It may be nothing more than a glorified scrimmage, but after months with no hockey following an awful exit from the playoffs, Flyers fans finally get to see some real live hockey tonight. At 7 PM on The Comcast Network and 94 WIP (hockey on FM!), a mix-and-match group of Flyers including a Schenn and a Kessel will face a similar group of Leafs, also including a Schenn and a Wheeler (yes, they're brothers). Tim Panaccio says the Flyers have Sergei Bobrovsky and Michael Leighton on the trip, so no first peek at Ilya Bryzgalov just yet (he'll play on Wednesday at home). Sam Carchidi says Bob will play the whole game.
We should get our first look at Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds, who came over in the Mike Richards trade, as well as Jakub Voracek and first round pick Sean Couturier, the Flyers end of the Jeff Carter trade, among others.
Carchidi's word on probable lines, and more on what we'll be watching for below.
Harry Z (Zolnierczyk)-Mair-Sestito
Obviously, Chris Pronger won't be playing tonight, but we should see Andreas Lilja's first action as a Flyer, and possibly Oskars Bartulis' return to the ice after Scottie Upshall jacked him up last season, plus Erik Gustafsson.
The Brothers vs Brothers angle got played up a bit over the past two days, which is natural given that it's pretty uncommon to have two sets of brothers playing against each other, and there aren't too many other huge storylines for a first preseason game. However, it's unlikely to have any actual impact on the game, as I'm not even sure we'd be able to tell without the nameplates and what I imagine will be several on-air mentions.
I'm most interested in seeing Schenn (Brayden that is), Simmonds, Voracek, and Couturier. Along with Bryzgalov, these are the guys Homer wanted to be Flyers more so than Richards and Carter. They're all billed as being good solid hockey players, some with sky's-the-limit futures.
At this point, Richards and Carter are the past, and we finally have a present to move on to. In that way, it's a hell of a lot more interesting game than we'd usually get in the NHL preseason. Regardless of your feelings about the moves of the past summer, it's hard not to be intrigued and excited by what the new guys will bring to the table.