New faces expected to lead Flyers

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“He can be a difference maker,” van Riemsdyk said. “We’re not going to put it all on his shoulders. It’ll take all of us. But we know we can go out there and have him keep us up on nights when maybe the offense isn’t there.”

The Flyers lost a combined 314 goals and 692 points when the traded Richards to Los Angeles and Carter to Columbus.

Holmgren made the moves because he firmly believed van Riemsdyk and Giroux are the future for the Atlantic Division champions.

On the 76ers, Allen Iverson was known simply as A.I. On the Eagles, Terrell Owens was T.O.

Meet perhaps the next great initials-only please Philadelphia star: JVR.

The Flyers loved JVR so much that they signed him to a six-year extension in the offsesaon after he scored 21 goals and 40 points last year. He scored seven goals in 11 playoff games.

He’s ready for the expectations that await this season.

“It’s going to be a big challenge. We lost some key guys,” he said. “It’s something you look forward to as a competitor is those opportunities to be in those key situations and make those key plays.”

JVR can pick up some big-game tips from Jagr, who made a surprising comeback to the league after a three-year stint in Russia. The 1999 league MVP has 646 NHL goals and is the league’s active scoring leader with 1,599 points.

If Jagr can return anywhere close to the form when he was one of the best around, then the Flyers really will be a threat for the championship.

The most immediate concern for the Flyers is the health of forward Scott Hartnell. He was diagnosed last week with an elevated heartbeat and will visit a cardiologist on Tuesday.

“When it comes to your heart or your vital organs, you’ve got to be cautious about it,” he said Monday. “Tomorrow’s a big day. I feel great.”

While hype has surrounded the Flyers, some tough situations have already stuck.

Holmgren was hospitalized following a bike crash at the New Jersey shore. And the sports world was shocked when a banana was thrown from the stands at Simmonds, who is black, during a preseason game in London, Ontario.

All of it has made the Flyers ready for one thing: To find out how it all play out this season.

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