Flyers winger Scottie Upshall will be sidelined for 10 to 14 days after suffering a slightly sprained right knee in Sunday's 3-2 shoot-out loss in New Jersey, general manager Paul Holmgren said yesterday.
Upshall was injured early in the second period when he collided with the Devils' Bobby Holik. He did not return to the game.
The Flyers are banged up on the front line. Center Danny Briere is out until early January with a groin injury, and center Glen Metropolit has missed the last two games with a slightly strained lower back.
Holmgren, whose team hosts Ottawa tonight, said he would not know until today if the Flyers would recall a player (Andreas Nodl?) from the Phantoms to replace Upshall.
"It depends on Metro," he said.
Metropolit has been improving and may be able to play tonight. If he cannot, there's also a chance the Flyers will dress defenseman Lasse Kukkonen and move him to the front line.
Holmgren said Briere was "coming along nicely" and would join the club in Vancouver on Dec. 30. He is not expected to be able to play until Jan. 2 (in Anaheim) or Jan. 3 (in Los Angeles).
Before Briere returns, the Flyers will have to clear about $2 million to fit him under the $56.7 million salary cap.
"We're looking at a lot of different things," Holmgren said. "There are a lot of different scenarios and I wouldn't rule anything out, but we're not at a critical point yet."
The Flyers have eight healthy defensemen - nine when the injured Ryan Parent returns - and there is a chance that someone will be traded to free cap space. Randy Jones ($2.75 million salary) is among the candidates.
Biron update. Marty Biron has missed the last four games because of the flu, and coach John Stevens said he would not decide until today whether the goalie would face defensive-minded Ottawa tonight. About 700 tickets remain for the game.
The Flyers had yesterday off, but Biron, Parent (recovering from shoulder surgery) and Briere skated.
If Biron does not play tonight, he would return Friday in Chicago, Stevens said.
Ottawa is just 12-14-5 and at the bottom of the Northeast standings, but the Senators scored a 4-1 win over the Flyers in the teams' Nov. 6 meeting.
Special-teams report. The Flyers have allowed at least one power-play goal in seven of their last eight games.
Conversely, the Flyers' power play is thriving; the team has scored 17 goals with the man advantage in their last 10 games.
Breakaways. Luca Sbisa, a healthy scratch Sunday in New Jersey, will return to the lineup tonight, Stevens said, adding that it was good to give the 18-year-old defenseman "a mental break" for one game. . . . The NHL named Jeff Carter its "second star" of the week after he scored four goals and added three assists in four games. Entering last night's games, the center was the league's top scorer with 25 goals and was tied for the league lead in shorthanded goals (four) and game-winners (five). The NHL did not put Carter on its all-star ballot. . . . In the last two games, Carter's line, which includes Scott Hartnell and Joffrey Lupul, has scored eight of the team's nine goals and accounted for 17 points.
Mike Richards is pointless in the last three games, his longest drought of the season. . . . In a survey of NHL players, the ice at the Wachovia Center was ranked as the league's third best, behind only Edmonton and Detroit, which play in single-team arenas. The Wachovia Center, of course, also is the 76ers' home. . . . The Phantoms have reduced ticket prices for fans 14 and under to $5 for the rest of the season.