Editor is most excited for unofficial holiday

Oct. 8 is Air Force Day in India and Navy Day in Peru, but in my apartment in Erie, an unofficial holiday will be celebrated.

Next Wednesday marks the first day of National Hockey League’s regular season, aka one of the greatest days of the year, ranking just barely behind my birthday and one spot in front Christmas on my personal list of reasons to celebrate.

Of the eight teams competing on opening night, only one of them matters in my personal opinion. That team is the Broadstreet Bullies; a squad of bruisers and misfits formally known as the Philadelphia Flyers.

After beginning last season with two wins and nine losses, the Flyers rallied throughout the season to end with a 42-30-10 regular-season record. They contended in a thrilling playoff appearance that ended in a four games to three series loss to the New York Rangers, a team that went on to the Stanley Cup finals where they eventually lost to the Los Angeles Kings.

The biggest question mark for the Flyers right now is undeniably their defense.

The Flyers’ defensive core was the weakest aspect of the team during their 2013-14 82-game schedule. This is only compounded by the fact that the Flyers have lost arguably their best defenseman from last season in Finnish veteran Kimmo Timonen, who, after the discovery of blood clots throughout his body, will probably never play again.

However, the Flyers have two very young, very skilled D-men in Shayne Gostisbehere and Sam Morin, who will be looking to step up and fill the void Timonen has left behind him.

The pair has seen a lot of ice time together during the preseason and their playing styles complement each other well. Gostisbehere is more of an offensive defenseman with very skilled hands and scoring ability, while Morin is more of a bruiser and a strong, aggressive and defensive-minded player. In fact, it seems they may end up being the team’s top D-line.

Only time will tell how the defense will perform, but for the first time in a long time, the Flyers finally feel that they have a goalie that they can count on to make the saves and steal games when the defense doesn’t show up. Last season Steve Mason had a 33-18-7 record in 61 games played with a .917 save percentage.

The offense has a lot of skill and I feel that as long as the defense performs well and Mason pulls his weight in net, the offense will put up plenty of points.

Long story short, the orange and black will take the ice against the Boston Bruins in a week and I couldn’t be any happier.


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