TAMPA -- After having clinched a playoff berth on Tuesday against the Florida Panthers, the question now for Flyers coach Craig Berube is … who do you rest?
Most years at this juncture, Kimmo Timonen is all but waiting for the orthopaedic surgical team to put his body back together again.
Not this April.
Timonen, 39, seems to be in peak, physical condition and without any major injury. He admits a game off might be nice, but the Flyers are still trying to catch the Rangers. He needs to play.
“At 39, you feel old all the time and that’s the truth,” said the Flyers’ defenseman. “It’s been a long year with travel and time changes and everything. We have three games left. We’re in the playoffs which was my goal. Now is not the time to relax.”
“We’ll see,” Timonen replied.
Berube would like to rest him –- think Hal Gill or Erik Gustafsson as a replacement -- and also goalie Steve Mason.
Regarding Timonen, Berube said he felt his improved play in the second half mirrored that of his entire team.
“He got better and better as the year went along,” Berube said. “Been a very good power-play guy for us. He’s an all-situation guy, killing penalties and playing against top lines all year and doing a good job.
“He was rejuvenated at the Olympics, going there. His team [Finland] did well. And he believes in this hockey team.”
Berube said there was no need to play Mason in back-to-back games this weekend.
The regular season ends with the Flyers playing in Pittsburgh on Saturday and at home against Carolina on Sunday.
“We have players who are available. … I’ll make those decisions as we go along,” Berube said. “Tye McGinn needs to play. I don’t think [Mason] needs to play all [three] of them.”
Off the ice
Defensemen Andrew MacDonald, who has been nursing a sore right foot, and Nick Grossmann both had maintenance days off the ice on Wednesday. Same for forward Adam Hall.