Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Yesterday, Holmgren confirmed what many following this team during the postseason had suspected, that Smith, the Flyers’ captain, had suffered a separation of an already-ailing shoulder in one period against the New Jersey Devils on April 4, then separated the other shoulder the following period. It forced him to miss the final game of the regular season and the week of practice leading into the playoffs, forced him to alter his physical style, and forced him to receive repeated injections to numb excruciating pain.
He did not miss a playoff game, his minutes vacillating wildly as the injuries around him piled up. “I don’t know how he did it,” Holmgren said. “Jason Smith and Derian Hatcher brought toughness to a new level, in my mind. Neither of them should have been playing.”
from Ed Moran of the Philadelphia Daily News,
This summer, Holmgren’s focus is going to be much narrower. The base of the team he built, the one that showed it was talented enough to get to the Eastern Conference final - a year after finishing dead last in the NHL - is intact.
Keeping it that way will be the first task. The Flyers have restricted free agents that include R.J. Umberger, Jeff Carter and Randy Jones. Losing any of those players would be a blow. Holmgren has to find the salary-cap space to sign them.
And then, he must add to the defensive corps. Jason Smith is an unrestricted free agent; he will not fit into the Flyers’ plans and neither will Jaroslav Modry.
Derian Hatcher’s health will be an issue. He missed a lot of hockey with persistent knee problems.
Q. Someone comes up to you two months from now and says “how do you remember this season?” what will you say to them?
COACH STEVENS: I just told the guys that I have been in the game a long time. Working with this group has been one of the more enjoyable experiences I’ve had in pro hockey. It really has been. We’ve made tremendous strides this year, and we’ve come an awful long way.
And if you look back, we played the one, two, three season in the East in the playoffs and I thought we did a remarkable job. You give Pittsburgh credit. To me they were the number one seed in the East in terms of what I’ve seen.
And they’re very deserving of moving on.
Penguins defeat the Flyers 6-0 to advance to the SCF.
This game was over midway through the second period. Flyers gave it their all, but the talented Penguins were just too much for them.
from the Philadelphia Inquirer,
The Flyers said the keys to winning are doing what they did in Game 4: strong forechecking and getting quality shots on goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
“The first couple of games, I think we let him off the hook,” Richards said of Fleury. “Not going to the net and trying to pass around him too much. . . . But when you get pucks to the net and he’s having trouble seeing them, there are going to be rebounds.”
The Flyers also need to move the puck easily out of their zone, keep possession enough to score, and reduce the Penguins’ chances.
Q. We keep hearing that you’re not feeling that well, and that’s why there’s been this uncertainty. Do you have concussion symptoms, and if so, what are they?
BRAYDON COBURN: Right now, I’m just kind of dealing with some things with the eye and stuff like that.
So every day it’s been getting better. Tomorrow we’re reevaluating it again.
Q. Do you think you’ll play tomorrow?
BRAYDON COBURN: Yeah, I think there’s a good chance.
From Mark Spector at the National Post,
“Being a fourth-line player, let’s face it, I didn’t get a lot of ice time. I basically did a job where I knew I was a small piece of a team,” [Dave] Brown said. “I saw all the other pieces around me—skill guys, checkers, goalies, defencemen, penalty killers, power-play guys—and I was basically looking at them from the bottom up. I saw a lot of things from the bench, watching.
“I probably had a 13-year apprenticeship as a scout when I was sitting on the end of bench.”
And when he left the ice, he did so with the respect of many. Even Stu Grimson, whose career Brown nearly ended one night in Calgary in a hellacious rematch, after Grimson had beaten Brown in a fight in Edmonton two nights before.
“I always tell people, beating Dave Brown the first time I fought him was both the single greatest achievement of my career, and the single biggest mistake,” Grimson said yesterday. “He’s a good guy, a hard worker, and has a real humble disposition. A good man.”
more… on “The Toughest Flyer”
More talk from the coaches today, this time from the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Michel Therrien. Here’s the transcript.
Q. I was wondering if you could assess Evgeni Malkin’s play the last three games of this series? What have you seen in him the last three games?
COACH THERRIEN: Yeah, you know what, he hasn’t been productive like he was in the past. But he’s going to have to find a win next game to make sure he’s going to be productive like he used to be as soon as the playoffs start.
Some questions for Philadelphia Flyers coach John Stevens today.
Q. Can you talk about what Kimmo will mean not just on the ice, but off the ice in the room if he does come back and play on Sunday?
COACH STEVENS: Well, he’s a huge part of our team. I mean, through this year he’s progressed and in the playoffs he’s really taken his game to another level. I think just his presence around our team all year, he’s got deep respect by all his teammates. He just has composure all the time. I think that’s infectious on our team.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
While the Philadelphia Flyers received encouraging news regarding their best defenceman, Kimmo Timonen, the situation regarding their second-best defenceman, Braydon Coburn, became a little more clouded on Friday.
Timonen, who has not played in the Flyers’ NHL playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, said on Friday that he is hopeful he can play on Sunday in the fifth game of the Eastern Conference final. He has a blood clot in his ankle as a result of blocking a shot in the previous round of the playoffs….
The swelling has gone down in Coburn’s eye and his vision has improved, but it looks like he may be suffering concussion-like symptoms. He became nauseous on the Flyers’ flight home from Pittsburgh after Game 2 and those symptoms may be lingering.
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