CHICAGO - Dan Carcillo said sitting in the stands watching his teammates take the ice for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Blackhawks Saturday night was "the most bitter pill" he's ever swallowed.
Last night, for the first time in three games, Carcillo was back - at the expense of rookie forward James van Riemsdyk, who was scratched instead.
"It's probably the hardest thing I've had to do," Carcillo said before playing a little over 11 minutes in a 2-1 loss to the Blackhawks in Game 2. "I'm the kind of guy that likes to wear his emotions on his sleeve. It was hard, but you always want to see the team do well, and you're still a part of the team."
Yesterday afternoon, it was the 21-year-old van Riemsdyk - who had just three goals in his last 38 games - who was echoing the same sentiments. Van Riemsdyk had two goals and two assists in the Flyers' first 18 playoff games.
"When you lose, you're obviously trying to shake things up a little bit," van Riemsdyk said before the game. "I don't know. It [was] up to him [coach Peter Laviolette]. Obviously, everyone wants to contribute at this time of year. But everyone puts the team before their own personal agendas. When you do that, it leads to good things."
Laviolette decided to break up his third line of van Riemsdyk, Claude Giroux and Arron Asham and moved Simon Gagne into van Riemsdyk's spot. That bumped Carcillo back up to his regular first-line spot with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.
Laviolette also swapped out defenseman Ryan Parent - who played just 41 seconds and was on the ice for a Blackhawks goal - for Oskars Bartulis.
Last night was a tough time to introduce van Riemsdyk to the concept of a healthy scratch. He never had been scratched before in his professional career.
Van Riemsdyk has been - fairly or unfairly - juxtaposed with Blackhawks star Patrick Kane, the player picked before him as No. 1 overall in the 2007 NHL draft.
Last night, van Riemsdyk watched from the stands. Kane is one of Chicago's leading scorers in the playoffs. Van Riemsdyk knows there is work to be done to reach Kane's level.
"In the playoffs, the level goes up every game," van Riemsdyk said. "It's still a learning experience for me. This is my first time here. It's my first season still. I'm still learning everything that goes on here."
Defenseman Lukas Krajicek, who skipped Sunday's practice after being boarded in the second period of Game 1 by Adam Burish, played last night.
There was initial concern that Krajicek may have gotten his bell rung after being checked from behind.
"When I got hit in the second period, my back kind of gave out a little bit for a few minutes," Krajicek said before last night's game. "There was nothing wrong with my head but I got hit weird in my shoulders and my back."
Krajicek said the rest did wonders. Peter Laviolette was critical of Burish's hit - for which the Blackhawks right winger received a 2-minute penalty - calling it "dangerous."
The Flyers have lost seven straight in the Stanley Cup finals dating back to J.J. Daigneault's game-winning goal in Game 6 against the Edmonton Oilers in the 1987 finals at the Spectrum. The Flyers then lost Game 7 in Edmonton and were swept in four straight against Detroit in 1997 . . . The Flyers are now 0-6 against the Blackhawks in the playoffs . . . Saturday's Game 1 was the highest-scoring Stanley Cup finals game in 18 years . . . Chris Pronger (four goals, 12 assists) is just two points away from tying a Flyers' playoff record for a defenseman. Doug Crossman had 18 points in 26 games in 1987.