VOORHEES, N.J. -- The number switch was on after Matt Carle signed in Tampa and Bruno Gervais signed as a Flyer.
See, Carle wore No. 25 as a Flyer.
Max Talbot wore that in Pittsburgh but had to settle for No. 27 when he arrived two summers ago.
When Talbots best buddy, Gervais, signed this past summer, Bruno wanted No. 27 because he wore that in junior.
Thats when the switch began, with everyone happy and coming into Flyers training camp this week.
We were dinking each other whose number 27 was, and Matt left this year so Max wanted to go back to 25, Gervais said. That kind of freed up 27 and Im really happy to have that number.
In addition to having a pair of brothers -- Brayden and Luke Schenn -- the Flyers now have two best friends in Talbot and Gervais, who have known each other since they were kids growing up in the greater Montreal area.
Their friendship also includes a highly successful charity golf tournament in Quebec that has raised over 700,000 in five years.
They also organized the Quebec Hockey Tour during the lockout before Gervais went to Germany to play with Heilbronner Falken.
Way, way too long, since we were 10 years old, Gervais recalled of his long friendship with Talbot.
Its been a long, long time. Our parents know each other really well. Theyre trouble when they get together, and we babysit them a little bit.
As kids, they talked about playing together someday in the NHL. Nah, it will never happen, they figured.
Its something special, especially when you first break into the NHL, you talk about a little bit, the 28-year-old Gervais said.
Then you realize the chances of that happening are really slim. We were fortunate that it happened here and we will make something special out of it.
Added Talbot: "We never played professional together, but it was always a dream. Even as we started in junior we talked about it."
Gervais came to the Flyers as insurance on the blue line. Given the uncertainty of Andrej Meszaros and ongoing injuries to both Erik Gustafsson and Marc-Andre Bourdon, Gervais could be in the opening lineup Saturday against Pittsburgh.
I hope for everyone to be healthy and ready to go when the season begins, Gervais said. Even though its a short calendar, its a long year because were going to play every other night.
Gervais has worked with a couple of partners since camp opened on Sunday, including Andreas Lilja and Nick Grossmann.
Depth on defense is simply crucial, as the Flyers unfortunately always seem to find out the hard way.
Its going to be a fresh start here and a great challenge, Gervais said. With the season were going to have and everything that is happening right now, were going to need a lot of bodies. ... For me, it was more about joining a team that was going to win and wanting to push.
Much like veteran newcomer Kurtis Foster, who was added to the blue line over the weekend, Gervais has to learn a new system. Thats nothing new for him, given the carousel of coaches hes had during his seven years in the NHL.
Six years on the Island, we had quite a few coaches there, he said. Even Peter Laviolette, but he was there before me. Every coach has one, two or three systems they like to practice.
I remember even last year in Tampa, we had two systems we played a lot. So you are used to making adjustments. Its going to be real quick for everyone to get on the same page. Were going to be doing a lot of talking and video to get everyone on the same page.
He was hoping to land with an Eastern Conference contender.
Recall that July 1 was dominated by talk of where Ryan Suter and Zach Parise were going. Until they signed, it was pretty quiet in terms of free-agent movement. Then the dominoes fell.
The second this offer came on the table it was a no-brainer for me, Gervais said.
Islanders, Lightning ... Flyers?
We only had one year we made a playoff run as an Islander, he said. That is what I wanted to do in joining this team. The Flyers have a great organization here. People who are driving to win every year and that is what I wanted. Its fun to be here.
Talbot drove Gervais around town over the summer to show him what Philly was all about.
A beautiful town, beautiful city, Gervais said. Im a big fan of Rocky and the movie Invincible. Im still learning Philly.
He admits to being a little in awe of the Flyers mystique when he played on Long Island.
The name of this organization, no one is indifferent about the Flyers jersey, Gervais said. Everyone has a little emotion when they see that jersey come by.
It was something special to see an offer made by them.
And even more special to be playing with Talbot.
We were friends all through the years and never lost touch, Talbot said. Its been 17 years now.