While this magazine hasn't had much good to say lately about the Philadelphia Flyers, their wives are another matter. One night each year they stage a carnival at the Spectrum, the building in which their menfolk toil as the NHL's most brazen brawlers, to raise money for leukemia research at Philadelphia's Hahnemann Hospital in memory of Barry Ashbee, the Flyer player and assistant coach who died of the disease in 1977. This year's "Fight for Lives" carnival was held the other night, and nearly 6,000 people showed up to bid at auction for such items as one of Mike Schmidt's bats (purchase price: $315) and a pair of Dr. J's size-15� sneakers (a steal at $100) and to be photographed, at $5 a crack, with members of the Flyers, most of whom also turned out for the occasion. Carny-goers also got a chance to dunk Flyers Bobby Clarke and Reggie Leach in a baseball toss booth. Thanks in large part to corporate largess in buying advertising for the event, the wives raised $175,000, swelling the take for leukemia research since the carnivals began to $625,000.
Speaking of Flyer wives, it was, in a way, a costly trade that sent Flyer Defenseman Norm Barnes to the Hartford Whalers recently for future considerations. Remember how Kate Smith's rendition of God Bless America used to fire up the Flyers at home games? Well, Smith had been succeeded by Barnes' wife, Cid, who had provided similar inspiration by ably singing the national anthem before Flyer games. So the Whalers may have gotten one more performer than they bargained for.
It took injuries to Ryan Callahan (doubtful after re-injuring the knee on Friday) and Sean Avery (possible for Game 1 of the first round, if necessary) to force John Tortorella to roll lines and give responsibility to more than a handful of forwards. Who knew? Well, basically everyone except the coach, but thats for another day.
Rolling thunder has been supported by improved work from the defense, notably from Dan Girardi, Marc Staal and Michal Rozsival. Substituting Anders Eriksson-nobody knew-for Matt Gilroy has steadied Wade Redden. The Blueshirts are more poised in their own end.
It will take a heaping dose of poise this afternoon. The Flyers will not go quietly into the night or the summer. There is too much to lose.
For both teams.
Tortorella said that Brian Boyle, if healthy enough, would replace Callahan if No. 24 is unable to play. Said Boyle, who has missed the entire surge with an ankle injury: Im good to go.
In a ceremony prior to the start of Sunday’s Flyers-Rangers game at the Wachovia Center, the Philadelphia Flyers announced the recipients of the 2009-10 Flyers team awards, which include: the Bobby Clarke Trophy for most valuable player; the Barry Ashbee Trophy for most outstanding defenseman; the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy for most improved player from the previous season as voted on by their teammates; the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award for the Flyer who best illustrates character, dignity and respect for the sport both on and off the ice; the Gene Hart Memorial Award given to the player who demonstrated the most “heart” during the season as voted on by members of the Fan Club at their monthly meetings; and the Toyota Cup, based on “Star of the Game” selections.
Team awards announced apparently
Clarke & Ashbee: Pronger
Lindbergh: Carle (shows just how "smart" this team is)
Class Guy and Gene Hart: Laperriere