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Round 3
Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Saturday, 01.07.2012 / 12:35 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Timonen a go?

PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen skated out with the rest of the team for pre-game warm-ups, leading to the belief that he will be in the Philadelphia lineup when the puck drops at 1 p.m. against the Ottawa Senators.

The Flyers listed Timonen's status as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. The injury has been reported to be to his left hand, which was hit by a puck during the Winter Classic against the New York Rangers and then aggravated in Thursday's game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Timonen was limited to just nine shifts totaling 5:32, and none in the third third period.

How important is Timonen? In the absence of Chris Pronger, Timonen is the Flyers' lone veteran defenseman. The 36-year-old plays on the top defense paring at even strength, on the power play and the penalty kill. He leads the team's blueliners with a plus-12 rating and averages nearly 22 minutes a game of ice time.

"He quietly comes in here and every day, he shows up, and works hard without a lot of fanfare," said coach Peter Laviolette. "Yet his production on the ice and his value in the locker room as somebody who has been around and a leader on this team, it's hard to express how much he means to the team."


He also hasn't missed a regular-season game since the 2007-08 season, and it looks like his streak of 223 consecutive-games played will click up one more in about a half-hour.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Thursday, 01.05.2012 / 4:06 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Kane returns to site of Cup-winning glory


PHILADELPHIA -- Returning to Philadelphia brings nothing but smiles to Patrick Kane's mind.

It was his last visit here, June 9, 2010, that he scored a Stanley Cup-winning goal in overtime of Game 6 to give the Blackhawks their first NHL championship since 1961.

"It was fun," he said of walking into the Wells Fargo Center for the first time since that night. "It brings back a lot of memories. Being at the hotel, coming through and seeing all the stadiums outside the arena – you can remember coming through and all the fans yelling at the bus, different things like that. It was a fun time for a lot of us – definitely looking forward to playing back here tonight. It'll be exciting."

Kane said he couldn't pass up a chance to re-enact his championship goal.

"I didn't do it as intense as I did it a couple years ago, but definitely went through it a little bit, that spot on the ice and where the puck kind of got lost in the net," he said. "It was a fun moment."

He'll aim to have more fun moments tonight when he plays on a line with Marian Hossa and Viktor Stalberg. Here's how the rest of the Blackhawks' lineup looks tonight:

Viktor Stalberg - Patrick Kane - Marian Hossa
Patrick Sharp - Jonathan Toews - Andrew Shaw
Bryan Bickell - Dave Bolland - Andrew Brunette
Jimmy Hayes - Michael Frolik - Jamal Mayers

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Nick Leddy - Niklas Hjalmarsson
Sean O'Donnell - Dylan Olsen

Ray Emery gets the start in net, with Corey Crawford backing him up.

In case you missed it earlier, here's what the Flyers' lineup likely will look like.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Thursday, 01.05.2012 / 3:42 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Jagr skates, but not ready yet for Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- Jaromir Jagr skated this morning with his teammates, but did activities alone while his teammates went through drills.

Jagr is expected to miss 7-10 days with a groin strain that caused him to miss most of the Bridgestone 2012 Winter Classic on Jan. 2. However, that didn't stop the 39-year-old forward from getting on the ice.

"I didn't push it hard," Jagr said. "The reason I'm skating is I want to stay in shape. As soon as I can be pain free, I can go right away. I just didn't push it. I tried to skate to stay in shape."

Jagr said he didn't feel any pain when he skated, and said he only feels it when he extends his left leg to take off at top speed.

"The only way I felt pain is when I push my leg all the way," he said. "That was the game. And today I felt fine. In practice (you're not extending). Even if you do, you don't go with the maximum push."

Jagr said this injury feels different than when he missed four games in late November and early December with a groin injury.

"It's totally different than it was the first time," he said. "First time when I got injured I felt a sharp pain. This one was different pain. There wasn't that much pain, but I knew that if I would play longer it would get worst. That's the way it is and that's why I stopped playing. It's not as bad as the first time."

Jagr wouldn't even rule himself out for this weekend's home-and-home set with the Ottawa Senators.

"I got at least two more practices, two more days," he said. "It heals quick.

"There's a lot of miracles in the world. As soon as I feel pain-free, I'm going to go."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Thursday, 01.05.2012 / 3:14 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Read promoted to Flyers' top line

PHILADELPHIA -- Matt Read joked that when he saw his name next to Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell on the lineup board for Wednesday's practice that it must have been a mistake.

It's no mistake. Read will get the first chance to skate in place of Jaromir Jagr on the Flyers' top line Thursday night when Philadelphia hosts the Chicago Blackhawks.

Jagr is out for at least a week with a groin injury, opening the door for Read -- the NHL's second-leading rookie goal-scorer -- to move into that spot.

"Matt's a talented guy," said coach Peter Laviolette. "He's had a good year for us. I don't see much of a problem for him to go up there and fill in for Jaromir." 

It's been a meteoric rise for the 25-year-old undrafted rookie. He arrived in camp after signing with the Flyers last spring, and has worked his way up the lineup to a top-six forward spot and earning time on the power-play and penalty-killing units.

"I just enjoy being at the rink, showing up and playing hockey, and just make the most of every day," Read told NHL.com. "Doesn't matter what line I am, I'm sure I'll still have the same mentality, just try to be the hardest-working guy on the ice and just benefit from the players that I'm playing with."

In this case, it's Giroux, the League's second-leading scorer, and Hartnell, second on the team with 17 goals and 35 points.

"I'm excited to play tonight with those guys," he said. "Just try to focus on my game and keep being a hard-working guy and get those two guys the puck. They're top players in the NHL, they're something special. I give them the puck find open areas and I'm going to get it back. Just watch the show with those guys and just try to benefit from them."

Giroux  said he's excited to have Read on his line Thursday night because he knows what kind of skill the 5-foot-10, 185-pound forward has.

"He's one of our best players," said Giroux. "I don't know why he's so shocked he's going to be playing lots. He's already playing power play, PK, he's playing on the first three lines. I think he's been playing well for us. I don't understand why he's so shocked. I think he's pretty excited. You can see on the ice he looked pretty excited. He's playing well. Hopefully we can get a quick chemistry together."

Here's how the rest of the Flyers' lineup could look tonight:

Matt Read - Claude Giroux - Scott Hartnell
Maxime Talbot - Danny Briere - Jakub Voracek
James van Riemsdyk - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds
Zac Rinaldo - Sean Couturier - Harry Zolnierczyk

Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn
Matt Carle - Marc-Andre Bourdon
Andrej Meszaros - Andreas Lilja

Ilya Bryzgalov will be back in goal, with Sergei Bobrovsky backing him up.

Forward Jody Shelley and defenseman Matt Walker will be healthy scratches.
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Posted On Monday, 01.02.2012 / 8:24 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Live from the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

Despite loss, Snider still beaming about Classic experience

PHILADELPHIA -- Even though his team lost, it was tough to knock the smile off Ed Snider's face.

The Philadelphia Flyers' Chairman and founding owner was beaming following the spectacle he helped create here at Citizens Bank Park.

"It came off better than I would have imagined," said Snider. "We had a great weekend here. When we had the alumni game with the total sellout, I think that set a new standard for the League and I hope it works that way in every other city. We're really proud of our fans."

Snider said the only dark cloud on the day was the final result -- his Flyers lost to the New York Rangers 3-2.

"It was a good time until the end," he said. "We would have liked to have won the game. I'm very proud of the way the team played. We had many opportunities to win it. I think we played very well. I'm not disappointed from that point of view. It's a long season. We'll be fine."

Snider also was given a chance to weigh in on the goaltending issues that cropped up following Sunday's practice, when Ilya Bryzgalov -- the player Snider handed a nine-year, $51 million contract to this summer -- announced he would not be starting the next day's game against the Rangers.

"We have two goalies," said Snider. "One was playing better than the other coming into this game and won the start. It's not a big issue from the point of view of the team. We have two good goalies and we think they'll work out whatever issues they have. We think we're in good shape."

Snider even said he gets a laugh out of Bryzgalov's more eccentric comments.

"I think he's colorful," said Snider. "He's a colorful guy."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Monday, 01.02.2012 / 3:42 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Live from the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

Victorino a very interested observer

PHILADELPHIA -- Growing up in Hawaii, Shane Victorino can be forgiven for not being the biggest hockey expert in the world. That doesn't mean the Philadelphia Phillies' centerfielder isn't having a blast watching the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers skating in a rink built on his field.

"I think it looks great," Victorino said of the rink. "I wish they could do it every year here. This is something that not only is it great for the Phillies, but for the city, it brings a lot of excitement. What better rivalry than this? Both these teams, they're in first place. I'm excited to see it tonight."

Victorino said he has tried skating once before, at a rink in Oahu -- the only one in Hawaii.

"I tried it as a kid, but wasn't very successful," he said. "I tried to run, not push off. That sport didn't last long for Shane."

Victorino made a fine choice by sticking with baseball. Now in his eighth season (seventh with the Phillies), he has won three Gold Gloves, played in two All-Star Games, and won a World Series with the Phils in 2008.

He said the ballpark certainly looks a bit different than he's used to, including the 1,500 temporary seats installed in his position for the game.

"I liked how it looked (with the seats), but it didn't shorten the ballpark," he said. "Those seats in center field, I like that. It's pretty neat to have those seats, but I like the park the way it is."

One other difference was the color of the attire the fans were wearing.

"I'm used to walking out there and seeing everybody in red," he said. "But seeing everybody in orange, it's great. I think it's awesome. It's definitely a red ballpark, but today it's orange."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK



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Posted On Monday, 01.02.2012 / 1:36 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Live from the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

Legendary performer LaBelle ready for anthem first

PHILADELPHIA -- In her long, legendary career, Patti LaBelle has played some of the most famous venues around the world.
 
But in a career that spans more than 50 years, the legendary performer will have a career-first Monday. LaBelle, a Philadelphia native, will sing the National Anthem in her hometown for the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
 
"It means that you're grown up," LaBelle told NHL.com. "I'm a grown-up woman."
 
LaBelle has won two Grammy awards, sold out buildings and won acclaim as an actress, author and chef, but she said even she's not sure what it's going to be like when she walks out in front of more than 47,000 people here at Citizens Bank Park.
 
"It's very unique," she said. "It's freezing out there. I've never, ever sung in weather like this."
 
LaBelle said she's not the biggest hockey fan in the world, but there's no doubt which team she'll be rooting for Monday.
 
"I'm not a hockey fan," she said, "but I know about the Flyers and they're great."
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Posted On Sunday, 01.01.2012 / 6:03 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Live from New Year's Day practices

Bryzgalov shows off his thermos


PHILADELPHIA -- Ilya Bryzgalov was the center of attention today at Citizens Bank Park when he informed the national media covering the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic that he would be the backup in Monday's game and Sergei Bobrovsky would get the start.

"I have great news and even better news," said Bryzgalov following the team's morning practice. "OK, great news is I'm not playing (Monday), and better news is we have a chance to win the game (Monday)."

The news wasn't so great to coach Peter Laviolette, who told the media a short while later that he had yet to talk to his goalies and wasn't ready to reveal who his starter would be. The team confirmed about 5 p.m. that it would be Bobrovsky.

When asked what he would do as the backup, Bryzgalov said, "Make sure I don't forget my thermos with some nice tea and enjoy the bench."

Then, about 5:30 p.m., Bryzgalov unveiled his latest piece of Winter Classic equipment -- his thermos.

It's tough to tell from the picture if it was a humongous big thermos. But I'm sure the tea will be fantastic.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Sunday, 01.01.2012 / 3:51 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Live from New Year's Day practices

Lilja first on the ice

PHILADELPHIA -- Decked out in an orange tuque and his Winter Classic home jersey, Flyers defenseman Andreas Lilja was the first player to skate on the temporary ice rink built in the middle of the Citizens Bank Park infield this morning.

This isn't Lilja's first Winter Classic -- he played with the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field for the 2009 outdoor game -- but said he's going to have far more fun playing for the home team this time.

"The thing I remember most was we were the visiting team, and we had such a long walk to the game," Lilja told NHL.com. "I think it took us at least five minutes to walk to the game. But it was an awesome feeling."

He expects more of the same when he takes the ice Monday.

"I heard it was unbelievable yesterday (for the Alumni Game)," said Lilja. "I hear it was unreal. … I'm really looking forward to that tomorrow."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 8:23 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Remembering Brad McCrimmon

PHILADELPHIA -- Brad McCrimmon made his mark on many players all over the NHL during his 18 seasons as a player as well as his coaching career. It was that coaching career that took him to the Lokomotiv team in Russia this year, and led to his tragic death in September's plane crash.

McCrimmon spent five seasons with the Flyers, and in today's Alumni Game, his presence was felt as each player had a No. 10 patch on their left shoulder.

"About a month ago I requested to do it and the entire organization thought it would be a great idea," said Mark Howe, McCrimmon's defense partner for three seasons during which the Flyers went to the Stanley Cup Final twice. "Brad was a very important part of the team in the '80s and a dear friend to a lot of people in the locker room and it was only fitting he be remembered as part of the team."

The players certainly were proud to do something to memorialize McCrimmon.

"Brad McCrimmon was a tough loss for all of us," said Rick Tocchet. "For me especially. He was one of the main reasons I stuck in the NHL. I sat beside him in the locker room. He was a big part of my life, teaching me how to be a pro."

Contact Adam Kimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Quote of the Day

It's not always going to be pretty, especially against a great goalie [Lundqvist] like that. My goals are never how you draw them up. It's just a matter of grinding it out and trying to create havoc in front and good things happen.

— Capitals forward Jay Beagle on scoring in their Game 3 victory against the Rangers on Monday