Little victories are all we have left, but here’s a good one: Kimmo Timonen will resume skating tomorrow.
Results last two weeks: Flyers 4, Coyotes 3 (SO); Flyers 5, Jets 2; Flyers 1, Leafs 0; Islanders 3, Flyers 2 (SO)
Current record: 22-22-8, 52 points
Record at this point last year: 25-21-6, 56 points
Record at this point in 2006: 13-32-7, 33 points
Upcoming schedule: Feb 8 at Capitals, Feb 10 at Canadiens
Everyone’s favorite Finnish defenseman will resume skating tomorrow after eight months of waiting for blood clots in his lungs and thigh to disappear. Timonen and Hextall held a press conference during the first intermission of the Islanders game and confirmed that yes, Timo will begin skating, but also that he will always have the clots in his leg, calling them “chronic”. He also more or less confirmed that this is his last year regardless, saying “I signed a one-year deal. I wanted to come out hard and play well and leave this game on a high note. It’s still the case. I want to come back and hopefully play a game. Leave this game with my skates on; that’s probably the biggest thing.”
There’s two scenarios I can see should Kimmo ultimately make it all the way back to the active roster: either he finishes his career here, or he could be dealt to a playoff team looking for a defenseman at the deadline. The second would be preferable for the Flyers of course, to get a return on him, but many Flyers fans out there would be just fine with him retiring in the orange and black. It remains to be seen.
The Flyers leave the comfortable confines of the Wells Fargo center to go on a four-game road trip to Washington, Montreal, Columbus, and Buffalo in the next two weeks. The orange and black desperately need to beat some teams in front of them to stay relevant in the playoff hunt, starting the Islanders game ten points out of a playoff slot.
I think they’re cooked, honestly. This team’s weakness is too much for them to overcome, the shutout against the Leafs notwithstanding. The defense is just too bad; it’s got too many people playing too many roles they shouldn’t be in. Every time I see Berube use Luke Schenn as a stay-at-home defenseman, I cringe. Every time I see Braydon Coburn as a top-pair defenseman, I cringe. Every time I see Nick Grossmann on the ice, I cringe. The pieces Berube has at his disposal are not his fault, but how he uses them is. They are getting outshot consistently and by wide margins; Mason notwithstanding, that’s going to lead to a lot more losses than wins.
Realistically, it’ll take two or three years for Hextall to really put his mark on this team. Until then, he’s just cooking with someone else’s ingredients.
I think if Hextall is smart, he trades the people who aren’t a part of his long-term plan; even if you make the playoffs, you’re not going anywhere against a team who can possess the puck effectively, which is a lot of teams that make the playoffs. The Islanders showed that tonight. Trade Grossmann, Schultz, Lecavalier (good luck on that), Brayden Schenn if the price is right. The team has a glut of centers and more in the minors. They can move some and make room and not have natural centers playing on the wing. When Rinaldo can play again, send him to the AHL and bring up someone who can contribute. Just because you’re not going to win the Cup this year doesn’t mean you can’t get better by figuring out who can help you moving forward.
The Islanders game was Game 52. There are 30 more games in the season.
-The Flyers are shooting themselves in the foot by winning. This is not a playoff team. You almost wish you could put Giroux, Voracek, and Mason in cold storage for the rest of the year and just let them lose and get a better pick.
-You don’t need to look any further than the Grossmann-MacDonald defense pairing to see what’s wrong with this team.
-I’ll admit, it was nice to see them roll off four straight victories. It was kind of like having an old friend come to town and visit for a bit before leaving you to your harsh reality again.
-Sean Couturier needs better linemates.
-Ryan White took care of Matt Martin though, eh?
-Lecavalier jumped into the Wayback Machine for tonight, didn’t he? That rest did him some good. Flyers and Hextall should send this game to every GM in the league and be like “look at him! He looks fabulous! He can be had for a song!” I’m cleaning my car out and keeping it warm just in case I have to drive him to the airport.
-You pray that Hextall is working the phones to trade Nick Schultz. You pray that the whispers of an extension for him were just rumors. A man can hope.
-Evander Kane may be available for a trade? Eh. Dustin Byfuglien is the real prize on that team. People may complain about his antics but if he was a Flyer, they’d eat that stuff up with a spoon. He reminds me of Pronger in that you hate him if he’s not on your team and love him if he is.
-Bellemare watch: making all the ladies swoon!
-We’ll know what we have for real with this team in three years. That’s when most of the defensemen will either be free agents or re-signed, the kids will be up, and we’ll have a year of watching them grow together. The only defensemen we have signed past next year are Streit and MacDonald, one of which has been great (Streit) and one of which needs a better situation/partner to flourish (MacDonald).
-If the Kings can send Mike Richards to the AHL, we can absolutely send Zac Rinaldo to the AHL and forget about him, like we did Jay Rosehill.
-Speaking of which, Richards to the AHL at 30 years old and signed until 2020. Oh how the mighty have fallen. The Flyers should have replaced Holmgren with a “good job, attaboy” the moment he unloaded Carter and Richards.
-Matt Read could not have whiffed on more pucks tonight.
-I’m not ready to give up on Brayden Schenn until I see him play center and fail. He’s not a winger though, that’s for sure.
Sell, sell, sell Hexy!
Lets Go Flyers!