In advance of tonight's 2015-16 season opener for the Florida Panthers, and second tilt for their opponent, the Philadelphia Flyers, I traded three questions with Broad Street Hockey (and SBN) head honcho Travis Hughes. Here is what he had to say in shedding some light on the Flyers for us Panther fans. .
What positives are Flyer fans taking from the opening loss to the Lightning?
They played a really, really strong game against Tampa Bay. We all know that's one of the best teams in the conference, and the Flyers hung with them. More importantly, the Flyers skated with them, and the Lightning are really speedy as we also know very well. Most of all, the Flyers looked considerably better in the neutral zone tonight... as in, not the pushovers they were most of last year. The team looks faster and better positioned across the lineup. They shut down the Lightning in neutral ice late in the game, and they were relentless and aggressive in the attacking zone early in the game. Such a refreshing change of pace from last year.
Where will Philadelphia's secondary scoring come from this season?
Well, in short they need guys to step up. Sean Couturier is still looking to break out offensively -- he's been used primarily as a defensive stalwart in his career to date but he has lots of offensive skill. Matt Read is back from injury and should surge a bit. Wayne Simmonds is still very good, R.J. Umberger is apparently healthy and looked much better in the season opener, Brayden Schenn hopefully breaks out as well. Long story short, the pieces are there, but they need to capitalize.
How frustrating is it to have so much salary sitting in the press box?
Not as frustrating as you'd think, honestly. It's either in the press box or stinking up the ice, so it's refreshing that guys like Vincent Lecavalier are actually being scratched by Dave Hakstol as opposed to getting ice time simply because of who they are. It's obviously annoying that these contracts exist in the first place, but at least they're only hurting the Flyers in the wallet and not on the ice.
LBC would like thank Travis for his time and answers. Visit Broad Street Hockey for more pregame stuff about tonight's match up, including my answers to the questions he had for yours truly.