The Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals had all of three wins between them going into Friday’s game.
The two slumping juggernauts were scoreless through the first half of the contest, but sparks had been flying well before the first goal.
Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds was knocked out of the game late in the first period after absorbing a high elbow by Capitals defenseman John Erskine.
“It looked dirty when I first saw it,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said, according to Washington Times reporter Stephen Whyno. “Tough hit.”
Philadelphia’s Zac Rinaldo and Washington’s Matt Hendricks got into a fight as a result of the incident and both combatants were ejected from the game. However, Erskine wasn’t punished for his actions.
The silver lining is that Simmonds doesn’t appear to have a concussion based on the initial tests, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi, but he’s still suffering from a head injury and whiplash. Additionally, he’ll have to be tested again tomorrow.
Consequently, Philadelphia probably won’t have Simmonds on Sunday and right now they could use all the help they can get. Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom, Troy Brouwer, and Wojtek Wolski each found the back of the net to lead the Capitals to a 3-2 victory over the Flyers.
With this victory, Washington has leapfrogged over Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference standings. To make matters worse, the Carolina Hurricanes also surpassed the Flyers by shutting out Ottawa tonight.
Philadelphia is now tied with the Florida Panthers for last place in the Eastern Conference, although the Flyers have played in one additional game.
As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.
While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.
It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.
One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.
Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.
Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.
Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?
Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.
The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.
The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:
That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.
Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:
Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.
Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.