Gagne, Flyers invade Spectrum

The Flyers, rebounding from a lisless performance on Wednesday, looked much sharper last night as they blanked the Islanders, 4-0.

Speaking of sharp, goalie Marty Biron looks like he did in last season's first two playoff series. He is unscored upon in four periods in the preseason. The Flyers are now 2-1 in exhibitions.

I've talked to several Flyers _ most of whom weren't even born when the club won their Cups in 1974 and 1975 _ and it's interesting to hear the awe in their voices as they talk about the Spectrum.

Sometimes, we're so close to the situation that we don't appreciate what's right in front of our eyes.

Yet, talk to the current Flyers, and they mention the Spectrum with the same reverence that is given to baseball cathedrals like Wrigley Field and Fenway Park.

The Flyers will play the Carolina Hurricanes in one of the two farewell Specrtum games at 1 p.m. tomorrow.(The other Spectrum game is Oct. 7 vs. the Phantoms) Eleven former Flyer captains will be there for pregame festivities and it should be an emotional day.

A block party will be held at 11 a.m., and fans are encouraged to get there early _ or use public transportation _ because the Phillies play across the street at 3:55 p.m.

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   Simon Gagne (For some reason, I start to type "Nolet" almost every time I type "Simon") will be on the first line tomorrow with center Mike Richards and RW Danny Briere. It will be Gagne's first preseason game. Returning from a concussion that sidlined him for most of last season, Gagne missed the first three preseason games.

  The Flyers plan to play mostly veterans tomorrow. One exception: Eye-opening rookie defenseman Luca Sbisa will be in the lineup. That says a lot about the 18-year-old's ability.

   Tomorrow's Spectrum game will be televised by Comcast and the NHL Network.

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   By all accounts, highly touted rookie Claude Giroux played much better last night than in his first two preseason games. Will Giroux make the team? Right now, it looks like he needs more seasoning, but the next few exhibition games will give us a better indication. Giroux will not dress for tomorrow's game.