Tag Archives: Sean Couturier

Timonen, Giroux Named All-Stars

12 Jan

The Flyers will be well-represented in Ottawa at the end of the month. According to the team, Claude Giroux and Kimmo Timonen will be All-Stars. Matt Read and Sean Couturier will make the trip as well for the rookie game.

This is Timonen’s fifth All-Star nomination. He didn’t play in 2000 due to injury and hinted last Saturday that the same might happen this time around as well.

“It’s hard to say,” said Timonen who had just played against Ottawa despite a wrist injury that nearly kept him out of the lineup. “It’s hard to say no if you get chosen, but it’s one of those things where if you’ve got injuries, it’s time to heal your injuries at that time. When that time comes, I’m gonna really take a look at the situation, but it’s that time.”

Timonen has one goal and 24 assists on the year. He is also the keystone to the Flyers’ defensive corps. That became more obvious when he missed parts of two periods a week ago against Chicago.

For Giroux, the All-Star Game will be somewhat of a homecoming. Ottawa may be hundreds of miles away from Hearst, Ont., where Giroux was born, but it’s still in the same province. Giroux came in seventh among forwards in the fans vote and didn’t initially make the cut when the fans voted the starting six players.

“I don’t care if it’s top six, I just want to make the team,” said Giroux last week. “That would be pretty cool and to go back to back would be pretty cool. It’s in Ottawa where my friends are. It would be a pretty good experience.”

Giroux is second in the league in points, tied with Phil Kessel. Last year he had a goal and an assist in the All-Star Game in Raleigh, N.C.

Read is tied for first among rookies in goals. He has played on every line this season for the Flyers. Couturier has seven goals and six assists this season in 37 games. He has centered the fourth line during most of his action.

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Flyers Collapse In Third, Lose At Ottawa

8 Jan

Two-goal leads are dangerous. Especially when the Flyers have them in the third period. For the third time in four games, the Flyers gave up a lead in the final period, but this time they weren’t able to recover. They were handed a 6-4 loss by Ottawa in the second half of a home-and-home, mainly because of some mistakes in their own end.

As impressive as the Flyers have been offensively, they need some work defensively. That was evident on the Senators’ first goal. Both Braydon Coburn and Matt Carle chased Kyle Turris who had the puck. With Daniel Alfredsson streaking toward the net, Turris had an easy pass target and the Senators’ captain had an easy time getting a shot off as Ilya Bryzgalov had already committed to Turris.

But the Flyers have been a resilient bunch and fired back. Andrej Meszaros’ blast from the point found its way behind Craig Anderson to tie the score. For Meszaros, it was a goal against the team that drafted him in his 500th NHL game.

Aside from the defense, young Flyers stepped up. Matt Read, Sean Couturier and Marc-Andre Bourdon each scored. That makes four rookies scoring five goals on the season in Ottawa. Couturier seems to especially enjoy playing in Ottawa. His goal on Sunday was his first in 22 games. He also scored his first NHL goal against Ottawa back in October.

Bryzgalov played well, despite the goals against. He allowed a goal from Chris Neil that it appeared as though he stopped at first glance, but a lengthy replay revealed that he brought the puck back out of the net from just behind the goal line.

In the third period, he had a goal scored against him that he had zero shot on. Colin Greening made a pass intended for Jason Spezza, but Carle extended his stick to block it and instead redirected it behind the Flyers’ netminder. All-Star Erik Karlsson beat Bryzgalov later in the third period when he took the shot on a 2-on-1 and beat him five-hole.

On the night, Bryzgalov was actually pretty good. In fact the past two games against Ottawa may have been some of his best hockey this season. He made 32 saves on the night and came up huge for the Flyers as time was winding down in the third period. For the most part, he was calm and confident, coming out of his crease to cut down the angle.

In front of him, the Flyers ran out of gas. With 1:11 left in the game, Filip Kuba scored his fourth of the year on a shot from the point that deflected off Scott Hartnell. That was the second of five goals against Bryzgalov that were put in the net by his teammates.

Flyers’ Win Streak Comes Crashing Down Against Boston

17 Dec

WELLS FARGO CENTER — It had to end sometime, but the Flyers’ seven-game win streak didn’t just flame out. It crashed and burned. And burned. Then it burned some more. In a penalty-laden affair, the Flyers were embarrassed by the Boston Bruins 6-0 and relinquished first place in the conference to the Northeast Division rival. It was their worst loss of the season.

It was never pretty for the Flyers. Boston scored on the first shot of the game, a deflection for Benoit Pouliot that really handcuffed Ilya Bryzgalov. His day didn’t get any better. He allowed four first-period goals and another in the second period. He allowed five goals on 20 shots before Sergei Bobrovsky came in to relieve him.

As much as Bryzgalov struggled, his defense didn’t help him much. They allowed the Bruins to get in position for screens and weren’t much help clearing the puck out of the crease, let alone the bodies in white jerseys. When Bryzgalov is off his game, he gives up big rebounds. On Saturday afternoon, the Bruins got to those rebounds first.

The five goals came on two deflections, one screen letting a Zdeno Chara slapshot from the point through, and another two deflections. But Bryzgalov didn’t get any help offensively either.

The Flyers shot 31 pucks at Tim Thomas and couldn’t solve him. The workload was actually less than the 37-year-old faced in his last game when he made 47 saves against Ottawa.

But wait, there’s more bad news. In the first period, Sean Couturier got hit in the back of the head by a Kimmo Timonen slapshot and didn’t return to the game.

Without him and down four goals, the Flyers struggled to get anything going. Jody Shelley tried to get them going, fighting Zdeno Chara after the first goal was scored. It was Shelley’s first fight of the season, and a valiant effort, but before many punches could be thrown, Chara’s massive reach took both players to the ice.

Scott Hartnell fought Johnny Boychuk to no avail. Zac Rinaldo was boarded by Milan Lucic in the second period and took out his frustrations on Nathan Horton. The 5-foot-11, 196-pound Rinaldo got the better of the much bigger, 6-foot-2, 229-pound Bruin.

No fight, no shot, no power play could spark the Flyers. They were 0-for-6 on the man advantage. Conversely, the Bruins were 3-for-8. There were 26 total penalties in the game, as referee Stephane Auger’s arm was constantly in the air.

Often times, a big streak will end with an ugly loss and Saturday’s certainly qualifies as such. The key for the Flyers will be to jump right back on the winning track. So far, they have survived despite a rash of injuries, but if Couturier is out for an extended period of time, that feat becomes even more difficult.

Couturier Taken To Hospital After Puck To Head

17 Dec

WELLS FARGO CENTER — It just doesn’t end for the Flyers. Another injury came for a team that can ill afford any more. With 48.7 seconds left in the first period, Sean Couturier went down and needed the help of trainer Jim McCrossin to get up. Then he was taken to Pennsylvania Hospital.

Kimmo Timonen took a slapshot from the point and it continued to rise. Couturier turned his head and the puck struck him in the back of his helmet, on the left side. After laying on the ice for a few moments, Couturier was helped up and skated off under his own power, drawing the loudest cheer of the day from Flyers fans who saw their team go down 4-0 after one period of play.

“Well, we still don’t know [his condition],” said general manager Paul Holmgren. “He’s at the hospital being evaluated. He got hit. Fortunately, it hit him in the helmet. But we thought it was best to send him to the hospital and get him checked.

“The little testing they do, he did really well … whatever they do. I think that’s more checking for any damage to his skull and taking a look to see if there’s any internal damage.”

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Through Saturday’s game the Flyers have lost 83 man games to injury, not including Blair Betts and Ian Laperriere, both of whom are on the roster but have not suited up this season. Now, the Flyers may need to make another call-up.

“I don’t know,” said Holmgren. “We gotta count up the guys we’ve got here and see. We do have some flexibility. Matt Read can play center. Obviously, [Brayden] Schenn and [Claude] Giroux are probably not options here for the near future. So I’m not sure. We’ll have to talk about that.”

The Flyers have already had four concussions this season among Chris Pronger, Schenn, Read and Giroux. While it would be speculative to assume that’s the prognosis for Couturier as well, the way things have gone in the NHL these days produces that fear.

“You see something like that happen to anybody and your heart stops for a second and feel that feeling in the pit of your stomach, but especially such a young player like that who has really done all the right things for us this year,” said Peter Laviolette. “We hope that he is okay and it’s nothing too serious.”

Couturier Relishing Opportunity To Step Up

12 Dec

VOORHEES, N.J. — When Sean Couturier made the Flyers’ roster, he was a cool customer. He didn’t show any signs of nervousness and quietly did whatever he had to in order to stick around. Now, with Claude Giroux out of the lineup, Couturier has a whole new opportunity and predictably he is just rolling with the punches.

For most of the third period on Saturday and in practice on Monday, Couturier took Giroux’s spot in between Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr.

“You know, we had to move somebody up,” said Peter Laviolette. “Claude wasn’t on the ice. We finished the game that way the other night, we had moved Sean up there. He generated two or three good quality scoring chances. We just had to get through practice today, and we’ll figure out the lines and the lineup tomorrow.

“But just based on the way he finished the game the other night, we thought he did a good job so we put him there in practice.”

By all accounts, it looks like Couturier will play the same role in Washington on Tuesday and that’s just fine with him.

“It’s pretty fun,” said the rookie. “Obviously you gotta be always ready when they’re out there. Some passes you don’t expect sometimes that those guys can make so I’ve always got to be ready if I play with them.

“Obviously it’s a big spot to be in but I’m just gonna be myself and do whatever I can to help the team.”

Giroux has 16 goals and 23 assists. He’s the leading scorer in the NHL. That obviously isn’t the expectation for 19-year-old Couturier, nor does he feel the pressure to fill his teammate’s skates.

“Not really,” said Couturier. “It’s an opportunity so I try to see it that way and just do what I can do to help the team.

“I try to play the same way, two-way forward. I still have to take care of my own end first. When we’re in the offensive zone we obviously can create more. With those two guys, they have a lot of talent so it’s easier to create stuff.”

His new linemates are guys he hasn’t skated with all season, not even in practice and not in preseason. They’ve watched each other from the bench, but the final 20 minutes of Saturday’s game was the first time they’re really gotten to know each other as players.

“I think all of his game is underrated,” said Jagr of his new center. “I can see he’s a great player. When he’s had a chance to play, he’s a very good player. He’s got a lot of scoring chances on penalty kills. Not many guys can do that.”

Couturier will try not to be awestruck by his new right winger, but he admitted that there is a certain shock factor to how Jagr operates.

“When you’re on the bench you say ‘wow,’ but when you’re out there but when you’re out there you’ve got to be ready for those ‘wow’ plays,” said Couturier. “I just got to be ready and prepare to get some nice passes.”

Giroux and Jagr didn’t take long to form the chemistry that has aided both players to No. 1 and No. 3 respectively on the team in scoring.

“Sometimes, it takes forever. Sometimes, it’s five minutes,” said Jagr. “I feel like there’s a lot of skill in this dressing room. I would play we play a similar style, all the players, especially on the first three lines. I think everybody can play with everybody on the first three lines.”

For most of the season, Couturier hasn’t been in that top nine. Now he’s not only in that mix. He’s front and center.

Giroux Won’t Play Against Washington

12 Dec

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers are taking the cautious road with Claude Giroux. The NHL’s leading scorer was not on the ice at practice on Monday and will not go to Washington with the team. The Flyers will play the Capitals on Tuesday without without him.

“Claude is continuing to feel better,” said Paul Holmgren in a statement. “He will not travel with the team today and will be seen by our doctor again tomorrow.”

Giroux was scheduled to be evaluated on Monday, but Holmgren did not comment on that. The Flyers’ leading scorer has 16 goals and 23 assists. Heading into Monday night’s action, Giroux leads the league in points by three.

Giroux was at the team’s practice facility on Monday, but declined to speak with reporters. He left Saturday’s game with under two minutes to go in the second period. Danny Briere and Sean Couturier both filled in on his line with Couturier taking the bulk of the load. The Flyers practiced with Couturier in that spot on Monday as well.

“We had to move somebody up. Claude wasn’t on the ice,” said Peter Laviolette. “We finished the game that way the other night. We had moved Sean up there. He had generated two or three good scoring chances and we just had to get through practice today and we’ll figure out the lines and the lineup tomorrow. But just based on the way he finished the game the other night, we thought he did a good job so we put him there in practice.”

Couturier Not Bothered By Skipping World Juniors

11 Dec

WELLS FARGO CENTER — Forty-two young Canadians are currently on the roster for the IIHF World Junior Championship in late December. Two are current NHL’ers. Neither is named Sean Couturier, but the 19-year-old rookie is just fine with that.

In his eyes, he got to represent his country last year. Now he’s moved on to bigger and better things in the NHL.

“I’m really happy to be here,” said Couturier. “The Winter Classic is at the same time, so that’s going to be a great experience. Both are great games, but it’s good to be here.”

In last year’s World Junior Championship, Canada lost in the Gold Medal game to Russia, 5-3. On the way there, Couturier had two goals and one assist in seven games in the tournament. Fast forward a year and not only did Couturier get drafted in the top 10, but made the Flyers’ roster and has such a key role that the team won’t part with him, not even for just a tournament.

“He’s an integral part of our team,” said Peter Laviolette. “I don’t know why we would loan him anywhere. It’s different for a player that’s in or out of the lineup, but Sean’s done a terrific job, a real nice job for us. He’s talented in many ways. It would be tough to fork over a guy like that.”

Couturier hasn’t had a point in 15 games for the Flyers, but he plays on mostly the fourth line and the penalty kill, two roles that don’t really require much in terms of scoring. That’s not to say he isn’t capable. Laviolette knows he can count on his rookie centerman. When Claude Giroux left Saturday’s contest, Couturier helped fill in on his line with Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr.

“I thought that he did a really nice job in the third period,” said Laviolette. “We double shifted him between that line and his line; you know young kid, lots of energy. He played extremely well, and I think that’s a real positive for our team.”

It’s the coach’s confidence in him that helps the 19-year-old in thinking that staying in the NHL is the right decision. General manager Paul Holmgren didn’t even approach Couturier to see if he wanted to play in the tournament. With all the injuries, the Flyers literally can’t afford to be without Couturier, but they probably wouldn’t want him to leave anyway.

“They didn’t really talk to me at all,” said Couturier. “It means that they care about me here. It’s just fun to be here.”

Not only is it fun, but it’s more challenging for Couturier who wasn’t used to the heavy dosage of games every week playing for the Drummondville Voltigeurs

“The schedule is lot busier than juniors, 82 [NHL] games … you gotta be ready to go every day,” said Couturier. “We played 68 games [in Juniors], but we only played on weekends.

Last year, in 58 games, he had 36 goals and 60 assists. It was his third season in the QMJHL and he had a lot of fun, the World Junior Championship included. Aside from a few superlatives in the NHL, playing for his country — Couturier moved north of the border from Phoenix only a couple months after he was born — has been the highlight of his hockey career.

“For sure,” said Couturier. “It was a great experience last year playing against the best in the world in my age group. It was a lot of fun.”

These days, the competition is older and in most cases far more experienced than he is. And regardless of his point total, he’s doing just fine.