Tag: Matt Walker

Kimmo Timonen

Looks like Kimmo Timonen is feeling OK

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After all the worrying Flyers faithful did over Kimmo Timonen’s hurting wrist, it turns out all is well.

Timonen started this afternoon’s game against Ottawa after the Flyers were prepared to potentially go without him. The Flyers skated seven defensemen in warmups as Matt Walker got the call up from Adirondack, but Timonen was good to go and started the game.

The Flyers’ defensive issues this year have been many thanks to Chris Pronger’s season-ending concussion diagnosis. Timonen became the go-to guy on defense with Pronger out and a bad injury would’ve been a crushing blow to the team. Those worries are gone for now however as Timonen appears to be all right.

Update: No fine, supplemental discipline for ‘repeat offender’ Quenneville

Joel Quenneville

According to ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers, Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville won’t face disciplinary action after blasting the officiating in a 2-0 loss to Los Angeles last night.

Quenneville felt both L.A. goals should’ve been disallowed and said the work of referees Ghislain Hebert and Tom Kowal was “tough to watch.”

Harmless comment? Maybe, but two things to consider:

1) The NHL has a history of stiff punishments for GMs and coaches that publicly criticize officials (most recently, Kings GM Dean Lombardi.)

2) Quenneville previously ran afoul of the league for — you guessed it! — publicly criticizing officials.

The incident occurred during the 2009 playoffs, when Quenneville was fined $10,000 for blasting officials after ‘Hawks defenseman Matt Walker was whistled for a roughing call.

“I think we witnessed probably the worst call in the history of sports there,” Quenneville said. “Nothing play. They scored, it’s 3-0. They ruined a good hockey game and absolutely destroyed what was going on the ice…never seen anything like it.”

Perhaps Quenneville escaped punishment this time by backing off his comments.

“It’s over. It’s done with,” Quenneville told Rogers earlier this afternoon. “I said what I had to say.

“I think I was a little excited after the game but it’s a new day and we’re moving on.”

Philly’s first game without Chris Pronger a sign of things to come?

Andreas Lilja

If the way the Flyers defensemen Andreas Lilja and Matt Walker played last night against Montreal in a 5-1 loss is a sign of how things are going to be without Chris Pronger, it’s about to get real ugly in Philly.

Lilja saw just over 15 minutes worth of confidence-sapping ice time while Matt Walker wasn’t trusted enough to see double-digit minutes. The rest of the defenseman struggled to keep up with play, especially Matt Carle who looked lost without his usual defense partner in Pronger.

Topping off the crappy sundae was the play of Ilya Bryzgalov who couldn’t corral his rebounds while Canadiens forwards went uncovered to pounce on them for goals. Bryzgalov hasn’t looked at ease yet in Philadelphia and fans are already grumbling about it.

Do Peter Laviolette or Paul Holmgren have any backup plans to cover things while Pronger is out? Not yet, but they may have to start exploring options if things continue like this. Rolling with essentially five defenseman (Walker played just over seven minutes last night as the sixth) that have no confidence defensively nor the defensive dedication that Pronger does could mean the Flyers start working the phones.

There’s no help in the AHL for Philly so either they run with what they have or it’s time to look for a trade. All we know is that if we were Scott Hartnell, we might not be looking to buy a house in eastern Pennsylvania until things get figured out.

Flyers’ temporary life without Pronger begins tonight

Andreas Lilja
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Life without Pronger sounds like it should be the title of a TV drama, but it’s real life drama for the Flyers starting tonight against Montreal. Chris Pronger’s scary eye injury will have him out of action for a bit and the Flyers will have to figure out how to replace his production on the ice and continue to win.

So just who is it that has the duty to fill those oversized skates? A pair of guys who didn’t figure to be carrying a large burden this season in Andreas Lilja and Matt Walker. Those two have been trading time in and out of the lineup this year as the sixth defenseman but now they’re both going to see action from the ice and not from the press box.

Sound scary? Yeah, it very well might be. Neither guy can bring what Pronger does to the ice and for Walker he’s spent more time in salary exile in the AHL than in the NHL and on the injured list. Lilja, meanwhile, has at least had success in the past with Detroit being part of a Stanley Cup winner in 2008.

Stanley Cup winning teams generally have to deal with some kind of trials and tribulations during the season and for the Flyers, getting by without Pronger will be their big test. Getting to warm up against the slumping, yet dangerous, Canadiens should prove to be a good way to warm up.

Flyers send Brayden Schenn to minors, waive role players


While it may only be a temporary setback, oddsmakers might want to lower Brayden Schenn’s Calder Trophy chances a bit. CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio reports that the Philadelphia Flyers sent the injured rookie center down to the minors today. Schenn is dealing with a shoulder injury, although the severity is unclear (it kept him out for the final week of training camp).

The Flyers also put the following players on waivers: checking forward Blair Betts along with defensemen Oskars Bartulis and Matt Walker.

Schenn and Wayne Simmonds were the most noteworthy returns from a blockbuster trade that sent Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings. Philly hopes that Schenn and Sean Couturier can eventually close the gaps created by the Richards and Jeff Carter trades. That process looks to be delayed a bit more with this injury situation, although it was overly optimistic to expect them to plug that hole immediately anyway.

Update: Beyond injury concerns, the Flyers will enjoy considerable salary cap savings by demoting Schenn (even briefly), as commenter jsaq pointed out. Here’s the gist from TSN’s Darren Dreger.

Schenn’s contract, negotiated by the Los Angeles Kings will pay him $900,000 this year, plus $850,000 in entry level ‘A’ bonuses for a total of $1.75 million, however Schenn has substantial ‘B’ bonuses included in his deal that would be very cap unfriendly to the Flyers.

The ‘B’ bonuses in the first two years of his contract pay Schenn $1.265 million and $1.405 million if he plays 25 minutes in each of the 82 regular season games.

These are unlikely, if not impossible bonuses to achieve, although Philadelphia isn’t willing to take the chance and face the possibility of having to absorb a cap hit of just over $3 million, so to cut the cap hit to a reasonable $1.75 million for this season, Schenn will be assigned to the Philadelphia Phantoms for at least one game, therefore nullifying the ‘B’ bonus clause this season.

Trouble coming on the penalty kill?

The Betts move might not mean much to casual fans, but it raises a serious question about the Flyers’ penalty kill. Take a look at the team’s top penalty killing forwards (from an average time on ice standpoint) from 2010-11, with departed/waived players in italics.

Betts: 3:37 minutes per game
Darroll Powe: 3:10
Richards: 2:08
Claude Giroux: 2:06

The Flyers’ next two forwards (Jeff Carter and Kris Versteeg) averaged less than a minute per game, but it’s startling that they’re gone too. Now, it’s safe to assume that Maxime Talbot will take one of the top roles next season, but there are still some spots to fill. (Talbot was second among Pittsburgh forwards with 2:55 per game in 2010-11.)

Wayne Simmonds could be a candidate for PK time, even though he averaged a measly five seconds of shorthanded time per game with the Kings. The team certainly can’t expect Jaromir Jagr to play that role and his countryman Jakub Voracek averaged a measly one second time of SH time per game with Columbus in 10-11.

Considering that teams typically roll with four top penalty kill checkers, anywhere between one and three forward spots seem unclear. (One could even argue that they might not want Giroux playing as many minutes shorthanded now that he’ll carry more of the offensive workload.)

This situation reinforces my feeling that the Flyers were justified in trading Carter but are likely to rue the day they moved versatile former captain Richards. He’ll go to the Kings and make Anze Kopitar’s life significantly easier, while defenses can clamp down on Giroux, Danny Briere and the rest of Philly’s new top guns.

Don’t be surprised if the Flyers end up being a contender even despite their issues next season – especially if their new Czechs click – but their penalty kill could be a problem, unless Ilya Bryzgalov makes an even bigger difference than expected.