Finally! Hockey has come back. The orange and black have finally come out of the dust of the offseason – and these past two weeks saw the beginning of the 2019-2020 NHL season.
The season began with the defending Stanley Cup Champions St. Louis Blues facing off against the previous champion Washington Capitals, a fantastic thriller to kick the season off. In that game, the Capitals edged out a victory in St. Louis, winning in overtime 3-2. Meanwhile, almost 5,000 miles away, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Chicago Blackhawks were getting ready to play a part of the NHL 2019 Global Series — which was held in Prague, Czech Republic. The Czech fans and traveling Chicago and Philly fans saw a game to remember, as the game saw seven goals in total, with Philadelphia taking the win over Chicago four goals to three. Flyers veteran Travis Konecny really packed a punch, as he ended up punching in two fantastic shots over Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford that pushed the Flyers into a fantastic 1-0 record start.
It is worthy to note this is not the only visit the NHL will make to Europe this season — in Stockholm, Sweden the Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning will face off.
This past week, the orange and black fan base saw the return of a very familiar face, this time in a hated rival’s colors. Right Wing veteran Wayne Simmonds, or as Philly Fans referred to him as, “Wayne Train,” made his return to a standing ovation as the overhead PA announcer introduced him, recognizing his long contribution to the Flyers organization. However, that was quickly replaced with massive boos, as the Flyers shocked the New Jersey Devils, within 10 minutes of the second period. Philly began to barrage New Jersey shortly after, with defenseman Ivan Provorov sniping one past Devils goaltender Cory Schneider for an easy power play goal.
That was only the beginning of Schneider’s nightmarish night, as Flyers second-year goaltender Carter Hart was on fire, with 25 saves per 25 shots on goal, shutting out New Jersey’s offense out completely. In the third period, the Flyers continued to put immense pressure on the defensive line of the Devils. Flyers Center Kevin Hayes got a quick goal within 33 seconds of the third period, with Flyers Center Sean Couturier getting in another goal 24 seconds later. The third period continued to play out, with the Flyers consistently barraging the Devils throughout the rest of the period. Center and Right-Wing Travis Kocecny finally finished off the Devils with a sniper shot 11 minutes and 46 into the period, as the Flyers would end up completing the shutout 4-0.
The Flyers face three more teams over the course of this week, starting with the Calgary Flames on Tuesday, the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday and the Dallas Stars on Saturday night. As of right now, with what we’ve seen out of this team, who knows how they will end up this year. After last year, being a Flyers fan is quite hard, as it is for many other teams in the NHL and other leagues; but ultimately as a longtime fan, I see something in the team this year. I think they will come out of the year in a winning record, going into the playoffs for the first time since the 2017-2018 season.
Jeffrey Babcock is a third-year student majoring in communications. JB884128@wcupa.edu