Plenty of questions for Orange and Black
Their heads cleared, their bodies rested, finally it’s time for the 1-7 Flyers to see if anything’s changed when they return to the ice for the first time in a week to take on the Rangers.
Will the puck suddenly find its way into the net, rather than hitting the post or veering wide? Will captain Claude Giroux, first-mate Jake Voracek and other key crew members like Matt Read, Sean Couturier and newcomer Michael Raffl finally be able to cure their season-long, goal- scoring blues?
The fact that Henrik Lundqvist won’t be in goal for a 2-5 Rangers’ team that has yet to play a home game due to renovations at Madison Sqaure Garden, would seem to only enhance their cause. After missing a couple of days of practice with an undisclosed injuy, Lundqvist has been listed day-to-day. On Wednesday, the Rangers ruled him out and turned the net over to 26-year-old rookie Cam Talbot. He moved up after 36-year-old former Flyer Martin Biron abruptly retired last weekend.
Of course, the way the Flyers have played offensively this season placing a mannequin might pose a problem. Presumably that’s what new coach Craig Berube has been working on this past week, as the 1-7 Flyers attempt to snap a four-game losing streak.
And they’ll be doing it with a revamped power play. Kimmo Timonen —pointless this season — has been demoted to the second unit behind Mark Streit.
“If you’re not mad about it, you don’t care,” said the 38-year-old Timonen, who had 17 assists on the power play last year. “I’m not mad about the guys or the coaches. I’m just mad about myself. I need to be better out there.”
He’s certainly not alone.
“There’s a lot of guys that know they can play better,” said Berube. “It’s not just him. I’m not here to single anybody out. As a team standpoint, we all can play better.”
The Rangers are already banged up, missing forwards Rick Nash, Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin. But that’s little comfort to the Flyers. The Orange and Black have gone a sorry 2-10-1 vs. the Broadway Blueshirts since February 2011.
“I don’t care how beat up they are. They’re a good hockey team,” warned Berube. “It’s gonna be a tough game. Our players better know that.”
Otherwise, Kimmo Timomen won’t be the last to feel his wrath.