Feb 9, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Anaheim Ducks right wing Corey Perry (10) battles with Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Mark Streit (32) in front of goalie Steve Mason (35) during the first period at Wells Fargo Center.
PHILADELPHIA — A banner will be raised and a video tribute played Thursday night at Wells Fargo Center, where the Philadelphia Flyers will play their first-ever season opener — a scheduled 7 p.m. start against the Anaheim Ducks — without their late founder, Ed Snider, who died in April after a long battle with bladder cancer.
The Flyers dedicated their playoff series last year to Snider and fought valiantly in a six-game series defeat. They paid tribute to Snider in their home playoff opener and will do so again Thursday.
"He was the heart and soul of this organization," said suspended defenseman Radko Gudas on Wednesday, according to Calkins Media. "We appreciate everything he did for this team. The whole city wants to get another chance to thank him.
"I think this is a great opportunity to pay our respects to him."
Snider’s name will live on in the memories of many, and he’ll have a special place alongside other Flyers banners hanging from the Wells Fargo Center ceiling.
"It’s going to be a big night and I’m excited about it," said general manager Ron Hextall, per Calkins Media. "He certainly deserves it. Hopefully things go off well. I would like to win a game for him."
The Flyers (1-1-1), coming off a 7-4 loss in Chicago, welcome back Brayden Schenn, who was suspended the first three games of the season for a hit he made in the playoffs last season. Schenn’s return was supposed to help balance out Philadelphia’s top three lines. But the Flyers learned Wednesday that first-line winger Michael Raffl would 10-14 days with what the team is calling an "upper-body injury." It was likely Schenn would take over for Raffl on the top line with Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds anyway, but now coach Dave Hakstol doesn’t have to shake up much else with Raffl out.
Philadelphia hosts a Ducks (0-3-1) team playing their fifth consecutive road game to start the year. They’re still trying to find their first win after Tuesday’s 2-1 loss in New Jersey.
And Tuesday’s loss was aided by a familiar theme in Anaheim: self-infliction.
The Ducks, who have been outscored 12-7 to start the year, committed seven penalties, including five in the second period to drop their fourth straight game.
"We talked about it from the start of the season, that discipline was going to have to be a focal point for our group," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said, according to the Orange County Register. "And if we weren’t going to be more disciplined — and our history has been that we’ve been one of the most penalized or a majority of this group has been one of the most penalized teams minor-wise in the league — you’re not going to be a quality team, a playoff team if you’re going to continue to do that."
Per the Register, Carlyle put his team through a rough practice Wednesday.
"I really don’t think you can be silent," Carlyle said. "You have to be matter of the fact and you have to be about why. What you’re presenting. Why? … The video doesn’t lie in what we’re doing.
"As we stated this morning, there’s some areas that we designated that we want to improve on. Because obviously our offense hasn’t been there. To carry our offense, we have to get stingier on the defensive side of it."