Well finally the Flyers play their first game. I am so psyched to see a real game now.
In hockey so many things change from year to year. Even though the Flyers did not make many big moves and yet there are still many changes. We all know the guys that are gone, I am going to miss Umberger. I think he will become a major force in Colombus. Good luck RJ. Smith played really well until November last season (which equals one month). Then once the injuries started he became a liability quickly. He has a great drive to compete, but at this point in his career he is on the decline. The younger defense will be better in game 82 than they are tonight, and that is something that could not be said going into last season.
Time to blossom
There is a new team here now. The fate of this team for this year and the next is the continued development of the young guns. Richards looks like a guy we will never have to worry about. Carter seems poised to dominate, but he must show it now. Coburn appears to get faster and better each day. I saw Sbisa play 2 games during the preseason and he appears to be unphased by the surroundings. Let's hope if he has to stay long-term, he stays this way. He has poise to not play hot potato with the puck when pressured. Let's hope that poise does not waiver in the next few weeks.
The Flyers are loaded with guys that are role players. It might sound weird but Timonen, Gagne and Briere are the three biggest roles to fill. Kimmo and Briere must keep the powerplay scoring at the top of the league. These two were amazing play makers last season and they must continue. Gagne must provide the 5 on 5 scoring prowess that he showed in the past. This was one of the factors that caused the losing streaks last season. The other role player that is key is Metropolit. I don't know much about him and hope he can fill that 3rd line center role. Lupul, Hartnell, Knuble, Upshall and Downey must all perform at the same level or higher to keep the team on par with last year. Downey must start playing more like Richards. He has the same skills, but he needs to reach the hockey maturity of an NHL player and he can be a force. I can even see him starting to play some 3rd line minutes if he can reach maturity.
Well tonight is the beginning of the best season in all professional sports. It's not a sprint and lets hope the team can avoid the big injuries (although Jones and Parent are already out until December!).
Good night and good hockey!!!