Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT
Location: BMO Field
TV: ESPN2 (J.P. Dellacamera, John Harkes and Rob Stone)
TORONTO - It didn't occur to me until just a few days ago that I would be in Canada's largest city on the opening night of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
I have no idea how much buzz there is here about hockey's postseason, because I went straight from the airport from my hotel. But we know that the Maple Leafs are in the trash can, and the Blue Jays aren't expected to do much this season.
So I suspect a lot of attention will be paid to the action at BMO Field, whose brand-new grass pitch will be unveiled when the Union and Toronto FC face off.
Toronto has sold almost out every home game it's ever played, and this one will be no different. I'm really looking forward to riding the streetcar from Union Station to Exhibition Place, and taking in the atmosphere created by the Red Patch Boys.
There's been a lot of discussion of the natural rivalries that the Union will build with D.C., New York and New England. But I can't help thinking that there will be some animus with Toronto too. In addition to Joe Carter's home run in the 1993 World Series, the Flyers and Maple Leafs played two epic playoff series in 2003 and 2004.
I forget where I was when Jeremy Roenick scored the series-winner in overtime in Game 6 in 2004, but I definitely remember Keith Primeau's hat trick in the Flyers' 7-2 Game 5 blowout. It was a Sunday afternoon and I watched the ABC telecast on a four-inch black-and-white TV in my college dorm, having already moved the real TV home.
The day before, Smarty Jones had won the Kentucky Derby. For at least that weekend, Philadelphia was the place to be in sports.
The city has taken many more turns in the spotlight since then. But to this day, Flyers fans still hold Toronto in the lowest of regards.
There hasn't been a really big game between the two cities since that playoff series. This game isn't a huge deal in that way either, but let's see if it's the start of something. I doubt we'll need much kindling to get a fire started.
I haven't received the official game notes yet, but the Union PR staff published an injury report for both teams:
D Danny Califf (right ankle sprain)
M Toni Stahl (right knee contusion)
M Shea Salinas (left quad strain)
F Danny Mwanga (left calf strain)
F Sebastien Le Toux (right ankle sprain)
D Emmanuel Gomez (right knee, osteochondral injury)
M Jacob Peterson (right knee, ACL injury)