Flyers Notes: Three rookies start in Flyers' opener

Posted: October 07, 2011

Flyers Notes

BOSTON - For the first time since 1993, the Flyers had three rookies in their season-opening rotation Thursday: forwards Sean Couturier, Matt Read, and Zac Rinaldo.

The rookies had strong camps and faced the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins on Thursday in Boston.

After the morning skate, Couturier said he was "a little bit nervous, but excited to get going. It's a special game, but I try to approach it like it's another game and do what I do best - be a solid two-way forward and work hard and compete in battles."

Couturier, 18, centered Read and Scott Hartnell on the third line. He took two shots in 14 minutes, 4 seconds of ice time, while Read had one shot in 12:17.

Read, 25, said he was "anxious to get it going. It's the dream of a [lifetime] to suit up in an NHL game."

Like Couturier and Rinaldo, he was trying to calm his emotions.

"If you get too hyped up and too excited, you're going to make mistakes," he said. "So you just have to take to it in stride, keep the nerves away, and enjoy it while it lasts. Have fun with it."

Rinaldo, 21, made the team after a suspension to Jody Shelley, the team's enforcer. Shelley will miss the first five games.

"Just because one guy's out of the lineup and I have to fight all the heavyweights doesn't mean I should change my game," said Rinaldo, whose father was at Thursday's game.

Asked if he felt the first five games were a tryout of sorts, Rinaldo said: "Not at all. I'm just going to play hard-nosed hockey and show my skills and play all-around hockey. If Shelley comes back and things end up differently, that's all right. Just stay positive."

Rinaldo played wing on a line with Max Talbot and Andreas Nodl. Rinaldo played 6:27 and had a stick-holding penalty in the first period.

Before Thursday, the last time the Flyers had three rookies play in an opener was in 1993, when Jason Bowen, Mikael Renberg, and Stewart Malgunas were in the rotation in a 4-3 win over Pittsburgh, according to the team.


With Thursday's 2-1 win, the Flyers are 21-16-7 in season openers and 6-7-4 in openers on the road. . . . Danny Briere turned 34 on Thursday. . . . On Wednesday, indications were that Matt Walker would be in the opening lineup, but coach Peter Laviolette went with Andreas Lilja. GM Paul Holmgren said Walker was healthy and that he didn't participate in the morning skate because he was "working on some other stuff." Walker had surgeries to each hip last season, and he took part in the pregame skate. . . . Adam McQuaid (ill), one of Boston's key defensemen, was scratched.

- Sam Carchidi

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