Sunday, April 6, 2014

Flyers nervous about lowly Sabres

PHILADELPHIA - For the Flyers, the greatest thing to fear is fear itself.
They may have been pondering that Sunday as a half-locker room full of them came in from a morning skate talking about the importance of tonight's game against the Buffalo Sabres.
That's the minor-league maxed, worst-record-in-the-league Buffalo Sabres, who won't know any better other than play all out when the puck drops at 7:30 at Wells Fargo Center.
"I'd say it's a must-win for us," Scott Hartnell said. "We have to treat this as the last game of the year to get into the playoffs. We need two points. It's getting a little too close for comfort right now, with the way we've played the last couple of games. I think we need to be sharp, we need to be skating, we need to be hitting. Those are the things that make us successful."
Those are the things, Hartnell and Co. said, they did for at least two periods Saturday against the Boston Bruins. When they got away from it, the best-record-in-the-league Bruins blew them out of TD Garden in the third period en route to a 5-2 win.
That was the Flyers' fourth consecutive loss, and they are 1-4-2 in their last seven games heading into this clash against the unknowing Sabres (21-47-9), who feature several minor grads and barely resemble the same Buffalo lineup, coaching office and front office that began the season.
Nonetheless, in a less than confident Philadelphia locker room, caution flags were raised.
"They're still a good team. They've still beaten the teams at the top of the standings," Jake Voracek said of the Sabres, who actually are on a prolonged slide of 2-12-1. ... Just don't tell that to the Flyers.
"We have to be ready for that game tonight because it won't be easy at all," Voracek added.
"There's a lot of guys probably playing for jobs next season, trying to make a good impression," Hartnell said about the Sabres. "If you take those teams lightly it can end up hurting you at the end of the night. But ... the last few games they played well. So we need to have our best effort and nothing less."

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Timonen back in, Meszaros out again for Flyers

PHILADELPHIA - With one eye planted firmly on the Sochi Olympics and hoping another foot really is stable enough to play before then, Kimmo Timonen will suit up tonight for the Flyers as they take on the Colorado Avalanche at Wells Fargo Center. Timonen has missed two consecutive games after taking a shot off his left foot. Perhaps coincidentally, Andrej Meszaros took his place and the Flyers promptly posted a couple of impressive road victories in Los Angeles and San Jose. "I feel pretty good but when it comes to the lineup, but obviously it's a coach's decision," Timonen said. "The last five or six days have been tough because I want to play and obviously the Olympics are coming. I want to get a couple of games in, or at least one. It's going the right way and I feel pretty good, so it's a good feeling." Coach Craig Berube confirmed Timonen will play, so he promptly put Meszaros back on the healthy scratch list for tonight. "It is what it is," Meszaros said. "I don't know. I just have to accept it; there's nothing else I can do about it and go with it, I guess. I'm finally healthy, I'm feeling good. And not playing it's always hard. You think about it all the time. Obviously, I missed a lot of games because of injuries (in recent seasons), now I have few. I'm healthy again and I'm not playing and it's hard on any player who's not playing and is a healthy scratch. I'm just trying to work hard in practice and stay with it, I guess." l l l NOTES: Former Flyer Max Talbot has been in Colorado since being traded there Oct. 31 for Steve Downie. He's called his Avalanche experience, "Great. It's been a blast." Talbot and his fiance Cynthia are day-to-day waiting for the birth of their child. Talbot has had an emergency flight booked at every city on this road trip. ... Steve Mason will start for the Flyers.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mason in goal for season opener; Emery trying hard not to be disappointed

PHILADELPHIA - Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said Wednesday that Steve Mason's appointment as the club's starting goaltender for tonight's season opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs had much to do with what Mason did several months ago rather than anything Ray Emery didn't do during training camp.
"At the end of last (season) he really played terrific for us," Laviolette said of Mason after the club's morning skate at Wells Fargo Center. "Either one of them could have started. If we had to base it on anything it was just the way that (Mason) played at the end of last year, the way that he came into camp in shape and the way he played in camp."
Statistically, the goalies' performances in the preseason was a wash ... mainly because preseason stats mean nothing. But for the record, both of them made three appearances, neither of them won a game. Mason's numbers (3.67 GAA; .859 SP) paled slightly to Emery's (3.30; .873). The only thing those numbers indicate are how badly the Flyers played as a team in a 1-5-1 preseason.
To Laviolette, both Emery and Mason "played well" in their exhibition outings.
"Both goaltenders deserved it," the coach said. "You could have made the case for either one. We just decided to go with Steve. He's had a great camp."
Emery tried to shrug off the Mason selection, but did seem a bit disappointed ... as he should be.
"You always want to play, but there's a lot of games in the season," Emery said. "You're going to get a chance to play. ... There's a lot of games in a season and a lot of back-to-backs. Both guys will get a chance to play and both guys are going to want to do well. Right now I'm going to get as prepared as I can.
"It's the start of the season, you have two goalies, one guy's got to play. So like I said, I'll be prepared when I get a chance to play."

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Morin signed to entry-level deal, might see early action

The Flyers joined several other teams this week in offering their top rookie draft pick, Samuel Morin, his first NHL contract. Under collective bargaining agreement rules, Morin's contract is structured to three years for hte maximum $925,000 base salary. Signing and performance bonuses, if attained, would take the deal above the poverty line and to an annual average of $1.425 million. That would begin when Morin makes the big club, and so it won't be for a while. Several of the 6-foot-6 Morin's teammates were impressed by his plan and composure with the puck Monday night in his NHL preseason debut. He earned a lot of minutes in both regular shifts and on power plays. But he's a long way from being an NHL presence. Physically, Morin has a lot of filling out to do, and experience-wise, NHL defensemen naturally develop at a slower pace. The Flyers have a two-year "slide" period where they can keep Morin for the first 10 games of the season and then send him back to his junior hockey team. That will almost certainly happen in October (and if it doesn't, it would say more about how they feel about their defense than anything else), and would probably happen again next year. Morin needs a couple of more junior years before coming to training camp truly ready to make an impact in the big leagues. At least he has shown flashes of being able to do just that in the future.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cleary situation unclear as Flyers begin camp

The Flyers' first group of three for this first day of training camp is going on the ice without a hitch, and without Dan Cleary. Sources say the would-be training camp invitee from Detroit was on the list of players scheduled for the 8:30 practice but decided to stay home to sort out his feelings about leaving the Red Wings. Meanwhile, his agent, J.P. Barry, tries to sort out contract talks with the Red Wings. Word is Cleary, who spent the past eight seasons with the Red Wings and grew to be one of their most popular players, is hoping Barry can woo the Wings to put a third year onto their offer to keep Cleary. As it stands, it's believed the Flyers plan to sign him to a three-year, $8.25 million deal once they clear cap space. Until then, Cleary was to be in camp on a tryout agreement only. The Red Wings were believed to be interested in re-signing Cleary, but were short one year and a lot of money as compared to the Flyers' offer. The Flyers will keep an interested eye on this from afar while camp ensues over these next three days here at Wells Fargo Center.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Flyers might not be getting Cleary, after all

Paul Holmgren talked excitedly Monday night about what Dan Cleary could bring to the Flyers. Cleary was a guy "who could play up and down the lineup" even at 34, Holmgren said of Cleary. The veteran forward had done just that in Detroit, showing a knack for defense, physical play and scoring, either as a third line wing or cohort to top line center Henrik Zetterberg. For the Flyers, Cleary was supposed to report Tuesday on a Player Tryout contract, and reportedly would sign a three-year $8.25 million deal as soon as the Flyers could clear cap space for him. Apparently, the Red Wings thought otherwise. A tweet from CBC reporter Elliotte Friedman Tuesday afternoon reported a "complication" had arisen between Cleary and the Flyers, intersting since the player hadn't yet arrived at Wells Fargo Center for the ongoing club photo shoots. Subsequent reports broke that the Red Wings had met with Cleary and his agent, while Holmgren, spotted as he walked toward the club's locker room, said only, "I don't know anything ... until I hear it from the horse's mouth." That's where the Flyers stand as of now with Cleary, who may or may not renege on his agreement to come to Flyers camp on a tryout basis. Perhaps the Red Wings found a way to clear enough cap space to re-sign their unrestricted free agent forward. Right now, like Holmgren, we don't know.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Gill to attend Flyers camp on tryout contract

While the Flyers continue to toy with the idea of bringing unrestricted free agent Simon Gagne to training camp on a tryout contract, a report out of Boston says they're already sold on the idea of giving another veteran a try. According to the report, Hal Gill, the 6-foot-7 defenseman who spent most of his career with the Bruins and seemingly had wrapped things up in Nashville last season, will be in Flyers camp under a tryout agreement. Gill, 38, joins what already is a crowded list of blue line hopefuls for a team that's perceived to be weak on defense, even with the offseason acquisition of Mark Streit. As such, Gill wouldn't have much of a chance to stick unless there is a trade and only if he can regain some of the competence that afforded him the opportunity to play more than 1,100 regular season and 110 playoff games in the NHL. Gill has played for five teams, starting with the Bruins in 1997-98. A durable player season in and season out, he logged 32 games and went scoreless in a labor-shortened season with Nashville earlier this year. The Preds chose not to re-sign him. The Flyers may be seeking to add veteran depth to their bench in Gagne and perhaps Gill, but would have to make a move or two to free up cap space to sign them as UFAs.