Riley Cote and Arron Asham have been waiting. Not necessarily for an injury but just a chance to get in the lineup.

At least one player will get that opportunity tonight against the hated Pittsburgh Penguins, with Blair Betts sidelined for a minimum of 4 weeks with a dislocated right shoulder. But both players could see the ice if James van Riemsdyk isn't ready to go after getting his bell rung on Tuesday against Washington.

"Injuries happen in sports," Cote said after yesterday's light practice. "The guys are upbeat, we're playing well. There is nothing to hang our heads about. We just need to be ready to go."

Van Riemsdyk did not skate yesterday but did perform light exercises at the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J., after finishing his concussion-symptom baseline tests.

"I feel a lot better today. I'm sure that's a good sign," said van Riemsdyk, who did not have a headache or any pain overnight on Tuesday. "It's just one of those things where you have to see how you feel.

"They checked on how I felt . . . and asked little questions about how I felt. I'm going to go to the rink [today] and see how I feel. We'll see what happens."

The Flyers were cautious to send van Riemsdyk back on the ice on Tuesday. He only skated two shifts after Milan Jurcina sent him crashing into the boards. Van Riemsdyk, who has three assists in his first three NHL games, said he "didn't feel 100 percent right" and just wanted to "play it safe."

"James was better [yesterday]," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. "We'll just re-evaluate him [today] and it will be a day-to-day thing with him. Any type of head trauma, there is a battery of tests we run."

Betts fell awkwardly on his stick after an important defensive-zone faceoff with just 40 seconds remaining in the third period. He wasn't able to take an MRI exam yesterday because he couldn't lift his arm over his head. Once the swelling recedes and Betts' range of motion returns, Holmgren expects the MRI to confirm their diagnosis.

The longer that takes, the longer Betts could be out of the lineup. Holmgren added that surgery for Betts is "not likely."

"As I said [Tuesday], he will be out for a minimum of 4 weeks," Holmgren said, hinting that it could be longer.

With Betts out, Ian Laperriere will likely assume some of his faceoff and penalty-killing duties. Betts provided a big presence on special teams. Laperriere started in training camp as a center but moved to the wing with Betts.

"I never really left taking the faceoffs," Laperriere said. "Bettsy was doing so well, he was like winning every one, so I just said, 'You take it.'

"We have plenty of guys that can kill penalties. Mika [Pyorala] has been great and Claude [Giroux] has been doing it, too."

The Flyers did not recall any extra players from Adirondack.

"All I can do is be ready," Cote said. "And when I get a chance, take advantage of it."

"[Asham] has been a good player," Holmgren said. "He played in most of our games last year. It's just one of those things where they are the odd men out. And Riley is Riley. If both of those guys are in the lineup tomorrow, I have no problem with that. Both of those guys are favorites in the locker room for what they bring to the team.

"It's a can't-lose situation for us."

Slap shots

Defenseman Danny Syvret skated with the forwards in practice yesterday but coach John Stevens said to not read too much into that. Syvret was apparently just there to even out the lines. Syvret said he last played forward when he was 8 years old . . . Stevens did not know when seventh defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen will see his first game action. He could play tonight if the Flyers choose his size and grit against the Penguins over Syvret's speed and puck-moving ability . . . More than 700 tickets remain for tonight's game. *

For more news and analysis, read Frank Seravalli's blog, Frequent Flyers, at

http://go.philly.com/frequentflyers.