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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
PHILADELPHIA - Rob Zombie considers himself bad luck when it comes to hockey.
He grew up in Boston and remembers the 1974 Stanley Cup Finals vividly.
It stung that his Bruins lost to the Flyers.
After he saw the Flyers win in Buffalo the following year and then defeat the Soviet Red Army team in 1976, he decided he needed to switch allegiances and root for the Flyers.
We all know what it’s been like since…
For awhile he was living in Los Angeles, so he decided to become a Kings season ticket holder.
He had those seats for six years and went to every game. Then, he decided to move back East and gave up the tickets prior to last season.
And they won the Cup.
So Zombie, the front man of the seminal 80s hard-rock band White Zombie, and more recently a horror film director with a bunch of films to his credit including the remake of Halloween, has decided to make a hockey movie about winning.
Not only that, he wants to make one about winning in Philadelphia, with his beloved Flyers.
So, Zombie started working on a script to tell the story of the Broad Street Bullies.
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Tomorrow’s game will feature the Flyers and the Tampa Bay Lightning… but this is not your father’s Tampa Bay Lightning.
Heck, this isn’t your Tampa Bay Lightning.
It wasn’t all that long ago that the Flyers tried to embarrass the Lightning on national television by stalling with the puck because the Lightning were sitting with all five players back in the neutral zone and weren’t pressuring the puck.
Asked if they play the same way now, or even close to the same way, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette wrapped it up succinctly:
“No,” he said. (Lavvy quote of the day!)(Click "Full Story" for more...)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tonight’s hockey game will be brought to you by the letter D – as in “desperation.”
The Flyers arrived in town riding a two game skid and watched from the comfort of their hotel rooms as the Capitals coughed up a lead in Toronto Thursday and fell in regulation 3-2.
The Caps are an NHL-worst 1-5-1 to start the season, certainly an unexpected beginning to the career of head coach Adam Oates.
Needless to say, both teams need to win tonight – and badly.
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VOORHEES, N.J. – Scott Hartnell cleared up a little bit of misinformation Wednesday, although he didn’t really want to.
The shot that fractured the first metatarsal in his left foot was not taken by Kimmo Timonen, as has been unanimously reported.
“It actually happened in the second period of that game [in New Jersey],” Hartnell said. “One of the Devils’ defensemen took a shot and I blocked it with my foot and by the way it felt, I knew something was wrong.
“At the intermission, I took my skate off to have [trainer] Jimmy [McCrossin] look at it, and when I went to take a step, it hurt so much I fell to the floor in the locker room.”
Hartnell said an x-ray was taken in New Jersey, and it came back negative, so he went back on the ice for the third period thinking it was a bad bone bruise.
“Then Kimmo takes a shot and hit the same exact spot,” Hartnell said. “That’s why I went down so quick. It was really painful. So, it wasn’t his shot that fractured the bone, but I like blaming him anyway.”
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|Scott Hartnell shares a laugh, which is about all he can do for now, while elevating his fractured foot. (Photo courtesy of Zack Hll, Flyer P.R.)|
NEW YORK – After the forgettable performance in Tampa last Sunday, the Flyers got a much-needed day off, away from hockey to unwind in the Big Apple.
Three players decided to check out a show, and got more than they could ever have imagined.
The show itself was entertaining, but what happened afterward was even more memorable.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
Some news, notes and observations from my couch after Sunday’s loss in Tampa:
At least with the first three losses there were bright spots. There were parts of those games where you looked at the Flyers and thought, “Well gee whiz, if they can just play like this for 60 minutes, they’ll be fine.”
You can’t say that after Sunday.
The Flyers had no juice, played with a lack of discipline, and were thwarted by the Tampa Bay Lightning blocking 26 shots during a 5-1 loss that dropped the Orange and Black to 2-4-0.
Considering the Flyers only got 25 shots on goalie Anders Lindback the fact that the Lightning blocked 26 is a pretty astonishing figure.
And while that is one sub plot to this game, the fact is, the Flyers continue to suffer from self-inflicted wounds.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
It’s a little different offering news, notes and observations of a Flyers game from my couch, but that’s where I’m stationed for the weekend before rejoining the team in New York Tuesday.
So, with that said, here’s a Cliff’s notes version of the usual recap I have on here since I didn’t have a chance to talk to the guys in the locker room afterward.
All the talk from this game will center on Matt Read, who registered his first career hat trick, and goalie Ilya Bryzgalov who made 29 saves and had a fifth straight strong start. And there’s no question they deserve the recognition. But I’ll get to them below in the three stars section.
For now, let’s focus on a few other aspects of the Flyers 7-1 win in Florida.
First, Wayne Simmonds continues to be a beast on the ice for the Flyers. He got his second goal of the season when Kimmo Timonen’s shot from the point on a 5-on-3 grazed off his body to get past starting Panthers goalie Jose Theodore.
But, the goal aside, Simmonds was skating harder and stronger than anyone on the ice and seemed to be everywhere. He added an assist and was one of six Flyers with a multiple-point game. In the absence of Scott Hartnell for the next six weeks, Simmonds has filled that void nicely.
He proved last season he can be a goal scorer, now he has a chance to flourish, playing with Claude Giroux. So far, so good for Simmonds, who has two goals this season, but has played well enough to have a few more.
Secondly, let’s look at Luke Schenn. The Flyers were criticized by many for trading James van Riemsdyk for Schenn because of all the negative press he got from the Toronto media. However, the Flyers viewed him as a top pair defenseman, and have thrust him into that role.
It took him a few games to get comfortable but his last two games have been really strong, and Saturday was definitely his best as a Flyer.
Schenn had a goal, an assist and led the team with 11 hits. Eleven hits. There are games in the NHL were an entire team doesn’t get 11 hits.
He’s still a little hesitant at times with the puck, but he has gotten visibly more comfortable in each game. So far, so good with Schenn for the Flyers.
For one night at least, it looked like a smart move.
McGinn had a lot of energy and showed some great hustle in his shifts. He was rewarded for his efforts with his first NHL goal on a nice redirect of a pass from Braydon Coburn.
McGinn looks more and more promising with each game and is going to force a tough decision on the Flyers brass when Zac Rinaldo is healthy as someone will have to be sent back to the Phantoms and/or waived outright. McGinn appears to be earning his roster spot, for now.
The adjustments to the Flyers schematic was evident in the Flyers win over New York Thursday, but credit coach Peter Laviolette with another savvy coaching move of resting many of his top players in the third period of a blowout victory.
With another game less than 24 hours away in Tampa Bay Sunday, Laviolette relied more on his third and fourth lines and second and third pairs of defensemen than in most games.
For example, Claude Giroux played just 17 minutes. Timonen was just under 18. But guys like Mike Knuble, who needed to get a regular shift to find his legs, got almost 15 minutes. Scott Laughton, who was supposed to be the fourth line center, he too got almost 15 minutes. Kurtis Foster was almost 16 minutes. Bruno Gervais, 19 minutes.
And all of the Flyers top players will have more energy for the game against Tampa.
My Three Stars:
1. Matt Read – how can it not be him. His first career hat trick – on three shots no less. Read has been physical. He has been the other winger that the Flyers had hoped they’d find for Giroux. A true sniper, Read is versatile and can play anywhere, but he may have found a home on Giroux’s left side.
2. Ilya Bryzgalov – At some point, people will stop calling him a liability and instead call him an asset to the Flyers. He lowered his GAA to 2.21 and raised his save percentage to .923. If there is reason for optimism for the Flyers moving forward, it starts in goal. Don’t be surprised to see Laviolette stick with him again in Tampa.
3. Luke Schenn – If the Flyers get more games like this from Schenn, they’ll be winners of the trade with Toronto. Eleven hits. It bore repeating one more time.
Did You Know:
Ruslan Fedotenko scored his first goal as a Flyer in just over 10 years. His last regular season goal came on April 14, 2002 vs. NYI. He also scored a playoff goal three days later on April 17, 2002 vs. Ottawa.
The Flyers scored outside of the second period of a game for the first time this season. All five of their goals in the four games before tonight had come in the second period.
The last Flyers hat trick against Florida was by Eric Lindros in 1995.
To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37
The Flyers made a small roster move Saturday that could be the first in a series of dominoes that leads to bigger impacts on the team.
That leads to three important items:
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