Flyers' Wayne Simmonds feels fine after practice, but return to action remains unknown
Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds was wearing a yellow jersey with the hope it will soon turn orange.
Simmonds participated at his first practice Wednesday since suffering a concussion during Friday's 3-2 loss in Washington. The yellow jersey signals no contact.
Simmonds skated freely at the Skate Zone in Voorhees and was optimistic afterward.
"I felt fine," he said.
Whether it's fine enough to return to action is in the hands of the team's medical staff. What is important to Simmonds is that he has skated twice since the injury, and both times he came away encouraged.
This was his first practice since the injury, but he also skated Sunday. Simmonds suffered his injury when Washington's John Erskine elbowed him in the face. Erskine was not called for a penalty but later was issued a three-game suspension.
Erskine also reached out to Simmonds.
"John texted, and I obviously appreciate the text," Simmonds said. "I don't think he meant to get me in the head. It was a reactionary thing, and we are all hockey players, and things happen quickly out there on the ice."
When asked about a return, Simmonds said everything was up to the medical staff, and he will just follow the instructions. He didn't want to speculate on a time line.
His return to practice was a welcome sight to his teammates.
"He was looking good, and it was good to see him," forward Claude Giroux said.
Simmonds has two goals and three assists in eight games and is a plus-one in the plus/minus ratings. He also leads the team with 27 penalty minutes.
The Flyers said Wednesday night that Simmonds remained day-to-day, but it would be surprising if he played Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center against the Florida Panthers.
Coming off Tuesday's tough, 2-1 win over Tampa Bay, the Flyers have to get up to play a Panthers team that they soundly defeated, 7-1, on Jan. 26 and is 3-5-1. Yet Flyers coach Peter Laviolette anticipates no letdown.
"I think you are always looking for consistency, and the opponent shouldn't matter. With the place we are at right now, we need to win games and are at the bottom of the pack, and we need to move up the standings," said Laviolette, whose team was 4-6 and 12th in the Eastern Conference entering Wednesday's action.
Timonen deal. The Flyers will sign veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen to a one-year, $6 million extension in the next few days, a league source confirmed Wednesday night. Timonen, who will turn 38 next month, would have been eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in July.
The signing is somewhat surprising because it would mean the Flyers have already committed about $62.1 million on just 19 players - including the injured Chris Pronger - toward next year's $64.3 million cap. They will also have an option of using an amnesty buyout on up to two players.
Contact Marc Narducci at email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @sjnard.
Sam Carchidi contributed to this article.