Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Oft-injured Gustafsson may have groin problem

Flyers defenseman Erik Gustafsson went out of tonight's 4-1 Flyers victory over the Washington Capitals after taking a shot off his shin.
Afterward, Gustafsson, who missed a lot of games with the Phantoms after going out with a broken ankle -- suffered after he blocked a shot -- in December, said this injury is on his other leg.
But sources say Gustafsson isn't dealing with the after-effects of a shot to the shin, but rather a possible pulled groin muscle. Either way, Gustafsson, while not revealing the nature of the injury, is hopeful it doesn't turn out to be a serious one.
"Obviously you don't want to be injured but it's part of the game," he said. "Stuff happens. It got treated ... I'll be back sooner rather than later."

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Read's injury dampens spirited win over Penguins

Yet another wild, whacky and very entertaining game between the Flyers and Penguins tonight at Consol Energy Center. It showed the Flyers have a chance to quickly get back into a playoff spot in the East - a win over Florida Thursday is a must - and it showed that Wayne Simmonds (7 points in 7 games) and Jakub Voracek (10 points in 5 games) are reaching new offensive heights.

For the Flyers, however, this win might have been a bit hurtful, since Matt Read went out with an injury with 3:24 left in the first period. He was hit by Chris Kunitz and never returned to the game.

Read, who had recently attained top-line status, was off to a fast start with 7 goals and 13 points. According to Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, Read has the old "upper body injury" and he will be re-evaluated today.

You might wonder if that evaluation includes a concussion test. The Flyers are hopeful that the injury doesn't persist, for they need all the offensive weapons they can get.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Leighton to miss 7-10 days; Boucher recalled

Flyers backup and career hard-luck goaltender Michael Leighton, expected to make his second start of the season Tuesday, will instead spend it at home rehabilitating an injury.
General manager Paul Holmgren announced Leighton will miss 7 to 10 days with what Holmgren described in NHLspeak as an "upper body injury."
Since Leighton spent Saturday's game against Carolina using mostly his gluteus muscles on the bench, it would figure that the injury likely occurred during an optional practice Friday. The team did not confirm that or offer any other details.
Anyway, goalie Brian Boucher - who split time with Leighton through a wild 2009-10 season in which both were injured along with alleged starter Ray Emery - and traveled to Toronto with the team Sunday and could make the start Tuesday against the Jets. Starter Ilya Bryzgalov is expected to play against the Maple Leafs Monday.
Trenton Titans goalie Cal Heeter was sent back to Adirondack to fill in for Boucher there.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Timonen likely to get contract extension

The Flyers are expected to reach an agreement this week on a contract extension for defenseman Kimmo Timonen. Reports put the one-year extension in the $6 million range.
In a text message to the Daily Times early Wednesday evening, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren indicated nothing was official on a Timonen contract, but the veteran defenseman, who turns 38 next month, has been known to be talking to the team about re-upping.

Part of the talks with the Flyers have likely centered around Timonen's interest in playing for Finland in the 2014 Olympic Games in Soshi, Russia. The NHL and its players union have expressed interest in competing there but their inclusion still has to be negotiated.

Timonen, who had signed a six-year, $37.8 million free agent deal with the Flyers in 2007, has a $6.3 million cap hit this season.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Rinaldo's fight edgier than most

There was a point, back on Jan. 27 in Tampa, that all chaos was breaking loose. And it had little to do with the chaos the Flyers fell into while falling 5-1 to the Lightning that night.
This little storm was stirred up early by Lightning forward B.J. Crombeen, who first antagonized Wayne Simmonds, then did the same with Claude Giroux.
Crombeen got three simultaneous minors at one point in that game, but that did little to deter the Flyers from feeling in this rematch game at Wells Fargo Center Tuesday night that Crombeen must be targeted.
Or, at least ... that's what everybody thought after Zac Rinaldo beat the hell out of the guy.
"I didn’t play down in Tampa and to be honest with you, I had no clue what happened down in Tampa," Rinaldo claimed after his beat down (quite literally) of Cromwell helped motivate the Flyers en route to a 2-1 tipping of Tampa tonight.
Rinaldo, who was out injured in that first meeting with the Lightning, said he'd watched that game that night, but he said this fight happened because "two guys collided and he asked me first, so I answered back."
That said, there was another issue surrounding the Rinaldo fight, which was as one-sided as they come. From some vantage points, when Rinaldo really rocked Crombeen with three consecutive rights ... two of them seemed to come a little bit late, after Crombeen had gone down.
No way, Rinaldo said.
"I hit him until he was down," he said. "I’m not going to hit nobody no matter who they are or what they've done. I’ll never hit someone when they’re down; I hit him until he was down and made sure he was down and that was it."
Crombeen, who seemed OK afterward despite being sent to the locker room for the balance of the evening after the fight, was asked if he thought Rinaldo's punches came a bit too late.
"I’m not going to say that," Crombeen said. "You’re in a fight. He’s trying to hit me. I’m trying to hit him. ... I always thought that if a guy is in a bad position you stop throwing, but guys fight different ways. I’m not going to say if it was dirty or not. You’re fighting. ... You put yourself in that situation and you know the consequences."
Rinaldo was concerned about the reaction of his punches coming late, so later he asked referee Kelly Sutherland what he thought.
"I kind of felt bad if maybe I didn’t stop myself, but I’m pretty sure I did," Rinaldo said. "I even asked Kelly ... I asked him what he thought and he said, "No, you’re good. It was fine. You hit him right before he went down."

Flyers Pre-Game: Look out for the Lightning

VOORHEES, N.J. - There's no question the Flyers really need to put together a little win streak to keep pace with the early playoff spot contenders in the Eastern Conference. That's why tonight's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning seems like such bad timing.
The Lightning are coming off a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers Saturday night, but still lead the Southeast Division with a 6-2 record. What's more, the memory a 5-1 victory over the Flyers in Tampa Jan. 27 is still too fresh.
It may not have meant anything that coach Peter Laviolette chose to have the club's morning skate today at the Skate Zone in Voorhees rather than the usual spot at Wells Fargo Center. Then again, maybe Laviolette is cooking up something special that he didn't want any Lightning staff to see this morning. All Laviolette said was he was in search of "a little more privacy."
No matter what secret weapon strategies were possibly formed, the Flyers know the challenge immediately ahead. The Lightning leads the NHL with a 36.1 percent success ratio on the power play and with 39 goals scored through only eight games.
"When you have a (Steven) Stamkos, a (Marty) St. Louis and (Ryan) Malone on one line, and come back with Vinny (Lecavalier) and (Ted) Purcell and the young kid (Cory) Conacher, that's six world class players there," said Flyers defenseman Kurtis Foster, who played in Tampa in 2009-10. "That can hurt you. And adding (Sami) Salo and Matty Carle, from here, that adds to their puck-moving ability (on defense). They're a young team that's playing really well right now. When you have everybody going at the same time, that leads to a lot of goals."
Stamkos, who went for 60 last season, leads the club with 7 goals and 16 points ... an average of two points per game. St. Louis, still great at 37, follows with 14 points. Lecavalier, the team captain also off to a good start, has been saying he plans to play in this game despite missing practice yesterday due to a badly bruised foot. He took a shot off it in the Rangers game.