Flyers open season with Western trip

Posted: July 11, 2007

Flyer fans desperate to eradicate the memories of last season's fiasco and see nine, new players who weren't on the roster at mid-season, will have to wait until mid-October.

That's because the Flyers are headed to Western Canada for a week when the 2007-08 season opens and won't make their Wachovia Center debut until Oct. 13 against the decimated Islanders, who might be the worst team in the Atlantic Division.

As part of the NHL's three-year, unbalanced schedule, teams in the Atlantic Division will visit teams in the Northwest Division this season. Hence, the Flyers open the season Oct. 4 in Calgary. Two days later, they're in Edmonton.

Remember when Ken Hitchcock took the Flyers to Banff, Alberta a few years ago for some good, old fashioned team bonding? Well, coach John Stevens is doing the same thing as the Flyers will leave Edmonton immediately after the game to spend two days in Whistler, B.C. for some "bonding," then head to Vancouver where they'll meet the Canucks on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m.

So, the first chance fans will get to see general manager Paul Holmgren's completely remade cast - dressed in their new, skin-tight Reebok sweaters - will be on Saturday, Oct. 13.

Some things never change because of arena availability. As such, the Flyers will once again play a "Black Friday" afternoon matinee the day after Thanksgiving. This year's feast will be the improved Washington Capitals on Nov. 23 at 1 p.m.

For decades now, the Flyers have bid adieu to Philly immediately after Christmas when the Ice Capades or some variant, invaded the area. Usually, the team heads to Florida or the West Coast.

This year is slightly different as the Flyers host Toronto on Dec. 27 at 7 p.m., then begin a six-game road trip that begins in Tampa on Dec. 29 and end at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers on Jan. 10.

The game against the Maple Leafs is the latest home game in December for the Flyers since they hosted the New York Rangers on Dec. 28, l978, at the Spectrum. Disney on Ice has occupied the Flyers home arena while the team has taken extended road trips since December of l979.

This year's ice show is Disney's High School Musical The Ice Tour (December 28 through January 1).

The Flyers' first home game of the New Year is Jan. 12 at 1 p.m. against Boston.

Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins close the season April 6 with a 3 p.m. matinee at the Wachovia Center.


Contact staff writer Tim Panaccio at 215-854-2847 or tpanaccio@phillynews.com.

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