Thoughts on the preseason opener, brotherhood

As the Philadelphia Flyers began their 2011-12 preseason on Tuesday night with a 4-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, it got me thinking about the close-knit nature of the sport in direct contrast to its international reach. Despite a pool of talent now stretching from Kelowna to Kazakhstan, some things never change. Skating for the Flyers, Blake Kessel and Brayden Schenn. Skating for the Leafs, Phil Kessel and Luke Schenn. Thus, a rivalry was born. Or is it? When I started watching the NHL, back in 1985, its population was almost totally homogeneous: White North Americans made up roughly 95 percent …