After what felt like the longest offseason in years, it's time for another season of Flyers hockey. The league's "suggested script" for the team was leaked just hours ago, and here it is, exclusively on BSH.
January 19: The Flyers start strong with a 4-3 overtime win against the Penguins. Brayden Schenn scores the winner, assisted by his brother Luke. An unofficial secondary assist belongs to James Neal, whose decision to climb the half-boards and attempt to elbow-drop Claude Giroux springs the Schenn brothers and Scott Hartnell for the odd-man rush. Neal is fined $5,000 by NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan for "conduct detrimental to the memory of Macho Man Randy Savage," but is not suspended since no injury occurred on the play.
January 20: The team looks unprepared and sluggish in a 5-2 loss to the Sabres. Ville Leino notches a hat trick against his former team, having intercepted three passes from Danny Briere and scored on all of them. Michael Leighton relieves Ilya Bryzgalov and shuts Buffalo out the rest of the way, sparking rumors of a strange new concept known as a "goaltending controversy". Somewhere in the Czech Republic, Roman Cechmanek cackles evilly to himself.
January 26: A 3-2 loss to the Panthers leaves the Flyers winless since the opener against Pittsburgh. Midway through the third period with the game tied, Luke Schenn lands a thunderous hit on Stephen Weiss, leaving himself out of position as Kris Versteeg puts the Panthers on top. The handful of fans who notice the goal blame it on Matt Carle.
February 1: Bryzgalov posts his third consecutive shutout as the Flyers climb back to .500 with a 2-0 win over the Capitals. Peter Laviolette is seen patting a despondent Leighton on the shoulder, saying, "Give it time."
February 2: Bryzgalov's shutout streak ends in the first minute against the Hurricanes after a ghastly turnover by Bruno Gervais in front of the net that leaves him hung out to dry, prompting the crowd to chant "WE WANT LEIGHTON." Laviolette nods knowingly, calling timeout to say "I told you so." The goal holds up and the Flyers' winning streak ends at three.
February 5: Carle, thus far having an outstanding season for Tampa Bay, makes an ill-advised outlet pass that ends up careening off of every player on the ice before sliding through the five-hole of Anders Lindback. Flyers GM Paul Holmgren immediately trades for Carle after the game, sending the Lightning "future considerations," which turn out to be the Flyers' next three first-rounders, Matt Walker, Jody Shelley, and Steve Duchesne.
February 14: With the Flyers unbeaten since he returned to the fold, Carle sends every fan a candygram in the hopes of improving his reputation. The gesture turns ugly when fans show up in droves at the Devils' rink for the following night's game and pelt him with the candy, causing a season-ending injury to his feelings. The team is forced to forfeit the game, with the consensus being that it is Carle's fault.
February 20: The Flyers and Penguins agree to have Bryzgalov and Marc-Andre Fleury switch teams after the first period and see if anyone notices. No one does, although Wayne Simmonds nearly gives it away - when asked for comment on his game-winner, Simmonds alludes to "this one deke that like, always works on him during practice." Confused, the Philly media start a campaign for Brian Boucher to be the starter, despite his woeful numbers in the AHL.
February 25: James van Riemsdyk returns from injury, scores two goals for the Leafs in a frantic first period, then gets injured again after Luke Schenn hip-checks him into the penalty box. Holmgren signs Schenn to a six-year deal the next morning. "Irony" trends on Twitter in the Philadelphia area, culminating in a heated argument between Flyers bloggers and Randy Miller about what the word actually means.
March 5: Bryzgalov outduels Henrik Lundqvist in a 1-0 classic that features several acrobatic saves by both men. Everybody argues about irony again.
March 9: In a truly cruel display of gamesmanship, the Bruins wear their alternate jerseys and score on their first four shots against Bryzgalov, who simply covers his eyes anytime a Boston player skates near him.
March 15: Ruslan Fedotenko scores five goals in a home-and-home with the Devils after going without a goal in the season's first 27 games. Asked for comment after the second game, Fedotenko points out that the Devils are the only Atlantic Division team he has yet to play for, and says he feels he needs to "make a good impression for next season."
March 19-23: Kimmo Timonen spends the team's longest break in the schedule catching up on episodes of "Murder, She Wrote," clipping coupons, and remembering what it was like when he first broke into the league with the California Golden Seals.
March 24: With first place in the division on the line, the Flyers drop a 2-1 heartbreaker to the Pens. James Neal lands a successful Stunner on Andreas Lilja in the second period, ending his season. Brendan Shanahan again declines to suspend Neal, citing his "impeccable execution of Stone Cold Steve Austin's signature move." Nobody really cares, though, since it's Lilja and all.
March 31: The Flyers take the lead in the Atlantic after a 5-2 win over Washington. Sean Couturier scores twice and loses four teeth in the contest, bringing his totals of both into a dead heat.
April 3: With minutes to go before the trade deadline and a need to shore up the defense corps, Holmgren calls David Poile up on Skype and asks if Shea Weber is available, just to see the look on his face.
April 6: Thanks in large part to a truly horrid stretch of play from Nicklas Grossmann, the Flyers lose 6-3 in Winnipeg and fall back to third place in the division. Grossmann decides to add another "n" to his last name in the hopes of improving. Shockingly, it works, and hockey players' weakness for superstition leads several teammates to follow suit.
April 15: Braydonn Coburnn and both of the Schennn brothers score in a 3-1 winn over the Montreal Canadienns. The Flyers haven't lost since the Winnipeg game, and every player in the league has added an "n" to their last name, which causes incredible problems with all their tax filings. Darren Dreger writes a snarky op-ed criticizing the league and players for leaving yet another loophole in the CBA.
April 20: Scott Hartnell shows up to the game against the Hurricanes with dreadlocks and a newfound appreciation for prog rock. Nobody seems to notice.
April 27: The Flyers fall in a shootout to Ottawa, and as a result draw the fifth seed and a first-round matchup with the Penguins. "Been there, done that," say the fans, and everyone's attention turns to the Phillies.