EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - Winger Jody Shelley was suspended by the NHL, again, and defenseman Erik Gustafsson was promoted from the AHL's Phantoms during an eventful Wednesday afternoon for the Flyers.

Gustafsson, a native of Sweden, was recalled in case injured defenseman Kimmo Timonen cannot play Thursday night in Los Angeles.

Shelley received his second two-game suspension in less than three weeks. His latest suspension was handed out because he punched an unsuspecting Andrew Alberts in the face late in the Flyers' 6-2 loss in Vancouver Tuesday.

Alberts, a former Flyer, crumpled to the ice.

"I don't like losing Jody," coach Peter Laviolette said after the team practiced Wednesday in suburban Los Angeles. "He's a character player in the locker room and on the ice."

Shelley will forfeit nearly $27,000 in salary because of the suspension, and Dan Carcillo will take his spot in the lineup Thursday against the Kings and Friday in Anaheim.

"I said this the last time, that that's why they do it. They want you to feel sick," Shelley said of league officials. "And I feel sick."

Shelley said he thought Alberts was about to throw a punch.

"The guy was straight up, coming at me, and I thought it was a situation where I was going to fight and I threw a little punch," said Shelley, who was also suspended because of an illegal hit in Boston on Dec. 11. "They have their reasons and I respect their decision" for the suspension.

Alberts never threw a punch.

"I thought I was getting into a fight, and when you're in a fight, you either eat one or throw one," Shelley said. "I thought I was in a fight, so I threw a quick one. It wasn't a big one."

Added Shelley: "When you're in that heat of the moment, several things go through your head. One of the things is, 'Don't do anything stupid,' and then you're trying to protect yourself and protect your teammates. But when you have someone pushing you from behind, you don't know what's going on behind you or to the side of you. . . . The referee saw it and wrote it up."

Shelley got a match penalty for intent to injure.

Shelley added that "I don't try to play like an idiot. I don't try to put my team in a bad situation."

Gustafsson, 22, a Northern Michigan University product, will be in Thursday's lineup Thursday if Timonen can't play. Timonen was injured Tuesday and did not play the final 12 minutes. The 35-year-old defenseman sat out Wednesday's practice and had a slight limp as he walked around the locker room. He wore a brace on his left ankle.

"Right now, I'm planning on Kimmo in the lineup" on Thursday, Laviolette said.

Timonen at first said he thought he would play Thursday, then amended it and said there was a 50-50 chance.

"I'll take the morning skate and see how it feels," said Timonen, aware that the defense is already depleted because of Chris Pronger's broken foot.

Timonen said the injury was not serious. At the worst, he said, he would miss one game and play Friday.

"It's nothing really bad, but it's tight and sore," he said.

Gustafsson, a 5-foot-10, 180-pounder who was signed as a free agent in March, has never played in the NHL. He leads the Adirondack Phantoms - and AHL defensemen - with 26 points, including 22 assists.

The Flyers are trying to rebound from their worst back-to-back performances in recent memory - a 5-0 loss to Florida and the lopsided defeat in Vancouver.