It's amazing how something that occurs during training camp can have an impact on a team at the midpoint of the season when the player involved hasn’t even hit the ice yet.
Mark Alt began the season on injured non-roster with a tear in his shoulder when he hit the ice hard during a fight in exhibition play.
Alt, who has had some very tough luck in the organization with injuries over the past couple years, was finally cleared to play on Wednesday.
Problem was, he was injured non-roster with the Flyers — not Phantoms — and they didn’t have a roster spot to activate him.
Which made Roman Lyubimov the odd man out, forced to go AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley for a brief stay.
On Thursday at noon, Mark Alt will go on waivers to be sent to the Phantoms. Assuming Alt clears on Friday — or is claimed — he will report to the Phantoms and Lyubimov, who was not at the Rangers game, will return to the Flyers late Friday afternoon.
“We needed a roster spot for Alt,” general manager Ron Hextall explained during first intermission of the Flyers' 5-2 loss to the Rangers (see game story). “We requested waivers and he’ll go on waivers at noon. Either clear or be claimed on Friday and we will bring Luby back.”
Hextall said the move could not have been made earlier this week because Alt wasn’t medically cleared in time not to affect Wednesday’s NHL roster against the Rangers.
Boyd Gordon took Lyubimov’s spot on the fourth line.
Hextall said this only involved numbers (23 players) and not cap space consideration.
That said, the Flyers are going to be confronted with a roster and cap consideration rather quickly when Mark Streit comes off LTIR — possibly this weekend — after recovering from a left shoulder injury.
What happens then? The Flyers have eight defensemen in total.
“I don’t know,” Hextall said. “We liked his skate today. It’s days, not weeks. We’re hoping in three, four or five more days depending how things go for him.”
Streit has missed nine games. Have the Flyers suffered in his absence? Not really, from a standpoint of play on the ice. In other aspects? Perhaps.
“You've got to be careful with things like that,” Hextall said. “I think Mark’s leadership and voice in the room, his veteran presence. He’s a good player. You have to be careful. Sometimes a really good player comes back and you don’t play as well as before.
“You can’t take a little spot in the schedule and say we really miss Mark. But he does have intangibles that are good for a locker room and good for a team.”
Hextall also said you have to temper emotions, not to overreact to a 10-game win streak or the current rut that has followed with his club.
“The biggest mistake you can do is judge your team on short stretches,” Hextall said. “If you judge your team on 10 games or six, seven games since, you’re not going to make very good decisions.
“So, we’ll continue to monitor our team, where we’re at, and our strengths and weaknesses as we go along here. But I’ll say the same thing here, I don’t anticipate us adding something short term, taking away long-term tactics.”