The Kraken visit the City of Brotherly Love: Kraken vs Flyers preview

The Need to Knows

The Time: 10:00 am PT / 1:00 pm ET (Yes, you read that right. Time to get up bright and early!)

The Place: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

Where to Watch: ROOT Northwest, NBC Sports Philadelphia, ESPN+ for all other markets

Place to Listen: KJR 93.3fm

An Opposing Viewpoint: Broad Street Hockey

Know Your Enemy

I’m reporting to you live on the scene in Philadelphia as the city gears up for its most important sporting event of the weekend.

No, it’s not the Super Bowl. That game’s not even being held in Philadelphia, come on!

I’m talking about the Seattle Kraken making their return to the City of Brotherly Love for the first time since October 18, 2021. In fact, the last time these two teams played at all was December 29, 2021. Even though the recent Buoy and Gritty shenanigans at the All-Star Game give the impression that these teams are very familiar with each other, the truth is that it’s been a while. So, if you haven’t been following the Flyers closely, here’s what you may have missed.

The end of last season saw these two teams as draft position neighbors, with the Kraken picking fourth and the Flyers fifth, but from that point onward, the two team’s paths could not be more different. I trust that I don’t need to explain all the things that have been going right for the Kraken, especially with management having a clear plan in place and a vision for the future that involves methodically building a Stanley Cup caliber team from the ground up.

The Flyers have none of that. The Flyers have fallen into disarray as a team that wants to believe it has a sound plan in place, but in actuality, they have nothing. After trading away long-time captain Claude Giroux at last season’s trade deadline and not bringing him back in the offseason, one would think that signified a rebuild was in order.

Instead, general manager Chuck Fletcher kept trying to sell the idea of an “aggressive retool,” believing that this team only needed a few tweaks here and there to make them competitive. Those tweaks were things like signing on fourth line grinders like Nic Deslauriers and dishing out large contracts to Rasmus Ristolainen and Tony DeAngelo instead of using what cap space he had to be proactive in a pursuit of a player like Johnny Gaudreau. Maybe Gaudreau wouldn’t have single-handedly saved the team, but it might be better than having head coach John Tortorella express that he didn’t think DeAngelo was actually going to be as bad as he is defensively. Whoops.

Now, the Flyers aren’t an abysmal team either. They have players like Travis Konecny, Kevin Hayes, and Carter Hart all having bounce back years. They’ve somehow cracked the code to the power kill this year with 9 shorthanded goals, good for second best in the league. When they want to, the Flyers can play a game where they wear the opponent down with the kind of tenacity that Tortorella is trying to instill into this team.

Yet, the team suffers from reaching its full potential because management doesn’t see that a reset button is needed. It doesn’t help that players like Sean Couturier (who won the Selke Award for best defensive forward in 2020) and Cam Atkinson (a good shoot-first winger) haven’t played a single game for the Flyers all year due to injury. Primarily, though, the blame falls on this organization not understanding that the quick fix method isn’t going to work.

At least the Flyers improved their goal song this year! Zaiem has the details for you on that:

The Goal Song

Zaiem here with the most important goal song story of this NHL season. This is a real rags-to-riches story. Last year’s Kraken 6-1 loss to Philadelphia was punctuated by hearing what was easily the worst goal song in the NHL and hearing it over and over again. The Flyers staff operations decided the shot on iPhone meme was exactly the elevator music they needed to lull the crowd to sleep.

This year, they’re using the entrance music for professional wrestler Becky Lynch. And it’s fantastic.

It’s original, it’s punchy, and it has a great crowd participation part but doesn’t rely solely on it to drive the energy. I do not watch women’s wrestling, but my understanding by talking to those who do is that Becky Lynch is awesome, which makes this even better.

The Flyers goal song, much like the Kraken, has completely turned it around this season. Hopefully we won’t hear much of it. Back to Em!

Game Preview

Looking at all of the problems the Flyers are going through, being on a three-game losing skid on the road is honestly not the worst problem the Kraken could be having.

However, the Pacific Division is in a tight race. At the time of writing this (early Saturday), the Kraken are back down to third in the division, with Edmonton in second place solely because they have more regulation wins. If the Kings earn a point in their matchup against the Penguins, the Kraken will slip further down to the top wild card spot by the time they face the Flyers.

Losing streaks happen, but the Kraken don’t want to be playing too much catch up.

The Flyers will be on the second half of a back-to-back as they just wrapped up a matinee game against the Predators (a 2-1 overtime loss). The Flyers also opted to start Hart against the Predators, meaning that back-up goaltender Felix Sandstrom is the likely starter against the Kraken.

It’s up to the Kraken to get themselves back on track by crashing the party that is a city hyped up for the Super Bowl. I think it’s possible to get back in the win column against the Flyers, but considering I still have vivid memories of a 6-1 loss in that building, I know that disastrous losses are not out of the question either.

At least there is one thing (most of) the Kraken and the Flyers can agree on: go birds.