Flyers Notes: Timonen wanted to finish season

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Flyers Notes: Timonen wanted to finish season

Had the decision been up to him, Kimmo Timonen would have finished the final three games of the Flyers' ill-fated season.
 
It wasn’t.
 
The medical staff made it for him late Monday, informing the 38-year-old defenseman he was being shut down for a compression fracture in his right foot.
 
“He was decimated yesterday when we called and told him,” general manager Paul Holmgren said. “He wasn’t in a very good mood this morning. He hates missing games. He is very tough and a competitive player.”
 
Holmgren said the injury had been bothering Timonen for a while but every time the club offered to get a detail MRI of the foot, he backed off.
 
Timonen took a shot off that foot on Feb. 16 at Montreal and it seemed to bother him ever since.
 
Obviously, Timonen, who frequently had a walking boot on at practice, feared the worst of an MRI before finally conceding to one this week.
 
A compression fracture is an indentation that can become a full fracture if not permitted to heal.
 
“The doctors thought where it is, the potential risk of something much worse if he got hit there in the same spot, you’d be asking for trouble,” Holmgren said. “So we shut him down.”
 
When the Flyers' lockout-shortened season began on Jan. 19 against Pittsburgh at the Wells Fargo Center, their starting defense read like this:

Kimmo Timonen-Luke Schenn
Braydon Coburn-Nicklas Grossmann
Andrej Meszaros-Kurtis Foster
 
Of that group, the lone survivors are Schenn and Foster.
 
This was among the biggest reasons why the Flyers' season has been so bloody awful and why they’re not in the playoffs.
 
“Good teams fight through stuff like this,” Holmgren said. “We just didn’t find a way to fight through it.
 
“Is it a factor? Probably. At the same time, you need to fight through things and we didn’t.”
 
Timonen will finish the season having played 45 games with 43 points.
 
Holmgren estimated his recovery time will be 4-5 weeks, but realistically, it’s all spring and summer since the Flyers won’t be in the playoffs.
 
“Losing a guy like Kimmo is tough,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “He provided a lot of veteran leadership on this team. A lot of quality minutes. He’s had a really good year for us and played strong.”
 
Timonen has a one-year, $6 million extension into next season.
 
This is Timonen’s seventh injury since 2008-09, although he almost never misses a game and was the club’s reigning “Iron Man” for a couple seasons.
 
Since 2008, he’s had a concussion, chip fracture to his ankle, broken toe, injuries to both feet that did not require surgery, a hip flexor and herniated disk surgery.
 
Call-ups from Phantoms
Andreas Lilja, recalled from the Phantoms, replaced Timonen and played with Erik Gustafsson.
 
The four other Phantoms call-ups did not play: forwards Scott Laughton, Tye McGinn and Jason Akeson as well as defenseman Matt Konan.
 
Laviolette said even without playing, they can learn just by being here.
 
“No question,” Laviolette said. “You get to practice, you get to work on certain things. You get to experience the games and locker rooms. Those are all valuable things. They’re excited to be here. It’s an opportunity for them to get out and do some work.”
 
Jagr on Voracek
Jaromir Jagr influenced everyone in the Flyers’ locker room last year (see story). But arguably, Jakub Voracek, who shares a hometown with the veteran winger, took the most away from the experience.
 
That’s evident in the big step forward Voracek took this season.
 
Jagr, who hasn’t talked much to Voracek or any other Flyer this season, is impressed with what he’s seen from the young Flyer, however.
 
“It’s all about opportunities,” Jagr said. “When you got opportunity, you have to be ready to grab it when you can, and I think he did it. He’s strong on his skates, he can skate very good.
 
“So right now when he plays with G [Claude Giroux], the more ice time’s coming, the passes are coming, the opportunity is coming and he did a great job to grab the chances.”
 
The fight
Pretty even tussle in this one between Jay Rosehill and Shawn Thornton. Rosehill lost his balance early and fell.
 
“I think I was kind of down even before we got started,” Rosehill said. “I fought him a few times and he's a class guy. He's been doing this for a long time and he knows how to
do it the right way.
 
“He let me back up so we could finish what we started and that's a testament to the way he plays. I appreciate that and maybe next time this will come around my way as well.”
 
Loose pucks
Simon Gagne scored in the final period for his fifth goal. More significantly, it was his 596th career NHL point, moving him closer to 600. ... The Flyers' two goals in the second period were seven seconds apart but that is not a record. The record is six seconds set on Jan. 19, 1985, when the Flyers scored two shorthanded goals by Miroslav Dvorak and Illkka Sinasalo. Also, the last time there were two Flyer goals seven ticks apart was Dec. 27, 1988, on goals from Moe Mantha and Ron Sutter. ... Oliver Lauridsen picked up his first NHL goal. He was plus-3 playing 19:05 and was credited with two shots and two hits. ... Luke Schenn led the Flyers with eight hits and was plus-3 with four blocked shots. ... Rosehill picked up five hits in just 8:34 of ice time.

Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov show glimpses, Alex Lyon stars in Flyers' split-squad loss

Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov show glimpses, Alex Lyon stars in Flyers' split-squad loss

NEWARK, N.J. — Split-squad games have their advantages and disadvantages.

The Devils presented a hefty NHL-laden lineup against a Flyers unit with one NHL forward — Scott Laughton — Monday night at the Prudential Center.

Not surprisingly, the Devils won, 2-0. Among the prospects to watch in this one were forward Travis Konecny and defenseman Ivan Provorov.

The one player who absolutely shined in this was goalie Alex Lyon, who finished with 29 saves on 30 shots.

Konecny was again at right wing but this time on Andy Miele’s line with Laughton, who’s been at left wing all camp.

“Miele can distribute the puck and makes plays and Scotty Laughton brings a more veteran presence and some power and speed on the left wing,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “Add the ability that Travis has, it fits pretty well with those two.”

Konecny worked on the first-unit power play in the right slot. He lost a puck in the corner, regained it and fed Corban Knight for a near goal in the paint.

He had a shot, turnover and hit going into the final period and handled himself well against older veterans.

During a third-period power play, with the Flyers behind, 1-0, he got a rebound in the high slot but chose to pass the puck rather than reposition himself for a shot on goalie Anders Lindback.

Lyon impressive
Lyon, the free-agent goalie signed out of Yale, was under siege in the opening period, facing 13 shots. The Devils had a stacked veteran lineup against mostly kids from the Flyers.

He was very good, especially playing the angles from which the Devils like to attack. He also stopped Beau Bennett on a breakaway out of the penalty box with his right pad.

Lyon had a sliding pad save on Bennett in the second period, as well, off a two-on-none break.

Provorov debut
He was paired with Brandon Manning and played the left side.

The 19-year-old Russian showed some speed and worked on the first-unit power play with Konecny. Provorov did some nice stickwork to get around Devils veteran Travis Zajac on the forecheck in the first period.

One aspect that stood out as the game progressed was that Provorov’s passes on the breakout were too quick for his forwards to handle. He’s that talented that he gets the puck and it’s gone before they can catch it in stride.

Lyubimov debut 
Another forward battling for a roster spot is Russian center Roman Lyubimov, who played right wing on Anthony Salinitri’s line with Connor Bunnaman.

He’s very quick to chasing down pucks off the faceoff and very strong in battling for position or puck possession in tight spaces.

He worked the penalty kill in Russia and was on the first unit here, where he had a blocked shot.

Loose pucks 
The Flyers fell to the Islanders, 3-0, in their other game. Anthony Stolarz started in net and made 33 saves. ... With a split-squad game and the Flyers missing players because of the World Cup of Hockey, they had only three NHLers in their lineup vs. the Devils: Laughton, Manning and South Jersey’s T.J. Brennan. … Laughton had a nifty chance late in the second period and missed everything. … The Devils got a goal from Nick Lappin soon after on a second rebound. Nothing Lyon could do. … The Flyers actually outshot the Devils, 10-9, that stanza. … The Devils had an empty-net goal at the end. ... Tuesday’s game at the Wells Fargo Center against the Islanders will be televised on TCN.

Flyers returning from World Cup enjoyed playoff-like atmosphere

Flyers returning from World Cup enjoyed playoff-like atmosphere

VOORHEES, N.J. – It’s as if the season began right where it left off for the handful of Flyers players that participated in the World Cup of Hockey. 

Five months removed from their first round series with Washington, the group that played in the international tournament says it was nearly identical to the tempo they saw in the NHL playoffs.

“Our division was really tight so right from the get-go you couldn’t afford to lose a game,” said Sean Couturier, who suited up for North America. “It definitely felt like playoffs, and it definitely didn’t feel like September.”

Couturier was joined by his World Cup teammate Shayne Gostisbehere, along with Team Czech Republic’s Jake Voracek and Michael Neuvirth, in their return to Voorhees for their first practice with the Flyers on Monday. Team Canada’s Claude Giroux and the Team Europe duo of Mark Streit and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare will be competing in the finals this week.

While it may have been an early exit for the first wave of Flyers who reported back, the experience of playing in a tournament with that high of intensity has left them more confident than they’ve ever felt at this time of the year, particularly for Gostisbehere. 

The Calder Trophy runner-up underwent offseason hip surgery following his 46-point season. Having missed a season two years ago because of a torn ACL, Gostisbehere is thankful for how much the World Cup prepared him for his second year. He says he feels better now than he ever has in his career after picking up four assists in the tournament.

“You don’t play in those games in September normally so it was pretty cool to do,” Gostisbehere said. “I think the tournament was a good stepping stone for me and to branch off my injury and give yourself the confidence that you’re feeling good for the year.”

Like Couturier and Gostisbehere, Voracek said the World Cup gameplay mirrored that of the NHL postseason. 

“When I look at the season for the Flyers, it was the best thing that could have happened for me,” Voracek said. “The World Cup was high level… I’m six games in before training camp even starts.”

After what he calls a “good offseason” of training, Voracek saw this opportunity as almost a saving grace – a chance to regain form before embarking on his sixth season in Philadelphia. The winger had one goal and one assist in three games that “felt like I was playing in the playoffs.”

Had this tournament occurred in 2015, the mindset coming back may have been different. Dave Hakstol was coaching his first professional season and as evidenced by their record to start the year and the comments made throughout, things took a little longer than expected when it came to picking up the new coach’s system.

That process is behind the Flyers, and it makes missing the first weekend of camp and possibly the first week of preseason games an easier obstacle to overcome.

“It’s always better when you know the system and what Hak wants in you,” Voracek said. “It’s obviously going to get better and better.”

The best-of-three World Cup finals will begin on Tuesday with the third game (if needed) commencing on Saturday. If the teams go the full distance, the remaining three Flyers involved would likely not play their first preseason game until Oct. 6 if not Oct. 8, the final exhibition game.