The Flyers season opener at home is like Christmas day for Philadelphia Hockey fans. Philadelphia is labeled as a football town, but if you remember Philadelphia was voted the #1 hockey city in North America for 7 straight years. It also has the biggest numbers of amateur hockey leagues throughout the Delaware Valley than anywhere in the United States. This is a hockey town. The media won’t say that though. So when I’m not driving around seeing other fans in the off season wearing jerseys, sporting Flyers license plates, or playing recreational hockey at the park, I’m attending the other part of my life, Flyers home games.
On Wednesday, I drove down to the Wells Fargo Center with my wife. I’ve been a season ticket holder since 2007 and have attended every opening game. I got down there just after 5, and the parking lot was packed with thousands of tailgaters. Everyone had Flyers fever. Despite being heavily favored to have a poor season by the media and some skeptic fans, the Flyers faithful showed up in mass numbers (19,000+) to support the boys in orange in hopes that this could finally be the beginning of the end of a long cup drought. Recently the Flyers passed their 14,000th day since they last hoisted the cup.
I, dressed in my Scott Hartnell Jersey and Hartnell wig, entered the arena, grabbed my opening night puck and met up with some regulars who I haven’t seen since April. Everyone seemed to be in a wonderful mood. The Flyers came out to warm up with thunderous cheers. Before long, the rest of the crowd settled in and the game got underway.
The Flyers looked great during the first period. They looked like they had a lot of jump. The defense played well, and the new comers looked comfortable. Then in the final seconds they scored the games’ first goal. The arena roared. The only thing that took life out of the fact that the flyers scored a goal was the sounds of the hideous goal song. Thousands of fans began to sing “the doop song” but were met with something different. “TNT” came across the speakers. AC/DC’s hit song from forever ago was played instead of “the doop” (Maria, Maria). Several fans seemed bummed. I personally liked “the doop” but I’m all in favor of change however, “TNT” is an awful choice for a goal song. It’s just not something you can jump up to. If several other fans think the same thing, I hope they voice their opinion. I don’t care if they bring the “doop” back, but please, change it from “TNT.”
The final two periods the Flyers seemed to lollygag. They looked awful on the power play, couldn't keep good puck possession and the crowd got out of it. The Flyers ended up losing a game they could have simply won, but failed on 6 other PP chances. But it’s the first game of the season. Despite the loss and the finish, I was happy with what I saw. Mason made some spectacular saves and it’s a shame he got a loss. If Emery plays as good or even better than how Mason played, then the Flyers goalie problem is no longer a problem. Perhaps special teams may still be the problem. That will fall on the assistant coaches, but if these issues linger for the next 10 games, will the assistant coaches take the fall or will the head coach take the fall.
The Flyers will see a familiar face on Saturday as they face Danny Briere and the Canadians at 7pm.
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