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“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.””
November 30 Camden Courier-Post:
“With gifted offensive players like Jeff Carter, Danny Briere, Mike Richards, Claude Giroux, Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros, the Flyers‘ power play should be ranked among the top five in the NHL.
Instead, it’s in a 2-for-34 funk and sits 13th in the league at 17.1 percent. In the Flyers‘ 10 losses this season (0-6-4), their power play has gone 2-for-41.
With a much-needed three-day break in the schedule leading up to Wednesday night’s visit by the Boston Bruins, the Flyers will devote much of today’s practice to working on the man-advantage.
“Sometimes the simplest power play is the most effective,” said Scott Hartnell, who netted eight power-play goals last season and has 54 in his career, but none this year. “You’ve got Pronger blasting it from up top, Kimmo getting the puck through. Both those guys have great shots. And you have Danny B. there and myself trying to (deflect) pucks and Giroux, when he’s in front of the net.”
Last season, 13 players scored power-play goals for the Flyers, with Richards and Carter leading the way with 13 and 11, respectively.
This season, six players have scored on the man-advantage, led by Giroux’s six goals. Richards and Carter have combined for only five power-play goals.
Lately, the Flyers have had trouble entering the offensive zone.
“We didn’t do a really good job lately of coming up the ice, supporting each other and retrieving pucks,” said Briere, who is second on the club with four power-play goals.
November 30 Philadelphia Daily News:
“The debate about which Flyers line resides at the top of Peter Laviolette’s depth chart could rage on for days. Is it Danny Briere’s line with Ville Leino and Scott Hartnell? Is it Claude Giroux’s line with Jeff Carter and Nik Zherdev?
On most nights, it varies from period to period or goal to goal.
For the last six games, it has been any line that includes Mike Richards.
“I think Richards has played terrific,” Laviolette said yesterday as the Flyers returned to practice after a well-deserved day off on Sunday. “I think a lot of times that flies under the radar – that he has been outstanding.
“He is now our leading scorer. He draws the toughest opponents, on a nightly basis. He’s called to do all jobs on this team: five-on-three both ways, five-on-four both ways, checking assignments, faceoffs.”
That list could go on.
“There is a lot that is asked of him,” Laviolette said.
Most noticeably, Richards was paired up with players like Andreas Nodl, who many wrote off as a scorer, and James van Riemsdyk, who couldn’t score to save his spot on the roster. Richards has brought them back to life.
Richards’ do-it-all mentality – from digging out pucks in the corners to feed his teammates to forcing turnovers in the defensive zone to create a rush – has allowed van Riemsdyk and Nodl to pick up most of the headlines recently.
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