The most reliable thing about the Philadelphia Flyers these days doesn’t have anything to do with their play on the ice.
It has everything to do with the man with the distinctive pipes behind the public-address microphone.
I’m talking, of course, about the legendary Lou Nolan.
The Flyers announced Friday they will honor Nolan, who is serving in his 50th year as their public-address announcer, with a special pregame ceremony before their April 9 home game against the Anaheim Ducks.
“I am honored. I am truly, truly honored,” Nolan said in a phone conversation Friday afternoon. “For someone who has conducted so many on-ice celebrations as I have down through the years, and now to go out there and not to conduct it, but be the subject of it, it blows me away.”
Nolan said it’s a “culmination of a lot of work. People hear me and probably don’t understand what goes into it with all the preparation. … But I love it. I love what I do.”
For most of the last two seasons, Nolan has worked from high in the arena, or up in the press box because of COVID — and is eager to return to his usual vantage point by the penalty box.
“Can’t wait to get back closer to where the action is,” he said.
Nolan, who missed two games after testing positive for COVID this season, has been with the Flyers longer that anyone in the organization. In fact, he is the only person who has been employed by the Flyers continuously since their inception in 1967-68.
He worked with public-relations director Joe Kadlec, his long-time sidekick, in the early seasons, then became the Flyers’ public-address announcer for the 1972-73 season.
He’s been there ever since.
Nolan, the longest-tenured P.A. announcer in the NHL, has called over 2,000 games, including the Flyers’ Stanley Cups championship seasons in 1973-74 and 1974-75, and six other Stanley Cup Finals, most recently in 2009-10. He has been the public-address announcer for two NHL All-Star Games (1976 and 1992), and performed at numerous ceremonies and national events, including the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the 2012 Winter Classic, the 2014 NCAA Frozen Four (where Shayne Gostisbehere stole the show), and the 2019 Stadium Series.
On Monday afternoon, as he does the game against visiting Carolina, Nolan will have a “first,” as his wife, Ellen, sits next to him. “She’s going to put the headset on and she’s finally going to see what I do, first-hand, all these years,” he said.
Shameless plug: A little over four years ago, Lou and I had a wonderful time putting a book together about his countless memories. The book is called If These Walls Could Talk: Philadelphia Flyers, and more info is here.
Risto, Brown back Mon.?
The Flyers are starting to get healthy.
Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and center Patrick Brown said they are aiming to return to the lineup Monday afternoon against Carolina. Both felt good at Friday’s practice in Voorhees.
Ristolainen is a potential UFA, and he said he hasn’t paid any attention to swirling trade rumors surrounding him. He said he’s used to them.
“I have enough things in my personal life to keep me busy,” he said.
Farabee getting close
Left winger Joel Farabee, sidelined by what is believed to be a shoulder injury, continues to make progress.
He was among several rehabbing players who skated Friday. Interim coach Mike Yeo said Farabee will miss two more games and then may be able to return.
In 33 games this season, Farabee has 11 goals, 18 points, and a plus-1 rating.
Flyers left winger James van Riemsdyk on watching teammate Scott Laughton fight his brother, Trevor, of the Capitals on Thursday: “I was laughing … My best friend on the team and my brother; we all had a chuckle over that. It’s out of the nature of my brother’s game,” he said.
Connor Bunnaman was the winner of the Flyers’ shootout competition on Friday, and, a short time later, the club announced he was placed on waivers. If he clears, as expected, he will go to the Phantoms. Brown will likely be the 4C moving forward. … Forward Tanner Laczynski, who had right hip surgery in September, was activated from the IR and sent to the Phantoms; he figures to be recalled by the Flyers in a few weeks, and he will be an interesting player to watch in the last couple months. … The Flyers have not scored in a shootout all season. …. The Flyers have outplayed the Penguins and Capitals the last two games, only to collapse late in the third period and turn wins into losses. Van Riemsdyk tried to look at the positive parts of those two games. “A lot of good things in that sense, a lot of carrying play,” he said after practice Friday. “Obviously we cant be giving away games like that…. but we’re doing a lot of good things.” He said the team needs to be less passive and have an attack mentality late in games to close things out.