Was at a bar last night in Manayunk when I look over and see Neil Little. He came over to where we were at, when I asked him if he was who I thought he was. Super nice guy. We talked hockey for probably about 15 minutes. He is just so happy with the success the Phantoms are having right now. He couldn'y stop gushing about the progress of Niittymaki. He said he has no problems with his lack of playing time this season, admitting that his time has come and his job now is to mentor Antero. Asked him to compare Antero with Bouch, and without hesitation he said Antero is way better. Asked who he thought had the brightest future on the Phantoms, and again without hesitation his answer was Niittymaki. Definitely no jealousy on his part with Antero. Asked about Antero's progression from when he came over to now, and he just couldn't stop talking about how good he has become. Just kept saying that this bunch of kids on the Phantoms are great. I asked him if I could buy him a beer and he accepted willingly. I asked what he wanted and he said "whatever" so I asked if he would do a car-bomb with me, but he was like "No Way!" So we had a couple bottle beers. Saw me once or twice later on and he was just having such a good time he gave me a high five. Again, a super classy guy and real friendly.
Litts is definitely one of the nice guys in the sport. Whenever I see him, he always seems to find time for everyone that wants to talk with him.
Further, he has done a great mentoring Niittymaki. I remember Antero's rookie season and it was nerve-wracking watching him in net. He would duck whenever a shot came near his head. He has developed into one of the top netminding prospects in the league. When/if the NHL resumes, I would like to see if he can take Esche's job away from him. My concern with Niittymaki is that if the lockout continues, he may choose to go back home and play in one of the Elite leagues in Europe.
Back to Litts, it's no wonder why he has spent his entire career with the Flyers organization. He will make a great goalie coach when he does retire.
seeing the name Niel Little makes me thing of that brawl with Binghamton last year and him diving into that pile :lol
Funny you should mention that, CMGDC. Honestly, I lost a lot of respect for Neil after that stunt. I have no problem with him dropping the gloves with someone, but that move could have resulted in a serious injury, not only to a B-Sen player, but to a teammate as well. I thought that was a very "Slap Shot" thing to do.
There's no question that the guy can hold his own with any other goaltender out there (although I think he would have a tough time with Ray Emery with Emery's amateur boxing background), I just thought that move was very bush league.
I am glad Lttle is still with the Phantoms. He seems like a good team/organIzation guy.
As for the being a nice guy, that is good to hear. He is a career minor leaguer, so he really has no reason to big time anyone, but some guys are just losers, and think they are special, even though they are not prospects (some of us make more money -not me of course, teacher salary and all- than some of those minor leaguers who think they are special). It is good to hear Little is not that way. I hope he is happy being a mentor to Flyers goaltending prospects. Good mentors with the right attitude are hard to find and after Frank is promoted Reg B, Tremblay and Bruckler are coming. Look for Clarke to move one.
My cynical nature is telling me to look for Clarke to move all of them. :lol
Speaking of Clarke, he has always been a gentleman when I have met him (really so have other players - hockey players are still better than other major sport guys). Clarke actually bought a friend of mine's family a bottle of wine in a restaurant once (I think he felt guilty about shooing my buddy who was a kid at the time away while he was eating ).