Flyers Notes: Flyers need to improve on faceoffs

Panthers goalie Jose Theodore celebrates the Panthers' shootout win over the Flyers. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Panthers goalie Jose Theodore celebrates the Panthers' shootout win over the Flyers. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Posted: February 09, 2013

Claude Giroux needs some help.

The Flyers captain went into Thursday's game among the NHL leaders by being successful on 55.4 percent of his faceoffs.

Despite his success, the Flyers had won just 46.5 percent of their draws, putting them 28th in the 30-team NHL.

Put another way: If you take away Giroux, the rest of the Flyers had won just 40.9 percent of their faceoffs. As a result, the Flyers are getting less zone time and frequently seem to be on the defensive side of the puck.

Here are the other Flyers and their faceoff percentages entering Thursday: Sean Couturier, 45.3 percent; Brayden Schenn, 41.8 percent; Max Talbot, 33.3 percent; Ruslan Fedotenko, 30.2 percent; and Danny Briere, 14.3 percent. Briere, bothered by a wrist injury, just started taking faceoffs this season and had won just one of seven.

"I think through time and experience and getting stronger, you gain lessons in the faceoff circle and become better schooled at it - and better equipped to handle guys who have been around a long time," coach Peter Laviolette said before Thursday's game against Florida.

There is a direct correlation between faceoff success and victories. Heading into Thursday's games, the top three faceoff teams - Boston, San Jose, and Detroit - were a combined 18-7-3. The bottom three faceoff teams - the Flyers, Edmonton, and Buffalo - had a combined record of 11-15-3.

Timonen signs

As reported in Wednesday's Inquirer, defenseman Kimmo Timonen has signed a one-year, $6 million extension with the Flyers, who made it official Thursday.

Timonen, who will turn 38 next month, could have been an unrestricted free agent in July. He has a $6.3 million cap hit this season.

An all-star last season, Timonen has recovered from offseason back surgery. He had a goal and five assists in the first 10 games.

"We have a lot of young kids here . . . and Kimmo's a good role model," general manager Paul Holmgren said. "You couldn't ask for a better guy."

Injury updates

Wayne Simmonds, who sat out his third straight game with a concussion, seems on track to play Saturday afternoon against Carolina. "He still doesn't feel quite right, but obviously he's getting better," Holmgren said.

Holmgren gave encouraging reports on Andrej Meszaros (shoulder) and Scott Hartnell (broken foot), saying both may be able to resume skating next week. Both might return to the lineup in two weeks.

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