The last time a game was played at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan there was a new Stanley Cup Champion crowned. The last time the Flyers played there, we got out outshot real bad but still managed to hold a 3-2 lead until the last 2 minutes of the 3rd period when Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg both scored to win in dramatic fashion last March. However, none of that matters now as the Flyers are set to lace up the skates in their first bout of pre-season action tonight to start a 2009-2010 campaign with high expectations.
The Flyers will play the Red Wings once this season but that will be a home game. Although they haven’t won in Hockey Town since November of ’88, there will be a different focus on the team’s mind tonight as it bolsters a roster that is a bit different than it was last April. New faces such as Ray Emery, Chris Pronger, and Ian LaPerriere will join promising prospects like James Van Riemsdyk and Marc-Andre Bourdon. Other notable appearances include Flyers veterans Jeff Carter and Mike Richards who are looking to build on the past few seasons’ impressive performances. Danny Briere is also going to be finally healthy and ready to go tonight as he looks to make a comeback after a season plagued with injuries. He’s been practicing on a line with Giroux and JVR, so let’s see if that holds true for the game tonight.
This will be a good test for the Flyers to see where their game legs are as of right now. Taking on the defending Western Conference Champions is no light work and it gives guys that are trying to make the team a chance to shine. I’d like to see how Blair Betts fares in the face-off circle and find out if he is worth a cheap one-year deal. The Flyers site preview reports that both Ray Emery and Brian Boucher will see time as well as Swedish goaltending prospect Johan Backlund during the next 3 road pre-season games which include two games versus the Leafs in Ontario and Toronto. The game is slated for a 7:30 start time and can be listened to on 610 WIP.
On a side note: Petr Sykora has reported to a tryout at the Minnesota Wild camp this pre-season, meaning that I guess we won’t be using his services this season.