April 17, 2014 |
LACE 'EM UP and buckle up, NHL playoff season is here. Don't take any stupid penalties, watch those cross-ice passes and just win your shift. First one to 16 victories gets the best trophy in North American pro sports. Here's a look at the first-round matchups, in bracket order, of course. (Note, see our other writers' picks on the series besides Flyers-Rangesr below the capsules.) Eastern Conference FLYERS vs. RANGERS Goals for : 2.84 Flyers, 2.61 Rangers Goals against: 2.77 Flyers, 2.32 Rangers Power play: 8th Flyers, 15th Rangers Penalty kill: 7th Flyers, 3rd Rangers Last 10: 4-3-3 Flyers, 6-2-2 Rangesr Season series: Tied, 2-2 Three things: Rangers were essentially forced to trade captain Ryan Callahan to Tampa Bay at the deadline for Lightning captain Martin St. Louis.
April 16, 2014 |
Kimmo Timonen had just finished an interview with a Finnish television crew last week and was in a pensive but happy mood. The Flyers' sturdy little defenseman was asked if it gave him more motivation to play in the Stanley Cup playoffs because he may retire after they end. "It does," he said. "But I haven't decided anything yet. I want to play these playoffs and see how I feel. I just want to put that decision behind me and focus on the games we have here. " Starting Thursday in New York, the Flyers face the Rangers in an intriguing opening-round series.
April 14, 2014 |
PITTSBURGH - Flyers and Lightning fans were playfully chanting back and forth during Thursday's game in Tampa Bay, Fla., trying to out-insult each other. At one point, Lightning fans started a mocking chant: "1975! 1975!" That, of course, was the last time the Flyers won the Stanley Cup. The drought figures to be extended, because even if the Flyers get past the Rangers in the opening round, and even if they win in the second round against (in all probability) the Penguins, they are no match for the Bruins.
April 11, 2014 |
TAMPA, Fla. - Down the palm tree-lined street across from the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the road-weary Columbus Blue Jackets were watching the Flyers' every move. Already in town ahead of their own meeting with the Lightning tonight, the Blue Jackets' hopes of climbing in the Metropolitan Division rose with every blaring goal horn - which they could probably hear from their balconies on a gorgeous Florida spring night. The Flyers will begin their quest for a Stanley Cup on the road.
April 11, 2014 |
TAMPA, Fla. - Wiping the perspiration from preparation for Game 80 from his brow, Kimmo Timonen was asked by a reporter yesterday how he was feeling when a familiar voice piped up from an adjacent stall. "Old," best friend Scott Hartnell answered for him. Timonen laughed. But even he, one of the fiercest competitors, could not deny the ill effects of Father Time. "Once you get to 39, you do feel old sometimes," Timonen said. "But that's the truth. It's been a long year, with the Olympics and the travel and the time changes and everything, but that's passed.
April 6, 2014 |
Hal Gill has played in just four games this season and has been a healthy scratch since Dec. 21, but the veteran defenseman has been an important part of the Flyers, coach Craig Berube said after the team practiced Friday in Voorhees. Gill, who turns 39 on Sunday, was named the Philadelphia Hockey Writers Association's nominee for the Masterton Award, given annually to the player who demonstrates perseverance and dedication to hockey. Berube called him a "great leader" and role model, adding that Gill has had a big effect on the younger players "because he's played a long time, won a Cup, done that, done this.
April 4, 2014 |
ST. LOUIS - Ken Hitchcock can still remember the first time he got a glimpse of Craig Berube. It was the summer of 1984. Berube arrived in Kamloops, British Columbia, for a camp before the start of the Western Hockey League season - Hitchcock's first year as a big-time junior coach. Berube, then 18, had just wrapped up a 104-penalty-minute campaign with the New Westminster Bruins of the same league. Some 30 years gone, the sight still haunts Hitchcock. "He got off this bus from Williams Lake with the toughest group of guys I've ever seen," Hitchcock said.
March 26, 2014 |
MIKE RICHARDS and Jeff Carter come back to Philadelphia for the first time as a duo and it is impossible not to look back, and to wonder. It is a waste of time, of course, the wondering - but sometimes you can't help yourself. What if they had not been traded? What would this team look like? "I think it's a long time ago," Claude Giroux was saying. "A lot has changed since. I think there's only four guys on the team who were there in 2010. So a lot has changed. We have a new look in the Flyers' organization.
March 21, 2014 |
SINCE 2008, exactly 28 of the NHL's 30 franchises - every one except Edmonton and Atlanta/Winnipeg - have qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs at least once. Luke Schenn made his NHL debut as a wide-eyed 18-year-old on Oct. 9, 2008, with the Maple Leafs. Toronto didn't qualify for the playoffs from 2005-06 until last spring, Schenn's first season with the Flyers - who coincidentally missed out on a run at Lord Stanley's chalice for just the second time since 1994. Schenn has played for two of the game's proudest franchises and has never had a crack at the ultimate prize.
March 20, 2014 |
PATRICK KANE couldn't help himself. He had been back to the Wells Fargo Center once - more than 2 years ago - since the shot that changed his life on June 9, 2010, back when the place was still called the Wachovia Center. "I know it was a long time ago," Kane said. "But it feels like it was just yesterday. " Late on that warm summer night, Kane snuck a shot through Michael Leighton's pads that stretched Philadelphia's Stanley Cup drought to 35 years just 4:06 into overtime of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals.