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Posted On Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 2:18 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - Road to Sochi blog

Healthy Timonen relieved to play in Olympics

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen isn't the sort of person who shows his emotions publicly.

But in speaking with the 38-year-old, it's obvious how important is for him to play for his native Finland in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. And after missing two games with a foot injury, Timonen said two days of skating has him feeling healthy enough to get back in the lineup for the Flyers for their game Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche.

"The last five, six days have been tough," said Timonen, who was injured blocking a shot during a game Jan. 31 against the Anaheim Ducks. "I want to play. The Olympics is coming. I want to get a couple games in, at least one. It [the foot] is going the right way and I feel pretty good. It's a good feeling."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 1:44 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Avalanche seek reversal of fortune against Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- Only once this season has the Colorado Avalanche gone more than two straight games without a win, a four-game stretch in December that saw three of the games end in overtime or a shootout.

That's why there wasn't a lot of worry around the Avalanche locker room Thursday ahead of their game against the Philadelphia Flyers, two days removed from one of their most lopsided defeats this season, a 5-1 loss at the New York Rangers on Tuesday.

"Just a bump in the road," Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "It's one of those things. We're all professional. We just have to put it behind us. We've all dealt with big losses before and this is no different. … That's what's great about this sport, you get a chance two days later to regroup. We're looking forward to [the game Thursday]."

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Posted On Saturday, 01.18.2014 / 1:02 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flyers open pivotal home-and-home against Islanders

VOORHEES, N.J. -- The Philadelphia Flyers are one of seven teams separated by eight points in the Metropolitan Division, but just two of them will claim the division's automatic spots in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With a home-and-home set against the New York Islanders starting Saturday at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, the Flyers have a chance to do some serious damage to the competition.

The Flyers enter the game second in the division while the Islanders are eight points back in eighth.

"Playing a division rival, you want to be able to take the two points," Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds said after the team's morning skate at its suburban New Jersey practice site, Virtua Health Flyers Skate Zone. "We've got a back-to-back here. The more separation we can create the better."

The Flyers' next four games are against division opponents; after their game Monday at Nassau Coliseum, they host the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday and then play at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.11.2014 / 11:34 AM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Lindback gets fourth straight start for Lightning

PHILADELPHIA -- With the early afternoon start at Wells Fargo Center, the Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning passed on morning skates. However, both teams announced who their starting goaltenders will be.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper announced Friday that Anders Lindback would start for the fourth straight game while Ben Bishop recovers from an injury to his right wrist.

Lindback is 1-2-0 in his three most recent starts, allowing 10 goals on 59 shots. He's 4-9-1 in 15 games this season, with a 3.18 goals-against average and .877 save percentage. However one of his four wins this season came Nov. 27 when he stopped 19 of 21 shots in a 4-2 win against the Flyers in Tampa.

In six NHL games against the Flyers Lindback is 3-3-0 with a 2.18 GAA and .917 save percentage.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 7:42 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flyers' Matt Read out with concussion

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers forward Matt Read will be out at least through the weekend due to a concussion sustained Dec. 31 against the Calgary Flames.

Read was not in the lineup for the Flyers' game Wednesday against the Montreal Canadiens, marking the fourth straight game he's missed. He'll also be out for their games Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Sunday at the New York Rangers.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 6:55 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flyers after 10th straight win on home ice

PHILADELPHIA -- The last time the Montreal Canadiens were in Philadelphia was Dec. 12. The Flyers were in their first game at home after a six-game road trip and it was the back end of a back-to-back.

When the teams play Wednesday it's the same situation for the Flyers, who are in their first game back after a six-game road trip that concluded with a win Tuesday at the New Jersey Devils.

“The last time we played Montreal was the exact same situation,” Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds said. “We kept our game simple, we got pucks deep, we grinded their [defense] down and we played a strong 60 minutes. I think we’re going to try to the exact same thing [Wednesday].”

Doing the exact same thing would give the Flyers 10 straight wins at home. Helping that effort would be another strong game from forward Scott Hartnell, who is riding a career-best eight-game point-scoring streak.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 6:11 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Briere, Giroux celebrated as league champions

German Champs

(Click to view full-size image)

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers' Claude Giroux and the Montreal Canadiens' Daniel Briere were celebrated as league champions on Wednesday. Well, the German league.

Giroux and Briere played for Eisbaren Berlin during the lockout last season and the team went on to win the championship of the DEL, Germany's top-tier league.

The players were honored by members of the team's fan club. About 20 fans arrived in Philadelphia wearing custom jerseys that had Briere's name and number on one sleeve and Giroux's name and on number on the other sleeve. They also wore scarves with the players' faces on them.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 1:36 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Canadiens will try to replace Galchenyuk internally

PHILADELPHIA -- Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said he expects there to be lots of internal competition to replace the production supplied by forward Alex Galchenyuk.

Galchenyuk, fourth on the team with 10 goals and 23 points, will miss six weeks with a broken hand sustained during a game Jan. 6 against the Florida Panthers.

Bergevin, speaking during the Canadiens' optional morning skate Wednesday prior to their game at Wells Fargo Center against the Philadelphia Flyers (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN), said he will look at the current roster for someone to step into Galchenyuk's role before investigating any trades.

"We always look within first," Bergevin said. "A player like Alex you don't, unless you want to give up the house, the farm, to replace him, it's impossible. You look at Tampa Bay when they lost [Steven] Stamkos … he's not Stamkos but I'm just saying. [Phoenix Coyotes captain] Shane Doan went out for a while. You don't replace these players. You just give more guys ice time and they have to come through for you."

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 12:57 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - Road to Sochi blog

Canadiens' draft class represented at Sochi Games

PHILADELPHIA -- The Montreal Canadiens had eight players named to their respective countries' rosters for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the second-most of any team in the Eastern Conference and tied for the fourth-most of any NHL team.

Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin sees that as a point of pride, but he won't take a lot of credit for it. Instead, he points to Trevor Timmins, the team's director of amateur scouting.

Timmins and his staff were responsible for drafting four of the eight players picked -- forward Max Pacioretty (United States); defensemen Alexei Emelin (Russia) and P.K. Subban (Canada); and goaltender Carey Price (Canada). Forward Tomas Plekanec (Czech Republic) and defenseman Andrei Markov (Russia) were picked by the Canadiens prior to Timmins joining the organization in 2002. The only players not drafted by the Canadiens to make an Olympic team were backup goalie Peter Budaj (Slovakia), signed as a free agent in 2011, and defenseman Raphael Diaz (Switzerland), a free-agent signee who never was drafted and made his NHL debut with the Canadiens in the 2011-12 season.

"[Six] of those guys were Montreal draft picks and most of them were drafted by Trevor's staff," Bergevin said. "Our drafting, from Day 1 when I got here, was the way to build a team. This shows we are on the right track."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 5:04 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - Road to Sochi blog

Reality of Olympics in homeland sinks in for Ovechkin

With the long-awaited unveiling of the Russian team that will look to defend home soil at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin said the reality of what will come next month is starting to set in.

"Every day it's getting closer," Ovechkin said during a conference call Tuesday. "All my friends are calling and asking what's happening, who's going to be on the team. I'm very excited. I'm very happy to be on the roster, very excited to represent my country in my country at the Olympic Games."

Ovechkin will be a central figure not just on the Russian hockey team, but the entire Russian Olympic delegation. He was the first Russian to carry the Olympic torch when it left Greece in August.

Russia will be expected to contend for the gold medal and the pressure on the team will be extreme. However, Ovechkin said he's trying to ignore that pressure as best he can.

"I don't think about it," he said. "I don't want to take the pressure right now on me. Soon I'm going to feel all kinds of pressure on myself, on the team and on the coaching staff. Right now I don't think about it. But it's hard to do because every time I get the news on the Internet it's all about the Olympic Games and all that kind of stuff. The fans and media, everybody wants more information, wants more news about the team and about the rosters."

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Quote of the Day

When I first became captain here, Monsieur Beliveau came to me and said, 'You're going to be fine. You don't have to change, you got selected because of who you are.'

— Saku Koivu on Thursday, recalling what he was told by the late Jean Beliveau when he was named Canadiens captain in 1999
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