Hockey Fan Forums banner

1 - 20 of 91 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,094 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Backchecking With Bob Clarke

Clarke talks about his days in Flin Flon, his playing career and life as a general manager

By Zack Hill, philadelphiaflyers.com


Bob Clarke has been a member of the Flyers organization for the past 33 years.

Flyers General Manager Bob Clarke recently sat down for an in-depth interview with philadelphiaflyers.com to discuss his days in Flin Flon, his playing days and his present position with the Flyers.

Question: What have you been doing during the lockout?

Clarke: There is a little bit to do because the Phantoms have started to play, but there is not a whole lot that we can do concerning the Flyers. We get to play a little golf this time of year and that is something we have not had the opportunity to do in 35 years. It is not what we want to do, but it is something to do.”

Question: Let’s start from the beginning. What was it like growing up in Flin Flon, Manitoba?

Clarke: “Flin Flon was a great place to grow up. Back in those days, we did not have a television in our house until I was 12 or 13 years old. We played sports, whether it was hockey, baseball or fishing. We also could go back in the bush and hunt. In a small town like Flin Flon, we had the freedom to jump on our bikes and go anywhere we wanted. We did not have to have constant parental supervision. Flin Flon was small enough that we didn’t need our parents driving us everywhere. As kids, we did it on our own. Every kid in town was like that.”

Question: When did you start playing hockey?

Clarke: “I put skates on when I was about three years old, as did all the other young kids in Flin Flon. We played on the outdoor ice at the rink at the end of our street. I did this until I was about eight and then I started playing organized hockey on Saturday mornings at the indoor rink. The rest of the time was spent at the outdoor ice.”

Question: Do you still stay in touch with any of your childhood friends?

Clarke: “Yes. I go back every two or three years and see them. There are a lot of guys that I grew up with who are still there. Some of them have spent their whole lives working in the mines and raising their families in Flin Flon. They all still love hockey and when I go back, we always have fun stuff to talk about. I really enjoy going back there.”

Question: When did you realize that you had what it took to make it to the NHL?

Clarke: “I was so far removed from professional hockey that I didn’t realize I had a chance until I attended my first professional training camp when the Flyers drafted me. I knew at that stage that I could compete, at least at the American Hockey League level. I had seen a couple of NHL games when I was 18 or 19, but by watching them you have no way of knowing how good you are. I never thought I was going to make the Flyers’ final team roster. I thought I would be sent down to the Quebec Aces. I was lucky and I ended up with the Flyers that year.”

Question: Were you concerned about playing with diabetes?

Clarke: “Not at all. I was diagnosed as a diabetic when I was 13 or 14 years old. The doctors assured me that diabetes would not stop me from playing sports. There were things that I had to do to take care of myself, but being diabetic never affected me playing hockey.”

Question: Were your parents concerned about you being a diabetic and playing hockey?

Clarke: “Diabetes was not as well known as it is today, so it worried my mom to death. In those days, it was all about eating special foods. My foods had to be weighed. I had to take a shot every day. But it never bothered me to take a shot or not eat sugar. It was just something I had to do to live.”

Question: What advise would you give an athlete or the parents of an athlete who has diabetes?

Clarke: “The way that I approached being diabetic was that I has a hockey player who happened to have diabetes. I never considered myself a ‘diabetic hockey player.’ I had to do things, health-wise, concerning my diabetes, but I never let it stop me from playing or from doing anything. You can do or try anything you want and still have diabetes, just make sure you treat your diabetes. Being a diabetic is certainly no reason to give up doing things that you enjoy, other than drinking Cokes and eating chocolate bars.”

Question: When you were named captain of the Flyers in 1972, you were the youngest captain ever for the Flyers. Were you a vocal or quiet captain?

Clarke: “I was not the most vocal person in the locker room. Joe Watson was the vocal guy. But I was never afraid to stand up and say what was on my mind. I was taught my whole career to be a good team player and good team players are people who respect and support what the coach is trying to do. You follow what message the coach is trying to convey and you make sure the other players follow, too. I never thought a lot about being team captain. Actually, the first time they offered the “C” to me I turned it down. We had a good captain (Ed Van Impe) and they didn’t need me. (Head Coach) Freddie Shero forced me to take it, but I never viewed myself as a leader. I was a player on the team who did what was necessary to try and win games.”

Question: You “did what was necessary to try and win games”…hmmm…were you considered a dirty player?

Clarke: (Laughs) “I was accused of being a dirty player. My philosophy was always ‘get the other guy first and let him try and get even.’ I used whatever methods, right or not so right, it took to try and win games. Sometimes I probably stretched the rules a bit.”

Question: Obviously, if you were asked about your fondest memories of playing in the NHL, you would state winning two Stanley Cups. But, do you have a single memory during the Stanley Cup Finals that you will never forget?

Clarke: “One memory in particular took place the third game back here at the Spectrum. The series was tied at one game apiece against the Bruins and (Bill) Barber went down the side and fired a wrist shot at Bruins goaltender Gilles Gilbert. Billy really had a great slapshot, but never wristed it as much as he slapped it. This time, he wristed a shot and fired the puck into the top of the net. It was like a rocket. It wouldn’t have mattered if Ken Dryden and Tony Esposito were both in the net. That puck was going in, regardless. I was on the ice so I had a great view. That goal was so impressive to me. The other great memory was when the Bruins series had just ended and Joe Watson was behind the net with the puck. That’s embedded in my mind.”

Question: Same question, but it is the Summit Series.

Clarke: “The Summit Series was an extremely violent series. We really got our (butts) kicked the first game in Montreal. It was a shock to our team and the hockey world. At one point during the next game, we were shorthanded and Peter Mahovlich took the puck from our end and went through their whole team and scored. You can watch hockey for 10 years and never see anybody skate through the whole team and score a goal when you’re shorthanded like that. It was one of those great moments that you are a part of. Even though I was watching, it remains in my mind forever.”

Question: Who is the best player you have ever faced?

Clarke: “Up until Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr was the best player I have ever seen. If there was another league above the NHL, Orr belonged there. He was that much better than the rest of us.”

Question: One of the most famous photographs in Flyers history is a photo of you and Bernie Parent holding up the Stanley Cup and you have this huge toothless smile. Do you remember when you lost your first tooth in hockey?

Clarke: “Sure. I was practicing in juniors with the Flin Flon Bombers and I was cruising through the middle of the ice and one of my buddies, Craig Reichmuth, came through and drilled me in the face with his shoulder and knocked my tooth out. It was a good, clean check. I got up and swore at him and he said, ‘well, keep your God (darned) head up!’ It was a good lesson for me. Gerry Hart (another Bomber teammate) got me and knocked another tooth out. The same thing happened. I wasn’t paying attention and he drilled me. That was another good lesson for me. I lost another tooth when I got hit with a puck in Minnesota. Al MacAdam (former Flyer) went to fire the puck out and I wasn’t looking and it hit me right in the mouth. I wasn’t even on the ice. I was sitting on the bench. The whole tooth flew out onto the ice. It looked like a dentist had pulled it out with a pair of pliers. The linesman picked it up off the ice and skated over to the bench and handed it to me. I have only lost four teeth, but I think that photo makes it look like I lost more. And, no, I didn’t keep my tooth the linesman gave me.”

Question: Do you have any regrets from either your playing days or since becoming general manager?

Clarke: “In the last 35 years, I don’t know if there has been another team in the NHL that has won more games than the Flyers so I have had lots of things to be happy about. Do I wish I played a couple of more years? Probably. Do I wish I could take back the Dave Poulin trade? Yes. Do I wish I could take back the Brad McCrimmon trade? Yes. But overall, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Question: Speaking of trades, what is the best trade you ever made?

Clarke: “The best deal we made for the Flyers was when we got (John) LeClair and (Eric) Desjardins from Montreal. We were a team going nowhere. We were something like 3-7 starting off the season. That trade changed the whole atmosphere and confidence level of our entire organization. Desjardins was an all-star and LeClair was about to turn into one. We had no idea that LeClair was going to be that good. But that deal turned out pretty good.”

Question: What don’t you like about being general manager?

Clarke: “There was a time when the agents first started in the business where it was real ugly from both sides. You were always in squabbles with agents and that got frustrating. That was a tough time. Both sides now, managers and agents, are much more professional. Everything is based on what has already happened. It makes it easier for both sides.”

Question: Could the two Flyers teams that won the Stanley Cup in 1973-74 and 1974-75 compete in today’s NHL?

Clarke: “We would only be kidding ourselves if we think the players 30 years ago were as good as they are today. In those days, we were a great team. Everybody contributed and everybody had their roles and that is what makes a winning team. But we would never be able to compete with the Flyers teams of today. We were not nearly big enough or fast enough for this type of modern day hockey. Hockey is played by much bigger men. They shoot the puck harder; they do everything faster and it is a much different game. I suppose the game will be much different 25 to 30 years from now, too.”

Question: You have a special relationship with Flyers Chairman Ed Snider. How did you guys become such good friends and can you beat him in either tennis or golf?

Clarke: (Laughs) “I’ll kick his (butt) in golf because he doesn’t play, but he would do the same to me in tennis because I don’t play. Our relationship started a long time ago. Even though I was an employee, there was the same commitment to winning. Mr. Snider gave us the ability to trust him. He never let us down. He never did anything that wasn’t good for us as individuals and as a team. Mr. Snider took his responsibility as an owner very seriously. We were the first team in the league that was really treated first class the whole way. Our wives and children were treated the same way. He wanted to win as badly as we did. He was the reason we won. We can talk about Bernie (Parent) in goal, (Rick) MacLeish, (Reggie) Leach, Barber and myself, but if we didn’t have Ed Snider we could not have won those two Stanley Cups.”
 

·
Lifelong Hockey Fan
Joined
·
1,379 Posts
Cool read. 8)

Just a couple of things....are there any teams who have won more games in the last 35 years than the Flyers? How is it he doesn't know exactly how old he was when he was diagnosed with diabetes but he can pin point when he lost a tooth? Also how was Clarke a member of the Flyers organization for the last 33 years when he was GM of the Florida Panthers?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,094 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Backchecking With:



Former Flyer and current broadcaster talks about his career and life after hockey

By Zack Hill, philadelphiaflyers.com

Propp was inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame in March of 1999.

Q: What have you been doing to keep busy?

Propp:"Since the end of last season, I've been doing some work with AFLAC in market development. AFLAC is supplemental health insurance that employees can purchase. Basically, I open the doors to business owners and bring the people in to explain the product. In the last few months, I have also partnered with Harbor Lights Financial Group (www.hlfg.com) in Manasquan, NJ ([email protected])(800-995-4534). I have acquired all my licensing and I am now a financial advisor. This is my full-time job and fits nicely with me working with AFLAC because they do not compete against each other. Both of these organizations can help companies to hopefully both save and make money. I am also working with www.SimplyAwesome.com. This is a web site that Dave Schultz, Bernie Parent and Bob Kelly are also involved with. SimplyAwesome.com is a web site that people can go to and book people like us for appearances. There is also some sports memorabilia on the site available for purchase."

Q: How is your family?

Propp: "They are doing great. I have been enjoying my time with my son, Jackson (6) and daughter, Paige (8). I have been coaching them in hockey this year. They actually play together on the mite team. My wife, Kris, is continuing with her graphic arts business and taking care of the three of us. She is wonderful."

Q: You always seem to be in shape. Are you playing hockey these days?

Propp: "Yes. I am very active with the Flyers Legends team (formerly the Flyers Alumni). Joe Watson sets up the games. I believe I have played in every game this year. It is a lot of fun and does keep me in shape. These games keep us in contact with each other. I really enjoy those nights out raising money for various charities. I have been a lot more involved with this because I have more free time. It is nice to be able to give this type of entertainment back to Flyers fans because of all the support that they have given us throughout the years. I appreciate meeting the fans and the chance to tell a few stories. The stories are getting better as I am getting older."

Q: You are probably one of the youngest players on the team. Are you a "ringer?"

Propp: "Yes (laughs). They bring me in for the tough games. If we have to turn it up a notch, I say, 'pass me the puck,' because I still love to score goals and do the guffaw (laughs)! We really do not lose too many games and we are entertaining to watch. We enjoy the people that we meet and play against. It is all going for a good cause. Golf season is right around the corner so we will get to be involved with a lot of charity golf events as it gets warmer."

Q: You mentioned the “guffaw.” How did that come about?

Propp: "Scott McKay and I went to see comedian Howie Mandell in concert at Atlantic City in 1986. Howie explained what a guffaw was, which is the left to right short hand movement where you raise your arm toward the ceiling. I thought it was pretty cool and I thought that I could use a little more personality after I scored a goal. I incorporated the guffaw as part of my celebration. I started the guffaw the following year after I scored my first goal of the season. I never intended it to be an ‘in your face’ type of celebration in front of the opponents. I would do it more toward center ice. The guffaw caught on and I continued doing it ever since. I also do it when I am golfing at charity outings when I would make a great shot, perhaps a birdie. I will do it every once in a while when I am playing for the Alumni, too. The guffaw is just a personality trait that has followed me around."

Q: When did you lace up your first pair of skates?

Propp: "Growing up in Saskatchewan, everyone either played hockey or curled. The winters are eight out of 12 months up north starting at Halloween and ending around Easter. I was about four years old when I learned how to tie my first pair of skates. They shoved us out the door and we could not skate until we shoveled the snow off the pond. We would spend more time cleaning the frozen pond with the snow shovels than we actually did playing. I lived in a town of about 300 people and there were about eight or nine boys that were the same age so we could actually field a hockey team. Skating was a part of life."

Q: Did you follow the NHL when you were younger?

Propp: "I did not really follow the NHL that much. I would watch a game every once in a while, but not very much."

Q: Talk about your progression up through the playing ranks.

Propp:
"I had played for a junior A team, the Melville Millionaires when I was 15 years old before I went to the Western Hockey League. I broke the scoring record that year for the Millionaires when I scored 172 points in 68 games. The following three seasons I played for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League. It was not until I started playing for the Wheat Kings that I really started watching and thinking about playing in the NHL. We had a tremendous hockey team at Brandon. My first year in the league our centerman Billy Derlago was first in the league in scoring, (future Flyers teammate) Ray Allison was second and I was third. The following two years I led the league in scoring and Allison was second. Brad McCrimmon (another future Flyers teammate) was also on those teams. It was during this time that I realized that I had a pretty good chance of breaking into the NHL. When the NHL draft arrived in 1979, the two leagues merged and the age limit dropped to 18. I was fortunate enough to be drafted by the Flyers in the first round (14th overall). They were a great team and I was the right fit and was the type of player that they were looking for so I made the team."

Q: You were a rookie on the team and the Flyers go on a record-setting 35-game undefeated streak. How cool was that?

Propp: "It was pretty amazing. I scored the game-winning goal and had an assist in our first home game that year against the NY Islanders. My line mates were Bob Clarke and Reggie Leach. Our second game of the year, we went to Atlanta and lost 9-2. We only lost five out of 72 games my last year in juniors, so I was not used to coming in second. I was thinking, 'is this what the NHL is going to be like?' Then we went on the streak and ended up making it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals before losing to the Islanders."

Q: I guess it is pretty easy to remember your first NHL goal.

Propp: "Yes. It was against NY Islanders goaltender Billy Smith. It was in my first game, second period, assisted by Bob Clarke and Reggie Leach."

Q: You spent 15 years in the NHL. Does anything special stick out?

Propp: "You tend to have a lot of memories when you have been in the league for that long. The vivid memory that I have when I played for the Flyers was when we lost in the Stanley Cup Finals. We came close a couple of times. I am very disappointed that I was not able to attain the Cup for the fans and everybody involved. I will always remember my goal in Game Six of the 1987 Finals when we tied the Edmonton Oilers. I scored our second goal to even the score at 2-2. About three minutes later, J.J. Daigneault scored to make it 3-2 to force a Game Seven. For about 10 minutes straight, the noise in the Spectrum was so incredibly loud. That was something that I will never forget. After we lost to Edmonton in Game Seven, I was selected to play for Team Canada in the 1987 Canada Cup and ended up playing on a line with Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky throughout most of the tournament. Rick Tocchet, Ron Hextall and Doug Crossman were also on that team and our coach was Mike Keenan. We beat the Russian team two out of three games and all of the games ended with a score of 6-5. It was probably the best hockey I have ever been associated with. The nice thing about that was being on the winning side. The champagne was flowing and to experience that feeling was awesome. I also remember when I played for Team Canada and we won the Spangler Cup in Switzerland in 1992. Once you get that winning feeling, you never forget it and those are the memories that you like to hang on to."

Q: A few years back, you were named to the Canadian Junior All-Time Team along with Guy Lafleur, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, Dennis Potvin and Bernie Parent. That is quite a who's who among hockey legends.

Propp:
"That announcement was made back in 1999. It really was a tremendous honor. MasterCard sponsored this and they took a look back at all the leagues and all of the players and they picked the best of every team. They picked an all-time team from the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and from that they combined the three leagues to come up with one all-time team. I was fortunate enough to be selected. That spans over 80 years. To me, that was an honor a lot like I would imagine being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame would feel like. These players were the elite of the elite and to be part of that in Ottawa was a couple of days that my wife, Kris, and I will cherish forever."

Q: You are ranked second all-time in goals (389), second in assists (480) and third in scoring (849) on the Flyers All-Time Lists. Did you think that your NHL career would be this productive and over so many years?

Propp:
"When I broke into the NHL, my game plan was to play for about 15 years and that is exactly how many I played. Back then when players would turn 35, that was basically the time to hang up your skates. Now, with the expansion to 30 teams and athletes taking better care of themselves, they can play until they are around 40. I stayed for exactly how long I wanted and was able to leave on good terms. I achieved what I had set out to do. Overall, I was very happy to score over 1,000 points (425 goals, 579 assists) and play over 1,000 games (1,016). Even though I was never on a Stanley Cup-winning team, I did have the chance to play in five Finals. I believe I am still in the top 35 among all-time playoff goal leaders (tied for 20th with 64 goals), playoff assist leaders (31st with 84 assists) and playoff points leaders (26th with 148 points). Playoffs show what type of person you are because you have to perform even better than the regular
season."



Q: From what do you attribute your success?

Propp:
"Probably desire, work ethic and God-given talent. I was also fortunate enough to have had good coaching throughout my career. Coming to the NHL and having leaders in the locker room like Bob Clarke, Bill Barber, Bob Kelly and all the rest, I was able to learn by example. I kind of modeled myself after Clarke. He always worked as hard in practice as he did in a game. Another person that I should give credit in helping me stay healthy for all those years was Pat Croce. He joined the Flyers around 1981. Up until that point, I never had a workout regimen and he started a program for me. I took that seriously and it probably added four or five years to my career. Before Croce, I was getting by on talent and going back to the farm in the summer and hauling bales of hay to keep in shape. He came in with a whole different attitude and that helped me. I think Croce furthered a lot of other guys careers on the team, too."

Q: Who has been the most influential coach during your career?

Propp:
"Probably former NHL defenseman Dunc McCallum, who coached me for three seasons in juniors. He was very good technically and defensively. He treated our team with the utmost respect and prepared us for the NHL. We actually had 10 guys on our team that got drafted the year that I was drafted, including four players being selected in the first round. That is unheard of today. He set the standard early on so when I arrived in the NHL there were not any surprises."

Q: Have you ever thought about coaching?
Propp:
"I went over to southern France as a player-coach one year after I finished playing during the last lockout in 1995. I would have considered an assistant coach job focusing on special teams, but I really did not want to be a head coach. But, yes, today I would be interested. I know the game, I know the players. I have been doing radio for the Flyers for the past six years, so I have a good feel for everyone. It would be something that I would definitely consider."

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Flyers
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,094 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Backchecking with Bill Barber


Bill Barber at his induction into the Phantoms Hall of Fame with his son, Brooks, and his daughter, Kerri.

Backchecking With Bill Barber

Hockey Hall of Famer talks about his beginning, his career with the Flyers and life after hockey

By Zack Hill, philadelphiaflyers.com


Bill Barber played 12 seasons for the Flyers after being the team's first round choice, seventh overall, in the 1972 NHL Amateur Draft. He retired as the team's all-time leader in goals with 420 and was inducted into the Flyers (1989) and Hockey (1990) Halls of Fame.

After ending his playing career, Barber served in a variety of roles for the Flyers organization, including assistant coach for the Flyers, Phantoms head coach and Flyers head coach. Barber is currently the Tampa Bay Lightning's director of player personnel.

He recently sat down with philadelphiaflyers.com to discuss his life on and off the ice.

Question: You have quite a tan. Are you spending a lot of time at the beach in Tampa?

Barber:
“I have a home just south of Tampa, so when I have to go to Florida I try to enjoy the beach if I have some free time. I am still scouting for the Tampa Bay Lightning. I am currently scouting in the AHL, ECHL and the UHL.”

Question: When the Lightning won the Cup last season, you had the chance to have the Stanley Cup. What did you do with it?

Barber:
“I took the Cup back to a community center in Callander, Ontario, Canada. We actually had to turn the line away because there were so many people there. I also took it to the Callander Tavern, which was a place that my family has frequented over the years. My dad use to visit the tavern in his prime and a lot of his old cronies and my special friends got the chance to see the Cup. Unfortunately, my kids (daughter Kerri and son Brooks) could not be there, so I am going to have the chance to have the Cup again this summer so the Cup will be with strictly my family.”

Question: The Montreal Canadians had three of the first eight picks in 1972. You were selected seventh overall. Did you think that you were going to Montreal?

Barber:
“Yes. Montreal had the fourth, sixth and eighth pick in the first round that year and I snuck in between sixth and eighth and was able to come to the expansion Flyers who were on the rise. They had a great owner (and still do), Ed Snider, general manager, Keith Allen, and head coach, Fred Shero. These are three gentlemen who I have had the utmost respect for throughout my career.”

Question: Boston Bruins great defenseman Bobby Orr calls your wrist shot goal against Bruins goalie Gilles Gilbert in the third period of Game Four during the 1974 Finals as “the best wrist shot I’ve ever seen.” Can you tell us about that?

Barber:
“This was an amazing compliment from probably the greatest hockey player to ever lace up a pair of skates. He probably said that because we’re actually distant related (laughs). It was a special goal in that it proved to be the game-winning goal. I’ll admit it was a freak goal. The puck came off the wall funny and I was able to get off the shot. The puck rolled up to my stick and I wristed it. Sometimes the puck does weird things. The puck took off like a rocket. Gilles Gilbert was screened at the time and the puck was in and out of the net in an instant. Gilles never moved.”

Question: What was it like being one-third of the LCB (Leach, Clarke, Barber) line?

Barber:
“We had a unique line. We were three different types of players that had unity. We complemented one another extremely well. I would honestly put our line up against any line of today or yesteryear. Our plus/minus was phenomenal. We probably could have done even better offensively with more goals, but the team always came first and we played for the Flyers team.”

Question: You are still the team’s all-time leader in goals with 420.

Barber:
“Bad goaltending (laughs).”

Question: Are you surprised you still have the record?

Barber:
“Yes, I am. Things have changed and the game has gotten tighter, but it was tight when we played too. I wish that I could have been healthy back then. If I was I could have played longer, maybe played 18 to 20 years. It would have been kind of cool to score 500 goals, but my wheels were falling off. I pushed it long enough. I got credit for playing 13 years in the league, but I really only played 12. One year I was hampered with a knee injury. If I had to do it all over again, I would not change a thing.”

Question: How are your knees and health now?

Barber:
“Not very good. It is difficult at times. There are times that I wish I could get out on the ice and skate with the Flyers Alumni, but I’m not stable enough. I have to be careful on what I can and cannot do. I am not complaining by any means, though.”

Question: You were in a serious automobile accident in the summer of 1999. Are those injuries lingering?

Barber:
“Yes, there are still some repercussions from that accident. Overall, I was lucky to come out of that alive. I highly recommend everyone to wear seat belts. I had mine on and that is what saved my life.”

Question: What happened that day?

Barber:
“First off, I was not speeding or anything like that. I was driving my son’s truck and I got down in the soft shoulder of the road and lost control. The truck ended up on its roof. I went over hard and I was kind of crushed down into the seat. It took me some time to free myself and I was able to crawl out of the vehicle. I got a pretty bad concussion and the neck still acts up.”

Question: When did you begin playing hockey?

Barber:
“I lived in a small community and we had a small ice rink which we played on. When the rink was unavailable, we would skate on the lake when it froze. I played hockey in my town until I was 17 and then I played junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League for three seasons. I played three seasons in Kitchener after being drafted by them in 1969. I was drafted by the Flyers seventh overall in 1972.”

Question: Kitchener is where you met your future wife, Jenny. How did you two meet?

Barber:
“It is funny how that happened. Jenny and I went to the same high school. We were buddies in the early stages of our friendship. At the time, I was the captain of the hockey team and she was the head of her sorority. We had a party at one of the houses and all the guys and girls showed up and that’s how she and I met. We started dating and dating eventually led to marriage. She was a special person. She was very mature, organized and had an outstanding personality. We hit it off and had some great times.” (Sadly, Jenny Barber passed away on December 8, 2001.)

Question: You and Jenny had two children who both still live in the Philadelphia area. What are they doing?

Barber:
“My daughter, Kerri, is 30 years old and my son, Brooks, is almost 28. Kerri is married and has two sons, Conner (2) and Cameron who is not a year old. I am a proud grandfather and they are a big part of my life. In certain times, you need things and I sure need these kids. Brooks is the free-spirited one. Kerri works for Comcast SportsNet at the Wachovia Center and Brooks works for Hardenbergh Insurance in New Jersey.”

Question: How proud are you of the fact that you played your entire NHL career with one team?

Barber:
“I am very proud of that. I am very proud to say that as a player and later as a front office employee that I was involved with the Flyers for 30 years. It’s something that I cherish and promote. I am a company man. When I start something, I want to finish it. To play my whole career with the Flyers was great. They were great years. I would liked to been involved in winning the Cup in another capacity with the Flyers like I have been as a scout with Tampa Bay. I know how the city of Philadelphia would react and it would be something unique.”

Question: You are the only person inducted into the Flyers and the Phantoms Halls of Fame. How does that feel?

Barber:
“I am very tickled to be inducted into both. I was the Phantoms’ inaugural head coach in 1996 and we won the Calder Cup in 1998. I am very honored and pleased. I enjoy being around the area and I miss the people that I have worked with for so many years. I love it in Tampa, but I do hope that the Flyers get the chance to win another Stanley Cup and the Phantoms win another Calder Cup.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Flyers website
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,094 Posts
Discussion Starter #6

Bill Clement was a member of both of the Flyers' Stanley Cup Championship teams.

Former Flyer talks about his hockey and broadcasting careers

By Zack Hill, philadelphiaflyers.com

Bill Clement was the Flyers' second round choice (18th overall) in the 1970 Amateur Draft. After one season with the Quebec Aces of the American Hockey League, Clement joined the Flyers for the 1971-72 season. He played four seasons with the Flyers (1971-72 through 1974-75) and was a member of both of the Flyers' Stanley Cup Championship teams. After concluding an 11-year NHL career, Clement rejoined the Flyers organization for the 1988-89 season as the team's television color commentator, a position that he held for five seasons.

He is currently the lead game analyst for ESPN's NHL telecasts and he also announces the Great Outdoor Games and the Bassmaster Classic for ESPN.

Clement recently sat down to answer a few questions about his life with philadelphiaflyers.com.

Question: How did you get involved in broadcasting?

Clement:
“I always prided myself in being a good communicator. I got into the restaurant business in Atlanta and promptly plunged into corporate and personal financial ruin --- bankruptcy. Then my girlfriend and soon-to-be-wife, Cissie, and I moved to New York where I began pursuing an acting career. At that stage, I was taking whatever acting gigs I could get my hands on. I was doing network and local commercials, the soap opera “All My Children,” and industrial film narrations. This was all going very well. One day in the mid 1980s, the telephone rang and it was ESPN calling. They asked me if I wanted to audition for a job as a television color analyst. By that time, the notion for auditioning for my lunch and my rent every week had grown a little stale and I told them I was interested. The audition actually turned out to be a ‘live’ hockey game on television. The venue was Chicago Stadium when the Blackhawks hosted the Minnesota North Stars. I was scared to death, but it worked out.”

Question: Were you apprehensive about moving to New York?

Clement:
“I had nothing to lose at that point. Otherwise I would not have tried it. I had $4,000 to my name that I kept in a steel box in the attic of this tiny apartment that I rented. I had no job, no training, no college education and no career.”

Question: Isn’t that a recipe for disaster?

Clement:
“Yes. I was doing some acting in Atlanta, but I wanted to see if I was good enough to compete in New York. I asked some of the talent agents in Atlanta who represented me if I was good enough and they reassured me that I was. But one of the steps that I did not realize I was taking was that I cut off all avenues of retreat. I rented a U-Haul truck, drove to New York and found a little, second floor row house apartment in Queens. We did not even have our own thermostat in the apartment. The thermostat was located on the first floor. We froze our butts off for the first three months that we were there because the landlord turned the heat down because he had no renters in the first floor apartment.”

Question: Was there a lot of penny pinching back then?

Clement:
“Yes. I remember how thrilled I was when I came busting through our little second floor apartment door and exclaimed, ‘Cissie, you’ll never believe this. I found a 10-pound bag of rice for $1.69!’”

Question: Since you lacked experience, did ESPN give you any pointers as to what type of announcer they were looking for?

Clement:
“Yes. I asked them what they were looking for and they said they wanted me to educate people without offending the educated hockey viewer. If I was going to educate the uneducated, I tried to do it in a humorous way. You want to make sure that you are not using jargon that excludes people from understanding, but at the same time, you do not want to make it too basic.”

Question: Are you a perfectionist?

Clement:
“Yes, by nature I am. I am a very detailed-oriented person. Things that might be minutia to somebody else might be important to me. I do not leave anything to the imagination. You have to know what you are preparing for before you determine how to prepare. You start with the end in mind.”

Question: How did you develop this philosophy?

Clement:
“My philosophy on being prepared and organized is my own. I learned a long time ago that broadcasters I aspired not to be like were the ones that came across as artificial and stiff and have difficulty connecting with their audience. That is why I think Coatesy (Flyers television announcer Steve Coates) does such a good job. He is real. You want to be real enough so that viewers can see the person inside of the announcer. It is one thing to be technically perfect, but it is not good if people cannot connect with you. The broadcasters that I aspired to be like were the people that I thought were friendly, natural and the most approachable. Coatesy is one of those.”

Question: Any national broadcasters come to mind?

Clement:
“Al Michaels is tremendous. John Madden is good, but I think he can talk for a couple of minutes and not say very much. But at least he is a real guy. John Davidson is really good at being a natural. Mike Emrick, Gary Thorne and Jim Jackson are all terrific.”

Question: You grew up in the French-speaking town of Thurso, Quebec, where you and Hockey Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur were line mates for a couple of seasons. Was Guy that good back then?

Clement:
“He was unbelievable. On more than one occasion, I remember beating teams 7-0 and Guy having seven goals and me having seven assists. I would pass it to him in the neutral zone and let him take care of the rest.”

Question: What was it like growing up in a French-speaking town?

Clement:
“I was not invited to participate for the town’s hockey team until I was 12 years old. It was a French-Catholic-English-Protestant issue more than anything. I was in a very pronounced English Protestant minority. In a small, paper mill town of 3,000 people between Ottawa and Montreal, English kids simply were not invited to play for the town’s hockey team. When I was 12, they had a change of heart and let us English kids try-out. That is probably why I did not have many offensive skills. I could skate like the wind, but I always thought defensively. When the Flyers drafted me, I spent the first season in the minors. They did not let me kill any penalties and made me play on every power play so I could work on my offense. No pun intended, but that really killed me inside because I loved killing penalties. They wanted me to make it to the NHL, so I was not going to argue with their decision-making.”

Question: Since you never had the big numbers (goals/statistics) in juniors, was it an afterthought of breaking into the NHL?

Clement:
“I do not remember saying this, but at a school reunion my friends told me that when I was eight or nine years old I told them that someday I was going to play in the NHL. I did not say this in a ****y, confident way. If anything, I lacked confidence. I was a workaholic and worked my tail off to make it happen. If a player is worth a penny, it is all about the team and not about the individual. Group achievements are what players live for. But, if I have to look back at any of my individual achievements, one of my proudest is the fact that I never scored 20 goals per season at any level until I made it to the NHL, where I had two 20-goal seasons. It is usually the other way around. When people ask if scorers are born or made, I can honestly say both, because I was not a born scorer.”

Question: Are you for rule changes to make the game more exciting?

Clement:
“Yes. I cannot wait. We need to challenge the record book. God forbid we should come close to any one of Gretzky’s records, but we have to find ways to do that. Our culture craves glamour. There is nothing glamorous about 41-goal scorers, which is what the NHL goal scoring leaders had last year.” (Rick Nash, Jarome Iginla and Ilya Kovalchuk led the NHL last season with 41 goals apiece).

Question: What have you been doing since the lockout?

Clement:
“I have been doing some professional public speaking and that takes me to different parts of the country. I do not call them motivational presentations. I call them human development because I endeavor to leave an audience with substance, memories and tools that may come in handy later in life. I have spoken all over the place, including St. Thomas, Las Vegas and have an engagement coming up in Palm Springs. The lockout also has allowed to me to spend some quality time with my family. That is something that has not happened much during hockey season.”

Question: Any children?

Clement:
“Yes. Cissie and I have three daughters, Regan (31), Christa (30), Savannah (16) and one son, Chase (15).”

Question: How can people keep up with Bill Clement?

Clement:
“I have my own website, www.billclement.com. There are some commercials that I have done on the web site and other information about me.”

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Flyers
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,094 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Backchecking with the Hammer

Backchecking With Dave Schultz

Former Flyer talks about being a stand-up guy on the ice, a stand-up comic off the ice and life after hockey

By Zack Hill, philadelphiaflyers.com

Dave "The Hammer" Schultz played just five seasons for the Flyers (1971-72 through 1975-76), but left a lasting impression. After being the Flyers' fifth-round selection in the 1969 Amateur Draft, Schultz led the league in penalty minutes for six consecutive seasons (with the Salem Rebels of the EHL in 1969-70, the Quebec Aces of the AHL in 1970-71, the Richmond Robins of the AHL in 1971-72 and the Flyers in 1972-73 through 1974-75). He is fifth on the team's All-Time List in penalty minutes with 1,386 and he still holds the NHL record for most penalty minutes in a season with 472 during the 1974-75 season.

Q: You have been a pretty busy fellow. Can you give us an update on what you have been doing with yourself?

Schultz:
“I started Champion Limousines in 1986, which I still own and operate out of South Jersey. I also operate Hammer Enterprises, which develops, creates and markets sports memorabilia and collectibles, promotions for corporations and organizations with my main focus on public speaking. I have taken a six-week course in stand-up comedy and recently had three, five-minute stand-up comedy gigs. I am also a partner in the real estate firm, Atlantic Properties that serves the Delaware Valley. On top of all this, I am the president of the Flyers Alumni Association and have been actively involved in marketing a lot of Flyers sports memorabilia from the Stanley Cup years and working with various charitable organizations. We have our Fall Classic every September. I am also involved in two web sites, www.davethehammerschultz.com and www.simplyawesome.com.”

Q: How did you get involved in stand-up comedy?

Schultz:
“A couple of years ago, the Flyers Alumni had a roast in Atlantic City, New Jersey. There was a comedy writer who attended and after the show, I got his telephone number and gave him a call. I asked him to write me some skits and I liked them. Later I enrolled in the comedy course that I mentioned above. I did this to help with my public speaking. I think that it is always more entertaining if I can incorporate humor into my presentations.”

Q: How do you prepare for stand-up comedy?

Schultz:
“The first thing that I do is sit down and write. A lot of my material is from my past experiences playing in the NHL. Many people think that the more aggressive a hockey player is, the less intelligent he is, which is actually not true. However, I like to play on that misconception and I poke fun at myself a lot. I will also incorporate into my act some of the athletes who I played with and against. All just in fun!”

Q: Are you comfortable speaking in public?

Schultz:
“Yes. I enjoy it, but it is not easy. You just do not step on stage and start entertaining people. There is a lot of preparation and rehearsing that is involved. Your information and your delivery are key ingredients to being an effective public speaker, which I have been doing for 25 years.”

Q: What is more nerve-wracking, moments before you walk out on stage or moments before dropping the gloves in an NHL fight?

Schultz:
“I think the moment before a fight was more mentally draining. The toughest part about fighting, at least in my eyes, was that I was not allowed to lose. I had to be so prepared. I won a few and I lost a few. Once the fight was over, I was fine, unless I got hit!” (laughs)

Q: Did you look for a game on the Flyers schedule and think, ‘Oh, boy I have to fight him again?’

Schultz:
“Yes. If we were going to play Boston, I did not want to know. I would look at the schedule and say to myself, ‘Jeez, looks like I will be squaring off again with (Terry) O’Reilly.’ Some teams you just do not want to play against. O’Reilly and I fought at least 10 times. Whenever anyone asks me who my toughest opponent was I say it was O’Reilly. I actually have this game video of us playing the Bruins and I was squaring off with one of his teammates and you can see O’Reilly zigzagging in between Flyers and Bruins players on the ice just so he could get to me before I could fight his teammate.”

Q: Did you visualize a fight before it occurred?
Schultz: “I would visualize fighting a guy all the time. Sometime in the afternoon before a game I would lie down to take a nap. Before I would fall asleep, I would close my eyes and think about fighting. The odd time I would think about me being the one getting punched and I would open my eyes and think, ‘No, it is not supposed to happen that way!’ and start the whole process over again. I could not allow myself to think that I was going to lose.”

Q: Many times after a fight there is an unofficial winner and loser with really no damage to either player. Are hockey fights deceiving?
Schultz: “There were times when the public perception was that I lost even when I did not get hit and there were other times when the perception was that I won and I never even hit the guy. Hockey players are very well protected. There are very few serious injuries that occur during a hockey fight, but they belong in the game and serve a purpose. Sometimes the fans even enjoy them!” (laughs)

Q: What do you think about the instigator rule?
Schultz: “It hurts the game and should be taken out. This is not just me saying this. Franchise players have said this too. The instigator rule was implemented to prevent a guy like me going after a guy like Guy Lafleur. How am I going to fight a player like Guy if I cannot even catch him? First off, I would never do that. Today, a guy could give an opponent a cheap shot and nothing happens. Players shrug it off and skate to the bench. Too many players hide behind that rule. All I ever hear these days is that there is no respect on the ice. My philosophy is that if a player cheap shots another player and the other player or teammate wants revenge by dropping the gloves, it is the obligation of the cheap shot artist to fight. These days he will just get sent to the penalty box, get suspended and/or get fined. Do not give somebody a cheap shot and run. Have a little fistfight. What is the best way to settle a disagreement on the ice? Drop the gloves and get it over with. What are the injuries that occur in a hockey fight besides the loser having his feelings hurt. And I do apologize for all the feelings I have hurt!”

Q: Did you enjoy fighting?

Schultz:
“No. There was a lot of pressure and besides, who likes getting punched in the face? But I liked the rewards. I filled a role that was needed and my coach and teammates appreciated someone going after the guy who gave a cheap shot or was dirty or a player we just did not like. The fans loved it. Fighters are always among the more popular players on the team.”

Q: Can the fighters of your era compete with the fighters of today?

Schultz:
“The guys are bigger and stronger these days, so they would have the advantage. I was big when I played at 6’1”, 195 pounds. But if I was playing today, with all the off-ice training, weight lifting and the nutritionists that teams have, I would be playing at 220 pounds and have a lot more muscle. There are some huge guys in the NHL these days.”

Q: You were not always a fighter. Why did you become a fighter?

Schultz:
“I was a ‘chippy’ player, but never fought when I played junior hockey. I remember that there were all these brawls in juniors and I was thinking, ‘Get me out of this place.’ What aggravated me was when somebody would hold or hook me with their stick. That would (tee) me off. But I would not fight the guy. I would give the guy a shove and skate away, but I would never drop my gloves. I was 21 when I was drafted by the Flyers in 1969. I could actually play. They sent me to the EHL (Eastern Hockey League) and all hell broke loose. I got into a fight with a French-Canadian kid and beat him up pretty bad. I got in a fight the next game and the rest is history. I scored 32 goals that season and led the league with 356 penalty minutes when I played for the Salem Rebels in the EHL in 1969-70. Everybody loved the fights.”

Q: Was there ever an NHL official crazy enough to try and break up one of your fights?

Schultz:
“Whenever I would get into a fight, one of the strongest linesmen in the NHL, John D’Amico, would always grab me. His job was to tie me up every time. Once when I was fighting, he broke it up by elbowing me three times in the face. I was like, ‘John, cut it out, I’m done already!’ He was very strong.”

Q: Were you ever hurt in a fight?

Schultz:
“I can’t admit that.”

Q: Can we interpret that as a ‘maybe?’

Schultz:
“Nobody knows this, but once at the Spectrum I got into a fight with Pierre Bouchard of the Montreal Canadiens. He tied up my arms and was able to sneak in a punch right on my temple. At that point, I just grabbed on to him and held on for dear life. He got me good, but nobody in the building could tell that he walloped me. D’Amico came up to me afterward and said he could not believe I was still standing. One time when I was playing for the Los Angeles Kings, O’Reilly turned me sideways and flipped me to the ice. That took the wind out of me, not to mention a lot of torn cartilage to my rib cage, and I could hardly get up for a week.”

Q: Several years ago, ESPN voted you the toughest NHL fighter of all-time. You do consider that an honor, don’t you?

Schultz:
“Heck yes. The list was pretty impressive. There was (Bob) Probert, (Clark) Gillies, (Chris) Nilan, (Tiger) Williams, (Gordie) Howe, (Ted) Lindsay, to name a few.”

Q: Who were your toughest fights against?

Schultz:
“Number one would be O’Reilly because he was going to fight every single time. He was a lefty, which made it worse. Luckily, he did not have the best balance and would sometimes slip and fall. Clark Gillies (former New York Islander and Buffalo Sabre) would be number two. I only fought him twice, but he was big and strong.”

Q: How about Tiger Williams?

Schultz:
“I cannot include him. When Tiger Williams came into the league, he claimed that he never lost a fight. He and I fought only once in Toronto. Tiger was jostling with Clarkie (Bobby Clarke), so I stepped in. He ended up biting me on the cheek. Keith Allen called Clarence Campbell into our locker room to show him the teeth marks on my cheek. But I give Tiger a lot of credit. He is the most penalized player in the history of the game (3,966 penalty minutes) and he had a long career. But I only fought him that one time in Toronto and he bit me, so it would not be fair to put him on the list.”

Q: Have you ever been accidentally head-butted or accidentally given a head-butt?

Schultz:
“I head-butted O’Reilly, but it was not an accident. He was holding my arms down so neither one of us could throw any punches. I head-butted him and got a three-game suspension.”

Q: Should fighting always be part of hockey?

Schultz:
“Yes. It prevents a lot of unnecessary cheap shots. If you do not want to get fight, then do not give out cheap shots.”

Q: You coached in the minor leagues this season. How did it go?

Schultz:
“I coached the Elmira Jackals in the United Hockey League for six weeks. When I took over, the team had three ties in 20 games. I really turned that team around and they won five of the last 21 games!” (laughs)

Q: How are your two sons?

Schultz:
“My oldest son, Chad, just got married and moved to Madison, New Jersey, and is looking to get more involved in the film and advertising business. He was employed for the past five years with an advertising and production company in Philadelphia. He has written, directed and produced an independent movie that received national recognition at film festivals from Delaware to Utah. He is looking to work out of New York City. My youngest son, Brett, works for the vintage jersey company, Mitchell & Ness, in Philadelphia. He is also studying for his Masters Degree at Temple University.”

Q: Are you single, you never know who might read this?

Schultz:
“I have been single for a few years living in Macungie, Pennsylvania.”

Q: Is there anything that you would like to end this interview with?

Schultz:
“I want to thank the city of Philadelphia, the Delaware Valley and all Flyers fans for always being so nice. A lot of the Flyers Stanley Cup members still live in the Delaware Valley and we have always been treated excellent.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Flyers
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,094 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Former Flyer talks about school, hockey and retirement

By Zack Hill, philadelphiaflyers.com


Orest Kindrachuk played five seasons for the Flyers and was a member of both Stanley Cup Championship teams.

After playing four seasons for the Saskatoon Blades of the WCJHL, Orest Kindrachuk was signed as free agent by the Flyers in July of 1971. After a season in the American Hockey League, he joined the Flyers' lineup full time for 1973-74 season. In five seasons with the Flyers (1973-74 through 1977-78), Kindrachuk was a member of four division championship teams and three teams that advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, including two Stanley Cup Championship teams. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins prior to the 1978 Amateur Draft in a deal that eventually brought Behn Wilson to Philadelphia.

Kindrachuk recently sat down with philadelphiaflyers.com to talk about his childhood, his selection of hockey over medicine, his NHL career and his love of the Delaware Valley.

Question: What have you been doing since retiring?

Kindrachuk:
“Since retiring in 1982, I took some time off and then I got involved in the insurance business and in the packaging industry.”

Question: How is your family?

Kindrachuk:
“My wife, Lynn, recently received her Master’s degree and is now the assistant athletic director at Gloucester County College and oversees the fitness center there. We have two great sons. Zak, 25, graduated from Monmouth University in 2004 and is now pursuing a career in radio. He lives in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Jake, 22, graduated from Wake Forest in this month and will be involved with investment banking in Chicago.”

Question: When did you start playing hockey?

Kindrachuk:
“I started skating when I was three years old. Skating and playing hockey is all a kid would do in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Ice rinks were everywhere. Families had them in their backyard. My parents’ rule was that I had to be home by 9 p.m. When I got to be seven and eight years old, I would deliver newspapers and then go straight to the ice rink. I would do this every day.”

Question: When did you think that you had the talent to make it to the NHL?

Kindrachuk:
“Saturday Night Hockey on television in Canada was like a religion. We planned everything around that event. I was probably eight or nine years old when I told my mother that she was going to be watching me play one day on Saturday Night Hockey. That was my goal. When did I really know? I took the year off the season I was drafted and decided to study pre-med at the University of Saskatchewan. I played in a commercial league that year. The next year I decided to come back as an overage player and had a really good year. After my draft year, Jerry Melnyk (former Flyers scout) had seen me play and put me on the Flyers’ draft list.”

Question: What is a commercial league?

Kindrachuk:
“It is a league that athletes go to after playing junior hockey who weren’t quite good enough for the National Hockey League. There I was, a 19 year old playing against guys 28 to 32 years old. The talent level was high and these guys were tough and mean.”

Question: What made you decide to put hockey on hold to study pre-med and then what made you change your mind and put studying on hold?

Kindrachuk:
“I felt at the time that I really wanted to be a doctor and the odds of making the NHL were slim because there were a lot less teams than there are today. I was playing in the commercial league when I started thinking that I could always go back to school. Chronologically, I would not always be young and in top shape to play hockey so I decided to give it a try. Eventually, the Flyers invited me to their training camp. What is crazy is that if I would have played my draft year I might have been selected fairly high then I may never had the opportunity to play for the Flyers and be on a Stanley Cup-winning team. Things really fell into place for me. Call it destiny.”

Question: You played against Bob Clarke in juniors. What was that like?

Kindrachuk:
“I played for the Saskatoon Blades and Clarkie played on a goon squad, the Flin Flon Bombers. The Bombers were tough, but they did have talent. Teams would go into Flin Flon for a two-game series and it would be intimidating as hell. I always maintained that if a player came out of the Western Hockey League as a pretty good player, he was also going to be a tough player.”

Question: Is it true that the first game you played in juniors was against Flin Flon?

Kindrachuk:
“Yes. I was 16 years old and weighed about 140 pounds and we were playing in Flin Flon. Exactly seven seconds into the game, there was a full-scale brawl. Everybody was on the ice fighting and I am sitting on the bench, thinking, ‘What the hell is going on here?’ But I went out and mixed it up.”

Question: Why did this start so early?

Kindrachuk:
“During warm-ups, there were some antics going on between the two teams. Flin Flon was notorious for coming almost to the opposing team’s blue line during warm-ups just to intimidate the other team. It was their building and their ice and they felt that they had the right. We had guys who didn’t like that.”

Question: When you played for the Flyers, your linemates were Dave Schultz and Don Saleski. Did having these two on your line give you more open ice to operate?

Kindrachuk:
“It was interesting. A lot of times when we would go on the road our line would have to play against our opponent’s top line. The three of us were plus players. We could keep up with anybody. We were actually a very good line.”

Question: What were some of your career highlights?

Kindrachuk:
“Career highlights come in the form of a ladder. Each rung in the ladder brought me a new highlight. The first rung would be the desire and ability to make the NHL. I had an opportunity to sign in the WHA in the early 1970s for a lot more money, but I grew up dreaming about playing in the NHL. The next rung on the ladder would be winning the Stanley Cup. To compete in the Stanley Cup Finals is fabulous, but to win two in a row and be in three Finals was awesome. The press was unbelievable. Heck, when we were competing in the Finals, reporters wanted to know what color socks we were wearing. They wanted to know everything about us. I remember one year we had a week off because we had a bye. I was quoted in the newspaper as saying, ‘In my week off I am going to tour Philadelphia.’ I remember my wife and I taking the subway down to Center City and fans would stop us and say, ‘Wow, you really are touring the city, aren’t you?’ We were being recognized everywhere. On the other end, our team would go to our opponent’s city where we were absolutely hated. That gave us just as much pleasure.”

Question: Do you regret not signing a contract in the WHA for a lot more money?

Kindrachuk:
“No. Your ultimate goal as a youngster is to play in the NHL.”

Question: The Flyers were not very well liked by other NHL teams, but when you played the Russians, did feelings change?

Kindrachuk:
“Yes. That was another rung in the ladder. All of a sudden the League is on our side when we played the Russians. They wanted us to do well. They came into our locker room to wish us luck. For years, the NHL could not wait to suspend or fine us. They really did not like us. But when we played the Russians, they were in our corner. Here is a quick story. We were about an hour late for a luncheon with the Russian Red Army Team on the Friday before the game. We did not care what they thought. Freddy (Shero) gets up and says he’d like to welcome the Russian Red Army to Philadelphia…‘the Cradle of Liberty,’ just to rub it in a bit. The following day on Saturday we had a morning practice at the Spectrum and the Russian team was watching us from the bleachers. After we were finished, they started to practice and we all left. We never even watched them. We did not care. The game was scheduled for 1:00 p.m. the next day, but we were all in the locker room at 9:00 a.m. We were chomping at the bit. We wanted a piece of them.”

Question: You were traded to Pittsburgh in 1978. Where you upset about this?

Kindrachuk:
“No. It was time in my career to move on. The last rung in the ladder was when I was traded to Pittsburgh. About two weeks into Pittsburgh’s training camp, the players elected me team captain. To be named team captain for an NHL team is something I feel really good about. That was quite an honor.”

Question: Even though you were traded to Pittsburgh you still kept your house in Philadelphia. Why?

Kindrachuk:
“Philadelphia has been great to all of us who played for the Flyers. We were the blue-collar team that Philadelphia fans could relate to. There are still folks in the area that think we won the Cup five years ago. If that is not flattering, I do not know what is. I cannot say enough about the Delaware Valley. We have lived in the same house since 1974.”

Question: Who would name their kid “Orest?”

Kindrachuk:
“I am 100 percent Ukrainian. My mom’s brother was named Orest and they named me after him. Remember the Johnny Cash song ‘A Boy Named Sue?’ Names like that do make you a little tougher (laughs)!”

Question: Did teammates call you Orest on the ice?

Kindrachuk:
“Not if they wanted me to pass the puck to them. I could tell who wanted the puck and who didn’t. A player that did not know me would call me Orest. Players that knew me would call me ‘O’ or ‘Oscar’ or ‘Ernie,’ from Sesame Street. Don Saleski was known as ‘Big Bird,’ Dave Schultz was the ‘Grouch’ and I was called either ‘Oscar’ or ‘Ernie.’ Nicknames were, and still are, big on the ice.”

Flyers
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,094 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
On the NHL | Arrival of Carter brings Sharp's versatility to light

Posted on Sun, Jun. 12,
On the NHL | Arrival of Carter brings Sharp's versatility to light

By Tim Panaccio

Inquirer Columnist

Aside from the obvious - the Phantoms' dominant surge to win the Calder Cup in a sweep - amazing things seem to happen when a hockey team gets an infusion of talent late in a season.

Sometimes, teams pick up a valuable piece of information they had been lacking. Or they discover something they weren't looking for.

Take the case of Patrick Sharp.

Until the arrival of Jeff Carter, Sharp, 23, was the Phantoms No. 1 center; he averaged 0.693 points per game (52 points in 75 games). Sharp centered Ryan Ready on left wing the entire way, with Mark Murphy and a cast of thousands on right wing.

Carter arrived with a couple of regular-season games left. Sharp moved to right wing while Ready stayed on the left side.

A quiet, unassuming player who prefers the shadows to the limelight, Sharp finished with 21 points in as many games, averaging a point per game. He scored twice in the Game 4 finale over the Chicago Wolves.

"I really liked him at right wing," Flyers coach Ken Hitch**** said. "I like the way he has played with Carter. They seem to have some chemistry at the American League level. Hopefully, he can carry that to the NHL level."

Sharp carried the Phantoms' offensive load through the regular season. Then he became the setup guy for Carter, who finished as the AHL's leading playoff scorer with 23 points.

"Clearly, no one has benefited more from having Jeff Carter here than Sharpie," Phantoms coach John Stevenssaid. "He moved to right wing, which was almost an effortless transition. Sharpie gets to the holes. He gets open. He and Jeff seem to have a nice chemistry there. Sharpie just has an ability to work with people."

Sharp's versatility was a valuable piece of information the Flyers learned - because of Carter's presence.

"I knew Jeff was coming here as soon as he finished juniors, and being a centerman, I knew there was a good chance I'd slide over to right wing," Sharp said. "I was just excited to have the opportunity to play with a great player like Jeff."

When the Flyers get back on the ice in training camp, there will be a logjam at center: NHL veterans Keith Primeau, Jeremy Roenick and Michal Handzus. Roenick will move to right wing, just as he did in the playoffs last year. Add Carter and fellow rookie Mike Richards, and there are your four centers.

At this point, Sharp moves to right wing. And what about R.J. Umberger of the Phantoms? He's a center, too. Umberger's bigger task figures to be making the final cut on the Flyers' roster.

The discovery the Flyers made during the Phantoms' Calder Cup championship run was that Sharp had obvious chemistry with Carter. No one knew that two months ago. You can go an entire season and not find the right chemistry among players.

Hitch****'s challenge in September will be deciding which NHL veteran forwards play with Carter and Richards. And whether Sharp plays right wing on a line with Carter and perhaps Simon Gagne, who was outstanding during the World Championships.

"I'm not too worried about training camp with the Flyers," Sharp said. "My focus will be to make the lineup, not whether I remain at center. It doesn't matter to me because I'm comfortable at either position. I played a lot of wing during my career."

There's a good chance Sharp is going to be playing a lot more of it in the future, too.

The Great Experiment

The NHL held a "research and development" camp this past week in Toronto, experimenting with all those proposed rules changes, including changes in goalies' equipment. All of which is intended to add offense (read: goals) to the game. A number of general managers predicted that if goalie equipment were made smaller, scoring would increase. The larger nets (80 inches wide by 52 inches high) vs. the old nets (72 x 48) did not significantly add to the scoring during the three-day testing period.

"In the warm-up, there was a lot of room for shooters," Eric Tobia, an Ontario Hockey League goalie who participated, told the Canadian Press. "When they had time to look, they were picking a lot of corners. But in the game, we didn't find it too much of a setback. We adjusted by stepping out an extra foot to take away the extra inches on both sides of the net.

"Movement-wise, I had to work a little harder to push from side to side, but, overall, it's not as bad as I thought it would be. The majority of the goals went in more because of the smaller equipment."

There were eight goals scored during that phase of the experiment.

Great Experiment II

Another idea tested was eliminating the red line and the blue lines and adding thin lines a few feet above the face-off circles at each end of the ice. That concept was Scotty Bowman's idea. Players were permitted to pass the puck anywhere on the ice, without offside or icing, once the player with the puck reached the "pass line" in his zone. Most of the 15 GMs on hand thought the results produced "pond hockey" and its freewheeling style. They didn't like it.

Islanders GMMike Milbury, who is more liberal than most, wants to see definitive change. "We've been categorized publicly as being nothing short of being Neanderthals over the years when it comes to change," he said. "Hockey is revered in Canada, but we're in trouble south of the border."

He says hockey needs a committee of people "with teeth" who will make a decision and implement it without reservation. "Not one that comes back and says, 'Gee, we want you to consider this,' " Milbury said. "I want it to come back and say, 'Here it is. We're going with bigger nets; we're going without red lines.' Whatever."

Loose pucks

Kristian Huselius, Andreas Lilja and Henrik Tallinder will not be permitted to participate at the Turin Olympics in February - if there's NHL participation. The Swedish Ice Hockey Federation extended the suspensions of the players, who were accused of rape last February, through the Olympics. The players claimed consensual sex. A special prosecutor reopened the case, then closed it Friday, clearing all three players of wrongdoing. However, that may not have any bearing on their Olympic eligibility... . After filling a hockey void in Edmonton during the lockout, the Oilers are shutting down their AHL affiliate, the Edmonton Road Runners. They moved them from Toronto during the lockout to provide their employees jobs and keep hockey alive in the city. The Road Runners netted more than a $1 million profit, according to the Edmonton Journal. Once the NHL gets going again, having two clubs in the same building isn't going to work. Look for this team to resurface as a Western Hockey League club... . A group of West Coast investors led by William "Boots" Del Biaggio, a San Jose, Calif., businessman and friend of Mario Lemieux's, have negotiated a letter of intent to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. They intend to keep the team in Pittsburgh. The investors would own the majority of the team with Lemieux retaining a small share.

Finally, whatever became of Ricky Smith's World Hockey Association revival, which was supposed to get off the ground on May 20 with the Bobby Hull Invitational? Seems a few more sponsors pulled out, that's what. Meanwhile, Smith, the WHA president, had to cut Phil Esposito and Henry Paul from the payroll. The WHA still has no partners or franchises listed on its Web site. Hey, Ricky. It'd be easier - and more profitable - to resurrect the WHA as a video game.

Contact staff writer Tim Panaccio at 215-854-2847 or [email protected].



All of these guys will definitely make for interesting line combinations.

http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/sports/hockey/11872774.htm
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,094 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Former Flyer talks about life before and after Big Bird

By Zack Hill, philadelphiaflyers.com


In addition to Don Saleski, the Flyers drafted Bobby Clarke and Dave Schultz in the 1969 NHL Amateur Draft.


Don Saleski was the Flyers' sixth round choice (64th overall) in the 1969 NHL Amateur Draft. He joined the Flyers organization for the 1970-71 season and played for the Quebec Aces and Richmond Robins before joining the Flyers full time for the 1972-73 season.

He played eight seasons for the Flyers (1971-72 to 1978-79) before being traded to the Colorado Rockies during the 1978-79 season. Saleski was a member of both of the Flyers' Stanley Cup Championship teams (1974-75 and 1975-76).

Saleski recently sat down with philadelphiaflyers.com to discuss his life before and after the Flyers, his "prediction" and the nickname "Big Bird."

Question: What have you been doing since retiring from hockey in 1980?

Saleski:
“After retiring from hockey, I worked for Aramark for 18 years. I began my career at Aramark as the sales director in the company’s business services group. After a series of promotions, I became the area president of Aramark’s sports and entertainment group. After leaving that company, I worked for SMG (Spectacor Management Group) and later worked for Club Systems Group where I was the president and COO. I recently decided to start my own business, Business Edge Development. My company helps other organizations achieve, accelerate and sustain profitable growth by improving performance among front-line staff and managers. If anyone is interested or would like more information, they can contact me at [email protected] or call me at 484-433-1422.”

Question: You are also getting involved in speaking at leadership seminars, correct?

Saleski:
“Yes. I talk about the characteristics of an effective leader and what one needs to do to be a good leader. The principles that I discuss include - discipline, direction, organization, responsibility and courage.”

Question: Can you tell us how you met your wife, Mary Ann?

Saleski:
“She was Ed Snider’s administrative assistant. I was new in town and I met her around Christmas time. There were not a lot of malls back then and I had to do some holiday shopping and I asked if she wanted to go along. We were dating and a couple of months later she told Ed that she was getting married to some hockey player. He had no idea that we were dating. She actually told him at a Flyers game. She tried to point me out to him, but he thought she was pointing to someone in the stands. She told him, ‘No, he is wearing number 11 on the ice.’ We were married in six months time. Everybody told us that it would not work because we hardly knew each other. Thirty-two years later we are still happily married.”

Question: How is your family?

Saleski:
“We have two children, Erika (28) and Adam (27), living in Washington D.C. Erika is a graduate of American University and received her M.B.A. from the University of Chicago and just accepted a job in Washington D.C. Adam has an undergraduate degree from the University of Scranton and received his law degree from Widener and is involved in contract work.”

Question: After the Flyers lost to Montreal in the 1973 playoffs you were quoted in the book Full Spectrum as saying, “I went to Canada that summer and told everybody we were going to win the Stanley Cup next year.” Why were you so confident?

Saleski:
“I remember Mary Ann and I got married that summer and I took her back to Canada to introduce her to everybody. When I was up there, I was telling everyone that we were going to win it because the entire team had this feeling of confidence. We had a good run in the playoffs and we had great leadership with our Head Coach Fred Shero and our captain Bob Clarke. It was a matter of all of us coming together for the common goal of bringing the Stanley Cup to Philadelphia. I was convinced that we were going to win. There was no team in the NHL that was going to beat us. When I was telling everybody back home, they had a hard time believing me. The night we won the Stanley Cup I called everybody back home from a telephone in the locker room and let them know we won. People remember us as a team who liked to play rough, hence the nickname Broad Street Bullies, but we were loaded with talent, too.”

Question: You were traded to Colorado near the end of your career. Did that surprise you or did you want it to happen?

Saleski:
“ I asked (General Manager) Keith Allen to trade me. The Flyers were going in a different direction by playing a lot of the younger right wingers. I was not playing a lot. When I did play, I wasn’t getting a regular shift and there were other games when I did not play at all. I was near the end of my career so I asked Keith to trade me to a team where I would be able to make a contribution.”

Question: What was it like playing for Colorado and its head coach, Don Cherry?

Saleski:
“Don Cherry was in a tough circumstance. Don went from coaching a strong, talented Boston Bruins team to a very young team with little talent in Colorado. He had a hard time dealing with that.”

Question: How was that for you?

Saleski:
“It was difficult. I went from winning close to 50 games (a season) with the Flyers to winning 15 with Colorado. When you are competing every night just trying to keep the score close, it’s a whole different mentality then when you are competing to win. It was tough on me, but I also felt bad for the young guys on the team because they would really get down and demoralized. We had a real poor hockey team.”

Question: Besides winning the Stanley Cup with the Flyers, what are your favorite memories about your playing days?

Saleski:
“Beating the Russians was special. But when I think of memories I think of the team and how we had a common vision. We supported each other and we really had this bond. We still do. I don’t see the guys that often, but when we do see each other there is the feeling of excitement. It is almost like a brotherhood.”

Question: How did you get started in hockey?

Saleski:
“We lived on an Indian reservation in Saskatchewan and my dad made this rink in our backyard. I skated on it a lot of times by myself. I didn’t start organized hockey until I was 11. My first year of playing organized hockey was interesting because I never played with other kids before so I was pretty much a puck-hog. I would get the puck and try to score goals and not pass it to anybody. I was not used to having teammates.”

Question: Did you consider yourself a tough, enforcer type of player?

Saleski:
“I never considered myself a tough guy. I was more of an instigator. I caused a lot of problems and Dave Schultz would finish them off. I was competitive and wanted to win, so I did whatever I could to help the team.”

Question: You played on the Sesame Street line with Dave Schultz (Grouch) and Orest Kindrachuk (Oscar). How did you get the nickname “Big Bird?”

Saleski:
“Orest gave it to me. If my memory is correct, during a pre-game warm-up at the Spectrum some kid with his mother was watching us skate and the kid says ‘that guy (me) looks like Big Bird.’ Orest heard the kid and he was all over me and it stuck from there.”

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Flyers
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,094 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Chairman Ed Snider appears on Daily News Live in Philly

Panel discusses issues involving the Flyers, including NHL Lockout and Phantoms' success

Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider appeared on the Thursday, June 16 edition of Comcast SportsNet's Daily News Live. Snider appeared along with Philadelphia Daily News sportswriters Rich Hofmann and Bob Cooney and the show’s host Michael Barkann.

The following is a recap of the discussion:

Barkann: You had to be happy with the way the Philadelphia Phantoms performed in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Snider:
“It was absolutely amazing. Over 20,000 fans showed up for the final game at the Wachovia Center, which set an all-time attendance record in the American Hockey League.”

Barkann: Bob Clarke was on the show recently and he said that the Flyers can have as many as eight players from the Phantoms make the Flyers' roster next season. That has to sound pretty encouraging for you.

Snider:
“It is very encouraging. It helps us with whatever happens with the salary cap because these young players will just be starting out.”

Barkann: That is assuming there is going to be a season. Is there going to be a season?

Snider:
“There is going to be a season. Negotiations are ongoing. You know as much as I do. The bottom line is they (NHL and NHLPA) are meeting six to eight hours a day. They are not wasting each other’s time. Something is going to happen and I have my fingers crossed that something is going to happen soon.”

Hofmann: Have they really not kept you guys (owners) informed?

Snider:
“They have kept us informed talking about general things. They are knocking it out one day at a time and trying to agree on everything. You never know when things will blow up, but we are hoping we can get a deal done and everybody signs it.”

Barkann: Are you like many of the fans, meaning you just want to hear when an agreement has finally been reached or are you constantly involved in hearing reports?

Snider:
“I try to get as much information as I can. But there really is not a whole lot of information coming out. They are keeping it very tight because they do not want any leaks and the problems caused by leaks.”

Cooney: Has this been the toughest time of your tenure with the Flyers?

Snider:
“Nothing compares to this lockout. In the final analysis, it had to be done. I do not think hockey could survive as we know it if we do not get the kind of agreement we need. That is why the owners were unanimous in backing (NHL Commissioner) Gary Bettman.”

Hofmann: Are you going to be playing to a half empty arena when hockey returns?

Snider:
“I would like to think that the 20,000 fans at the Phantoms game was not an accident. I realize that ticket prices are less for minor league hockey. But we have great fans in this city. I do not think our fans will disappear. In most of the e-mails that we received, the fans were behind us 100 percent. The fans wanted the game straightened out. They did not want to see these astronomical salaries and lack of competition in some situations. I think the fans are with us and I am hoping that we will be just as strong coming back as we were when we left.”

Cooney: To ensure that, have you looked ahead and said, ‘what can we do for the fans and to make it more appealing for them to come back?'

Snider:
“We have a total program in place that we have been planning for a long time. We have had nothing else to do. We are going to make the game more exciting. This is happening at the league level, which will have to be voted on. There were a lot of new rules in the AHL this year, some of which we all liked. We are talking about the shootout and a lot of other things. I am hoping many of these things happen. The game will be more exciting and wide open.”

Hofmann: Are we going to see bigger nets?

Snider:
“Those rule changes are all up for grabs.”


Hofmann: If the NHL is going to be starting training camp in September and the regular season in October, isn’t it kind of late in the game to decide? The goalie equipment changes apparently just got pushed through. The goalies need time to break in this new equipment.

Snider:
“There is no question that we are under the gun. We are going to do what we can this year and what we cannot do this year we are going to do in future years. All leagues try to improve by regularly changing their rules. Players have gotten bigger, faster and stronger. An example of this is when the NFL moved their goalposts back 10 yards because the field goal kickers became so good. Heck, you still see guys kicking 50 yard field goals despite the goalposts being moved back.”

Hofmann: The NFL changes their rules every two to three years to keep in more offense. Nobody talks about this, but basketball made the biggest change of all when they added the three-point shot. They changed the value of a basket by 50 percent. People say you would be destroying the history of the game if you made the net bigger in hockey. That is crazy. I’m all for it.
Snider: “People loved it when we went to four-on-four hockey during regular season overtime games. It was really exciting. We are a competitive sport, but we are also in the entertainment business. Purists, like myself, appreciate 1-0 and 2-1 games, but it is not fan friendly. You have to have a little more action and scoring.”

Barkann: What about changing the color of the ice?

Snider:
“No, we do not have to do that. That is not going to happen.”

Hofmann: When they write the history of the NHL’s past year, what are they going to say?

Snider:
“It depends on the writer (laughs). We cannot control what is written. I think when history looks back they are going to say that we got the best agreement with our players in all of sports. We implemented a system that creates competition at all levels and there is not going to be ‘haves’ and ‘haves nots.’ Every team is going to have an equal chance to win. As much as I like the fact that the Flyers had a little more ability to do more than some other NHL teams who had less money to spend, the truth of the matter is that this was unfair. We want to be able to win because we are better than everybody else and we do a better job, not because we have more dollars.”

Hofmann: The truth of the matter is your fan base is used to going to the playoffs every year. They might not always like the result, but they are used to at least making the playoffs.

Snider:
“We are going to keep doing that. We really like our future for many years to come. Unless our staff is incredibly wrong, we really feel that we have a bright future with all the young players that we have coming up from the Phantoms.”

Barkann: You stated that you are confident that the season will start back up. Do you think it will start at its normal time and, if not, does that present any problems?

Snider:
“Absolutely. We want to start our normal time in October. The league people are working very hard to get that done and I have my fingers crossed that nothing is going to jeopardize it.”

Barkann: What is going to happen to NHL players of the world like Roenick, Amonte and LeClair when this new CBA agreement is finalized?

Snider:
“We have to wait and see what the cap is and what our situation is and where we fit. Obviously with the cap being much lower than what our payroll was before, we will have to find a way to meet the cap.”

Cooney: Earlier you mentioned the young kids with the Phantoms. I am guessing you were looking at the whole situation a little differently this year where not only are you looking at the young talent coming up but you are also planning for the salary cap and thinking, ‘out with the old and in with the new.’”

Snider:
“Absolutely. But we would not bring in the new unless we felt they were ready. Fortunately, Bob Clarke and his group have done an incredible job. Paul Holmgren heads up our scouting department and he has done a wonderful job. We got some great kids coming up. We are not bringing these kids up because of the salary cap. We are bringing them up because they are ready to play in the NHL.”

Hofmann: Building a roster is going to happen fast. There is going to be a lot of roster changes. Is the coach more important now, in the short term, and are you pretty happy with the guy you have?

Snider:
“The coach is always important. We are very fortunate to have Ken Hitch****. This guy is a great man and coach. We are in very good hands and he will be great for the young players.”

Hofmann: Will there be a lot more revenue sharing in the new agreement?

Snider:
“I do not know if there will be a lot more, but there will be revenue sharing. I am pretty certain.”

Barkann: Will there be a hard cap or can you exceed it and pay a luxury tax? How will this work?

Snider:
“Do you guys want to get me fined? (laughs)”


Barkann: We have to push you a little (laughs).

Snider:
“I lost enough money last year!”

Friday, June 17, 2005

Flyers
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,094 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Paul Holmgren Disscusses Prospects and Upcoming Draft

Guess the CBA will be signed, sealed and delivered pretty soon if he is talking about a draft:

Flyers' assistant general manager keeping busy


Mike Richards (left) and Jeff Carter proved their value to the Flyers during the 2005 Calder Cup playoffs.

Flyers Assistant General Manager Paul Holmgren recently took some time for a question and answer session with philadelphiaflyers.com. Holmgren addressed such topics as the championship runs of the Philadelphia Phantoms and Trenton Titans, the emergence of Jeff Carter and Mike Richards during the Calder Cup playoffs, and how the Flyers are preparing for the next draft should that occur this summer.

Question: How pleased are you with the Phantoms’ season this year?

Holmgren:
“We were all very pleased. The Phantoms had a real good mix of veterans and young players that head coach John Stevens had said a number of times that really cared for each other. More than any other sport, that is what hockey is all about. Near the end of the regular season, we were able to add Jeff (Carter) and then we were able to get Mike (Richards) after the first round of the playoffs. Those two guys came in and were accepted by the team that was there all year and that really speaks highly for the team. Throw into the mix that these two athletes are pretty good players and that makes it easier to accept. It worked well and the coaches did a great job of keeping the group together. Also, our East Coast Hockey League affiliate, Trenton Titans, won the Kelly Cup. They played tremendous hockey, too.”

Question: Did you get to see any of the Trenton games?

Holmgren:
“I was only able to watch a couple of their games in the finals, but it was pretty neat. To win a championship at any level is really special. The kids that went through that are going to be better prepared when they make the jump to the Phantoms next year.”

Question: What was it like watching the Phantoms’ final game at the Wachovia Center in front of 20,000 fans?

Holmgren:
“That was a very neat experience and I am sure it was quite an experience for those kids on the ice.”

Question: Did you have any idea that Jeff Carter would perform as well as he did by leading the entire league in playoff scoring?

Holmgren:
“Based on what Jeff did last year in the playoffs we knew he would help make an impact. Nobody knew he was going to lead the league in playoff scoring. The strides he made from last year to this year were tremendous. He is bigger, stronger, is more mature and his confidence level was sky high. If he gets a step on an opposing player, he can separate himself pretty quickly. That comes from playing a key role in two World Junior tournaments and winning the gold medal for Canada. He is ready to move on. His junior career is over and now he is ready to turn pro.”

Question: As you mentioned, Mike Richards joined the team after the first round and he too was an immediate impact player.

Holmgren:
“Mike was injured for about six weeks just prior to his junior team (Kitchener) competing in the Ontario Hockey League playoffs. He got a chance to recover and get some rest. Mike literally carried his team through their playoff run. They were down two games to none against Erie in the first round and his team came back and won four straight games. Kitchener was a heavy underdog against Owen Sound in the second round and Kitchener won four straight again. In one game Mike recorded six points in a 6-5 win against Owen Sound. Kitchener was a heavy underdog again playing against London and the team actually stole a game. Kitchener was not nearly as talented as London, who actually ended up winning the Memorial Cup in Canada. We did not know what to expect when he joined the Phantoms, but we obviously knew Mike was an exceptionally good two-way player. There is a trade deadline similar to the NHL called the ‘clear-day’ period where you submit your playoff list. We had opportunities to make roster changes and in the back of our minds we were hopeful all along that we could get Jeff and Mike to play for the Phantoms. Obviously, they added immensely to the success of the Phantoms’ playoff run.”

Question: Bob Clarke said that there could be as many as six to eight players from the Phantoms who could end up on the Flyers’ roster next year. That has to be encouraging.

Holmgren:
“I would even expand that number two to three years down the road. If you take the Phantoms team from this year, there may be 10 guys from this team who in a couple of years could become the core of the Flyers. There are probably five or six players that will make the jump next year for sure. I really like our prospects.”

Question: The Flyers have done such a good job on scouting future players. Is it luck or is there a science in projecting what athletes are going to be NHL players?

Holmgren:
“There is some luck involved. Picking players in the amateur draft is not an exact science. A lot of times you do not even know what number you are picking. You do as much homework as you can but you still do not know as much as you would like to when you are drafting these 18-year-old kids. We are able to interview prospects and have them go through psychological and physical fitness testing, but you still don’t know. There are a lot of things involved and luck is one of them. Our scouting staff works extremely hard. We communicate and interact very well as a group. No egos are involved. Our scouting staff’s number one goal is to make the Flyers a better team. If you look at some of our recent drafts, we have had good success with our picks in the later rounds. Guys like Simon Gagne (22nd overall) and Justin Williams (28th overall). Bob Clarke made a real good trade in order to move up in the 2002 NHL draft in order to select Joni Pitkanen. We were not even scheduled to have a pick that year until the second round. The 2003 NHL draft was loaded. We were able to secure a first round pick from Phoenix and were able to secure a number of third round picks in that draft. Not only did we get Carter and Richards, we got Stefan Ruzicka (81st pick), Alexandre Picard (85th), Ryan Potulny (87th) and Rejean Beauchemin (191st). These are names that are going to be heard in the Philadelphia area because they are going to be good players in our system.”

Question: How is this year’s draft compared to others?

Holmgren:
“I mentioned earlier we do not know when we pick and that is certainly the case this year. There is one clear-cut player who everyone has heard of and he is Sidney Crosby. There is no question he will be the first pick in the 2005 draft. After that, there are a fair number of players remaining. This draft is not as deep as the 2003 draft, but it is a good draft.”

Question: How important is the development of players within the system?

Holmgren:
“Very important. We talk about how important the draft is, but the development of our players in the system is equally as important. We have a tremendous developmental staff. Our minor league coaching staff is one of the best in the American Hockey League and the East Coast Hockey League. We also have a great strength and conditioning coach in Jim McCrossin. Things like having an athlete out of shape or a little overweight do not faze me because I know once that player joins our stable Jimmy will do a great job at getting this player into shape. As an 18-year-old hockey player, you might not have everything going for you. You might be a good hockey player but you might need to lose some body fat or get stronger. Our staff explores every option to give this player every opportunity to make the NHL.”

Question: You mentioned Sidney Crosby. Any other names pop out in this year’s draft?

Holmgren:
“Bobby Ryan from Cherry Hill, NJ would be one of the names. He can be drafted anywhere from two to 10 in this draft. Benoit Pouliot, Marc Staal, who is the brother of NHL player Eric Staal, Jack Johnson, Ryan O’Maara, Brendan Mikkelson, and Jacub Kindl. There is also a good group of goalies including Tuukko Rask, Ondrej Pavelec, and Carey Price. Like I mentioned earlier, this draft is not as deep as 2003, but it is a solid draft.”

Question: How did your job as assistant general manager change during the NHL work stoppage?

Holmgren:
“My job really did not change that much at all other than the fact that I did not attend any NHL games. We were very fortunate as a scouting staff at the pro and amateur level because Flyers ownership allowed for us to operate business as usual. Heading into this new NHL, the entry draft, player development and the knowledge of young players are the three most important keys in moving forward and making sure our team is a contender for years to come. Our organization knows the AHL better than we have ever known it.”

Flyers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
I agree, a lot of teams lately have renewed the contracts of their coaches so i am sure we ill hear something very soon.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,094 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
New wrinkles in NHL face-lift -- Moran article


Defenseman Freddy Meyer could challenge for a spot on the Flyers.

NEW WRINKLES IN FACE-LIFT

By ED MORAN

[email protected]

THE LOCKOUT is almost over.

Sometime soon, probably next week, the NHL and the players union will complete the contract they have been drafting for the last 2 months and announce a tentative agreement has been reached.

A vote by all the players and approval from the NHL Board of Governors will be needed to finalize the deal, but no one expects a problem.

The signs of a settlement to the 10-month standoff are all there.

For the past few weeks, clubs have been planning marketing campaigns, making coaching and management moves, and preparing to put together a roster that fits the new economic order.

Older players will be bought out, younger players will be signed, new rules will be instituted to open up the game, and teams will begin the difficult task of bringing back their fans.

Some teams will have a tougher time than others. Boston, for example, has only 12 players under contract. And for smaller-market teams in non-traditional hockey towns, the focus will have to be marketing.

But if there is any team that is going to come out of this long, cold shutdown in excellent shape, it's the Flyers.

The Phantoms' Calder Cup championship was anchored by a group of talented, young prospects. The Flyers have every reason to believe that they have both a product they can market to the fans and a team that can legitimately compete for a championship for years.

"There is a real buzz in the organization," Flyers coach Ken Hitch**** said. "Everybody in the organization - the coaches, the players that were here prelockout, everybody - that I talk to is excited for a number of reasons.''

First, Hitch**** spoke of the Flyers' playoff performance last season, when they advanced to Game 7 of the conference finals before falling to Tampa Bay.

"The way we finished up, everybody felt like we made some giant steps in becoming a championship team,'' he said. "Secondly, every player I talk to recognizes what the Phantoms did, and when you see players who are young, skilled and enthusiastic, it certainly has the Flyers' coaching staff and all the players excited."

As well as the marketing staff. One of the biggest challenges in getting fans back will be regaining their interest. In that regard, the Flyers should be aided by their young talent base that fueled the Phantoms.

Their top prospects, centers Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, joined the Phantoms from the junior ranks and jumped to the top of the depth chart. Gaining another year of experience were three who already have played for the Flyers - defensemen Joni Pitkanen and Dennis Seidenberg and forward Patrick Sharp. Forward R.J. Umberger was one of the Phantoms' surprising players, and impressive young goalie Antero Niittymaki was the playoff MVP.

The Flyers' brass has spent the last few weeks planning their marketing campaign and talking about other incentives that should include cheaper tickets and affordable packages.

No one in the organization is willing to say exactly what those plans are until the new deal is announced. But they know they have to do something.

"We're working hard right now trying to get everything together so it works as well as possible," Flyers president Ron Ryan said. "We can't really get there until we get the deal, there's so many things that are unknown at this point, but we've been going pretty hard at it, going at all the angles.''

But he agrees the Flyers are in good shape.

"I haven't been this excited about young players in a long time," he said. "The Calder Cup was terrific and these kids are special. We're going to have a lot of fun watching these kids for a long time. This Calder Cup and the first one [in 1998] are so different. The first one was a veteran Cup, but this one was a prospect Cup. We're really upbeat about this."

What will the Flyers look like? Younger for sure is the immediate answer.

To get down to the $36 million to $39 million salary-cap level being discussed now, the Flyers are going to have to dump some big salaries. Expect John LeClair and Tony Amonte to be bought out. Don't look for Sean Burke, Alexei Zhamnov, Vladimir Malakhov, Marcus Ragnarsson or Mattias Timander to return.

Do expect to see Carter, Richards, Niittymaki make the roster. And look for Umberger and Phantoms defensemen Randy Jones and Freddy Meyer to compete for spots.

Sharp, Pitkanen and Seidenberg will be a year older, more experienced and ready to play more significant roles.

To that group of youngsters add winger Branko Radivojevic. Also on the forward line, mix in the veterans: Jeremy Roenick, Keith Primeau, Simon Gagne, Michal Handzus, Sami Kapanen, Radovan Somik, Todd Fedoruk, Donald Brashear and two free-agent wingers acquired last summer, Mike Knuble and Turner Stevenson. The Flyers have a mix of skilled, experienced veterans and dynamic prospects competing for jobs up front.

On defense will be Pitkanen, Seidenberg, Eric Desjardins, Kim Johnsson and Danny Markov, with other spots to be filled from among the Phantoms. Count on general manager Bob Clarke finding a tough, all-around veteran free agent to add to that mix.

In net, Robert Esche will have the starting job, with Niittymaki nipping at his heels.

"It's exciting," Clarke said. "Because we won the Calder Cup, we've got at least five or six young players that are good enough to step into the NHL, and will. It will be a new team and a young team."

That sounds good to Roenick.

"I heard a lot about the kids," he said. "I couldn't be more excited that these kids played as well as they did. With the emergence of Carter and Richards, some of the others having another year to develop, these kids are going to create a lot of energy.

"I really think our team is one of the stronger teams coming out. I really wonder what room there is going to be for me."

There will be changes, for sure. Roenick, for instance, should be moved to wing to make room for the young centers, something he has yet to talk about with Hitch****.

"I'm sure [Hitch****] is going to ask me to do a lot of things," Roenick said. "He and I are going to have to sit down and lay the groundwork. I definitely have a couple of good years left; with me it's just how long I want to do this.''

Roenick is 35, with a history of concussions.

"This year off has opened my eyes to a lot of other things in life - my family and my health. I just have to get on that motivation page."

And on the marketing page.

Roenick last week caused a huge stir with comments he made at a golf tournament sponsored by Mario Lemieux in suburban Pittsburgh. Roenick, responding to a question about what he would say to fans who believed the lockout was the result of greedy players, said those fans could "kiss my ass."

Roenick spent the rest of the week in separate interviews trying to clarify his feelings.

"We need to change the rules, the owners need to lower tickets, put packages together to help bring in fans that can't afford them,'' Roenick said. "We need to do things that are more public-oriented, more conducive to allowing cameras into the games, to let them see the personalities.''

Those are words the Flyers will expect him to back up.

"For me, every person on the competitive level - coaches, players, everyone - we will have to act like sales people, from the way we play to the level of energy.

"We have to do everything in our power to try and invite people to come to the rink. We have to assume that everyone has gone somewhere else to spend their money and we have to do everything we can to bring the fans back into the building."

Daily News
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,094 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Clarke discusses Future of the Flyers

General Manager eager to start next season


Bob Clarke, Flyers scout Serge Boudreault and Paul Holmgren at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft last summer.

Flyers General Manager Bob Clarke last week sat down for an interview with the local television network, CN8. He addressed such issues as the future of the Flyers organization, the Phantoms winning the Calder Cup, rule changes that could be incorporated into the NHL, and finally how anxious he is to get back to work.


Question: Nobody knows for when there will be new CBA agreement, but would you say it would be sooner or later?

Clarke:
“From the rumors we hear, it is closing in on ending.”


Question: One would think everybody has had enough and it is time to go back to work.

Clarke:
“I think that is the feeling everybody has. It has dragged on far too long. Let’s get it done. It is time to go to work.”

Question: Should we see a lot of the Phantoms making an impact with the Flyers once they hit the ice?

Clarke:
“Yes. There will be six or seven of them for sure. Our team was a very young team in the American Hockey League and they won the Calder Cup so how much better can we get? We don’t know what the salary levels are going to be in the NHL but we will certainly buy-out some of the veteran players and make room for these kids, because they have to play and they are good enough to play in the NHL. They are ready for the NHL.”

Question: Was it a good “stop-gap” for the fans to have hockey, even if it was minor league hockey, and for the team to deliver a championship to the city?

Clarke:
“The AHL playoffs were really good and entertaining. Some of these 19, 20 and 21-year-old kids played so good and at such a high level in order to win. For our organization and the fans that was very encouraging because these kids are going to be the future of the Flyers.”

Question: There was enthusiasm on the ice and in the stands during the AHL playoffs. What is it going to be like when the NHL starts again? It is not going to be the same old thing, correct?

Clarke:
“It’s not going to be the same old game for sure and it’s not going to be the same old players either. I think a lot of NHL teams are going to put a lot of their young players into their line-up. They’re going to have to. They’re obviously going to be cheaper but they are also going to be ready for the NHL. The AHL was so good this year because all the young players were already there. Junior hockey was so much better because players like (Jeff) Carter and (Mike) Richards stayed that extra year. We developed a lot of young players this winter and a many will be playing in the NHL next year. Also, the recent rule changes to keep the action constant. There will be more sustained action than there ever has been in the past.”

Question: Does the game need that at this time?

Clarke:
“The rule changes don’t have to be huge, but I think a rule like the tag-up rule will allow more forechecking. Personally I don’t think the red line needs to be taken out. The red line was actually put in to increase offense. I think if we take it out it will just increase defense, not increase the offense that some people think it will.”

Question: How have you been able to deal with this whole work stoppage?

Clarke:
“You go through the stages of anger and then frustration. Eventually it becomes, ‘Just tell us when it’s over.’ We are not even involved on a day-to-day, week-to-week or month-to-month basis like the people who are negotiating. The rest of us are tired of the whole thing. We just want to be told when it is finally over.”

Question: We all know how you love the game. Can you take a step back and say ‘what have we done here?’

Clarke:
“What we did was hurt the game, the owners and players. Now we have a lot of preparing to do to get the fans back and happy with the players and the game. We’re going to certainly try our hardest to make it happen in Philadelphia. Other cities like Montreal, Toronto, Boston and other cities that have been successful in the past should be okay. How much it is going to hurt Nashville, Atlanta, Florida and teams like these, remains to be seen.”

Question: What do you think the fan reaction is going to be when things start again?

Clarke:
“I think it’s going to be okay in Philly. Fans are going to be excited about our team because they are going to be able to watch all these young players. We brought in players like (Eric) Lindros and (John) LeClair when they were young and the building was full and I think are building will be full again. We will have an exciting product.”

Question: Maybe not from a talent standpoint, but from a dollars and cents standpoint, do you think the superstars of hockey will disappear?

Clarke:
“No. The best players will always be the best players, regardless of the games and rules. They will always be paid the best. The rules we were under in the last agreement caused a lot of players to make a lot of money. Players made this money because they were free agents in a year where there were not too many free agents and a team that had money needed that particular player. This did not mean this player was a star, but he got star money. Under what we understand what this new agreement is about, we will have more parity amongst the teams. Star players on a team will still be paid the most but you won’t have the “non” stars getting that kind of star money.”

Question: At some point you will hopefully have a new collective bargaining agreement. How long will the healing process be between the owners and the players?

Clarke:
“There really is not a problem between Philadelphia Flyers players and Philadelphia management. The majority of the players and majority of the managers have been kept out of everything that has gone on. I don’t think the players are blaming me or Flyers management or Mr. Snider because of what has been happening and we are certainly not blaming them. There will be no healing process necessary here. It may be different in some cities that I am not aware of.”

Question: So trust is not an issue with the Flyers?

Clarke:
“No. We trust the athletes will play the best they possibly can for us and they trust that we will but the best possible team together on the ice to try and win games.”

Question: For lack of a better word, how are you going to ‘sell’ the game? Is it going to be a recovery or a new beginning or some of both?

Clarke:
“Probably some of both. Once this agreement is in place, and we are assuming that we are going to have an agreement, I hope to get our players back and out in the public. We want the people to know that we are going to play and know what our team is going to be. More than sell the individual players, we sell the team. It’s always about the team.”

Question: Does it look like this season is going to start on time?

Clarke:
“Every rumor we hear is that they are coming close to finalizing a deal. I am certainly hoping that it starts on time.”

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Flyers
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,094 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
NHL| As talks plod, Clarke sets up a plan

Negotiations continued for the eighth straight day. When a deal comes, the Flyers aim to be prepared.

By Marc Narducci

Inquirer Staff Writer

The NHL and its players' association are still reportedly inching closer toward an agreement after meeting for the eighth straight day yesterday in New York.

The two sides have met for nine consecutive weeks in an effort to end the lockout that began on Sept. 16.

The NHL's executive committee also met yesterday with commissioner Gary Bettman to be briefed on the progress of negotiations.

Things have been so tight-lipped about the NHL's negotiations that even executives such as Flyers general manager Bob Clarke don't know exactly how the collective-bargaining agreement will turn out. That doesn't mean that the Flyers haven't made a game plan for the 2005-06 season. It's just that nothing at this point can be concrete.

"Just using the rumors we got, we have a plan in place for what we are going to do," Clarke said. "If the rumors we heard are true, then we know who will be on the Flyers next season."

That means the Flyers have an idea whose contracts they would buy out, whom they would try to sign, and if they would be able to bid for any free agents.

The NHL is expected to have a salary cap in the $37 million range. The players will take a relatively big salary hit. By most accounts, salaries aren't expected to exceed 54 percent of leaguewide revenue.

Some estimates are that the average salary will drop from $1.85 million to about $1 million. Included in the agreement is an expected 24 percent rollback of existing contracts.

Still, Flyers captain Keith Primeau said that he and many of the players he had spoken to are only thinking about returning to the ice after a long hiatus.

"The players are excited to be getting back," said Primeau, who has been invited to the Canadian Olympic team's training camp Aug. 15-20 in British Columbia. "I felt there was always urgency for us to get back on the ice, and there is more so now. There has been so much anxiety as this thing has lingered on."

The slow pace in negotiations has come about because both sides want to understand every detail and ensure that there is no confusion once a deal is announced.

When that happens is anybody's guess; it could be tomorrow at the earliest.

The snail's pace in coming to an agreement is proof to Primeau that the two sides were never close to a settlement last winter. There had been several reports that the two sides were close to a deal in February.

"We feel there was no opportunity for us in the winter," Primeau said in a telephone interview from Canada. "The sides have been meeting for weeks now and they still haven't finalized the deal, so how were they going to do it in the winter and get on with a season?"

Clarke felt that a deal was close in February, but now he doesn't dispute Primeau's claim.

"In hindsight, he is probably right," Clarke said. "At the time, I thought they were close."

Clarke was not involved in the negotiations. "It looked like where we sat, once a salary limit was in place, the rest would fall easily," he said. "But we were wrong."

Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or [email protected].

Philly.com
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,094 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Flyers have the early edge by Al Strachan

Toronto Sun

The new agreement in the National Hockey League will do more than change the way of doing business. It will change the seeding.

As a result, by the time the new season begins, the team that should have the best chance of winning the Stanley Cup is the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Flyers are a team that has cash and doesn't mind spending it, so their most likely course of action is a jettisoning of some of the high-salaried veterans.

Look for the Flyers to buy out any or all of: Tony Amonte, John LeClair, Donald Brashear, Danny Markov and Eric Desjardins.

Jeremy Roenick, who scored the goal that eliminated the Maple Leafs from the most recent playoffs, can be retained. He was under contract for $6.5 million this year but under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, that figure will be reduced to $5.6 million.

That still leaves the Flyers $33.4 million to stock the rest of the team.

The Flyers gladly will pay the maximum to two of their 2003 draft picks, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, both of whom are ready to play in the NHL.

A clause in the new CBA allows those two players to sign at the salary level that was available to them before the lockout. Players drafted this year will be limited to an $850,000 salary.

The Flyers also will re-sign goaltender Robert Esche, who is a restricted free agent and only earned $560,000 US last season.

The Flyers were a solid team that advanced to the Eastern Conference final and most of those players, many of whom are now restricted free agents, can be expected to return.

But even after those acquisitions, the Flyers will have plenty of salary-cap room left to entice free-agent Scott Niedermayer.

They probably would even have enough money left to bring in Mike Modano and reunite him with the coach who prodded him to his best years, the Flyers' Ken Hitch****.

Flyers CEO Ed Snider was bitter about being left out of the serious CBA negotiations. There's nothing he'd like better than to use the CBA he wasn't allowed to craft to defeat those who shunted him to the side.



Only problems with the article is that Markov will not be bought out and Modano won't be here. No way...right?


Toronto Sun
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,094 Posts
1 - 20 of 91 Posts
Top