Flyers' Carcillo is back, but can he get back on the ice?

Posted: November 30, 2010

Dan Carcillo practiced with the Flyers Monday for the first time since he sprained his left knee against the Ottawa Senators on Nov. 15. But the question is, when the feisty winger is ready for game action, will there be a spot for him in the lineup?

With Carcillo sidelined, wingers Andreas Nodl, James van Riemsdyk and Nik Zherdev have raised their level of play. And winger Darroll Powe is a valuable penalty-killer, so it would be difficult to take him out of the lineup. Jody Shelley (6-foot-3, 230 pounds) could be a candidate for a few games off, but the Flyers like having a heavyweight enforcer.

Carcillo (6-0, 205) expects to be cleared for contact in a few days.

"I feel OK, and after this week, I should be in game shape," Carcillo said after practice in Voorhees. "I'm just trying to get my skating legs back."

When Carcillo is ready, coach Peter Laviolette will have an interesting decision to make. He may decide that Carcillo sits.

"There have been guys who have played well," Laviolette said. "[Van Riemsdyk] has picked up his game and is playing well. Nodl is playing well. . . . Those things usually sort themselves out. We don't have any decisions to make yet."

For now, the focus is on getting off to a better start and firing more shots on the power play when the Flyers host the Boston Bruins on Wednesday.

The Flyers had a crisp practice Monday after a rare day off that followed a grueling stretch in which they played 10 games in 17 days.

"The rest, I think, is good and necessary, and today was a good day to go out and do some work," Laviolette said. "A lot of times, when you're playing that many games in that many nights, the practices are either off or shortened to 20 or 30 minutes. Today, we could get in some conditioning and some work."

The Flyers are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games, including consecutive shoot-out defeats to Calgary and New Jersey.

"I don't know if it was fatigue or not that resulted in the two shoot-out losses," fourth-line center Blair Betts said. "For a guy who plays maybe 10 or 12 minutes, that's not an excuse for myself. But there are a bunch of guys who log a lot of minutes and it was probably wearing on them."

"I think the body definitely needed a day off," winger Scott Hartnell said. "I sat on the couch and watched football all day and just kind of vegged out - which is really nice, because you don't get too many of those days. And we were refreshed today. I think you could tell by the practice that we were skating good."

Wednesday's game with Boston will be the first time the teams have met since the Flyers overcame a three-games-to-none deficit in last season's conference semifinals.

"It was one of the top moments of my hockey career, to come back like we did. It was unbelievable," Hartnell said. "For [the Bruins], it was a terrible ending to their season, and I'm sure it hurt to see us go to the Finals. . . . They're going to be all fired up, but at the same time, it's been a long time since that, and I'm sure a lot of wounds have healed."

Breakaways. The Flyers will devote a lot of Tuesday's practice to the power play, which is 2 for its last 34. Laviolette hinted that Zherdev will get more power-play time. . . . Sergei Bobrovsky and the sizzling Tim Thomas are expected to be the goalie combatants Wednesday. Thomas, 36, leads the NHL in save percentage (.951) and is second in goals-against average (1.56). Bobrovsky, a 22-year-old rookie, is third in wins (12), seventh in save percentage (.926) and 10th in GAA (2.19).

Bruins center Marc Savard (post-concussion syndrome) is close to returning but is doubtful for Wednesday. . . . After a slow start, Mike Richards leads the Flyers with 25 points. . . . Chris Pronger is second in the fans' all-star voting for the two defensemen, while Sergei Bobrovksy is second among goalies. Richards (seventh) and Claude Giroux (ninth) are getting support among forwards, and Kimmo Timonen is the fifth-leading defenseman.

Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at 215-854-5181 or

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