Question: Should we see a lot of the Phantoms making an impact with the Flyers once they hit the ice?
Clarke: “Yes. There will be six or seven of them for sure. Our team was a very young team in the American Hockey League and they won the Calder Cup so how much better can we get? We don’t know what the salary levels are going to be in the NHL but we will certainly buy-out some of the veteran players and make room for these kids, because they have to play and they are good enough to play in the NHL. They are ready for the NHL.”
Question: Was it a good “stop-gap” for the fans to have hockey, even if it was minor league hockey, and for the team to deliver a championship to the city?
Clarke: “The AHL playoffs were really good and entertaining. Some of these 19, 20 and 21-year-old kids played so good and at such a high level in order to win. For our organization and the fans that was very encouraging because these kids are going to be the future of the Flyers.”
Question: There was enthusiasm on the ice and in the stands during the AHL playoffs. What is it going to be like when the NHL starts again? It is not going to be the same old thing, correct?
Clarke: “It’s not going to be the same old game for sure and it’s not going to be the same old players either. I think a lot of NHL teams are going to put a lot of their young players into their line-up. They’re going to have to. They’re obviously going to be cheaper but they are also going to be ready for the NHL. The AHL was so good this year because all the young players were already there. Junior hockey was so much better because players like (Jeff) Carter and (Mike) Richards stayed that extra year. We developed a lot of young players this winter and a many will be playing in the NHL next year. Also, the recent rule changes to keep the action constant. There will be more sustained action than there ever has been in the past.”