It’s always exciting for the entire team when a player makes his debut. Wednesday night, three different Flyers will make their team debuts against the Boston Bruins.
Rasmus Ristolainen, who played through the preseason but suffered an injury before the opener, is finally healthy. Zack MacEwen, who the Flyers claimed off waivers Oct. 15, finally has his U.S. work visa. And Martin Jones, who also played during the preseason, will get his first chance in goal while Carter Hart gets a night off.
“It’s exciting when you have someone that joins your group and makes their debut for a different organization,” forward James van Riemsdyk said. “You kind of can feed off a little bit of that energy sometimes for sure.”
Nic Aubé-Kubel, who will skate with MacEwen on the fourth line, is familiar with the newest Flyer from their time playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). He’s heard that, now that they’re in the NHL, they have a similar style of play. He thinks MacEwen will fit in with him and Nate Thompson well.
“We’re all like gritty players, intense, good around the boards and fast,” Aubé-Kubel said. “A bunch of good elements that you want on your fourth line.”
In addition to MacEwen, Ristolainen will also help raise the Flyers’ intensity levels.
“I know [Ristolainen’s] definitely raring to go and get out there” van Riemsdyk said. “The style of game that he brings and wants to play and enjoys playing is definitely one that resonates with the fans here. I’m sure he’s gonna be a fan favorite pretty quickly.”
Cage the bear
When you play elite players like those on the Bruins, you don’t hope to shut them down, Vigneault said. You just try to contain them.
“I don’t think you can totally shut down players of that caliber with that skillset,” Vigneault said. “They’re just the best in the world. They’re going to get some chances.”
In Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrňák, the Bruins boast one of the best lines in hockey, Vigneault said, as well as a really solid defense. When the Flyers first played the Bruins in the preseason, their second and fourth lines went up against the Bruins’ best. They lost 4-2.
Get the shot, get the t-shirt
When fans and employees walk up to the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night, they have the chance to join all the players among the vaccinated ranks.
The Flyers have teamed up with Penn Medicine to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to all ticketed fans and arena employees for the game against the Bruins. Fans can text the word READY to 267-263-7618 to sign-up. They are also accepting walk-ups.
Starting at 4 p.m. for employees and 6 p.m. for fans, on-site health care providers will administer the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine and Pfizer vaccine. Fans who are 12 years old and up may receive the shot. There will also be Pfizer booster shots available to those eligible. Proof of eligibility will be required.
All vaccine recipients will receive an “I Took My Shot” T-shirt, hand sanitizer and sticker.
The Flyers play the Bruins tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center. The game will be shown on TNT. ... Kevin Hayes was participating in drills with the team. He is still on Long Term Injured Reserve. ... Patrick Brown, who remains in COVID-19 protocols, has not yet joined the team. Alain Vigneault expects him back Saturday.