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.
After mulling over the decision to go pro or stay put, Flyers’ top prospect James VanRiemsdyk, made it official that he will return to the University of New Hampshire for his sophomore season.
Off the heels of a successful freshman season with 11 goals and 23 assists in 31 games, JVR’s decision to stay in college was expected.
After leading his Gatineau Olympiques to a 4-1 series victory in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championships, highly touted Flyers’ prospect Claude Giroux received the Guy Lafleur Trophy for Most Valuable Player in the playoffs with 17 goals and 34 assists in 19 games. The 5-foot-11 Giroux also broke a Gatineau record for most points in the playoffs (51 pts), with 24 more than the previous record holder, Maxime Talbot (27).
Clearly lacking stalwart defender Kimmo Timonen, the out-of-sorts Flyers gave a decent effort but were simply too sloppy to contend with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who came back from a one-goal deficit to beat the visiting Flyers 4-2, to lead the Eastern Conference Finals 1-0.
Pittsburgh’s Chernobyl monster Evgeni Malkin, scored with just six second left in the second period to give the Pens a 3-2 leas heading into two. The goal would end up being the game-winner as Malkin added another goal in the second period to ice the contest.
The Flyers’ hopes for the cup took a serious hit Thursday, as their number-one defenseman Kimmo Timonen, made the medical decision to sit out the remainder of the year with a blood clot in his ankle. Doctors found the clot after checking the same ankle Kimmo damaged when he blocked a shot in game four against Montreal.
“I got hit with a shot in Game 4 against Montreal,” Timonen told the Inquirers Tim Pannacio. “It’s been getting sorer and sorer every day. We thought we’d get it checked out because it didn’t get better and they found a blood clot.
“This was just an awful day for me. I played in Game 5 in Montreal, but it was really hurting me. I have to be honest: I didn’t expect this result. How many times in your life do you get a chance to play for this, with a chance to go to the Stanley Cup Finals? This is just awful.”
Timonen has had issues with blood clots before in his playing days in Nashville, but such an injury still comes as an abrupt surprise.