The Flyers' alumni are going to Russia.
Former Flyers defenseman Joe Watson told the Courier-Post's Dave Isaac he has put together a group of Flyers alumni to participate in a three-game series in Russia beginning Feb. 16 in Kazan, Saint Petersburg on Feb. 18 and Moscow's Red Square on Feb. 20.
And, according to Watson, the Flyers' alumni want to play against Russian President Vladimir Putin, who scored eight goals in a game against former NHL players in 2015.
"I don't know about that," Watson told Isaac. "He'll have to earn it from us as far as we're concerned. We may be stuck in Siberia, but what the hell? We'll have a good time.
"They never release Putin's schedule until 24 hours before because of security reasons, so Putin, if he's around, he wants to play the game against us."
Watson said he had difficulty putting together a group of alumni because the former Flyers "feared the current political landscape between the U.S. and Russia," Isaac wrote. Per Isaac, Watson suggested he reached out to 150 former Flyers.
"When I couldn't get enough players, I thought they might cancel," Watson said. "(The Russians) said, 'No, no, we want you to come.' Everyone's very excited and we got sponsors, Stolichnaya is a big sponsor of ours and Gazprom."
According to the Inquirer's Sam Carchidi, nine former Flyers are participating: Watson, Brad Marsh, Terry Carkner, Jeff Chychrun, Shjon Podein, Lindsay Carson, and Al Secord.
As to why the Flyers' alumni and the Russians want to have an alumni series, we can go back to Jan. 11, 1976, when the Flyers bullied the Red Army in a 4-1 win at the Spectrum. The game is noteworthy not only because the Broad Street Bullies beat one of the best hockey teams ever put together, they did so in a punishing fashion. The Russians even left the ice at one point and refused to finish the game before the Flyers' late chairman, Ed Snider, threatened not to pay them if they did not return to the ice.
So, let's hope the Flyers again bully the Russians, with Putin playing, for America's sake.