Though Alex Lyon of the Philadelphia Flyers lost his first career NHL start, he provided a glimpse into the future
The Philadelphia Flyers lost to the Devils 4-3, but that is neither here nor there for our purpose this evening. This is about the future in the net for the NHL team that made Broad Street famous, and Alex Lyon is a big part of that future.
His mask is bad. Seriously, BAD. In a scary, good kind of way. Pennywise the Dancing Clown is one of Stephen King’s most terrifying creations, a shape-shifting eternal being that most often takes the shape of a psychotic clown. It is one of the images on Alex Lyon’s mask.
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For the images on his mask, Lyon is now near the top of the list of this writer’s favorite Flyers. Stephen King is my literary hero, I own everything he has ever written, including the first edition of IT, the novel that brought Pennywise to life. The 2017 film adaptation is widely considered one of the best of many King inspired films.
Research on Lyon gives little additional information. His middle name is Augustus, he is 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, and was born in Baudette, Minnesota. His stats are impressive, he went to Yale, and he obviously reads Stephen King.
For those who don’t read King, Lyon’s mask just looks creepy. For the billions of us who grew up scaring ourselves silly with his classic IT, that mask is a beacon of hope. Hope that Lyon will stare down and freeze shooters with his dead lights. That he will be able to twist and bend and change shapes as easily as Pennywise. That he will finally be the franchise goalie that embodies the Broad Street snarl of old, with advanced techniques of the present.
Ghosts of Goalies Past
Flyers fans have been waiting for a long time for a franchise goalie. The last Flyer to approach that status was Ron Hextall, who had a pretty good snarl himself. He was the first goalie to score a goal by intentionally shooting on the opposing net. Hextall also had more than 100 minutes in penalty minutes in his first three seasons in the Orange and Black.
He didn’t depend on his defense to protect his crease, he could do it himself. Woe be to the forward that got too close to Hextall because he was deadly with his goalie stick. He received an eight-game suspension for a slash to Kent Nilsson in the 1987 Stanley Cup Finals; a slash so vicious it would have inspired one of Pennywise’s trademark evil grins.
In his first outing, Lyon couldn’t ride to beat the Devils, but he showed a good deal of promise. It is a long season, and Lyon is sure to get at least one more chance to write his page in Flyers history.