace on my knee just to be out there. I'm going to be like an eighth defenseman with no chance of playing."

Sbisa back

Luca Sbisa was back at the Flyers' practice facility, looking a little thinner but no worse for wear after spending the last few months with his junior club, the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

It's no wonder that he has lost about 9 pounds: He was playing between 35 and 40 minutes a game.

"The experience was really good and it was good to see my old buddies," Sbisa said. "It was still a challenge to play there. I had some trouble at the start. I was trying to do too much and then I figured out my role there and that was to play really simple. I logged in a lot of minutes. There was no room and time to do too much. I had to do the least I could do to stay out there for 40 minutes."

Sbisa returned to the Flyers last week, played two games with the Phantoms to get back up to pro speed and is now with the Flyers for the entire playoff run. He will be the seventh guy and be available in case of injury.

"I haven't talked to them yet, but I think I'm the odd man," he said. "I'm gonna do my best to maybe get a couple of games in. Hopefully all the guys stay healthy, but if anything happens I hope I'm going to step in his spot."

Parent ready

Defenseman Ryan Parent, who missed two of the last three games with a groin strain, was questionable 2 days ago. But Parent practiced yesterday and said he feels ready to go.

Parent was injured last Tuesday against Florida and missed Thursday and Sunday against the Rangers. He played Saturday against the Islanders but was sore the next day.

"I had a tough time finishing the game on the Island," he said. "It was kind of a split decision [not to play Sunday]. But it was kind of tough to play." *

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