Flyers' vets make rookies pay; Walker clears

Flyers winger Sean Couturier has been one of the more impressive rookies in the NHL this season. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

UPDATE (12:15pm EST): Defenseman Matt Walker has cleared re-entry waivers. He is with the team in Anaheim and is available for Peter Laviolette's lineup tonight. The Flyers did not have a morning skate today.
ANAHEIM, Calif. --
With 7 rookies on the Flyers’ roster, they were bound to be targeted by the veterans at some point during the season.

Just a couple weeks ago, we wrote about the fun the Flyers’ veterans might soon have with their rookie teammates. Well, the Flyers held their annual rookie dinner on Tuesday night in the Newport Beach, Calif., area.

That meant first year players like Zac Rinaldo, Brayden Schenn, Harry Zolnierczyk, Sean Couturier, Matt Read, Kevin Marshall and Marc-Andre Bourdon were left with the check.

That’s especially tough for players like Marshall and Bourdon, who have only been collecting an NHL-sized paycheck for a little more than a week. So, the Flyers gave those two guys the flexibility of paying next year.

Instead, Bourdon said they both obliged to lessen the load on their rookie counterparts. They likely earned some props in the process.

“I decided to pay,” Bourdon said. “I think it was a good choice because there are a lot of rookies and it came out cheaper. I just wanted to feel a part of the team.”

Bourdon said it cost “a couple grand,” which is a sizable portion of his normal $65,000 salary in the AHL. He’ll make up for it in his stay with the Flyers, which looks like it could be longer than even he originally planned. Bourdon makes $4,730 per day with the Flyers, which has already added up to $37,840 in his 8 days on the roster.

BOOTING SCHENN: When Brayden Schenn returns to the Flyers’ lineup on Friday night against Anaheim, he will do so wearing a clear, protective boot over his skate.

Schenn’s custom molded boot will try and minimize the impact of a shot or slash against his fractured foot. He is still looking for his first NHL goal.

For some players, the boot is a hindrance to their skating and turning. The Flyers’ players regularly add them onto their skates in practice for drills (like the penalty kill) that involve shots in harms way, but players rarely wear them during a game.

“Everyone skates differently,” Schenn said. “For me, I just tell myself that I have to wear one. I’ve got to keep my foot protected. I can’t let the puck [get close]. To be honest, it’s fitted to my skate and I can’t even tell. There’s so light, you can barely tell.”

BRYZ BACK: Nearly a week after he said he was sick, Ilya Bryzgalov is expected to get the call in net tonight for the Flyers. Bryzgalov, who has been on the bench for 5 out of the Flyers’ last 7 games, notified the media on Wednesday that he was struggling with an illness.

Bryzgalov would not say, however, whether it impacted coach Peter Laviolette’s decision to run with Sergei Bobrovsky.

“I don’t know, maybe it’s just a coincidence,” Bryzgalov said on Wednesday. “I’m just telling you, I was sick.”

Peter Laviolette would not announce his starting goaltender on Thursday, but all signs point to Bryzgalov. He would not also lend credence to the fact that Bryzgalov’s health over the last week played a role into his starter’s decision.

“I think there’s something to be said for rewarding a player who does well,” Laviolette said Wednesday. “Bryz is our No. 1 goalie ... It’s a long season, and I’m sure there will be another opportunity for Bob to steal a couple games in a row. He’ll come in and do the job and we’ll reward him by putting him back in the net.”

The biggest question of the road trip is whether Bryzgalov plays both ends of the back-to-back against his former teams, both Anaheim and Phoenix. They are separated by less than an hour’s flight and Saturday’s game against Phoenix is less than 24 hours after the contest in Anaheim.

STRANGE STARTS: Bruce Boudreau’s first game as an NHL coach was against the Flyers on Nov. 23, 2007 - when his Capitals, then ranked dead last in the NHL, topped the Flyers, 4-3, in overtime.

Nicklas Backstrom scored the game-winner. Boudreau was the Capitals’ interim head coach, having earned the title early on Black Friday as the former Hershey Bears head coach before the Flyers’ annual matinee game.

On Friday, Boudreau’s first game as the Ducks head coach will also be against the Flyers.

If that wasn’t strange enough: Peter Laviolette’s first game as the Flyers’ coach on Dec. 4, 2010 was against Boudreau and the Capitals.

Boudreau is an astounding 201-88-40 since that game in 2007 at the then-Wachovia Center. The Flyers are 6-6-4 in franchise history against Boudreau. Exactly 7 of those games have gone past regulation time and 9 of them were 1-goal games.

THE IRONY: Just a few miles north of Anaheim, a former Flyer had a tough night at the Staples Center. Kings forward Mike Richards was knocked out of Thursday's game against the Panthers after a fierce hit from Florida's Sean Bergenheim.

It was Richards, if you remember, who caught Florida's David Booth (who has since been traded to Vancouver) with a nasty hit in 2009 that sparked controversy throughout the league. Richards was not suspended. But after watching the hit on video, Richards said he would not have made the same hit again, choosing to let up with a player in a vulnerable position and the puck readily available to be stripped without a bone-crunching hit.

On Thursday, it was Richards who was the recipient. He left the game with a non-descript, "upper-body" injury. Richards had been on fire, posting 10 points in his previous 10 games. He had also been riding a 5-game goal streak that was snapped earlier in the week.

PROJECTED LINEUP: Subject to change, but here are the Flyers' lines I am projecting for their matchup agains the Ducks: (Flyers did not have morning skate at Honda Center)

Hartnell - Giroux - Jagr
Simmonds - Briere - Read
Schenn - Talbot - Voracek
Zolnierczyk - Couturier - Rinaldo

Coburn - Timonen
Carle - Bourdon
Walker - Meszaros


Scratches: James van Riemsdyk (injured), Kevin Marshall (healthy), Jody Shelley (healthy).

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers