Flyers Notebook: Is Pittsburgh the real city of brotherly love?

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The Penguins can only hope their visit to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4, including an evening off Wednesday, go as smoothly away from Wachovia Center as the Flyers' days here went away from Mellon Arena.

Center Mike Richards was asked if he encountered any hostile locals during the stay, considering the intensity of the rivalry between the teams.

"I didn't, no," he said.

Richards said his only real outing was dinner Saturday between Games 1 and 2 with some teammates. He was asked if any of them got approached or were given any trouble.

"No," he said.

He was asked if he knew of anyone else on the team who did.

"No," he said, and smiled. "Sorry, but no."

Coach John Stevens said he got just a bit of grief but nothing extraordinary.

"No, there's a lot of excitement and optimism in the city of Pittsburgh," he said. "We got heckled a little bit leaving the rink the other day, but other than that it has been pretty good. I think there's a lot of excitement in this city, and there should be.

"I think the same is true in Philadelphia."

Asked what he did Saturday night, Stevens cracked, "Coach [Michel] Therrien and I had dinner together."

Stevens and Therrien had well chronicled feuds during their days as coaches with the Philadelphia and Penguins minor league teams.

Injury bug

Losing defenseman Kimmo Timonen to a blood clot on the eve of this series was a blow to the Flyers, but he's not the only player the team is missing.

Winger Simon Gagne missed the final 27 games of the regular season and all of the playoffs so far after sustaining a concussion during a Feb. 10 game against the Penguins at Mellon Arena.

"Not being able to play has been really hard on me," Gagne, a 40-goal scorer for the previous two seasons, told The Press of Atlantic City. "This is the best time to be a hockey player. This is why you play the game."

"Why not us?"

The Penguins have playoff T-shirts with "Sacrifice" in all the languages of their locker room. The Flyers had T-shirts made, too, and their slogan -- "Why not us?" seems more appropriate than ever after the sixth seeds knocked off No. 3 Washington and No. 1 Montreal in the Eastern Conference.

"It kind of seems like the whole playoffs, the Washington series, Montreal, now this, we're kind of the underdog role, I guess, and why not us?" center Jeff Carter said. "We played well, we're here, why not keep it going?"

Personnel matters
Nate Guenin

, out of Hopewell High School, was recalled after the Philadelphia Phantoms were eliminated by the Penguins' minor league team, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Friday.

He has two assists in 11 career NHL games.

Forward Ryan Potulny and goaltender Scott Munroe also were recalled. All three were scratched for Game 2.

The other scratches were forwards Patrick Thoresen, Riley Cote and Denis Topelko, and defenseman Ryan Parent.


Shelly Anderson can be reached at shanderson@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1721.


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