PRAGUE, Czech Republic – Kim Twarynski didn’t care if the Flyers’ season opener was on Mars, she wasn’t about to miss her son Carsen’s NHL debut with the Philadelphia Flyers.
As it turned out, the flight from Calgary to Prague felt just about as long as a voyage to another planet.
But no doubt Kim, and Carsen’s dad, Rob, will have this precious memory for years to come and all the flying will be worth the effort. They wanted to make this a surprise visit and they certainly achieved that.
For the record, the Twarynskis began their voyage with a four-hour flight to Toronto. Then, after a three-hour layover, there was another flight which took the better part of 10 hours.
They finally made it and it was great surprise for rookie Carsen, perhaps the longest shot of the training camp to make the opening night roster.
Twarynski, a 2016 third-round (82nd overall) draft pick, said he’s always had to overcome the odds to play hockey at its highest levels and the Flyers are no exception.
His mom goes along with that assessment.
“He does have the willpower and the drive,’’ Kim said. “I mean I know going into camp this year, he was like ‘I’m going to make this team.’ He outright said it.
“In terms of the past, he’s just always been that underdog. There’s always a guy that everybody talks about and he’s never been that guy. Which is fine with us because sometimes it’s better not to have all that attention. I don’t think he’s out there to prove anybody wrong. Just out there to prove it to himself that he can do it. And we know he can do it. He did it himself.”
The Twarynskis were willing to fly anywhere for this special night.
“It is a big deal,’’ Kim said. “You know, it’s just like anything in life, there’s always one opportunity to have a first time. So you know, we’re there for the first of everything else. So this is something that we just have to be here for.”
Carsen appreciates the gesture his parents are making.
“It’s awesome,’’ he said. “I had a feeling they were trying to get down here but I wasn’t sure they were going to because of the distance.
“It was nice to see them this morning and I’m glad to have their support here. It was a long travel day for them. Even if I knew they were coming, it would have exciting regardless.’’
As for the underdog role, Twarynski isn’t concerned about getting into the media spotlight.
“I don’t care about attention,’’ he said. “I love hockey. This has been a goal of mine ever since I was young. To be on the opening night roster is just another door opening.
“The work is nowhere done yet. You can get sent down at any time. I did the work to make the roster, now I have to do more work to stay on it.’’
Bunnaman ready to go
Across the room, fellow rookie Connor Bunnaman was also gratified to know he will be seeing his first NHL action against the Blackhawks.
“It means everything,’’ he said. “Obviously I thought it was going to be a different experience to becoming an NHLer, my first game. But it’s a cool experience. I couldn’t be more happy.
“Coming in here (today) there was a little bit of nerves. But I guess tomorrow is going to be a lot more.’’
Bunnaman said the turning point for him came in the preseason game at Boston on Sept. 23.
“I played pretty well in that game,’’ he said. “That’s when I really thought I could stick around for the whole year.’’
>Farabee shaken about missing the cut
Rookie Joel Farabee failed to make the final roster cut and when asked about it on Thursday, got a bit emotional.
“It’s pretty disappointing,’’ said Farabee. “I thought I had a good camp. At the end of the day, they want me to develop, so I’m excited to go the Lehigh and play for coach (Scott) Gordon, and I think we’re going to have a really good team down there.
“You just have to stay mentally tough. I took it pretty hard, but I’m not too worried.”
>No long-term injury list for Patrick yet
General manager Chuck Fletcher said he hasn’t thought about putting third-year center Nolan Patrick (migraine headache disorder) on long-term injury yet. Patrick would have to sit out 10 games and a minimum of 24 days in order to quality. That rule was put in to prevent teams from “stashing’’ players in order to gain salary cap relief.