Game 1: Philadelphia Flyers at Boston Bruins The 2011-2012 Season Begins

Game 1: Philadelphia Flyers at Boston Bruins The 2011-2012 Season Begins

We've
had since May to do everything in our power to put a woefully
disappointing Flyers season and laughably poor postseason behind us. The
organization actually did just that—turning over the forward lines and
goaltender so significantly that the team that takes the ice tonight is
hardly recognizable.

The good news is, last season is now officially in the past, and we
can stop talking off-season moves and start talking on-ice play. As we
discussed earlier today, the Flyers may have rebuilt over the summer,
but they remain a very exciting and talented team. Tonight's opener and
the games over the next few weeks have added intrigue, as we finally get
to see how all the pieces will work together, and what the new guys are
capable of. A look at tonight's Flyers lineup and some game notes
below.

Your goalies tonight are Ilya Bryzgalov and Tim Thomas. The Flyers
are visitors in the home of the current Stanley Cup Champions, and they
have a lot to prove.

Although the Bruins obviously have some
outstanding chemistry and as good a team as there is in the NHL, there's
no reason to think the Flyers won't go into their barn and steal the
first game of the season. Peter Laviolette's team was very good in the
preseason, and they'll take the ice tonight with some momentum.

There will probably be some butterflies as well, with three rookies
in the Orange & Black lineup (Sean Couturier, Matt Read, and Zac
Rinaldo).

We expect to see a top line of Claude Giroux centering
JVR and Jaromir Jagr. Hoooooo yeah. Danny Briere will likely start by
centering Jakub Voracek and either Wayne Simmonds or Scott Hartnell. We
think that could be a pretty fluid situation until they find a group
with great chemistry. Whichever isn't on the second line will join
Couturier and Matt Read on a high energy third line, with the fourth
line being of Max Talbot, Zac Rinaldo, and Andreas Nodl.

Hopefully everyone got a name tag at the mixer last night because there are a ton of new faces.

Chris
Pronger will play in the season opener, which quiets one of the biggest
concerns we had all summer, presumably paired with Matt Carle as usual.
Andrej Meszaros, Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, and I think Andreas
Lilja will round out the opening night defense corps. The press was
having some trouble nailing down the Matt Walker situation.

Hockey is back. LET'S GO FLYERS!

Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday in Detroit

Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday in Detroit

NEW ORLEANS — Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to coexist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right foot fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."

Flyers fans send amazing postcards to their beat writers

Flyers fans send amazing postcards to their beat writers

I like to give Flyers fans a bit of a hard time on occasion, but that's only because I love them.

One beautiful Flyers fan today reminded me of why I love them.

They took the time to send a postcard to CSNPhilly.com's Flyers Insider -- and hater of the woo -- Tim Panaccio with one single word written on it.

"Woo."

Panotch says "Someone wasted a stamp and post card on this," but I say we just generated at least 50 cents in ad revenue from those of you that are reading this right now.

Money and time well spent.

Now, if you're not up on your wooing, Panotch penned a piece on how some fans wooing at games started annoying some of the players. Panotch hates the woo. BUT... and this is an important but... the Flyers are 6-0 since this all started. 

Woo.