Flyers Notes

DENVER - Nine Flyers players had never been to Colorado for an NHL game, so the Mile High City's altitude was a hot topic before last night's contest against the Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.

"Because of the elevation, we have to keep shifts short," coach

John Stevens

said.

"We were up to 54 seconds some games," Stevens said. "We want it 40 seconds or under."

"We want to get four lines early, keep the shifts short, and manage the minutes as a group, especially early in the game," he said. "Under 40 would be terrific."

It's not as easy as you'd think. Against Minnesota this week, winger

Sami Kapanen

was caught on the ice for an extended shift and ended up having to stay out for two shifts. Since most of the Flyers were not used to playing in the thin air, Stevens emphasized "smart" line changes before the game.

"You have to change when you can and not when you have to," he told the players. "When you're tired and have to change, you can't do that. Change when you can."

If

Danny Briere's

line was on the ice for 30 seconds and had the puck in the neutral zone, Stevens wanted it to dump the puck and change - not try to take an added offensive rush and get tired in transition.

"Get pucks deep and get off the ice," he said.

Loose pucks

Briere's availability was "probable" right up to game time, but the center played. He had taken a shot off his foot at practice Thursday and was experiencing pain. Briere missed yesterday's optional skate. . . . Defenseman

Lasse Kukkonen

missed a second game nursing a leg injury. . . . The Flyers posed with their pets Monday for the program of the Flyers Wives Fight for Lives Carnival. Defenseman

Kimmo Timonen

doesn't own a pet, so what did he do? He borrowed Comcast-Spectacor president

Peter Luukko's

dog, Gordie. "He's Finnish and my ancestors are Finnish, so we kind of look out for each other," Luukko said. . . . The Flyers have no interest in claiming

Mark Recchi

, Luukko said. Pittsburgh placed the winger on reentry waivers. The Flyers' cap number is more than $49 million. The limit is $50.3 million.

- Tim Panaccio