SAM GAGNER didn't watch Saturday's 7-1 thrashing in Florida from the press box. A healthy scratch for the second game in a row, a first in his career, Gagner watched on a television downstairs while getting in a workout.
Gagner, 26, was brought in this offseason in a trade with Arizona, one in which the Flyers rid themselves of defenseman Nicklas Grossmann and the contract of Chris Pronger. This isn't the role the former sixth overall pick had in mind when he came to Philadelphia, his third team in what is his ninth NHL season.
"I want to be a part of things," Gagner said. "I definitely think I can help. So it's frustrating. I want to be out there helping my team."
Gagner, who is in the final year of his contract, making $3.2 million this season, was told before the season by coach Dave Hakstol that he was on the outside looking in, like Vincent Lecavalier, when it came to the forward group's four lines. He had played all three forward positions in the preseason.
"I thought I had, not a great camp, but a good enough camp to be in the lineup," Gagner said. "So the motivation is there and I want to be out there helping my teammates and helping it be a playoff team, and that's my main focus.
"I feel like I've kept a good attitude, pushed myself in practice to stay ready and hopefully when the opportunity comes I can get in there and stay in there for good."
Might that opportunity come tonight, when the Flyers host those same Panthers in the home opener at Wells Fargo Center?
Winger R.J. Umberger did not practice yesterday. The Flyers called it a "maintenance day" for Umberger, who had been playing on a line with Scott Laughton and Matt Read. With Umberger not practicing, Wayne Simmonds replaced him while Gagner skated with Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn.
Hakstol said no lineup decisions had been made yet, but last time a Flyers player had a "maintenance day" it was backup goalie Michal Neuvirth, who was actually banged up. So it will be interesting to see if Umberger is on the ice at today's morning skate and what transpires in the event Umberger can't go.
Saturday's embarrassing loss was followed by a players-only meeting in the locker room . . . Dave Hakstol stressed that nobody was overreacting afterward and reiterated that yesterday. "There's no way to make anything light out of a loss like (Saturday) night but it's one loss," Hakstol said. "What happened doesn't sit well with anybody. Nobody likes what happened." . . . Wayne Simmonds had this to say less than 24 hours after the defeat: "We know we messed up and we're professionals in here," Simmonds said. "We gotta swing this thing going the other way quickly." . . . Steve Mason, who said allowing four goals in less than seven minutes was the worst start of his career, is expected to be back in the net tonight. Hakstol said: " 'Mase' is our guy. I'll leave that at that." . . . After tonight's home opener against Florida, the Flyers take on the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks Wednesday night at home, when Kimmo Timonen's retirement ceremony takes place.