Flyers

Flyers mascot Gritty's top-10 moments from 2018

Flyers mascot Gritty's top-10 moments from 2018

It has been just three months and a week since Gritty, those googly eyes and that unkempt beard stormed into our lives.

Remember when just about everyone was wondering: Who is this terrifying muppet?

Silly us.

Slowly but surely, the orange fella captured the hearts of Philadelphia with his moxie and rambunctiousness, a don't-care-what-you-think-of-me attitude truly representative of the city's spirit.

The Flyers' mascot had a captivating 2018 and did so in fewer than 100 days.

Before we look forward to (and brace for) what Gritty has in store during 2019 (a scary but fun thought), let's look back at his top-10 moments from 2018.

10. Showing his grit

Gritty is always up on his skates when he takes the ice.

Like any player, the skating developed with time and didn't come without speed bumps.

But now, he's fearless.

From laying people out as Gritty Claus to clotheslining sumo wrestlers and keeping the kids hydrated, he's done it all.

9. 'Zamboni dust!'

Seeing snow for the first time is always a spectacle.

During a mid-November snowfall, Gritty couldn't get enough of it as he took a break from work to play in the "Zamboni dust."

Who knows how the Flyers got him to come back inside.

8. Halloween scare

Gritty fever was in full force when Halloween rolled around.

It even freaked out the poor guy for a brief moment.

But everyone embraced the grittiness on Halloween, even this adorable baby.

7. Gritty … from half court!

From the ice to the hardwood.

No big deal, Gritty just sinking half-court shots at college basketball games.

This is what the mascot does and you could tell by the look of his celebration.

Gritty seems like a stretch four.

6. Well, that's something …

"I'll do a Gritty tattoo?"

"What?"

"No, seriously."

That's probably the conversation had between people and tattoo artists as they sit down to discuss the decision of fresh ink.

More and more Gritty tattoos have begun to surface — he's had that type of impact.

Not to mention his own beer and all sorts of other products.

5. He came in like a wrecking ball

If Gritty didn't have the Delaware Valley won over yet, he accomplished it when he came floating down from the rafters to Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" before the Flyers' home opener.

Of course, he did.

4. Celebrity status

You knew Gritty was a star when he started appearing on national shows.

He's been on "Good Morning America," Jimmy Fallon's "The Tonight Show" and ESPN's "Always Late with Katie Nolan," while being impersonated on Conan O'Brien's "Team Coco" and featured on NBC's "Saturday Night Live."

3. A mascot of the people

The people believe in Gritty.

So much that they even voted for him in November. Yes, in Camden County, Gritty received 14 write-in votes, two of which came for county sheriff.

There's no denying that Gritty unifies people.

2. Did we just become best friends?

Sept. 29, 2018 — a monumental date.

The night Gritty met the Phillie Phanatic.

It was a sight to see. 

The Phillies tweeted "#BreakTheInternet" and the Flyers tweeted "name a more iconic duo."

A pretty good summation of a magical evening.

1. Gritty? Gritty!

The No. 1 moment: Gritty's introduction.

No one quite knew what to think Sept. 24 when he rocked the stage at the Please Touch Museum's Hamilton Hall.

Now, he has a top-10 moments from 2018.

What a ride.

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Flyers at Oilers: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers at Oilers: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

At this point, Alain Vigneault's group is probably itching to come home.

First, though, the Flyers (2-1-1) have a matchup Wednesday night with Connor McDavid and the Oilers (5-1-0).

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 9:30 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 9 p.m. ET
Where: Rogers Place
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• The Flyers are wrapping up a rather brutal stretch of travel.

Including the final three preseason games, the Flyers have been in Boston, New York, Lausanne, Switzerland, Prague, Czech Republic, Philadelphia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Calgary, Alberta and Edmonton, Alberta, over a span of 24 days.

The team returns to the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday, but following a Nov. 1 matchup in New Jersey, the Flyers will have played eight neutral site/road games compared to four true home games.

Not an easy stretch, especially for a team that has been prone to slow starts in recent years past.

• The Flyers have lost the first two contests of this three-game Western Canada swing. After putting up a total of eight goals in their first two games, they've produced just three over the previous two defeats — a 3-2 shootout decision to the Canucks and a 3-1 loss to the Flames.

It would be stunning if Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek don't get things going Wednesday night. The trio has a combined one point (a Giroux assist) through the Flyers' first four games. Last season, Voracek and Giroux had a combined 14 points in the team's first four games, while van Riemsdyk suffered an injury in Game 2.

If the Flyers can come home 3-1-1 with those three not yet producing at a high clip, they'll absolutely take it.

• Carter Hart, who is from right outside of Edmonton (Sherwood Park), will start at Rogers Place for the first time as an NHLer.

The 21-year-old has worked with Oilers goaltending coach Dustin Schwartz since he was 13 years old.

• A few notes on Oilers forwards McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and James Neal:


Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom-Kevin Hayes-James van Riemsdyk
Michael Raffl-Scott Laughton-Jakub Voracek
Carsen Twarynski-Connor Bunnaman-Tyler Pitlick

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim-Matt Niskanen
Robert Hagg-Shayne Gostisbehere

Goalies

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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    Sloppy play, surprising trends and Flyers take 2nd straight loss before running into Connor McDavid

    Sloppy play, surprising trends and Flyers take 2nd straight loss before running into Connor McDavid

    BOX SCORE

    This time, the Flyers had the opposition take it to 'em.

    Alain Vigneault's team never had the reins Tuesday night in a 3-1 loss to the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome.

    The defeat marked the first in regulation for the Flyers (2-1-1), who must shift their focus to salvaging a game on this Western Canada road trip.

    The Flames (3-3-1) had their way, outshooting the Flyers, 38-22, and putting the pressure on Brian Elliott.

    • The Flyers had difficulty getting the puck up ice, which gave them little chance to play Vigneault's preferred style. When you can't successfully transition the puck out of the defensive zone and through the neutral zone, there's no shot to play a possession-based game.

    The issue wasn't effort. The Flyers just weren't sharp and the Flames were fast, dangerous and all over the puck.

    • To make matters worse, the Flyers did not help Elliott, who was making his first start of the season. The first two goals allowed were self-inflicted products. The third was an empty-netter.

    Elliott made some tough stops and finished with 35 saves. He gave the Flyers an honest chance on the road. They were problematic in front of him.

    • The Flames scored what turned out to be the game-winner in the second period. Five seconds after a faceoff in the Flyers' end, Calgary made it 2-0 when Andrew Mangiapane's shot bounced off Travis Sanheim's stick and past Elliott.

    • A bright spot among a not-so-bright performance from the Flyers was Matt Niskanen. He scored his first goal as a Flyer on a delayed penalty in the third period. But the 32-year-old has been even better defensively with his decisions, breaking up scoring chances and moving the puck. He has been as advertised and a major improvement on the blue line.

    • Jakub Voracek opened the game on the third line with Scott Laughton and Tyler Pitlick after a third-period demotion in last Saturday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Cannucks. Clearly Vigneault wanted to see smarter decisions — and maybe smarter effort — from Voracek, while James van Riemsdyk played on the first line following a solid performance against Vancouver.

    With the Flyers trailing, 2-0, the lines were shuffled in the third period and Voracek saw time with Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux but couldn't get much cooking.

    Giroux (one assist), Voracek and van Riemsdyk have combined for one point during the first four games. The early drought is uncharted territory for Voracek and van Riemsdyk, who both had previously never gone scoreless through their opening four games of a season.

    The good thing is the Flyers know the offense will come from those three and the team is still 2-1-1.

    • The Flyers were outmatched in the opening five minutes, when the Flames were a step ahead in every phase and set the tone.

    Michael Frolik beat Elliott just 1:35 into the action on an ugly sequence by the Flyers. After Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov misconnected on a pass up ice, Justin Braun failed to clear the puck and then inadvertently tripped Elliott as Frolik blasted his shot.

    The Flyers were fortunate to be trailing by only one goal at first intermission. They could have done more than just weather the storm but went 0 for 3 on the power play and finished 0 for 4 overall. They were sluggish and then sloppy.

    • The Flyers finish their three-game road trip with the second half of a back-to-back set when they take on Connor McDavid and the Oilers Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET/NBCSP). Edmonton is 5-1-0 and McDavid has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in six games.

    The Flyers are then back at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday to play the Stars (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

    Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

    More on the Flyers