Laviolette said he thought it was important to have the meeting and for Zherdev "to start over, and start out fresh. Today was a good day. He worked really hard."
The winger's work ethic - in practice and in games - has been questioned by management throughout the season.
Perhaps it was Friday's heart-to-heart talk. Or perhaps it was the humbling experience of having every NHL team decline a waiver claim for him. Whatever the reason, Zherdev seemed to have a different attitude during and after practice.
"Right now, I stay here and stay working," said Zherdev, a healthy scratch the last seven games. "I'm trying to work hard."
"I think he does want to be here," Holmgren said. "We told him what he needs to do to get back in the lineup, and what he needs to do to stay in the lineup when he does get back in. As you guys know, he's not the most vocal or outspoken guy. I know he understands what's being said to him.
"The ball's in his court now. He needs to work his way back into the lineup."
Zherdev said he would accept a demotion to Adirondack. The Flyers were going to send him to the Phantoms on Monday, but that plan may be scrapped.
"I talked to this coach, and coach told me what I need to do and I'll start doing it," said Zherdev before accompanying the team to Ottawa.
Stunningly, Zherdev - who has 15 goals in just 47 games - could be back in the Flyers' plans.
A few days ago, that seemed as unlikely as Bob Clarke dressing for this year's playoffs.
Center Blair Betts, who has missed three games with a lacerated left ring finger, did not make the trip to Ottawa for Saturday night's game. Betts is expected to return to the lineup Thursday against visiting Toronto.
At Friday's practice, Betts wore a yellow (do not touch) jersey, and said he didn't have enough strength in the hand yet.
Holmgren, reiterating he was happy with his team's makeup, said chances were "slim" that the Flyers would make a deal before Monday's 3 p.m. trade deadlines. . . . Defenseman Erik Gustafsson was recalled from Adirondack in case Chris Pronger (hand injury) can't play Saturday.
- Sam Carchidi