Holmgren is not expected to watch the Flyers live again until Sunday, when they host the Penguins at the Wells Fargo Center.
Surprisingly, the Flyers' free-agent prospects aren't nearly as interesting as the debate in Boca Raton, which is expected to center on the Collective Bargaining Agreement that expires Sept. 15.
With a new agreement looming, the general managers want to know what the salary-cap picture will look like, since free agency opens on July 1 - well before the CBA's expiration date.
The salary cap's upper limit this season is $64.3 million. With the NHL's record business, reports indicate it could escalate as high as $69 million, which would be $30 million more than the initial $39 million figure instituted out of the lockout in 2005-06.
The NHL is reportedly on pace to pass $3 billion in revenue for the first time ever. Players get a 57 percent split of the revenue.
But if the NHL's 30 owners have their way, the salary-cap floor (or minimum) will be drastically lowered, the upper limit won't increase much, and players will get a split closer to the 50-50 number that NBA owners successfully wrangled last summer.
So, how is a general manager supposed to handle his budget this summer if he can't get a firm number to which he is allowed to spend?
The NBA and NFL wisely held their free-agency period after the new CBA was negotiated and signed.
Reports from ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun suggest that the NHL would issue a temporary salary-cap number before July 1. But what happens to the team that spends to the temporary limit, only to see the new CBA salary cup number set below that?
Those are the questions the general managers want answers to in Boca Raton. And for big-spending franchises like the Flyers, those answers will dictate this summer's direction. The NHL and NHL Players' Association have not yet started formal CBA negotiations, which were expected to begin after the All-Star break in January.
Also on the agenda: hits to the head, concussions, shoulder-pad modification, hybrid icing, line changes, removal of the goaltender's trapezoid, and the reinstitution of the red-line and two-line passes. Stay tuned.
Harry Z's adventures
Harry Zolnierczyk has spent a considerable amount of time in his car over the last week, logging nearly as many miles between Philadelphia and Glens Falls, N.Y., as the Flyers flew in their road game to Toronto and back.
Zolnierczyk, 24, has been living life like an elevator, up and down between the Flyers and Phantoms.
He was originally recalled on Wednesday, as a precaution in case Jaromir Jagr's hip gave him problems before Thursday's game against the Panthers. Zolnierczyk was sent back to Adirondack on Friday.
He played two games with the Phantoms, on Friday and Saturday nights, before being summoned to drive to North Jersey for last night's game against the Devils. Zolnierczyk said he arrived in Newark after 2 o'clock in the morning yesterday.
Zolnierczyk was designated both times as an "emergency recall," meaning he was forced to be sent back to Adirondack after last night's game since he was not used in the lineup. Still, Zolnierczyk isn't complaining. After playing 36 games for the Flyers this season he's just looking for another chance to crack the lineup.
"It's been a little up and down," Zolnierczyk said. "But it's always good to be up."
Teams are permitted four recalls after the trade deadline, when the 23-man roster limit is lifted, with the exception of emergency recalls. Rookie defenseman Brandon Manning is still on an emergency recall, replacing Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros, who are both "day-to-day" with lower-body injuries and were not at either game this weekend.
Eric Wellwood and Erik Gustafsson are two of the Flyers' four permitted recalls. Once the regular season ends on April 8, there is no salary-cap limit in place for the playoffs.
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