It’s only August, but I’m jonesing for some hockey.
Maybe it’s because I basically live in Canada or because watching Game of Thrones has me thinking about ice, but I’m impatiently waiting for the puck to drop on the new season. So, with about two months to go before the Flyers open up their new campaign, here’s five games to circle on your calendar.
October 10, 2017 @ Nashville
I decided to go in chronological order instead of doing a true top five, so sue me. Anyway, there’s more to this pick than it just being Nashville. Obviously, they were the Western Conference Champions last season, losing to Pittsburgh in six games during the Stanley Cup Finals. But this game also closes out the opening road trip for the Flyers who play four Western Conference foes in seven days. The fact that it culminates in Nashville against some familiar faces like Scott Hartnell and Peter Laviolette, only makes it more intriguing.
November 16, 2017 @ Winnipeg
It’s still too early to tell who will be in net for the Jets come November, but I’d be a little surprised if it wasn’t a scorned Steve Mason. Mason is third on the Flyers all-time wins list for goalies, yet during his stay in the city of brotherly love, the Orange and Black didn’t do much in the postseason. The Flyers decided to pass on Mase and targeted Brian Elliot in free agency. To say Mason seemed a bit…perturbed, would be a slight understatement. But the NHL is a business and the Flyers made their choice. I think it’ll be interesting to see Mason inbetween the pipes when the Flyers head out to Winnipeg.
November 27, 2017 @ Pittsburgh
The rivalry continues. Ten years ago, the Flyers couldn’t figure out the Penguins. More recently, they’ve been back and forth with the defending Stanley Cup champs, but Pittsburgh doesn’t care–they’ve won three cups in the last decade. They’ve lost some role players in Chris Kunitz and Nick Bonino and Marc-Andre Fleury is now in Vegas, but don’t kid yourself. The Penguins are still a team built to win and even in November, beating them could be huge for the Flyers.
January 20, 2018 vs New Jersey
They play the Devils in the dumpster fire that is Pennsylvania’s eastern neighbor the week before, but I chose this game because it’s the battle of 1-2 in one of the arguably toughest stadiums to play. I’m working under the assumption that both Nico Hischier and Nolan Patrick make their respective teams and in all honesty, I don’t think it’s a long shot. It was a toss up which guy was going where in June, but the Devils took the Swiss forward and the Flyers got Patrick, who they were shocked was still at number two. These two will see a lot of each other in future years and this will be the first taste for the home fans
February 11, 2018 @ Vegas
There were a lot of road games in this list. But I doubt the players are upset about this one. The Vegas Golden Knights have their inaugural season this year and the Flyers make their first trip to Sin City mid-winter. Expansion teams, for obvious reasons, aren’t usually great their first season. I can remember the Flyers blanking Nashville 8-0 years ago. I won’t go as far as chalking up the W now, but this game is more about seeing what Vegas offers to the league and the novelty of the Flyers’ first game there.
I’ll have more about the Flyers leading up to the season and more during the year. But here’s my first look.
Is it October yet?