Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren was lost for an immediate answer. Rookie center Sean Couturier left the game after being hit in the head by a slap shot with 48.7 seconds left in the first period of Saturday's 6-0 loss to the visiting Boston Bruins, and Holmgren was asked what he was going to do for centers.
"I don't know," Holmgren said.
Nobody could blame him.
Centers Claude Giroux and Brayden Schenn continue to recover from concussions. Couturier's immediate status wasn't known. He was taken to Pennsylvania Hospital.
"I have to count the guys we got here," Holmgren said. "We do have some flexibility. Matt Read could play center."
There is no timetable for the return of Schenn and Giroux.
"Obviously, Schenn and Giroux are probably not options here for the near future, so I'm not sure. We'll have to talk about that."
With Schenn and Giroux sidelined and defenseman Chris Pronger declared out for the season because of a concussion, the Flyers are holding their breath on Couturier, who was screening goalie Tim Thomas and hit in the back of the head by a slap shot from teammate Kimmo Timonen.
"It is very scary getting a puck in the head," center Danny Briere said. "I talked to him a little bit between periods, and he didn't feel too bad, but not all that great, either."
Before sending Couturier to the hospital, the Flyers examined him.
"The testing we do, he did really well," Holmgren said. "Whatever the test they do, his scores were same as they were in training camp."
Of course we've seen that an early positive prognosis doesn't always mean much.
"I think it's more, what they're checking for now, is just damage to the skull and obviously checking him out to see if there's any internal damage," Holmgren said.
Now the key is for coach Peter Laviolette to keep together a Flyers team that is tied with the Bruins on top of the Eastern Conference with 43 points.
"You see something like that happen to anybody and your heart stops for a second and feel that feeling in the pit of your stomach, but especially such a young player like that who has really done all the right things for us this year," Laviolette said. "We hope that he is OK and it's nothing too serious."
The Flyers' loss was their most lopsided shutout defeat at home since a 6-0 loss to Tampa Bay on Jan. 28, 2006.