Betts misses practice; time change for Sat. against Penguins

Blair Betts, the Flyers' fourth-line center and penalty-killing whiz, missed his second straight practice Wednesday because of a sore left knee.

GM Paul Holmgren said Betts would be available for Thursday's home game against Simon Ggane and the Tampa Bay Lightning. It will likely be a game-time decision on Betts.

If Betts can't play, Darroll Powe will slide over to center, and Andreas Nodl would likely move to RW.

Defenseman Matt Walker, bothered by a hip/groin problem, returned to practice but said he would not be able to play Thursday against his ex-teammates. He was acquired in the Gagne deal.

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Saturday's game against visiting Pittsburgh has been moved from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. to accommodate the traffic around the South Philadelphia sports complex. The Phillies play the Giants later that night in Game 1 of the NLCS at Citizens Bank Park.

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Coach Peter Laviolette would not announce his goalie for Thursday. Laviolette has rotated the goalies so far and is expected to continue the trend. If he did, Brian Boucher would start against Tampa, and Sergei "Bob" Bobrovsky would get the call Saturday against the Penguins. Bobrovsky was sharp in a 3-2 win over the Pens in last week's opener.

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Look for Gagne to get nothing but cheers Thursday as he returns after a stellar 11-year career with the Flyers.

“Simon’s a class act. Well-liked by the fans and the organization,” Laviolette said. “I’m sure he’ll get a warm reception….until he scores.”

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   Gagne said his biggest adjustment has been "all the stuff outside of hockey. It’s getting to learn the area. Getting comfortable in a new house, finding where the doctors are and stuff like that. It’s more outside the game where you have to make the adjustments. When you are at the rink, you practice and still play the same game. We have a great bunch of guys here. It’s not very different than Philly on the ice; it’s just very different off the ice for me and my family.”
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   The Flyers will salute Gagne with a first-period video tribute Thursday. Classy gesture.

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