*Side note: Asham and Cote will be scratches tonight. Here are the Lines:
4th: Carcillo-Betts-Ian Laperriere
D: Pronger-Carle; Timmonen-Coburn; Parent-Syvret
Tonight has been a long time coming. I can’t tell you the last time I was this excited about the Flyers starting. Last year was after a big ECF run and I was excited, but there’s something in the air with this team and I can feel it. It’s been over 30 long years since we hoisted a Stanley Cup over our heads. I wasn’t even alive back then, yet the memory lives on through remembering the Spectrum and that time period where the Broad Street Bullies ruled the hockey rinks they played in. Tonight the Flyers start their first two games of the season on the road versus a tough conference match-up in the Carolina Hurricanes and division rival New Jersey Devils. Then they have their home opener against the Capitals, followed by games hosting the Penguins and the Anaheim Ducks.
That is one of the toughest opening schedules I’ve seen them have in quite some time. The national media and hockey critics will be looking especially at the Penguins game to see if they Flyers can compete with them. After two straight playoff exits courtesy of that team, there are many questions to be answered about whether the changes in the lineup would bring us to a higher level of competitive play. Quite frankly, I hope the guys take it one game at a time. Many people have picked the Flyers to win it all this year, and for good reason. Our defense is the best it’s been in years, our forwards are solid, and we added both experienced and young players this off-season. The Flyers need to stay healthy and out of the penalty box, and Emery needs to keep his cool.
Looking at the season that is less than 5 hours upon us, I can’t help but wonder if this is the new era of the Broad Street Bullies. Instead of only raw grit and power, we have speed on our side with some players as well. There’s some of our defenseman who will take it to you in good Philly-style hockey. This list includes the newly acquired Tollefsen and of course Chris Pronger. These guys are mean blue liners who have no problem throwing their bodies around. If that isn’t good enough, there’s a notable here in that Braydon Coburn has been known to play the physical game at times as well. Hell, even our goalie is a tough commodity on this team. Then there’s our forwards. There aren’t many players on this team who will back down from fisticuffs, I’ll say that right now. Looking at our bottom lines, we have guys like Blair Betts, Riley Cote, Dan Carcillo, Ian LaPerriere, and Darroll Powe. All of them (except for maybe Cote) are capable fore-checkers and goal-scorers who can take the body and drop the gloves simultaneously. If those lines aren’t tough enough for you, let me point to our top two lines when you have a professional antagonist in Scotty Hartnell who always loves to stir the pot and mix it up with opposing players while he’s getting in front of the net and laying hits on people. Finally, our captain and team-leader Mike Richards is without a doubt one of the toughest guys on our squad. He leads by example with his big plays and huge hits. Remember when he laid out Scuderi?
The Flyers are historically an intimidating and physical team. However, I cannot think of a better year to revive a new Broad Street Bullies era than now. I don’t care if you have two of the best point-scorers in the league Pittsburgh, no one is safe come this season. Our management, our players, our coaches, our fans; they all want the same thing… to win. And god dammit guys, let’s start it with a road victory tonight. Game recap tomorrow.