The Flyers battle uphill, the Kings groove in first
Eleven years. That's how long it's been since Russian-born hockey legend Slava Fetisov skated in a professional game. After winning a second straight Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings in 1998, Fetisov called it quits.
On Friday night, the 51-year-old Fetisov went Gordie Howe, returning to action as an emergency replacement for CSKA Moscow in a KHL game against SKA St. Petersberg. After getting a bit more than eight minutes of ice time (minus-1) during a 3-2 loss, Fetisov quickly returned to the quiet comfort of retirement. You can read about it here. And you can get a little more insight from the legendary defenseman here.
While Fetisov's story didn't gain too much traction on this side of the Atlantic, it was monster news in Russia. After all, the hockey icon is now a member of the Russian parliament.
I did take away one other minor fact from Fetisov's brief return. For one day, at least, Chicago Wolves (AHL) D Chris Chelios wasn't the oldest guy playing professional hockey. Here's this week's edition of the Monday 10.
1. Classic Preview: The Philadelphia Flyers will meet the Boston Bruins tonight at TD Garden in Boston. Of course, the next time these two Eastern Conference foes meet in Beantown, the game will be outdoors at Fenway Park. Several Bruins and Flyers took advantage of an off-day (Sunday) to visit the legendary baseball facility. The league has begun the process of building the outdoor rink. You can check out some video of the visit as well as monitor the Fenway ice build-out (via a live webcam) on NHL.com.
In the present, however, the Flyers desperately need to get their act together. Philly is a dismal 2-10 in their last 12 games. In that span, they aren't even getting any overtime "bonus" points. Double ouch! Since Peter Laviolette replaced John Stevens behind the bench, the Flyers are just 1-4. The biggest problem seems to be scoring. Or, rather, not scoring. They've netted two or fewer goals in eight of their last nine games. They better fix that problem quick. After battling the Bruins, the Flyers have a home-and-home set (Tuesday and Thursday) with the rival Pittsburgh Penguins.
I do think the Flyers are going to get things turned around ... at some point. Still, I wish it wasn't too late to have the Caps replace the Flyers at the Winter Classic. As I wrote at the time, I think it was a major mistake not to showcase the league's most dynamic player -- Alex Ovechkin -- at the Classic. Eventually, I have to think, the exciting Capitals will get their shot to play outdoors. Actually, if Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis had the kind of pull that Flyers' boss Ed Snider has at the league office, Ovi and Co. would be putting on their outerwear this year.
To read about why Evgeni Malkin might get louder on and off the ice, and one goalie who might surprisingly make the Olympics, you must be an ESPN Insider.