Five players from your Philadelphia Flyers were chosen to represent their home countries at the Sochi Olympics, and we here at Flyers Faithful will be keeping you updated on their play while abroad. The Olympians are:
Michael Raffl (Austria)
Mark Streit (Switzerland)
Jakub Voracek (Czech Republic)
Kimmo Timonen (Finland)
Andrej Meszaros (Slovakia)
As one of just three Austrians in the NHL, perhaps it was no real surprise that Michael Raffl was picked for a spot on the national team, but his strong play throughout 29 games at the NHL level certainly helped his cause.
Raffl was signed to a one-year deal by the Flyers last summer, and he’s been a hell of a playmaker since joining the squad. He had several multi-point games throughout the month of December, and his play got him promoted to the top line back on December 12th. Raffl suffered a concussion during last Thursday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche, but is expected to return in Tuesday night’s matchup against the New Jersey Devils, and will hopefully be in good shape when he arrives in Sochi.
Mark Streit was one of the Flyers’ three major acquisitions over the summer. Just about two weeks after the New York Islanders traded his rights to the Flyers for Shane Harper and a fourth-round draft pick back in June, the Flyers signed Streit to a four-year, $21 million deal.
The 36-year-old defenseman has recorded 19 points in 42 games during his first season with the Flyers. Sochi will be his fourth stint at the Olympics (Salt Lake City in 2002, Torino in 2006, and Vancouver in 2010), and he has eleven points in thirteen games at the Olympic level.
Named the team MVP at the end of the 2012-2013 season, Jakub Voracek continues to be a star player for the Flyers, with 29 points in 42 games so far this season. After a breakout performance during the lockout-shortened season last year, Voracek got off to a bit of a slow start, but has managed to come back in full force. He rode a nine-game consecutive point streak between December 9th-December 28th, and recorded two points in the team’s last game against the Phoenix Coyotes including the game-winning goal.
Kimmo Timonen will be representing Finland in the Olympics for the fifth time this year. The 38-year-old has 11 points in 24 Olympic games.
Timonen, fan favorite and all-around badass, has two goals and eleven assists in 42 games played this season. Despite the fact that his play has dwindled a bit over the last two seasons, he is still a gritty, hard-nosed player who is always willing to do what it takes to get the job done.
Representing Team Slovakia, Andrej Meszaros will return to the Olympics for the third time in his career. He has five points so far this season, and a total of two points in international play.
Meszaros was traded to the Flyers on the first day of free agency back in 2010 and had a terrific first season with the team. He was presented with the Barry Ashbee Trophy for best team defensemen at the end of that season. Unfortunately, in March of 2012, Meszaros suffered a back injury that required surgery, and his play hasn’t been the same since. Thanks to a myriad of further injuries during his time with Philadelphia, including a torn Achillies tendon and issues with his left shoulder, his recent play has been nowhere near where it was when he started with the Flyers.
Most notably left off of the Team Canada roster is Claude Giroux. The captain didn’t score his first goal of the season until November 9th, but he’s been red-hot since, with 38 points in 42 games and ten multi-point games.
So what could possibly be the reason for this snub? We’ve got only one idea:
(Please note: we know that’s not the real reason Giroux wasn’t chosen to represent Team Canada, we don’t wear tin foil hats. They really mess with our hair.)