PHILADELPHIA – The Flyers were hoping for the best. Instead, they got the worst.
Just when it seemed the team was getting healthy and close to being at full force, Matt Read took a crunching hit from Penguins forward Chris Kunitz in the first period of yesterday’s game.
The result of that injury? Read has torn rib cage muscles.
He will be out of the lineup for six weeks.
(Click "Full Story" for more..)
For Scott Hartnell, watching hockey, rather than playing it for the first time in his life, brought on new levels of frustration.
Saddled with a fractured foot, Hartnell has spent more time this season on his couch watching the Flyers than playing for them – and it hasn’t always been a pleasurable experience.
“Since I’ve been here in Philadelphia I’ve hardly missed any games,” Hartnell said. “So, to sit and watch games on T.V. like a fan – I’ve definitely thrown the remote across the room a couple times – and then I’ve forgotten that I have to hobble up to get it.”
But now, he doesn’t have to worry about that any longer.
Hartnell was back at practice Thursday, skating with the Adirondack Phantoms, the Flyers AHL affiliate who is in town for a game at the Wells Fargo Center tomorrow, at Skate Zone in Voorhees and then skating with Flyers’ reserves and assistant coaches afterward.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
PITTSBURGH – Closer. Ever closer.
General Manager Paul Holmgren announced that Hartnell was cleared to begin practicing with the team (which likely won’t happen, because of the compact schedule, until a morning skate Saturday – although it’s possible an optional skate could happen Friday) and could have a return to game action in a week-to-10 days.
That means Hartnell could return as soon as next Wednesday against Washington or by March 2 against Ottawa, which was the original target date for his return.
As for Meszaros, Holmgren added that he has continued to improve and that his return could be coming soon as well.
Meszaros will visit a doctor tomorrow and the Flyers will give an update afterward.
Hartnell has played just three games for the Flyers, fracturing the first metatarsal on his left foot on Jan. 22 when he was hit by two slap shots in the same spot – first by Devils defenseman Marek Zidlicky in the second period and later by teammate Kimmo Timonen in the third period. He had surgery to repair the fracture later that week.
Meanwhile Meszaros has played in only four games, suffering a severe sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the very next game against the New York Rangers at the Wells Fargo Center.
To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37
PITTSBURGH – When the NHL schedule was released in early January, the common sentiment was that everyone would have to endure a condensed schedule of 48 games in 99 days.
Yet, no one had to endure the grueling start the Flyers did. Consider the following:
- After tomorrow night’s game at the Wells Fargo Center against Florida, the Flyers will have played 19 games in the season’s first 34 days, more than any other team in the NHL.
- Tonight is the Flyers’ 12th road game in their first 18 games – most in the NHL.
- Tomorrow completes the sixth set of back-to-back games the Flyers have played in the opening month. The six sets – you guessed it, most in the NHL. And, of those 12 back-to-back games nine were on the road.
The schedule-maker was not kind, to say the least.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
UNIONDALE, N.Y. – It’s hard to find a turning point in a 7-0 hockey game, but on this afternoon there was one.
Leading 1-0, the Flyers suddenly found themselves shorthanded two men for a full two minutes against a very good New York Islanders power play that was ranked second in the NHL.
Wayne Simmonds didn’t like the call, so he had a comment for O’Halloran. The referee must have been in a foul mood, because he immediately teed up Simmonds for unsportsmanlike conduct.
It was looking bleak at that point for the Flyers, but their penalty kill unit did a masterful job.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
NEWARK, N.J. – While the Flyers continued their season-long road trip here in the Swampland, a very important part of the team was back at home and put on a pair of skates for the first time in three weeks.
Scott Hartnell was cleared by doctors to resume skating, and he did this morning for the first time.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Harry Zolnierczyk had a heck of a day Tuesday.
He woke up in his Saratoga, N.Y. home, made the 30-minute drive to Albany and caught a flight to Minneapolis. From there he switched planes and went a few hours north to meet the Flyers in Winnipeg.
He landed at 1 p.m. A few hours later, he was talking about being in the starting lineup for the Flyers against the Jets, his first action of the season.
“It’s a huge opportunity,” said Zolnierczyk, who would make the Proclaimers proud and trek 5,000 miles to get a chance to play again in the NHL. “You have to take advantage of those opportunities. I have one here now and, well, I plan to take advantage of it.”
Zolnierczyk, 25, played 37 games for the Flyers last season and had three goals and three assists.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
TORONTO – If media members were water bugs, the Air Canada Centre exterminator would have had a field day this morning.
They came out en masse, clogging the Flyers locker room like a ball of hair stuck in the shower drain.
With the spotlights atop the cameras blinding his eyes, Luke Schenn stood there for several minutes, dutifully answering every question.
It was his homecoming part one. Part two would be after the game.
This is what happens when a kid joins a team as a wide-eyed 18-year-old fresh out of junior hockey, bearing the weight of the world on his shoulders as the fifth overall pick in the draft and donned with the title as the next great defenseman in the NHL, playing in the most hockey-centric market in the world.
“There’s no market like Toronto,” he said.
And he’s right, for better or for worse.
(Click "Full Story" for more...)
VOORHEES, N.J. – Remember how for many, many years, Philadelphia hockey fans chortled and complained that the New Jersey Devils were ruining hockey when they ran the neutral zone trap for all those years?
It was frustrating to watch. Give Marty Brodeur a one-goal lead and you were in trouble. Give him a two-goal lead, and it was lights out. Yeah, it made the game of hockey sleep-inducing. Yeah, it made the blood boil.
But it was effective.
Then came the lockout that cancelled the 2004-05 season. Afterward, rule changes were put into effect that were designed to render the trap obsolete – because it was rooted in so much clutching and grabbing through the neutral zone.
But, coaches are smart – and they’ve found ways to bring the trap back, albeit through hybrid variations of the original Devils trap.
(Click "Full Story" for more...)
PHILADELPHIA – Kimmo Timonen has been the glue to the Flyers defense for the past six seasons, and now, he’ll remain the primary adhesive for at least one more.
According to general manager Paul Holmgren, Timonen signed a one-year contract extension with the Flyers today worth $6 million.
“Kimmo’s presence on the ice for us and in our locker room is invaluable,” Holmgren said. “We look forward to him continuing his all-around play for us.”
Timonen, 37, the team’s associate captain, has been a rock for the Flyers on the blue line, and especially through the team’s first 10 games this season.
He has a goal and four assists for five points in 10 games, which ranks third on the team, but perhaps more importantly, Timonen is logging prime ice time (22:46 per game, tops on the team) against the best players on the opposition.
And he’s still a plus-player (+2) despite the team having allowed more goals (27) then they’ve scored (23) heading into Thursday’s action.
Timonen needs 20 more games to have played 1,000 in the NHL. It’s an impressive feat especially since he did it during parts of 14 seasons.
Timonen has missed only 13 games in his six seasons with the Flyers, and only 18 overall in the 12 seasons he was a full-time NHL starter.
As a Flyer, Timonen has scored 28 goals and added 183 assists for 211 points in 407 career games. That ranks 39th all-time in Flyers history and fifth all-time among defensemen, trailing only Mark Howe, Eric Desjardins, Tom Bladon and Behn Wilson.
He has also won the Barry Ashbee Trophy, as the Flyers’ best defenseman, three times, as voted on by the Philadelphia Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association.
We will have more on this after the game with more from Holmgren and the reaction from Timonen…
Wayne Simmonds will not play tonight, missing his third game since sustaining a concussion on an elbow by Washington defenseman John Erskine.
Erskine was suspended three games for the hit, although there was no penalty called on the play.
The Flyers certainly miss Simmonds, but his replacement in the lineup, Tom Sestito, scored both goals in the Flyers 2-1 win over Tampa Bay Tuesday.
After Flyers wins, I still see fans hash-tagging “Knock Knock” on Twitter.
That’s so 2012.
See, the Flyers have new celebration music after games. And this year, it’s not one song… but two.
The first song playing as the players walk into the locker room is “Bring out the Bottles” by Redfoo, one half of the popular duo LMFAO.
That is immediately followed by “Money Ain’t a Thang” by Jay-Z featuring Jermaine Dupri.
The music, as always, comes from the iPod of equipment manager Derek Settlemyre and he said he wasn’t sure if the team would stick with both songs all season, or ultimately choose one to be their anthem, but for now it’s both.
The question is, which one do you, the fans prefer?
Videos to both songs are below, but you can either email me at email@example.com or tweet me @AnthonySan37 to weigh in with your choice.
I will pass off the results of this unscientific poll to Settlemyre and the team and see if it has any effect.