A call for Hatcher? Fans 'salute' Palin

The Flyers opened their season with a hard-fought 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers tonight, then received more bad news after the game: Defenseman Randy Jones will be out much longer than expected.

General manager Paul Holmgren announced that tests on Jones' injured hip showed his injury is worse than feared and that he will miss 12 to 16 weeks. Originally, Jones was expected to miss six to eight weeks.

Jones will have surgery this week.

With Jones headed to the long-term injured list, where he will join Ryan Parent, the Flyers need to upgrade their defense. One wonders if veteran Derian Hatcher will try to test his injured knees. Hatcher is on the long-term injured list, meaning he must miss at least 14 days or six games.

When he returns _ and no one is sure he'll be ready in a few weeks or a few months _ his $3.5 million salary will be prorated and count against the cap. His salary and the salaries of Jones and Parent will almost cancel each other out.

In other words, the Flyers will have room to add the salary of Hatcher _ or someone else.

Look for Holmgren to act with urgency this week as he works the phones and looks for a veteran defenseman.

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   VP candidate Sarah Palin recieved a 50/50 mix of cheers and boos as she dropped the first puck tonight. She later wrote an inspirational message to the Flyers in their locker room.

   It seemed the fans in the expensive lower-deck seats (Republicans?) were standing and cheering Palin, while those upstairs in the cheaper seats (Democrats?) were sitting and booing.