PHILADELPHIA – Kimmo Timonen doesn’t want to blame the young players on the Flyers for the team’s struggles.
Yet, he was quick to point out that a second season in the NHL is the hardest season of a player’s career.
While saying the veteran players need to be better and lead the Flyers by example, he added that with so many guys in their second NHL season, it doesn’t surprise him that those struggles have emerged.
“We have a young team and we are going through some tough times,” Timonen said. “It’s not going our way. That to me is mental toughness and staying focused.
“[But] we can’t put the blame on the kids. They’re young guys and they have to learn and maybe this is their learning period. But we have to take it. Us older guys have to be better. We have to be the leaders out there and show these younger guys how to play the game. It’s too much to put the young guys in the spotlight and say that’s the reason why we are where we are.
“But, I will say this, my second season was the toughest year of my NHL career. It’s not easy. You have to work even harder to get to where you were in your first year.”
Asked why he feels that way, TImonen said that once you have success in the NHL as a rookie, duplicating it becomes near impossible the next season.
“Expectations are higher,” he said. “First year, you come in the league and you play well because there’s no pressure. In the second year, there’s pressure to play with. That’s how I felt my second year in the league.”
The Flyers had five second-year players in the lineup Thursday.
The bad luck continues to haunt the Flyers as another defenseman went down with an injury Thursday.
Braydon Coburn left the bench late in the second period and did not return.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren wouldn’t give much in the way of an explanation, saying just that Coburn suffered an upper body injury and wouldn’t return to last night’s game.
The Flyers finished the game with just five defensemen.
It’s been awhile since we had a Lavy “Play with some Jam” quote of the day and while this doesn’t necessarily fit the play with jam mantra, it’s still a beaut.
Asked if he’s surprised by where the Flyers are situated right now, Laviolette said he didn’t completely understand the question, and then answered it anyway – to near perfection:
“When you live it day-to-day and you’re not getting the wins, it’s hard to catch you by surprise.,” he said. “I’m not sure I understand the question completely. I know nobody is comfortable right now where we’re at. It makes for tough days and tough nights. This team and organization is accustomed to being in a different place that we’re not in right now.
“I don’t know necessarily if it necessarily surprises me because I’ll leave here tonight, guys will leave here tonight, without a win. That won’t surprise me. I’m not sure I get the question but it’s certainly not where we want to be.”
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