Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adam Kimelman of NHL.com,
Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Kimmo Timonen was in the midst of his first press gathering in Philadelphia since the Philadelphia Flyers traded him Feb. 27.
After eight years as a member of the Flyers, Timonen was asked how the crowd would react for his return to Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday.
Timonen, the stoic 40-year-old Finn, took several beats to gather himself as the memories of the past washed over him.
"I only have good memories here," he finally said. "I'm sure it's going to be good. All the things that happened here. ... I'm happy to be here."
"That guy is such a great human being off the ice, on the ice," Flyers forward Jakub Voracek said. "It's a really good example for me. I was 21, 22 when I got here. He showed me the way, how to be a better person and how to be a better hockey player. That guy's a pro every single way. ... I'm very happy for him that he's got a chance to battle for a Stanley Cup because he really deserves it."
from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News,
"I mean, for us to give up now and say we're not a playoff team and we've got to be patient and all that kind of thing, sends the wrong message, I think. To the guys who are here, to our fans, to everybody."
Ah, yes, there's the rub. Ed's half-full approach may be fueled by the memory of half-empty buildings - or the fear of them. He's also, at age 82, still one of the most hopeful and emotional fans this town will ever know. Anyone who saw how happy he was in the locker room when the Flyers were a few points from a playoff position a few weeks ago can attest to that.
So he can be forgiven for wanting more in less time. What can't be forgiven is if that leads to the same type of short-term decision-making from which Hextall is trying to dig out.
"That's not my method of operation," Snider said. "There are times GMs do things and I cringe. But the bottom line is that Ron has come in and his attitude is that we have to be patient with the kids and so forth. But I don't think we've ever really been impatient with the kids. It's a question that he wanted to establish his philosophy. Which I respect."
from Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly,
Asked whether he deserved another chance to coach next year, Berube laughed.
“When you don’t make the playoffs, anything can happen,” Berube replied. “Especially here. We’re still fighting to make the playoffs. If that happens, who knows what can happen. It’s an organization that has a lot of pride. They want to be in the fight every year.”
The Flyers' "tragic number" is now five. Five points earned by Ottawa — the current second wild card — or five points lost by the Flyers eliminates the Flyers from the playoff hunt.
When that happens, Berube’s short reign is likely over.
“Do I love coaching here?” Berube asked. “Yep, I do.”
"I don't believe our effort has been an area where you could say we have a problem here in terms of flat-out effort. I think consistency has been our biggest issue. I think you see certain games and we play real well, we execute, we have good puck support, our lines work well together, our D-pairs work, we move the puck quick. Then there's other games where we're just off our game. But again, I wouldn't say effort is a problem here. We've got a pretty good group of people."
-Ron Hextall, GM of the Philadelphia Flyers. More from Hextall from Randy Miller of NJ.com.
from Tom Flynn of PennLive,
There might not be any bigger fan of Eagles coach Chip Kelly than embattled Flyers coach Craig Berube. With all of the moves Kelly has made recently, Berube has enjoyed convenient cover for a series of missteps that should cost him his job.
After Saturday's game in Edmonton, the Flyers are eight games from a season that will end without a playoff berth for only the third time in 19 seasons. Since 16 of the 30 teams in the NHL make the playoffs, it requires some effort to join the 47 percent that will be making tee times starting April 12, the day after the regular season ends.
Certainly, Berube has a co-conspirator in Paul Holmgren, the former general manager who left the coach with an ill-fitting roster. A defensive corps comprised mostly of second-pairing (at best) talent and a huge lack of secondary scoring hindered the team all season.
Also, the huge contracts and minuscule production from washed-out veterans Vinny Lecavalier and R.J. Umberger will continue to be a problem because their outsize deals will prevent any sort of trade.
What should get Berube canned, however, is his puzzling mistreatment of goalie Steve Mason, who has become the team's most indispensable player.
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Too many players had off seasons at the same time. Too many players didn't answer the bell as the Flyers lost their first four games. Too many players didn't play with the same urgency on the road as they did at home.
"It's been three straight years where we haven't had a good start," Sean Couturier said. "And once you're behind in this league, it's hard to get back. Last year we did it, but I think in the long run, it kind of caught up to us."
Couturier said the Flyers need to "get the intensity level higher" at the outset of next season. "Game 1 is as important as Game 82," he said....
"We underachieved," coach Craig Berube said. "We've played better hockey than our record, but we obviously haven't won the games we needed, too - mostly on the road. If our record's .500 on the road, we're probably in a playoff spot."
Berube said there were "too many times where the game was there to be won, and we didn't get it done."
Will Berube take the fall for the failures? Hextall said he will evaluate things after the season. Twice in the last two weeks Hextall had a chance to give Berube a vote a confidence . . . and didn't do so.
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
The Flyers are broken, and it would be surprising if another coach isn't hired to try to put them back together.
Coach Craig Berube is a good hockey man with strong principles, but he has lost this flawed team. Many of the players are upset with how Berube singled out goalie Steve Mason - three times - in the team's eighth straight road loss Thursday, a 4-1 defeat in Calgary....
When you combine the Flyers' repeated failures with the growing tension in the locker room, it's fair to wonder if first-year general manager Ron Hextall will soon make a coaching change.
Hextall, we presume, wants to hire his own coach.
Berube was hired by then-GM Paul Holmgren.
more and below, watch Berube after practice today...
from Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News,
If the Flyers’ on-ice play and the necessity of their team meeting didn’t set off alarm bells, the fact that Craig Berube yanked Steve Mason after two goals certainly should point to some discord.
Berube has ridden Mason hard all season, then pulled him for Ray Emery after allowing a goal on a screen which prevented him from seeing the puck until it hit the back of the net. In addition to Nick Schultz standing directly in front of him, Andrew MacDonald was to the right of Mason, blocking most of his field of vision toward the points.
“I don’t think we’re surprised at this point anymore,” Schenn said of Mason’s departure. “I don’t think ‘Mase’ was playing bad or anything like that, it was just to shake things up.”
Yes, the Flyers did score with 9 ticks remaining in the second period to cut the deficit to one goal, but whatever “momentum” it gained was clearly lost on the locker room.
Berube said he was not happy with the goals Mason allowed.
“There are going to be screens,” Berube said. “You’ve got to fight to find pucks.”
Reminder: Mason is just outside the Top 5 in the NHL in save percentage, one of three goaltenders in the league in the Top 20 who isn’t backstopping a playoff team.
more and watch the game highlights below...
from David Isaac of the Courier-Post,
At the beginning of the season the Flyers' defense was popular among critics, but they actually haven't been that bad. Sure, part of it is chalked up to the goaltending of Mason, but the Flyers' 117 5-on-5 goals allowed this season is 12th fewest in the league heading into Friday's games.
So the big problem for the Flyers really is…
"The goal scoring. Again, I'll bring it up," coach Craig Berube said. "It's really dumbfounded me 5-on-5. Going into the year I expected more scoring that we have right now. I look at the 14 overtime (and shootout) losses and a lot of that is scoring. You get a goal here and there, and it's a different story. The offensive production 5-on-5 has definitely not been good enough."
At the beginning of the season, the Flyers probably didn't expect Michael Raffl to lead the team in even-strength scoring. Fifteen of his 16 goals have come with the teams at even strength while seven of Claude Giroux's 18 and half of Wayne Simmonds' 26 and Jake Voracek's 20 have come at even strength. As a team, the Flyers' 5-on-5 goal for and against ratio of 0.97 is 20th in the league.
"It's about getting to the net and getting more pucks to the net," Berube said. "That's my opinion. We get rush chances. I look back at the Dallas game there (Tuesday). We could have had three or four goals off the rush very easily. We had 2-on-1s, 3-on-1s. They didn't go in. But this time of year, especially this time of year, you gotta grind it out around the net to get goals."
via the Philadelphia Flyers,
Flyers general manager Ron Hextall announced this morning that forward R.J. Umberger will have surgery on his right hip and abdominal muscles this Wednesday in Philadelphia. He is expected to be out 10 weeks.
Umberger has missed the last two games after appearing in all 67 games from the start of the season. He has nine goals and six assists for 15 points, while averaging 13:49 of ice time, including 1:19 of power-play TOI and :58 of time on the penalty kill.
The 32-year-old Umberger is in his 10th season in the NHL and fourth overall with the Flyers. The Pittsburgh, Pa. native has appeared in 740 regular season games recording 178 goals and 203 assists for 381 points, while also adding 14 goals and 20 points in 30 career Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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