Timonen: Too many 'dark moments' for Flyers

Timonen: Too many 'dark moments' for Flyers

February 26, 2013, 12:00 pm
Share This Post

'Six times now the Flyers have had a chance to reach .500 and failed.
 
Three games into a crucial homestand where they need to get some points and nail down the eighth seed, they have lost twice.
 
They remain maddeningly inconsistent period to period, let alone night to night.
 
“We haven’t been able to put 60 minutes together for a long time,” defenseman Kimmo Timonen said late Monday night after a 4-2 loss to Toronto.
 
“I have to go back probably to Long Island [New York Islanders] when we won 7-0. That was a full 60 minutes. That’s the best we can do and the best day. For some reason we haven’t been able to do that since. We play a good two periods or half a game really well, but then there’s just dark moments or bad periods. You lose games in this league just by that. So we got to finally play for 60 minutes.
 
“Sometimes you’re tired, sometimes you don’t have anything. But we have to show up and play good defense. Until we find that, it’s going to be hard to win games consistently. It’s really hard.”
 
The Flyers came out strong against Toronto then wilted through a boring second period when the game was up for grabs. They had a bit of a run in the third period, dominated the final 10 minutes of play, but couldn’t use six power plays to generate more than one goal.
 
“It was quiet both ways for a lot of the middle part of the game, checking was fairly tight,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “We need to do a better job in the offensive zone of getting guys around pucks and supporting each other, finding opportunities through work ethic like the players were saying.
 
“Just moving quicker, moving quicker for each other and more urgency to get that done in the middle part of the game. The end of the game once we got going again it seemed like it was down there but there is room for improvement.”
 
The lack of urgency all-around is apparent as the Flyers continue to be tantalizingly close to a playoff berth, yet remain so far from it.
 
The old saying of ‘where there is a will, there is a way,’ doesn’t seem to hold true with this group.
 
Urgency is lacking, Scott Hartnell said.
 
“That’s a big burden,” Timonen said.  “We can talk in a room as much as we want, once we go on the ice, everyone has to show up and do that. It comes from the 20 guys in this room to do it on the ice, not here. We can talk about the urgency, whatever great word you want to make up, but it has to happen there. For some reason we haven’t been able to do that.
 
“Like I said it’s been two periods, 35 minutes, 30 minutes, maybe once or twice in these 21 games we’ve played, full 60 minutes so far.”
 
We said here a few weeks ago that maybe people have to simply admit this Flyers team is not as good as expected, and if you compare rosters from a year ago to today, that realization remains on the mark.
 
The Flyers are the ninth seed. Though they are tied in points (19) with eighth-seeded Tampa Bay, but the Lightning have three games in hand. That’s potentially an additional six points more than the Flyers can get.
 
All these losses against teams the Flyers should be able to handle have cost them dearly in stockpiling points with added games up front. Much of the Eastern Conference has packed games at the end.
 
With a lockout-shortened schedule of East vs. East (and West vs. West), you can never regain points lost because you’re not playing outside your conference.
 
Timonen was asked whether the Flyers are better than their record indicates. His response was candid, as usual.
 
“Well obviously, not right now,” he said. “We can’t win two, three, four games in a row, but we still got time and still half a season yet. But it has to start now. Like I said the schedule is pretty good. 

“We’ve had a bad schedule from the first 20 games, now it’s really good, nobody can go behind that now.  We’ve got some nice home games coming up and we’ve got to find a way to win these games.”
 
Before it’s too late.