Now that he NHL lockout is over — well, unofficially over — it’s time for the Flyers to get back to work. Training camps are expected to open Wednesday, with games tentatively set for Jan. 15. There is a rumor that the Flyers will host the Penguins in their opener at the Wells Fargo Center.
And everyone is excited about finally having hockey back.
“People were bored. The players, we were bored, too,” Claude Giroux told NHL Network. “Just to have the game back, I think the fans are gonna love it. I’m really excited to go back on the ice.”
With the Eagles in rebuilding mode, the Sixers mired in mediocrity and the Phillies still a month away from spring training, this is what Philadelphia needed to restore the city’s sports enthusiasm. With that in mind, let’s list why we’re amped for hockey:
This is our year … No, really, it is
The Flyers have gone 37 straight seasons without hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup, so why should this year be any different? Well, for starters, this Flyers team is loaded. The Flyers return rising star Claude Giroux (93 points, No. 3 in NHL in 2011-12) as well as the nucleus of a team that tallied 260 goals, good for second-best in the NHL. Number two, looking out at the Philly sports landscape, the Flyers are honestly the city’s best chance to lead a parade down Broad Street.
Faster than a speeding puck
Hockey is one of the fastest and most exciting sports around. Factor in a condensed schedule (reportedly at least 48 games per team) and only intra-conference games (more cracks at Pittsburgh) and you’ve got the potential for the most meaningful regular season in history.
Philly bleeds Orange and Black
It’s true. As much passion as the Eagles and Phillies (sorry, Sixers) evoke in the average Philadelphia sports fan, Flyers fans are a different breed. People don Pelle Lindbergh sweaters and new fan favorite Wayne Simmonds T-shirts even when it’s not hockey season. Want proof? Go down to XFINITY Live! and watch a Flyers game. It’s surreal.
Upon further booth review
We all know how great the TV broadcast team of Jim Jackson, Keith Jones, Steve Coates and Bill Clement are. (Jackson can turn Ilya Bryzgalov into Bernie Parent with the right inflection in his call). But the emergence of radio broadcaster Chris Therien is what we’re looking forward to. The former Flyer openly pleaded for the Flyers to punch Sidney Crosby in the face last year.
Ilya Bryzgalov’s space odyssey
Ahh, the return of Bryzgalov. Love him or hate him, the goalie is the most entertaining athlete in the city, maybe in hockey. Whether he’s pondering the vastness of the universe, trying on a space suit or benching himself, Bryz is a media darling. Let’s just hope he can stop some pucks.