50th anniversary home opener. Electricity in the stands. And a stirring tribute to the late Ed Snider, the founding father of the franchise.
All of that is on tap Thursday night for the Flyers as they welcome the Anaheim Ducks to the Wells Fargo Center.
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Steve Mason, who didn’t get the start in Los Angeles for the season opener, gets the nod in the even larger home curtain lift.
“It’s a special night for everybody who is involved with it,” the Flyers’ goalie said. “This organization is rich in history, largely because of Mr. Snider.
“It will be nice to see him get the respect he most definitely deserves beforehand. It will be an honor to be part of it.”
Fans attending the game will have lighted bracelets hanging off their seats for the on-ice tribute to Snider. His family will be there, as well.
When the Flyers offered a bracelet tribute to Snider last April in their playoff home opener (Game 3) against Washington, fans threw the bracelets on the ice during a 6-1 blowout loss.
“It’s up to us to give them reasons to keep them on their wrists,” Mason said. “They’re cool introduction shows and you hope everyone is respectful.”
Some of the Flyers said they need to channel the emotion of the evening toward getting off to a better start in the game. The Flyers had poor starts in their recent three-game road trip out west.
“Most guys are pretty excited, it’s going to be a full house and there’s nothing like opening at home,” said Nick Cousins, who is back in the lineup (Roman Lyubimov is out). “I’m looking forward to it. There will be a lot of emotion in the building.
“Mr. Snider was the heart and soul of the Flyers. Very passionate about the hockey team. Like I said, there’s going to be a lot of emotion in the building. Hopefully, we can get this win for him. The boys are looking forward to it.”
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said he addressed his club briefly today about channeling their energy off the Snider ceremony into something positive without being consumed by it.
“We discussed it a little bit in a quick team meeting,” Hakstol said. “And really, there’s nothing more to be said. Take that emotion, take that energy and direct in the right way into our game.
“Sometimes, that’s easier said than done, but our group is veteran enough in here that we will be able to do that.”
Hakstol said he didn’t want to leave Cousins sit “too long.”
Cousins said the explanation for his benching in Chicago wasn’t punitive and that Hakstol explained to him he wanted to get Lyubimov his first taste of NHL play.
“I really like what Lubey did in his role the other night,” Hakstol said. “I thought he took a step forward. But tonight we got Cuz back in there and the things he brings to the table are important to us.”
Rookie defenseman Ivan Provorov was minus-5 in the 7-4 loss at Chicago. He was responsible, in part, for three goals.
“It happens to the best of us,” Provorov said, sounding like a veteran. “The best players in the world make mistakes. If nobody made mistakes, the game would end 0-0.
“The thing that separates the better players from average players is they limit those kind of nights. It happens to all of us. You learn from it and move on.”