The Flyers are back. Officially.

Their 51st year (50th of playing hockey if you take away the 2004-05 lockout year) kicks off tonight in San Jose against the Sharks. That game is scheduled to start at 10:30 on NBCSN. But it’ll probably be around 11 since home openers mean delayed starts. Pack up on Red Bull or coffee to go alongside your cold ones.

We’ve heard about the heralded young group of defensemen the Flyers have for a couple of years now, and most of them are finally up with the big club, for at least some time. Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, and Travis Sanheim join Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere in a core that can last the team for maybe the next decade.

But similar to the Phillies this summer, will all of the youngsters play at the same time? Morin and Sanheim were fighting for a roster spot until Ghost got hurt in the third period of the preseason finale on Sunday. Will Ghost even dress tonight? It sounds like he will.

I would think Radko Gudas would be a lock in the starting lineup, but what about Brandon Manning and ALTERNATE CAPTAIN ANDREW MACDONALD? I’m pretty sure Dave Hakstol won’t bench either guy, but he should.

Yesterday’s defensive pairings at practice were interesting, and odds are they won’t be the same come today or tonight.

Besides the defense, I’m really excited to see what Nolan Patrick can do. The second overall pick centered the second line at yesterday’s practice. Is he top six worthy?

Either way, hockey is back.

The Roundup:

Continuing with the Flyers, the players gave the final alternate captain role to Valtteri Filppula and Andrew MacDonald. That Andrew MacDonald. Filppula will be the alternate captain for home games, while AMac assumes the role for road games.

When former Flyer Kerry Huffman saw Ivan Provorov for the first time in a junior hockey program, he knew he’d be something special:

He didn’t come out of nowhere. He didn’t spring on the scene. He has stood out every step of the way.

“A lot of it, too, was not just his game, but how the other kids looked at him,” said Huffman, now an assistant coach with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the Flyers’ AHL affiliate. “He had a certain way he carried himself. In the summers when I would see him, he would come in to do skill sessions. He just had a presence to him that jumps out at you when you see it.

“Obviously, when you see a 14-year-old defenseman, you never know what’s going to happen, where they’re going to go or what they’re going to turn into. But he had a lot of raw, innate ability that certainly the other kids don’t have. There are a lot of quality kids who have gone through that program — maybe 10 Division I defensemen. He was just head and shoulders above everybody.”

After clearing waivers, the team officially loaned Matt Read to Lehigh Valley.

The rookies also got new numbers:

Check out the team’s self-produced video from training camp.

Flyers anthem singer Lauren Hart posted an op-ed about the national anthem and the protests.

Sixers center Joel Embiid was heavily discussed today. He ran. He played tennis. He also got a Rocky video of him.

Embiid won’t play in tonight’s preseason opener against Memphis. Neither will Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot (knee) or Dario Saric (rest). Amir Johnson (right ankle sprain) is questionable for tonight. But we will see Ben Simmons.

Former Eagle Brian Dawkins spoke to the team yesterday.

Over the course of his talk, Dawkins stressed the importance of hard work, and the responsibilities that come along with being a professional athlete, especially in a city as passionate as Philadelphia. He pointed to parallels between the rise of the Eagles to perennial Super Bowl contender during the early 2000s, and the current state of the Sixers.

“To me, there are some similarities, what you guys are starting up right now,” Dawkins told the Sixers players seated before him. He then issued a challenge to the group.

“Going forward, it’s up to you. It’s up to you then to decide what direction this is going to be.”

Preseason opener against Memphis is at 7 on NBC Sports Philadelphia+ (formerly TCN).

Meanwhile, in New York:

The Eagles continue to get set for the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Even though Carson Wentz doesn’t have big numbers, he’s avoiding the negative plays in his second season with the team, from Zach Berman of the Inquirer:

The caution flag to wave is that it’s still early. At this point last season, Wentz had only one interception. The Eagles were also 3-1. But when the interceptions started coming more frequently, the wins came less frequently. Eleven of his 14 interceptions last season came in losses. In 20 career games, the Eagles are 3-8 when Wentz throws an interception. They’re 7-2 when he doesn’t throw an interception.

No one can accuse Wentz of playing conservatively, either. He’s willing to throw down field and doesn’t always attempt high-percentage passes. His success comes when he demonstrates smart quarterbacking, finding the balance between being too aggressive and too careful.

“I think every quarterback has a number where everybody wants to be single-digit interceptions when the season’s over and certainly have a lot of touchdown passes,” Reich said. “And one thing about Carson, I know he’s never going to play scared. That’s what I love. He still has that aggressive mind-set and that aggressive nature to look down field, but yet the decision making has been excellent.”

Jim Schwartz is searching for answers to the team’s fourth quarter struggles.

Rasul Douglas was one of those players that struggled throughout the game on Sunday. He hopes he can bounce back in a big way this week.

The team added cornerback D.J. Killings to their practice squad after promoting Justin Hamilton to the active roster. They still have an open spot after wide receiver Bryce Treggs signed with the Cleveland Browns.

Jake Elliott’s cannon of a kick against the Giants has turned him into an Eagles legend.

Colin Cowherd called Philly fans “dumb”, but the team clapped right back on Twitter.

The Phillies will have a low payroll in 2018, according to president Andy MacPhail:

But reaching the turning point will not lead immediately to contention. Wins and losses will carry more weight in 2018, but the team, MacPhail said, still expects “a relatively low payroll.” The Phillies will instead apply financial resources to other areas such as stadium upgrades, a sports science staff, and boosts to their analytics department. So, there will be a new playing surface and public address system next season at Citizens Bank Park.

A true turning point will come once the Phillies are willing — they are already able — to compete in free agency.

“We’ve already talked to ownership about it and explained to them why [the payroll will be low in 2018],” MacPhail said. “They did not react extraordinarily well in the beginning. Ultimately, they’re OK with it with one proviso: that if an opportunity presents itself, we do not exclude it. They understand the program.”

Bob takes a look at each of the rookie position players.

In other sports news, after a slow start, the Yankees got hot in the AL Wild Card game and beat the Twins 8-4. They’ll play Cleveland in the ALDS beginning on Thursday.

Brewers prospect Bubba Derby was at the country music concert in Las Vegas that was the biggest mass shooting in the country’s history. He escaped and told his story:

“We didn’t know where the shots were coming from,” said Derby, who was “about 100 yards” in front of the stage when the shooting began. “It sounded like they were on top of us. Everyone got down. We tried to get as low to the ground as possible. The first thing I did was look for my family.

“I turned around and looked to find my aunt, and I’ll never forget the look on her face. We made eye contact and we thought we were about to die. You could hear the bullets ricocheting. It’s one of those moments where you just want to try to get out of there.”

The NBA is changing the format to their All-Star Game. Two captains, one from each conference, will select their team from a pool of players. Just like what the NHL did a few years ago.

ESPN is expected to announce the hiring of former Fox Sports personality Katie Nolan later today.

Former Flyer Ville Leino has retired from pro hockey. But he’s still making money, thanks to Buffalo:

Seems like the Sabres love giving away money. They signed Jack Eichel to an eight-year, $80 million contract extension.

Timberwolves power forward Taj Gibson will become the first NBA player to wear No. 67. He picked the number to represent his hometown of Brooklyn.

The Patriots have their own plane:

Tennis player Dan Evans is suspended one year after a positive cocaine test. It is a helluva drug.

Very accurate depiction of the Browns:

In the news, bail has been set for $5 million after a New Jersey father was accused of killing his two-year-old son after robbing a department store.

The Las Vegas shooter’s girlfriend returned to Los Angeles yesterday.

It sounds like all 3 billion Yahoo accounts were hacked back in 2013.