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Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

Flyers Notebook: Carnival highlights weekend

Posted by Eric Fisher On February 25

There are many fundraising events sponsored by professional sports franchises, but perhaps there is none better than the Flyers Wives Fight for Lives Carnival.

Around the NHL, the Flyers’ carnival is considered the model to which all other events strive to match. The carnival is the perfect mix of fun and games, along with the opportunity to meet your favorite players.

The 34th annual Flyers Wives Fight for Lives Carnival takes place Sunday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center. During its 33 years, the carnival has raised nearly $23 million.

The bulk of the money raised at the carnival used to go to the Barry Ashbee Research Laboratories at Hahnemann University Hospital, named after the Flyers defenseman who died of leukemia in May 1977. Now, through the Comcast-Spectacor Foundation, the money raised by Flyers Charities is distributed to a wide range of organizations, ranging from groups that promote youth sports to area cultural institutions to organizations that fight diseases.

    Mary Ann Saleski speaks about the evolution of the Carnival, which actually started in February 1977, just months before Barry Ashbee’s leukemia diagnosis and untimely passing.

The biggest attraction, of course, is meeting Flyers players and coaches. Advance tickets are needed to get autographs from Mike Richards, Chris Pronger, Danny Briere, Claude Giroux, Jeff Carter and Sergei Bobrovsky. Unfortunately – or, from a fundraising standpoint, fortunately – those tickets are virtually sold out.

If you don’t already have advance tickets for autographs, the good news is that other Flyers are available for autographs on a first-come, first-served basis. You can also find plenty of Flyers alumni at the carnival.

One group that should not go unnoticed is the Flyers’ wives. They put in a tremendous amount of work in putting together the carnival. The players are the main attraction, but it’s the wives who do all the work preparing for the carnival, as well as working hard on the day of the carnival. The co-chairs for this year’s carnival are Lauren Pronger and Nadine Coburn.

    Lauren Pronger had this to say about coming full circle in her familiarity with the Flyers Wives Carnival: “I remember when we were in St. Louis and people would talk all the time about the Flyers’ carnival – they’d say ‘that event is awesome!’ So when we came here, one of the first things I had to ask the other wives and girlfriends is ‘what is the deal with the Flyers’ carnival’ – and now I know!” 

In addition to meeting players, the carnival features all sorts of games and attractions. You might be able to take on Dan Carcillo in Wii boxing. You can drop a Flyer in the water by hitting the target at the dunk tank. There are also games of chance, slides, live music and plenty of other fun activities, and it’s all for a good cause.

    Flyers goalie Brian Boucher added that his family has been impacted personally by childhood illness: ‘My son had pneumonia a couple of years back and he was in the hospital for a long time, so I know first-hand how important it is to have people who are caring and giving of their time supporting kids who are affected by an illness. You never know who’s day you’re going to make better by stopping by, so I try to keep that in mind and do my best to visit when I can and encourage others to support kids in need.’ 

The event is Sunday, February 27, from 1:30pm-6:00pm at the Wells Fargo Center.

Carnival tickets, as low as $15, are available now exclusively through ComcastTIX at 1-800-298-4200, online at ComcastTIX.com, in person at the Wells Fargo Box Office, or available at the door. Pre-sold photograph sessions with Flyers players are priced at $27 and autograph sessions with Flyers players are priced at $22.

For more information, go to www.flyerscarnival.com.

*****

DEAL OR NO DEAL: The recent rash of injuries to Flyers defensemen might cause Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren to try to acquire another defenseman before the NHL trade deadline Monday afternoon (3 p.m.).

First, Sean O’Donnell injured his left knee during Sunday’s victory over the Rangers. Originally, O’Donnell was expected to miss 10-14 days. Fortunately, his injury was not as severe as originally diagnosed, so the steady veteran was ready to return to the lineup Thursday after Oskars Bartulis, his replacement, suffered a shoulder injury during Tuesday’s overtime loss to the Coyotes. Meanwhile, defenseman Matt Walker injured his knee while playing with the Phantoms.

Then the Flyers received a scare when Chris Pronger was hit in the right wrist by a slap shot during Thursday’s 4-3 overtime victory over the Islanders. X-rays of Pronger’s wrist were negative and he’s not expected to miss any time, but the scare may be enough to inspire Holmgren to trade for another defenseman.

*****

THE ZHERDEV PROBLEM: One problem in acquiring a defenseman might be fitting him under the salary cap. However, relief may come from Nikolay Zherdev’s situation.

Zherdev was unhappy at repeatedly being a healthy scratch, so the Flyers – at the request of Zherdev’s agent – tried to trade him. Then they put him on waivers, but there still weren’t any takers. The Flyers may send Zherdev down to the Phantoms, but it’s unlikely the already-unhappy winger would be happy playing for the Phantoms.

If Zherdev goes to the Phantoms or refuses to report, it would give the Flyers some salary-cap relief. The Flyers would prefer to keep the talented Zherdev, who would be a valuable replacement if a forward suffers an injury during the playoffs, but they do not want an unhappy player whose work ethic is lacking distracting a team that has its eyes set on the Stanley Cup.

*****

MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE: The NHL suspended former Flyer Scottie Upshall for two games for the late hit that injured Bartulis. I completely disagree with the NHL’s decision.

Yes, Upshall’s hit was late. But if Bartulis hadn’t been injured – he’s expected to miss 10-12 weeks after shoulder surgery – Upshall would not have been suspended. The NHL should penalize the player for intent, not for the result.

For example, Penguins forward Matt Cooke’s knee-to-knee hit on Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin late in the third period a few weeks ago was far worse than Upshall’s hit. But Ovechkin wasn’t injured, so Cooke didn’t get suspended. If Ovechkin had been injured, the NHL probably would have suspended Cooke. That’s a ridiculous criterion for handing out “justice.”

*****

TRADE DEADLINE DEALS: The inury-plagued Penguins have already made a pair of deals, bring back right wing Alex Kovalev from Ottawa for a conditional draft pick and acquiring left wing James Neal and defenseman Matt Niskanen from the Stars in exchange for defenseman Alex Goligoski.

In other deals involving teams contending for Eastern Conference playoff berths, the Canadiens acquired defenseman Brent Sopel and left wing Nigel Dawes from Atlanta in exchange for center Ben Maxwell and a 2011 fourth-round draft pick; and Carolina re-acquired left wing Cory Stillman from Florida for center Ryan Carter and a 2011 fifth-round pick. There will be more trades before Monday’s deadline.

*****

MAKING HISTORY: The Flyers did not commit a penalty during Sunday’s victory over the Rangers. It was only the third game in Flyers history in which they did not commit a penalty, and it was the first time this happened on the road.

*****

DOWN TO THE WIRE: While the Flyers have built themselves an eight-point lead over the Penguins in the Atlantic Division, other teams appear headed for the same path the Flyers took late season, needing a win on the final day to secure a playoff spot. As I write this Thursday night, there are six Western Conference teams, all with 70 points, tied for the final four playoff spots.




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4 Responses

  1. Philadelphia Flyers posts - Chronological list & links | Philly Phanatics - THE online community for Philly sports fanatics Says:

    […] Carnival highlights Flyers’ busy weekend (2/25/11) […]

    Posted on February 25th, 2011 at 10:42 am

  2. Philly sports philanthropy - Chronological list & links | Philly Phanatics - THE online community for Philly sports fanatics Says:

    […] Carnival highlights Flyers’ busy weekend (2/25/11) […]

    Posted on February 25th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

  3. Philadelphia Flyers archive - Chronological list & links | Philly Phanatics - THE online community for Philly sports fanatics Says:

    […] Carnival highlights Flyers’ busy weekend (2/25/11) […]

    Posted on March 27th, 2011 at 2:07 pm

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    […]Flyers Wives Carnival highlights busy weekend | Philly Phanatics – THE online community for Philly sports fanatics[…]…

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