BOSTON - Left winger Dan Carcillo, who sat out four games because of an NHL suspension, returned to the Flyers' lineup last night in a 3-1 victory against the Boston Bruins. He had a game-high eight hits.
Carcillo was suspended for punching Washington's Matt Bradley in the face Dec. 5 before the player had a chance to defend himself.
Carcillo said he would do it again.
"If I waited, he hits me," he said. "I don't think it was a sucker punch. I've never sucker-punched anyone in my life. I don't need to sucker-punch Matt Bradley."
Coach Peter Laviolette said he hoped Carcillo would bring "some good, positive energy; I think he brings that to the table. He certainly brings a skating game, a physical game. He's got some skill, so it's good to have him back."
Carcillo, who lost nearly $44,000 because of the suspension - "My Christmas presents might be a little inexpensive this year," he said - started on a line with center Mike Richards and new right winger Jeff Carter. Carter, however, was double-shifted early and played center with wingers Jon Kalinski and Ian Laperriere.
Laviolette said he met with Carcillo the other day and told him he needed to be more in control.
"I just want him to play his game," Laviolette said. "We can't be undisciplined. Can we hit? Yeah. Can we fight? Yeah. But we can't put ourselves before the team and have to kill penalties. Those penalties have cost us since I've been here."
Carcillo's take on the meeting: "That I have to play within myself, get in hard on the forecheck, take bodies, and play the same way I have been, minus the dumb penalty I took the last game. It's behind me."
Defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen also returned to action, but he did not last long. Tollefsen, who had not played since Nov. 7, suffered a sprained knee in the second period and did not return.
Tollefsen will be sidelined for at least three more weeks, general manager Paul Holmgren said.
The Flyers said they would call up Danny Syvret from the AHL's Phantoms.
Tollefsen missed 16 games - two because of a concussion, 14 because he was a healthy scratch. Replacing Braydon Coburn in the lineup, he was paired with Oskars Bartulis.
Coburn is listed as day-to-day with an injured right ankle. An MRI exam in Philadelphia yesterday was negative, Holmgren said.
Blair Betts (shoulder), Darroll Powe (shoulder), and Simon Gagne (hernia and abdominal surgery) are close to returning, the Flyers said. "Possibly, sometime this week," Laviolette said. "They're certainly on the radar."
All three will be examined in Philadelphia tomorrow, at which point it will be determined when they can return, Holmgren said.
Betts, whose team's penalty-killing unit has fallen dramatically without him, seems the closest. Entering last night, the Flyers were 10-3 with him in the lineup, 4-12-1 without him.
The Flyers play in Pittsburgh tonight. They play the Penguins twice in the next three nights. . . . Several of James van Riemsdyk's former University of New Hampshire teammates were at last night's game.
- Sam Carchidi