By HOWARD BERGER
PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 23) – As a frequent traveler, you never, ever complain when weather and flying conditions between cities are ideal… as they were this morning for a 70-minute flight on USAirways from Montreal to Philadelphia. Landing just after 11 a.m., I had plenty of time to rent a car and make the short drive up Interstate-95 to the south Philadelphia sports complex, home of the Wells Fargo Center, where the Flyers play. The Maple Leafs – having flown here immediately after last night’s extra-time victory over the Canadiens – went out at noon for a 45-minute practice… with just one goalie.
James Reimer, shaken up only one minute into the game at Montreal on a goal-mouth collision with Brian Gionta, stayed off the ice and will not dress tomorrow night against the Flyers. Jonas Gustavsson, who played the final two periods at the Bell Centre, will start, and the Leafs will likely call up Ben Scrivens from the AHL Toronto Marlies as back-up. Reimer spoke to the Toronto media after practice today and said he felt pretty well (he also looked just fine). Coach Ron Wilson said he expects Reimer to return for the finale of this four-game trip – at Madison Square Garden in New York – on Thursday.
Forward Tyler Bozak sat out against the Canadiens after blocking a shot with the top of his foot two nights earlier in Boston. He skated today and has an outside chance of suiting up against the Flyers. Centre Tim Connolly also skated and told reporters he needs “a couple of more ‘contact’ days” before he can think about returning from his shoulder ailment.
Now, as per usual, please enjoy this travel day through my photographs:
THE MORNING BEGAN WITH A GORGEOUS, DAWN SKY IN MONTREAL (ABOVE), THEN AN EQUALLY ENCHANTING SUNRISE (BELOW).
A QUICK TAXI-RIDE ON A VIRTUALLY DESERTED HIGHWAY EARLY THIS MORNING TOOK ME TO PIERRE ELLIOTT TRUDEAU AIRPORT (ABOVE) FOR MY U.S.-BOUND FLIGHT.
ON FINAL APPROACH TO PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, WE PASS THE SPORTS COMPLEX (ABOVE) IN THE SOUTH REGION OF THE CITY. IT INCLUDES LINCOLN FINANCIAL FIELD (LOWER RIGHT), HOME OF THE NFL PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (IDLE THIS WEEK); THE BROWN-STONE CITIZEN’S BANK PARK (UPPER RIGHT), HOME OF THE BASEBALL PHILLIES, AND THE WELLS FARGO CENTER (LOWER LEFT), HOME OF THE NHL FLYERS AND NBA 76ers.
ON OPPOSIDE END OF THE WELLS FARGO CENTER – IN THE HORIZONTAL STRIP OF DARK-PAVEMENT (ABOVE) – IS SITE OF THE OLD PHILADELPHIA SPECTRUM, DEMOLISHED IN THE PAST YEAR. BEYOND THAT – IN THE LARGE PARKING LOT – IS WHERE VETERANS STADIUM USED TO SIT WHEN IT SERVED AS HOME TO BOTH THE PHILLIES AND EAGLES (MORE ON THE SPORTS COMPLEX LATER).
LEAF PLAYERS EXECUTE SIMPLE PASSING DRILLS (ABOVE) DURING THEIR 45-MINUTE WORK-OUT AT THE WELLS FARGO CENTER.
AS WAS THE CASE IN MONTREAL, THERE IS ABUNDANT SPORTS HISTORY ON DISPLAY IN THE UPPER-REACHES OF THE RINK HERE IN PHILADELPHIA. THE FLYERS NUMEROUS BANNERS (ABOVE) STAND OPPOSITE THOSE OF THE NBA 76ers (BELOW).
THE MAPLE LEAFS STRETCH (ABOVE) TOWARD THE END OF PRACTICE HERE IN PHILLY.
AS YOU CAN PLAINLY SEE, JAMES REIMER LOOKS ALIVE AND WELL STANDING IN THE VISITORS’ DRESSING ROOM CORRIDOR (ABOVE) AT WELLS FARGO CENTER.
LEAFS FORWARD (AND EX-FLYER) JOFFREY LUPUL DOES SOME COOL-DOWN WORK ON THE BIKE AFTER PRACTICE.
ANOTHER DAY AND ANOTHER MEDIA SCRUM FOR LEAFS COACH RON WILSON (ABOVE).
WITH MAIN LIGHTS EXTINGUISHED AFTER LEAFS PRACTICE, WE GET A GOOD LOOK AT THE TWO SEATING LEVELS IN THE WELLS FARGO CENTER (ABOVE).
CLOSER LOOK, NOW, AT THE OTHER SPORTS-COMPLEX FACILITIES ON A PERFECT SUNDAY AFTERNOON HERE IN PHILADELPHIA. ABOVE, IS EXTERIOR OF LINCOLN FINANCIAL FIELD, WITH UPPER-DECK SEATS EMPTY THIS WEEK (BELOW).
DOWN THE STREET IS CITIZEN’S BANK PARK, HOME OF ROY HALLADAY AND BASEBALL’S BEST TEAM DURING THE PAST REGULAR SEASON; THE PHILLIES WERE UPSET BY ST. LOUIS IN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP. UPPER-DECK SEATS DOWN THE RIGHT-FIELD LINE (BELOW) WILL BE FULL WHEN THE NHL HOLDS ITS ANNUAL BRIDGESTONE OUTDOOR WINTER CLASSIC HERE ON JAN. 2: A GAME BETWEEN THE FLYERS AND NEW YORK RANGERS.
STATUE (ABOVE) DEPICTING PHILLIES LEGEND, AND BASEBALL HALL-OF-FAMER, STEVE CARLTON BEYOND THE CENTER-FIELD SCOREBOARD AT CITIZEN’S BANK PARK.
FROM PARKING LOT OF THE SPORTS COMPLEX, THE BUILDINGS OF DOWNTOWN PHILADELPHIA (ABOVE) – THREE MILES IN THE DISTANCE.