Friday, January 25, 2013

Knuble returns, as does Lilja

The Philadelphia Flyers made it official on Friday afternoon, welcoming back forward Mike Knuble after agreeing to terms on a one-year contract.

The move was made necessary after the Flyers discovered Thursday that forward Scott Hartnell is expected to miss 4-to-8 weeks with a broken toe in his left foot.

"It's the first time I've double-dipped on a team," said Knuble, who will accompany his new teammates as they hit the road. "It's a place where you feel very comfortable with the staff, the people you see at the rink everyday; you know your way around; you know a few guys in the locker room who were still there when you were. It's a great organization and it's a place that I had to leave because of salary cap things and you didn't really want to go, and I said that at the time, but it's great to have that opportunity to come back and help out." 

Knuble spent the last three seasons with the Washington Capitals, recording six goals and 12 assists over 72 games last season as he was one of several veterans who feuded with interim head coach Dale Hunter on playing time. 

The 40-year-old, who previously played in Philadelphia from 2005-09, has collected 274 goals and 266 assists through 1,040 career games with the Red Wings, Rangers, Bruins, Flyers and Capitals. Knuble had been playing on a PTO with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL because no other NHL club expressed interest once his deal with the Capitals ran out. 

"We were all obviously waiting to see what sort of season was going to develop out of all of this – was it going to be 50 games, 60 games, until they settled on 48.  Everybody’s adjusting this year.  It’s kind of one of those years where everybody’s making the best of what they can do," Knuble added.

"I think it’s part of being a veteran guy.  You want to talk to guys and be a good guy and I guess act like a veteran player as far as things you’re trying to do or talk about on the ice.  Sometimes it’s 'do as I say, not quite as I do' sometimes.  But hopefully I can be somebody that the staff can count on to do the right things on and off the ice, take care of yourself, have fun with the guys and be a positive influence in the room.  So you kind of look at that as part of the role too."

Philadelphia also recalled defenseman Andreas Lilja from Adirondack on Friday.

A salary-cap casualty to the opening-day roster due to his "35-plus" deal, Lilja recorded two assists in four games in Glens Falls. His ascension back to the big club as they begin a four-game road trip in Florida tomorrow is the result of Andrej Meszaros' shoulder injury which will keep him out of the lineup for at least one month.

"Andrej Meszaros has a left shoulder injury. He's going to miss some time and right now we're hopeful it's going to be a four-week rehabilitation of the injury," said Flyers GM Paul Holmgren. "It's a muscle injury in and around the shoulder joint and we just have to get it strong. We believe he's going to be out for about a month."

Meszaros left the arena following the Flyers' 2-1 win over the Rangers on Thursday with his arm in a harness. He left in the second period and did not return as a result of the injury. 

"You’re going to need players to play in a short season, a 48-game season like we have.  We believe we have depth in our organization," Holmgren offered. "We’ve seen some of our young kids up already playing.  We’re being tested obviously right now, which is good and bad, but we’d obviously like to get ourselves healthy because we know we’re in for a dogfight in what we have left of our schedule.  

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