The NHL's rinks are smaller than those in Europe, and the players are faster and more talented.

But Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who has been thrust into the role of second-line center until Vinny Lecavalier returns from a foot injury, said the biggest difference is the NHL's hectic schedule, which isn't as regimented as when the Parisian played in Sweden for the previous eight seasons.

The Flyers have played two sets of back-to-back games, and the schedule is more crowded than in Sweden, where teams play Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

"So you know what to do to make yourself in shape for every game," Bellemare said before the Flyers faced the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. "Here, it's something I'm still learning. You don't want to do too much off the ice [on off days] and not do too little. I'm still getting used to it."

Bellemare, 29, who had a goal and a plus-two rating in his first eight games, has done his best work on the penalty-killing unit, but he believes he should be doing more on the second line, alongside Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds. Bellemare began the year centering the fourth line, and he will go back to that unit when Lecavalier returns.

"I'm not really impressed with the way I've addressed the chance," Bellemare said. "It's a process, and those guys are so skilled that they need to get more pucks out of me."

"In his defense, we moved him up pretty quick. I would have liked to have seen him where he was at a little longer," coach Craig Berube said.


Lecavalier continues to make progress, and he will make the trip to Florida, but Berube said he was not sure he coulc play Thursday against his former team, Tampa Bay. . . . The Kings dressed just 19 players instead of 20 because of Anze Kopitar's injury and salary-cap problems caused by Slava Voynov's suspension.

Flyers Notes:


The Flyers' Bellemare has faced an adjustment to the NHL schedule. D5