BUFFALO - John Stevens is getting used to juggling his lines.
He doesn't have a choice. Just like last season when the Flyers sustained injury after injury, the locker room would be better served with a revolving door.
Over the past three games, the Flyers have gone from a full, healthy team to being down three regular forwards due to injury and trade. Called up from the Phantoms yesterday to fill the holes were forwards Darren Reid, 23, and Stefan Ruzicka, 22. Neither player had a point in the Flyers' 6-3 loss to the Sabres last night.
It's an opportunity to see if the younger players in the organization can hold their own, and to see if the players who are on the roster can handle more important roles.
"This is something I'm used to from the [AHL] and something I'm getting used to in the [NHL]," Stevens said. "It just creates opportunities. We have meetings at different points during the year and every guy leaves that meeting saying he wants more ice time, wants more minutes, wants more opportunity. And now they're going to get that - if it's guys that are here that are going to play more or guys that are going to come up and play. If they treat it like an opportunity, good things happen."
Every player that comes up from the Phantoms knows that, including Reid, especially with a team that is taking a hard look at younger players in the face of a bad season and a rebuilding summer.
"Once you get the call they know what you can do, so you've got to take your skills to your advantage and use them," Reid said. "I think they're expecting not a lot out of me but a lot of what I can bring, and it's a little bit of an audition.
"I'm just going to play the way I've been playing with the Phantoms. Fortunately they gave me the call to come up."
This is Reid's second time with the Flyers this season. He was up for two games in December but scored no points and was a minus-1. Since being sent back to the AHL, he has done well.
"My last month has been my best month I've had yet this season so far and hopefully I can just keep playing," he said.
Stevens said he's glad to get another look at Reid. "We've had him before and we like what we saw. He's a big guy that skates well and gets in on the forecheck. He keeps his game pretty simple, but he's got really good hands for that kind of a role. He went back to the Phantoms and put up pretty good offensive numbers.