Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hockeyology: Requiem for the Spectrum

By Rick Morris

As we announced in July on the occasion of our 500th post at The FDH Lounge, our new Friends of FDH Club is bringing together several like-minded entities to work even closer. One of the positive consequences of this is increased content-sharing and syndication between our various entities.

Sportsology is a member of the club, and as such, from time to time, their content will be spotlighted in its entirety right here. This is one such occasion.

Our friend Russ Cohen covered a very special event recently: the final NHL game to be played in Philadelphia’s vaunted Spectrum. When the Flyers and the Hurricanes tangled in a preseason tilt, it signaled the end of an era for a building that saw everything from the Broad Street Bullies to the Legion of Doom.

Here is the article in its entirety, from the Sportsology subsidiary Hockeyology.

A Special Day for the Spectrum

By Russ Cohen


(Philadelphia, PA) - The Philadelphia Flyers got a 4-2 preseason win over the Carolina Hurricanes in the last NHL game to ever take place at the Spectrum.

Before the game started, many of the teams former captains gathered for an on-ice celebration that had the old barn rocking.

Each captain was represented by a flag that was being skated around and they came out one-by-one much to the delight of everybody in attendance. Lou Angotti (67-68), Ed Van Impe (68-73), Mel Bridgman (79-81), Bob Clarke (73-79, 82-84), Bill Barber (81-82), Dave Poulin (84-89), Ron Sutter (89-91), Kevin Dineen (93-94), Eric Desjardins (00-01), Keith Primeau (01-06), and Derian Hatcher (06-07).

Here is what some of the captains had to say about this day:

“I never realized the significance of it at the time, but I do now. - - Lou Angotti

“When you are playing, you are not really aware of anything that’s going on other than what’s on the ice and what’s at the practice rink. But we are one of the very, very few and maybe the only one (franchise) in the NHL that’s had one owner who cared about his players long before other teams were caring about their players, cared about our families and I think more than anybody it was how Mr. Snider treated all of us that lent people living here, staying here, and wanting to remain part of this organization. The longevity of people in this organization is how Mr. Snider treated us all obviously.” - - Bob Clarke

“Different players get their identity put with one team; obviously, I think Clarke set the example for all of us that followed him as a captain and that’s a pretty high bar to set.” - - Kevin Dineen

“If you look around all 30 cities for the teams involved in the National Hockey League, I think the Philadelphia area provides the most ex-players as an alumni contingent than any other city and there is a reason. I think one is the warmth of the city. I can’t say you as writers are, but the fans are, with that said that we had a unique thing with our fans in that period of time in the 70’s were locals all around this building in South Philly and they admired the team led by Bob Clarke and Ed Van Impe, Barry Ashbee, Joe Watson, Gary Dornhoffer, these guys put everything on the line game in and game out and that goes for the young players coming in followed their lead and we, I think, took over the city in that sense.” - - Bill Barber.

“I think Lou Angotti stated it as the first captain here in Philadelphia, and I think anything you can take with you from a player of Bobby Clarke’s stature in an organization, and I think that’s probably what allowed us, myself for sure because I came after him, to be successful or be perceived as successful because of learning from a guy like that and if we can pass that on to other captains coming along than I think this franchise will continue to go on.” - - Mel Bridgeman

“Having the captains on the ice was pretty special for me. To be presented with the “C” with Mr.Snider out there and then the other captains is something that I’m not going to forget.” - - Mike Richards

Each jersey worn by the players had a special “Spectrum” patch and they will be auctioned off at a later date.

Lauren Hart sang “God Bless America” with Kate Smith and the game began. Again, since it was a preseason affair, I will focus on players rather than goals and what the score was.

Flyers defenseman Bryan Berard had a solid game. He skated well and he put a cross-ice pass right on the tape to Braydon Coburn who scored the first goal of the game.

The Flyers offense clearly outplayed the Hurricanes defense. Mike Richards' patient short-handed goal was made possible by some bad play in Carolina’s own end.

Riley Cote and Trevor Gillies had an action-pack tilt. Aaron Asham and Dan LaCouture’s scuffle wasn’t as entertaining.

Carolina’s defense let goaltender Cam Ward down more than a few times, and if they don’t get that ironed out, they could have a long season.

Chad LaRose had a solid game, a terrific speed burst on a goal, and he may be coming into his own as a player for the Canes.

Rich Bradley is the television stat guy who I have known for years, and he always gives me some gems each and every game. Here is what he told me today, and we will forever call them “Bradley’s Bytes”:

Top level Flyers employees; coaches and owner Ed Snider donned the Orange Blazers circa 1967. They were made with the 41-year-old fabric that the original jackets were made from. Television announcers Jim Jackson and Keith Jones did say they were a bit hot and that’s because they seemed to be made out of double knit polyester.

This day was a HUGE success and a real history lesson for me personally. I loved the video tribute and the Flyers pulled out all stops to make this a special day for the fans. Look for my special on XM that will have exclusive interviews and sound bytes with many of the Flyers captains. There is a lot of talk about the team’s consecutive Stanley Cup victories and beating the Russians.

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