Part-time Flyers forward Denis Tolpeko, was subletted by the organization Thursday, allowing the young Russian to sign with Dynamo Moscow of the Russian Super League. Playing in the RSL will garner more pay and a more comfortable style for Tolpeko, who plays a very European style of game.
Tolpeko did a satisfactory job with the Flyers, with six points in 26 games. He was known for his hustle and flashes of skill, but was unable to crack the lineup once the Flyers became healthy and hit the post season. With the Phantoms, Tolpeko had eight goals and nine assists in 24 games.
A year after the Flyers made a major splash in the free agent market, acquiring Danny Briere, Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell — Flyers’ General Manager Paul Holmgren will have the tall task of improving his club with little to no cap space. After resigning RFA’s Jeff Carter, Randy Jones and RJ Umberger, to deals that will likely push the Flyers over the extended cap, Holmgren will be forced to get creative to improve a team without taking on any expense. In this case free agency is not the ideal situation to be in when looking for help.
As the Philadelphia Flyers finished their surprising storybook season only seven wins away from a Stanley Cup, the attention and optimism that was so intensely placed on the team by fans, media and rumor mongers during the playoff run, turned squarely to organizational demi-god General Manager Paul Holmgren, in hopes that the flat-topped miracle GM could keep his hot streak alive in making the Flyers a better team for little cost.
To win the uphill battle that would be game five, the Flyers needed big games from their big players and to come out like the season was on the line. What they got however, was a collection of listless play and a quick deficit that eventually led to embarrassing 6-0 loss, and the end the Flyers’ storybook season.
The Flyers hoped the surprise addition of Kimmo Timonen to the lineup would emotionally charge them to victory, but the Penguins had different plans. The Pens jumped to a quick 1-0 lead, 2:30 into the game, when Ryan Malone deflected a Sidney Crosby shot past a very average Marty Biron.
The Flyers’ mission to be the first team in 33 years in the NHL to come back from a 3-0 series deficit got a boost Sunday afternoon, when it was oficially declared that defensive captain Kimmo Timonen will be back in a lineup. The addition of Timonen should boost the Flyers’ confidence heading into the do-or-die affair, as well as improve special teams all around.
The same optimism can not be extended to budding star Braydon Coburn, who was officially scratched before game five, despite what was called a “very good practice” from the youngster Saturday morning.
After getting hit between the bridge of the nose and the orbital bone, causing a gash that needed 50 stiches in game three, Coburn’s eye was swollen shut for the next 72 hours, leaving him unable to play in game four. But the expectations that he would return once the swelling went down were dashed when it was hinted that Braydon was feeling some concussion symptoms, which is likely what has put him on the scratch sheet for game five.
Jaroslav Modry will be the odd man out, as Flyers coach John Stevens elected to go with 21 year old Ryan Parent, who has played respectably in his limited post season time.
Days after being diagnosed with what was expected to be a season ending blood clot in his ankle, Flyers’ number-one defenseman Kimmo Timonen, has made a quicker than expected recovery and will test the severity of his foot numbness Friday. The veteran rearguard is being reported by hockeybuzz.com as HIGHLY probably for game five.
“I’m going to skate tomorrow. I met the [Dr. Ronald Fairman] today and we took another ultrasound. Based on that, the doctor said I have a green light to give it a try,” Timonen said. “That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to skate [Friday] and see how it feels.”
The surprising news came directly off the heels of a 4-2 Flyers victory over the Penguins, a win that set momentum in the Flyers direction for the first time all series. Along with their first win in the series, the return of Braydon Coburn in game five and potential return of Timonen in the near future, may give the Flyers more then just a glimmer of hope heading forward – they might have a legitimate chance to make history.
An interesting side note also on the injury front.
During the post game analysis on Comcast, Flyers analyst Jim Jackson hinted that concussed Flyers forward Simon Gagne could begin workouts to get back into game shape. Gagne missed the majority of the season with a concussion before attempting a return only to suffer another concussion. At that point the Flyers organization pulled the plug on the 40-goal scorer’s season, allowing only a slight probability that he could return if the Flyers made it to the Stanley Cup finals.
The Philadelphia Flyers capitalized on two first-period power plays and got excellent play from goaltender Marty Biron to stay alive for one more game, defeating the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-2, to set the series at 3-1 heading back to Pittsburgh.
Seconds after Biron miraculously stopped a breakaway from Marian Hossa, Flyers’ forward Joffrey Lupul streaked into the Penguins zone and unleashed a slapshot that deflected off the defenders stick and over the left shoulder of Marc-Andre Fleury to make the score 1-0, and give the Flyers the opening goal for the first time in the series.
In mixed martial arts, when a fighter is “rocked” it means they have taken a hard blow to the head from the opposing fighter and become temporarily dazed, bobbing in an out of consciousness for a few moments. More times than not that brief loss of cognizance allows the opposition to pounce on his woozy victim, finishing the fight.
When the Philadelphia Flyers entered the ring against the Pittsburgh Penguins for the championship of the Eastern Conference, they were riding high with confidence, ready to face an all-to-familer foe with surprise and strategy taking a back burner to hard work and execution. But even before the match got started, the Flyers were rocked by the news that their best player, the cornerstone of everything they do – would be missing the series due to a freak injury.
After being hit with a deflected shot that opened a giant gash from his left eye to his nose in game two, the Flyers best remaining defenseman Braydon Coburn is being reported as doubtful for game three by General Manager Paul Holmgren.
Once again the Philadelphia Flyers are playing against a very good team and a very poor pack of refs.
The Pittsburgh Penguins capitalized twice on very questionable calls and Maxime Talbot tallied the game winner in the third period, as the Pens won the tightly fought contest, 4-2, to take a 2-0 series lead heading to Philadelphia.
Ryan Bright (Philabright@gmail.com) is a sports writer, born and raised in the Philadelphia area. A graduate of West Chester University, he has been with the Daily Local News in Chester County since early 2007, working as the paper's college and high school ice hockey beat writer. In 2010, began as a contributer for CSNPhilly.com, covering the Flyers and the Philadelphia Union.