Flyers Celebrate Kimmo Timonens Birthday and 1,000th NHL Game, but Nothing Else

Flyers Celebrate Kimmo Timonens Birthday and 1,000th NHL Game, but Nothing Else

Prior to the Flyers’ 4-2 loss in Tampa Bay, Kimmo Timonen
reflected on the significance of turning 38 on Monday, and the career milestone
he would achieve that night. Ever the professional, what mattered most to
Timonen wasn’t blowing out a few candles, or even getting his name into the
record books by appearing in his 1,000th NHL game.

The important thing was coming away with two points.

Unfortunately, predictably, a fairy-tale ending was not to
be. Timonen is another year older, and he can always be proud of his
accomplishments, but the Flyers once again were unable to gain any traction in
the postseason race.

The defeat was like virtually any other the Orange &
Black have suffered this year. They fell behind early, suffered defensive
breakdowns, turned the puck over, generally lost the battles, took dumb
penalties, and failed to squeeze at least one point out of their effort despite
being tied with the Lightning after two periods.

As is becoming an epidemic for Philadelphia sports, they
didn’t exactly catch many breaks, either. Flyers shooters rang at least three
shots off the post and were denied on each, while Tampa Bay’s Teddy Purcell
scored the game winner on a jumping, spinning deflection that looked like
something Brian Boitano might try to pull off if he was handed a hockey stick -->.

Of course, players have to make some of their own luck, too.
The Flyers were 0-for-4 on the man advantage, and when it came time to mount
one last attack in the final minutes, they could barely move the puck out of
their own end. Meanwhile, Ilya Bryzgalov played well, but not quite well enough
steal one – fair or not.

That’s more or less where we are all at given the team’s dire
situation in the standings, pointing fingers and holding each individual’s
performance under the microscope. No one is pleased as the losses mount and the
Flyers’ chances of making the playoffs become increasingly distant and/or

Nobody is enjoying it at all – least of all the man who was
supposed to be celebrating a birthday and a milestone.


Peter Laviolette demoted Scott Hartnell from the top line for parts of
the second and third periods after he took a completely unnecessary roughing
penalty on Cory Conacher. Hartsy leveled Conacher with a perfectly legal check,
then continued taking out his frustrations on the rookie forward as he jumped back
into the play. Zac Rinaldo skated with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek until the late stages of the game, while Hartnell’s time on the ice was reduced to minimal fourth-line
minutes and power plays.

Max Talbot was the best player on the ice for the Flyers, beating
Tampa netminder Anders Lindback with the backhand after an absolutely dazzling
move to get to the net -->. It seemed like he could be everywhere at once, registering a team-high six shots in 16-plus minutes of action.


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Eagles' rookies get their first taste of what Dallas week entails

Eagles' rookies get their first taste of what Dallas week entails

At the conclusion of his weekly Wednesday radio show on 94WIP, Eagles defensive tackle Bennie Logan was asked about the Dallas Cowboys and the rivalry game on tap this weekend.

First, he said he and his teammates don’t need any extra motivation for this one. But before he got off his mic — in a few seconds that didn’t make it on the air — Logan eloquently dropped a “F--- Dallas.”

Logan gets it.

No, maybe the Eagles-Cowboys rivalry isn’t what it once was. Maybe the days of Seth Joyner refusing to think about signing with the Cowboys because he just couldn’t wear a star on the side of his helmet have passed. But there’s still some bad blood. It’s still a rivalry. And fans in the Delaware Valley still care about two things: winning football games and beating Dallas.

Logan has been with the Eagles since 2013, so he understands. For Carson Wentz and his fellow rookies, this will be their first crack at it.

“I know how much this means to the city, how much it means to these fans,” Wentz said. “There’s a lot of excitement going on just with Eagles football, but definitely this week. I recognize that.

“But at the same time, I don’t let that bother me or let it distract me from the main goal and that’s just preparing every day. Because I know if I get sidetracked by any of those things, it’s going to mess up the preparation and it’ll affect the game on Sunday.”

Head coach Doug Pederson emphasized the importance of “business as usual,” but admitted this rivalry isn’t just usual. He’s been a part of it as a player in 1999 and as a coach under Andy Reid.

He took the correct coach approach on Wednesday, saying the Cowboys game is important because it’s a division game. And it’s even more important because the Eagles lost their first division game a couple weeks ago in Washington.

“It is a little bit different, but our guys have just got to come ready to play, and it's a road game,” Pederson said.

While this is Jalen Mills’ first time being a part of the rivalry as a player, he was raised near Dallas in DeSoto, Texas, and grew up with it as a part of his life. The most important games of the year, he remembered, were Cowboys-Eagles and Washington on Thanksgiving.

Mills said the rivalry was a “pretty big deal” in his house as a youngster. Now, he finds it pretty cool that he gets to be a part of it.

“Oh man, no doubt,” Mills said. “It’s an experience that I can’t wait to experience, but it’s going to be exciting.”

The defensive back said, without hesitation, the biggest rivalry he’s ever been a part of before was LSU-Alabama. The most important thing he learned from those games is that execution is key. It’s OK to buy into the hype during the week, but he realized it was counterproductive to change anything about preparation.

“You can’t get caught up in it,” Mills said. “Of course you’re going to hear about it, like right now before the game. But once that clock starts, it’s all about just playing sound football.”

Like Mills, Halapoulivaati Vaitai grew up in the Dallas area (Haltom City) and has been around the rivalry his whole life. In fact, both rookies have previously played games at AT&T Stadium. Sunday will be the first time Vaitai’s parents get a chance to see an NFL game. Eagles-Cowboys is a pretty good start.

And it’s not just Eagles rookies who are getting ready to experience the rivalry for the first time. Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott will live it for the first time on Sunday too.

How much does he know about the rivalry?

“A little bit, man,” he said on a conference call with Philly reporters this week. “I grew up a Cowboys fan. I can’t tell you certain games or things like that from the past. But I’ve always known it to be a good game anytime they meet up and a good rivalry in the division.”

Nah, not exactly Logan-like responses from these guys. But give them time. They’re rookies.

Gunn's Bullet Points: Flags could fly in secondary for Eagles-Cowboys

Gunn's Bullet Points: Flags could fly in secondary for Eagles-Cowboys

Some notes and keys ahead of Sunday night's Eagles-Cowboys game:

• Since throwing for 301 yards against Pittsburgh in Week 3, Carson Wentz's aerial numbers have declined — 238 yards in Detroit, 179 in Washington and 138 vs. Minnesota.

• Even though he missed two games with an injury, I still can't understand how Zach Ertz has been targeted only 16 times in four games this season.

• Dallas WR Cole Beasley is arguably the best slot receiver in the game right now. Last November against the Eagles, he had nine receptions for 112 yards and two touchdowns. With the Eagles' best slot cornerback, Ron Brooks, out for the year with a ruptured quad tendon, Malcolm Jenkins will have his hands full trying to keep up with Beasley in the slot.

• Eagles and Cowboys defensive backs beware: Jerome Boger's crew is officiating this game. This season, Boger's crew has called 36 penalties for defensive pass interference, illegal contact or defensive holding.

• The Eagles' 20 sacks ties them for third-most in the league. Dallas has allowed just nine, second-fewest in the NFL.

• Does Doug Pederson still have faith in RB Ryan Mathews late in games? Mathews has fumbled with less than five minutes left in two of the last three games. The head coach says he has not lost faith in Mathews, and Mathews says he'll stop fighting for more yards late in games. Time will tell.