ST. PAUL, Minn. - Flyers goalie Steve Mason will not be sidelined for a long time, general manager Ron Hextall said Tuesday after the team's morning skate.

Mason, one of the Flyers' best players this season, has missed the last three games with an apparent back injury. He visited a specialist in Philadelphia on Tuesday, and Hextall was pleased with the results.

The GM said Mason will not play Saturday in Nashville but will make the trip with the team. Best-case scenario: He returns to play Monday in Arizona.

"The time line is that hopefully he skates in Nashville, and we'll go from there and see how it feels," Hextall said. ". . . I'm confident he will not be out long."

Ray Emery started Tuesday in Minnesota. Rob Zepp, who on Sunday became the oldest goalie to win his NHL debut since 1926, was the backup.

Berube on Byfuglien

Flyers coach Craig Berube and Winnipeg's massive defenseman, Dustin Byfuglien, got into a shouting match on the ice after the Flyers' 4-3 overtime win Sunday.

Berube said Tuesday he was upset with a "high elbow" Byfuglien gave to captain Claude Giroux. Byfuglien delivered several jarring hits on Giroux, Jake Voracek, and Brayden Schenn.

"Giroux and Jake and those guys are going to get checked," Berube said. "They're great players, and the thing that impressed me the most is that they played through it and they eventually took Byfuglien off the puck and scored the [winning] goal."

The coach said the Flyers do not need an enforcer but need to play with a physical edge. "Those days are over, boys," he said of having an enforcer protect his star players.


Voracek, who took a league-high 44 points into Tuesday, dropped to 20th in the fans' latest all-star voting. Giroux, third in the league with 40 points entering Tuesday, fell to 30th in the voting. The fans' voting ends Jan. 1. . . . The Flyers will not practice Wednesday, Thursday or Friday because of the holiday. They'll play Saturday in Nashville against former coach Peter Laviolette. . . . Zac Rinaldo participated in the morning skate but missed his second straight game because of an upper-body injury, Hextall said. . . . During this eight-game road trip, the Flyers will travel 7,297 miles.