BOSTON - After acquiring goalie Martin Biron from Buffalo on Tuesday, the Flyers made it known that they planned to give him two things - plenty of playing time and a new contract.
Biron will make his Flyers debut in goal tonight against the Boston Bruins at TD Banknorth Garden. Coach John Stevens put the goalie through his first practice with the team yesterday at Harvard's Alexander H. Bright Hockey Center.
"Clearly, Biron is here and he is going to get in the net here," Stevens said after a brisk workout. "We brought him here for a reason, and he is going to play."
"I was pumped up for practice, and that doesn't happen too often," said Biron, who was acquired for a second-round pick in the 2007 entry draft. "You go up there and want to get as many shots and get the feel of it. It was exciting to take the plane out of Buffalo and meet the team here."
"I'm sure when I get on the ice [for the game], it is going to be extra special," Biron said. "But everything leading up to it is going to be normal and I will get myself ready."
Biron, 29, can be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, so this is a testing ground for him and the Flyers.
The Flyers are convinced that he has the talent to be a No. 1 goalie, even though he was stuck behind Ryan Miller in Buffalo.
This season, Biron is 12-4-1 with a 3.04 goals-against average and a .899 save percentage. He spent parts of nine seasons in Buffalo.
The Flyers hope to sign Biron before he enters the free-agent market. Since he wants to be a No. 1 goalie, expect him to see the bulk of the playing time for the remainder of the season.
Stevens said what everybody had figured - that Antero Niittymaki would be the No. 2 goalie, leaving Robert Esche as No. 3.
Niittymaki was at his diplomatic best when discussing a three-goalie situation.
"We've had three goalies before and it's not always the best situation, but management has to do what they feel is best for the team," Niittymaki said.
Biron was asked about signing with the Flyers and said he would leave the negotiations and talk of any new contract to his agent, Gilles Lupien.
The Flyers will not allow much time to pass before starting talks.
"I think we'll give it a week or so," general manager Paul Holmgren said yesterday from western Canada, where he was on a scouting trip. "I think when I get back, we'll sit down and talk."
At practice, Biron showed a fast glove hand while trying to learn the tendencies of his new teammates just as quickly.
"It was good that I got to get a practice in here and not just show up for the morning skate," Biron said. "I got to see a little of what their technical stuff is and their game plan, and I was able to get the legs going and really get focused" for Boston.
Biron will have to shed his old pads. The ones he wore yesterday were the Sabres' colors, yellow and blue.
"We will get all that figured out sooner or later," he said with a laugh.
He hoped the adjustment would be quick.
"The Flyers have players coming up with good talent," Biron said. "The moves that they made the last few weeks made sure the future will be bright."