PHILADELPHIA -- Okay, true story. I tweeted some tongue-in-cheek joke about having bragging rights after the Flyers 3-2 rookie game win over the Washington Capitals today at the Wells Fargo Center, and some Capitals fan responded all angry at me. Uhhhhhhhhh, alright then.
In all seriousness though, today's rookie game was pretty fantastic, even if it kind of reminded me of the movie The Replacements: a major league size crowd, a major league arena, major league jerseys --- and uh, not major league quality of play. It was sloppy, all over the place, and just not anywhere close NHL hockey, but it was entertaining, and after a long summer, that's plenty for me.
It's always hard to assess players after a game like this, but there were some things that stuck out. We'll get to all of that after the jump.
-- Schenn got a lot of penalty killing time, and while he didn't hit the score sheet, he said he was trying to focus more on his defensive play. That'll probably be the theme of training camp for him: working on his defensive game and his two-way play. He won the majority of his faceoffs -- at least at face value he did, they didn't keep the stats -- and seemed to play well in his own end of the ice. That's good.
-- Sean Couturier looked a little slow at times tonight, especially on a 2-on-1 in the first period. Overall, I'd say he was the weakest of the three players on his line. It's one game, but I wasn't terrible impressed. On the other hand, Tomas Hyka, who played with Couturier and Schenn, was extremely impressive. He scored a goal in the second period off his own rebound and just looked like he belonged all game.
-- Tyler Brown has come out of nowhere in camp, but Homer said the other day that he's been impressed with him and you can see why. He wound up working his way onto the power play unit with Couturier and Schenn as the game went on, and his second period goal was by far the highlight of the night. He'll probably be in the AHL this season and I'm going to keep my eye on him.
-- Derek Mathers is huge. He loves fighting. He was all bloody and smiley after the game.
-- Blake Kessel made a nice little semi-debut tonight, a day after getting a contract from the team. He scored a goal, and you can tell he likes jumping up into the play offensively. We cited Hockey's Future in our story yesterday, saying that he switched from forward to defense with Waterloo in his USHL days, but he told me after the game that he switched to defense in his pee wee days. So there's that.
-- Harry Zolnierczyk was all over the place. He seemed like he was always hitting somebody and he had a ton of energy. That's all I can seem to remember from his night.
-- Crowd estimate at 11,000-plus. Yep. Rookie game.
Real camp starts on Saturday. Get excited. Go Flyers.