Hockey Fan Forums banner
1 - 2 of 2 Posts

· Registered
25,516 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Canadian Press
Feb 11, 2007, 1:46 PM EST

(CP) - Keith Primeau was honestly baffled when the Philadelphia Flyers informed him they would honour their former captain before Monday night's game against Detroit.

"I was a little confused," Primeau said. "Because I have a hard time understanding that I deserve it. I appreciate it and I'm honoured, and that makes me nervous and anxious. I'm just humbled by it."

He knows he'll probably get a little misty-eyed Monday when the Flyers honour him with a video montage of his career highlights as well as gifts from the club. He'll be asked to say a few words and be joined for the on-ice presentation by his wife Lisa and children Corey, Kylie, Chayse and Cayden.

"I'm trying to prepare myself not to be emotional," said Primeau. "I don't know if that'll happen, if I'll be able to control it. There would be nowhere else I'd want to be recognized than in Philadelphia in front of Flyers fans. Because for me it's really been the best stop on my tour and I really feel as though I have a connection with the people of Philadelphia."

Primeau felt early on after coming over to Philadelphia from Carolina in January 2000 what Flyers fans appreciated - an honest effort.

"And that was the way I tried to play," he said. "I never was the leading scorer, I never was the playmaker - I really never led in any particular category - but always tried to play with the kind of passion and emotion that the people of Philadelphia would expect. I think that's why there's a fondness because I tried to play the way these people expect."

Former Flyers GM Bob Clarke, who acquired Primeau, says there's a another reason why Flyer fans embraced Primeau.

"Like fans everywhere, Philadelphia fans have a love of a hard-working player, but here in Philly they also have a bit of a love affair with a guy who has a nasty streak in him, too. And Keith had that," Clarke said. "I always considered that a strong asset for a player to have that."

Clarke should know, he also had that mean streak and is the most beloved player in Flyers history. Primeau had another common thread to Clarke - leadership.

"The biggest thing for me is that he really did a great job at getting other players to play," former Flyers head coach Ken Hitchcock, now coaching Columbus, said of Primeau. "He cut through to the chase, whether it was discussions in the locker-room about what the coach was saying or how other players were being played, how players viewed themselves, etc.

"He was able to get the players to just focus on competing and playing, which I think is what all good leaders do," added Hitchcock. "Sometimes it was with flowers, sometimes it was with an arm around the shoulder and sometimes it was with sandpaper. But he got through to the team to follow his lead to make sacrifices and compete."

The 15-year NHLer announced his retirement last September after he decided he wasn't fully recovered from a serious concussion he suffered in October 2005. His loss was a crippling blow to the Flyers.

1 - 2 of 2 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.