Welcome to the Official Site of the Philadelphia Flyers Join the Flyer Wire List Official Facebook of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Twitter of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Instagram of the Philadelphia Flyers Official LinkedIn of the Philadelphia Flyers
 

Allen's foundation still echoes today

Jay Greenberg examines why the Flyers are an attractive place to play for anyone

Friday, 02.7.2014 / 2:14 PM ET / News
By Jay Greenberg  - philadelphiaflyers.com
X
Share with your Friends


Allen\'s foundation still echoes today
Jay Greenberg examines why the Flyers are an attractive place to play for any hockey player

Craig Berube grew up in Alberta before the NHL came to Edmonton and Calgary, when Canadian kids rooted for one of two teams, Montreal or Toronto, never mind the one in Vancouver that had just two winning seasons in its first 21.

“Really young, I was a Montreal fan,” said Berube. “But that kind of changed watching the Flyers winning the Stanley Cup, the way they played the game with a lot of heart, a lot of soul, and so much physical play.

“That’s attractive, it really is. The followers of that team became a cult.”

Forty years later, Wayne Simmonds wanted to worship that sect. Never mind that since he was born in 1988, the Flyers have been to just two Stanley Cup finals and four semifinals.

Over 25 years, in a league grown to 30 teams, arguably that’s a decent standard of success, but still nothing close to the seven semifinals and four finals the Flyers made in 14 years under the late Keith Allen. They have missed the playoffs only twice since emerging from the franchise’s one prolonged coma – 1990-94 -- but an entire generation of fans hardly has known them to be dominant.

So how do you explain all the black and orange in the stands whenever the Flyers come to Winnipeg or Toronto? Those persons are not all transplanted Philadelphians.

“When I heard I got traded to the Philadelphia Flyers, I was ecstatic,” said Simmonds.

Like virtually all the current members of the 2013-14 club, Simmonds can name only a few members of the Cup teams, probably would have to guess which team broke the Flyers hearts in Game 7 in 1987. But growing up in Toronto, Simmonds certainly knew when the Flyers came to town these weren’t the Thrashers or Predators.

“It’s a franchise rich in tradition,” he said. “Going all the way back to the Broad Street Bullies, they have done great things.”

Ed Snider says that even as Keith Allen’s memory faded of all those great things, and they were being continued by others, the builder of the Stanley Cup teams still deserved the credit for raising the bar and Flyers fans out of their seats in Los Angeles, or Florida or Dallas. If that profile has lasted 40 years after the Broad Street Bullies, it will continue long past his death Tuesday at age 90.

For those Bullies, some of the hardest asses in the game’s history, Allen found soft places for them to land, which as Bob Clarke and Ed Snider repeatedly have said, made Philadelphia a place players wanted to come, first to win, then to remain following their careers. Even through many first-round playoff crashes, one stretch of seven coaches in seven years and the unfortunate public tension between between Eric Lindros and Clarke, the Flyers remained an attractive destination.

Of course, few free agents, if any, ever have left money on the table. Snider and Comcast have put up the cash to enable Clarke and Paul Holmgren to get what they wanted. But Jeremy Roenick and Vinny Lecavalier didn’t come just for the last dollar, and neither did Danny Briere and Kimmo Timonen, the latter two signing up in the months following the Flyers’ worst-ever season in 2006-7.

“Everybody in the league knows what a great organization it is and how they treat players, so it was a plus when they were interested in me,” recalls Timonen. “I liked their reputation, liked the people from the Flyers I’d met.

“When Homer said he was going to do whatever it takes to get a good team here, I truly believed him. At the end of the [day] it wasn’t a hard choice to make.”

After being bought out by Tampa Bay last summer, Lecavalier had a tough call from among 17 franchises that had indicated interest. Many predicted Dallas as his landing spot but after having spent his entire 14-year career in a non-traditional hockey market, Vinny had been there and done that. He chose the Flyers.

“It’s not original six, but it still has that history,” Lecavalier said “I felt putting on this jersey would be very special.”

Undrafted out of junior, Berube would have signed with any team for a ham sandwich, but couldn’t believe his good fortune to be offered a contract by his favorite team. Five years later, he was traded to Edmonton, beginning his 23-season odyssey with six teams, two of which, Washington and Philadelphia, he played for twice.

“It sucked to get traded from here,” said Berube, never mind that deal occurred in 1991, two years into a playoff drought that would last three more.

“Clarke had been let go and that was a downer. It was awesome to come back (in 1999) but not really that unexpected because this always has been one of those loyal organizations that looks after the people it likes.

“Players around the league know that. Everywhere I went, teammates always were wondering what it was like here.

“It’s an attractive place, though not an easy place, because the organization and the fans demand a lot. So the biggest part of why players want to come here is because the organization always is trying to win.”

That's why Keith Allen rests in peace.


You can write to Jay Greenberg at jgreenberg@comcast-spectacor.net

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 82 22 59 1 81
C. Giroux 81 25 48 -3 73
M. Streit 81 9 43 -8 52
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
B. Schenn 82 18 29 -5 47
S. Couturier 82 15 22 4 37
M. Del Zotto 64 10 22 -5 32
M. Read 80 8 22 -4 30
M. Raffl 67 21 7 6 28
V. Lecavalier 57 8 12 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 18 18 11 .928 2.25
R. Emery 10 11 7 .894 3.06
Privacy Policy | AdChoices | California Privacy Rights | Contact Us | Advertise Employment | NHL.com Terms of Use

Philadelphiaflyers.com is the official Web site of the Philadelphia Flyers. Philadelphia Flyers and philadelphiaflyers.com are trademarks of Philadelphia Flyers, L.P. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Philadelphia Flyers, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.