Flyers Notes

Things did not go smoothly on the Flyers' charter flight to Chicago yesterday morning.

The flight was diverted to a different airport, and the traveling party had to endure an unsettling announcement.

"We only have 40 minutes of fuel left," the pilot announced as the plane circled Midway Airport after another one slid off a taxiway and got stuck in snow on the shoulder. ("I wish he didn't tell us that," a member of the traveling party said.)

The Flyers' plane eventually landed at another airport, O'Hare, but the team had to wait for a bus that had been sent to Midway. Behind schedule, the team missed its morning skate. (The Blackhawks had theirs.)

"We were hovering over the airport for an hour and a half," coach

John Stevens

said. "We didn't get to the hotel till noon, Chicago time, so there was no way we could get here" for the morning skate.

The Flyers were coming off a two-day break, so missing the morning skate was not advantageous.

"The schedule is what it is and you have to deal with it," Stevens said. "I think whether we skated this morning or not, it was going to be a real challenge - mental, not physical."

Breakaways

Defenseman

Ryan Parent

, recovering from shoulder surgery, did not make the trip but was "close to returning," Stevens said, adding that Parent would first do a rehabilitation stint with the Phantoms. Parent can join the Phantoms tomorrow. "He needs to get playing," general manager

Paul Holmgren

said. . . .

Danny Briere

, out with a groin injury, will meet his teammates tonight in Columbus and travel with them to Vancouver, Los Angeles and Anaheim. Stevens said Briere would skate with the team, but he was not sure whether the center would be able to play during the trip. To add Briere, the Flyers will have to clear about $2 million in cap space. . . . Defensemen

Andrew Alberts

and

Lasse Kukkonen

, and left winger

Jon Kalinski

, were healthy scratches last night.

- Sam Carchidi