Flyers Look for Banner Time In Boston
The Philadelphia Flyers will start their 2011-2012 season in Boston against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Bruins. Ironically in the same place their 2010-2011 brief playoff run ended in a sweep, only managing two goals for, while surrendering ten in games three and four in Boston. This is not just any ordinary opening night.
The Flyers will have to watch the Bruins organization unveil their 2010-2011 Stanley Cup Banner right before their eyes. There may be a bright side to the Flyers team being witness to that, as it could add extra motivation and set the tone for the season.
Tonight is the first of four meetings between these teams. The Flyers had a 1-8 record in all their matchups last season, including playoffs. It doesn't get any better when it comes to the all time matchup between these teams as the Flyers are 64-82-21-6.
It will be interesting to see how things shake out tonight as the Flyers are still trying to gel with one and other while the Bruins pretty much have the same team they won the Stanley Cup with, minus Mark Recchi. Does the Stanley Cup Banner unveiling affect the Bruins play ?
Will the Flyers be able to fight through the lack of chemistry they may face at times tonight and leave Boston with a victory ? Will their successful preseason powerplay carry over into tonight's game if given the opportunity ?
These answers are only hours away when they drop the puck at 7:00 pm EST at TD Garden. The game will be shown on Versus and on local radio broadcast 94.1 WIP FM /610 WIP AM.
On The Lookout
There are so many new guys and different line combinations for the Flyers this season, not to mention a new netminder. Here are some players to look for from both teams;
For the Flyers, here are a couple of newbies you definitely want to keep your eye on. Matt Read (#24)- Kid is quick and has good hockey sense especially around the net, knows how to get open.
Jagr (#68) - He has impressed in camp despite being out of the NHL for three seasons. Take note of the space and respect he is given when he has possession of the puck. He was dominating in the preseason especially on the power play.
Sean Couturier (#14) - as he takes Lappy's number right off his back. This kid is eighteen and will get the opportunity to prove he can play in the NHL and not get sent back to juniors. He is strong on face offs and plays pretty good at both ends of the ice.
Wayne Simmonds (#17) - Acquired in the Mike Richards trade to L.A. Kings. Simmonds brings speed grit and will give the Flyers something they lacked since Knuble left, a presence in front of the net. He found the back of the net four times in the presason and will gladly pound home the trash around the net.
The last player to look for, especially if your into the physical part of hockey is Zac Rinaldo (#36, you can listen to him on Flyers Corner Radio here). He's a spark plug-type player getting the opportunity to be on the opening night roster thanks to Jody Shelley and Tom Sestito, who are serving suspensions for dangerous hits from behind. He is not afraid to throw them, so look for him to try to engage a Bruin in a fight, Thorton ?
For the Bruins Tim Thomas will always lead the way, as he can steal a game and bail his team out of trouble as he showed in last year's Stanley Cup run. David Krejci and Milan Lucic ended last season tied for the team lead in points with 62.
Lucic lead the team in goals with 30 followed by Nathan Horton with 26. When it comes to powerplay goals, Michael Ryder and Zdeno Chara were tied for the team lead with 8, followed by Nathan Horton with 6.
As the Philadelphia Flyers embark on a new season, they will do so with some new faces and without some familiar ones. The Flyers no longer have the services of Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Ville Leino, Brian Boucher, Blair Betts, Darrol Powe, Nikolay Zherdev, Sean O'Donnell, Kris Versteeg, Daniel Carcillo and Danny Syvret.
Trying to fill those shoes are Brayden Schenn (who will start with the Phantoms, more on this later), Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier, Matt Read, Zach Rinaldo, Maxime Talbot, Lilja, and the two big ones Jaromir Jagr and Ilya Bryzgalov.
That is a lot of movement for a team that was in the 2009-2010 Stanley Cup finals and finished tied with the third most points (106) in the NHL last season. No doubt this team has changed. They have become a faster, younger grittier team than last year's team. The question is, will they be able to replace the 117 goals amassed last season by the aforementioned departed players ?
Only time will tell, but these moves made by Holmgren has presented Coach Laviolette with a blank canvas to paint the perfect picture of his system and display it to these young impressionable new comers.
With all the new players on this year's team line changes were expected, and here are the reported line combinations and tonight's starting lineup.
Kicked In the Schenn
Brayden Schenn who was acquired as part of the Mike Richards deal will start the season with the Phantoms. At first it would seem that he may be still banged up and could use the rehab games in the minors or just buying time for Coutourier to get his allotted ten game stint in the NHL.
Not the case, it was actually a salary cap move in which Schenn's cap number is normally 3.1 million. A move to the Phantoms for one game will put his salary cap hit at 1.75 million. Schenn has a bonus clause of 1.405 if he is on the NHL roster for 82 games.
With him starting the year in the AHL he will miss out on that money while giving the organization some wiggle room in regards to the salary cap. Now that's a new definition of taking one for the team.
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