When the puck drops tonight against the Sabres, John Kalinski will become the sixth player to make his NHL debut for the Flyers this season.
Kalinski, 21, will join the list of Luca Sbisa, Darroll Powe, Andreas Nodl, Jared Ross, and Nate Raduns. He was brought up from the Phantoms, and will be centering wingers Arron Asham and Josh Gratton on the fourth line tonight.
Coach John Stevens gave a scouting report on the 6'1", 180-pounder.
"It's a real good opportunity for him to get in. He's got some good size, he moves his feet, and he's hard on the puck," Stevens said. "I think he'll be a real good fit there."
Kalinski, who was surprised when he found out about being called up, was able to talk to about his new opportunity. "I was sort of shocked at first," Kalinski said. "But once it sunk in, I came over here and got ready for practice. It feels great; it's an honor to get called up, and hopefully I can make the best of it."
Coach Stevens talked about what he expects from rookies who have come up to play for him and the team.
"First, we tell them the puck is the same size and weighs the same," he said. "You still play with five players on each side. I think it's important they understand it's still hockey.
"We make sure we sit down with them and they're familiar (with their system) and not hesitating or wondering what they should be doing. Our systems are very similar, so we just want them to come out and be the same player. We make sure some of the veteran guys make sure they feel at ease."
"It doesn't matter what steps you take, you'll be a little nervous, and you'll have a trial by fire and go through the process," Stevens continued. "But once they get settled in, they realize it's just hockey and enjoy the moment."
In other Flyers news, Danny Briere had a full practice with the team yesterday wearing the dreaded powder-blue jerseys, along with Riley Cote. Briere said after practice that he will not be going with the team to Buffalo, and will not be able to play tomorrow at home against the Coyotes.
"I was hoping this weekend was a possibility, but it didn't improve enough so I'm looking at Monday," Briere said. "But once again it will depend on how it goes over the weekend. The injury is getting better every day, but at a slower pace than I hoped."
The Flyers will have to wait a little longer to have one of their top players back, as they play a potent high-scoring offense in Buffalo tonight, and a gritty Phoenix team tomorrow.