Flyers Host the Eastern Conference All-Stars Today at 1PM

Flyers Host the Eastern Conference All-Stars Today at 1PM

Dudes this wasn't even on the ticket plan when you put in for that package! The Eastern Conference All-Stars are coming to the Wells Fargo Center for a regular season game against the Flyers!

Yes, that's a bit of a joke, but so is the current rostering of the NHL All-Star Game starters, which is decided by whichever franchise's fans most get into stuff-the-ballot-box mode in a given holiday season. This year's winners? The Ottawa Senators, who are hosting the game. Four Sens were voted in as Eastern Conference Starters—Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson, Daniel Alfredsson, and Milan Michalek. At least the game doesn't decide anything that matters, unlike another North American sport.

While they don't all deserve to be starters (none of the forwards are even in the NHL's top 12 in scoring), this overall Senators team is nothing for a short-handed Flyers side to sneeze at. 
Ottawa sits three points behind the Flyers in the current Eastern Conference standings, one point ahead of the Penguins. It's way early for table watching in hockey, but this is just to say, they're hanging in there. They've also played four more games than the Flyers, so we can expect to see some adjustment to that gap, hopefully beginning today (although it obviously won't affect the GP aspect).

The Sens have been scoring at a decent clip, averaging three goals per game, but they're letting up even more and are currently near the bottom in goals against. Only the Carolina Hurricanes have allowed more goals this season.

Line Brawl Remembered, Always in Our Hearts
Matchups against the Senators are often constitute one of the more fun non-divisional rivalries. Players come and go, but these teams find a way to keep hating each other. Will the afternoon crowd at the Well get to see some fireworks? If not today, maybe tomorrow, when these same teams faceoff again in Ottawa. Love back-to-backs…

Hurts Donut
Kimmo Timonen won't play, with that wrist injury keeping him sidelined temporarily. Life isn't quite as sweet without Kimmo patrolling the back end in every type of play, so some of the other blueliners are gonna need some step-up. Ottawa can certainly attack. Jaromir Jagr is also out, but thinks he'll return soon. I think we may just have to get used to him being in and out of the lineup. He's had groin issues for years, and he's not getting any younger. 
UPDATE:'s Tim Panaccio tweeted "Timonen is here. NO soft cast. That means he is playing."

New (Temporary) G Line
Matt Read filled in admirably for Jagr last time out, and we know who the East's real top center is. He won't be sporting a Roman war helmet today. Never understood that logo for the Sens. History buff Ilya Bryzgalov would tell you that's closer to a centurion's get-up. 

RSS Line
Can JVR stay hot as part of the Riemer-Schenner-Simmer line? Christ let's hope so, so everyone will stop acting like he's the biggest disappointment since their first sexual experience.

Rookie Goodness
Zac Rinaldo, Sean Couturier, and Harry Z were on fire Thursday night. That kind of intensity from a quote unquote fourth line is a matchup nightmare for opposing teams, especially one as leaky as the Sens. With the Flyers a bit shorthanded today and a long weekend of hockey about to start, they'll need another deep performance.

Double-Dip at the Well?
Ain't got nothin to do all day and night? Well, for the first time this season, both of our indoor teams are playing home games today. The Flyers drop the puck at 1, and the Sixers—who put on one hell of a show last night—tip-off at 8. If you already have Flyers tickets, could be a fun day if you stick around the complex for the hoops game… Weather's pretty good for some tailgating in FDR, or just camp out inside McFadden's or Chickie's.

Ben Simmons wants to play this season but says there's 'no timetable on getting healthy'

Ben Simmons wants to play this season but says there's 'no timetable on getting healthy'

Ben Simmons wants to play this season.

He expressed his interest to get back on the court while speaking to the media for the first time since undergoing surgery on a right acute Jones fracture. Dressed in a suit, he addressed his injury before the tip-off of opening night Wednesday.

There had been rumblings that Simmons’ agent, Rich Paul, wanted to keep him out this season. Both Simmons and Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil debunked that thought (see story).

“I’d love to play, definitely,” Simmons said of the 2016-17 season. “As soon as I can get out there, I’d love to play."

Simmons did not give an anticipated return date. He is expected to miss three months with the injury, which involved one screw in the injured bone. Neither the team nor the rookie are in a rush. 

“There’s no timetable on getting healthy,” he said. “I’m working every day to get back and as soon as they tell me I can play is when I’ll be out there.”

Simmons has been rehabbing at the Sixers' training complex in Camden, New Jersey. He is able to work on upper-body training and massage to help the blood flow. He is focused on maintaining his strength, and noted his playing weight did not factor into the injury as some speculated. Simmons also has been watching game film and would like to improve his shot during the recovery period. 

“It’s a blessing and a curse,” he said. “Obviously it’s not the best start of my career as an NBA player, but I’m looking at it as a positive.”

New to the league, Simmons reached out for insight from other players. The first person he spoke to was Kevin Durant, who suffered the same injury. 

“He just said get advice from everybody and I’ll be good,” Simmons said. “It’s good to just reach out to people like that who have gone through it.”

Simmons watched the Sixers' home opener from the locker room, observing with a mix of patience and desire to suit up. 

“It was tough just knowing what happened,” he said. “But I’ll have my first game eventually and my time will come.”

Report: Kings called Flyers about bad goalie Steve Mason

Report: Kings called Flyers about bad goalie Steve Mason

Dealing with injuries in their crease, the Los Angeles Kings called the Flyers to check in on the availability of bad goalie Steve Mason, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

Kings starter and otherwise really good goalie Jonathan Quick is out up to three months with a groin injury, while backup Jeff Zatkoff is currently on injured reserve with a groin injury too.

Before eventually brining in former Predators and Coyotes goaltender Anders Lindbach, Los Angeles called around the league to see if any teams might be able to help them find a replacement for Quick. Mason was one of the potential candidates, Friedman said, but Mason's $4.1 million cap hit couldn't fit into their cap situation. Plus, the Flyers don't have any cap flexibility, either.

Mason is 4-2 with a 2.77 goals-against average and .901 save percentage in six games this season.