Kotite’s Corner ventured to the Sports Complex campus Saturday afternoon to take part in the last NHL game to be played at the Wachovia Spectrum. After walking through the doors, I was automatically hit with memories that filled the hallways of the building. The ceremony prior to the game introduced 11 of the former team captains. Clarke and Primeau definitely received the loudest hootin’ and hollerin’. The cheering was infectious and all the fans gave a wonderful performance just like our “Fly-guys” did in the game. Of course one of the no-shows was Lindros. If I were him, I would not want to revisit Philly voluntarily either…chump! It’s better that he didn’t come, I know he would not have gotten similar warmth from the fans that the others received. All in all, the pre-game show was heartfelt and got the whole building ready to wipe the ice with the Hurricanes.
O.K., enough about that…. now for the game. A surprise entrance in the starting lineup, Gagne. It was great to see him out on the ice again; we all know it’s been way too long. Before he stepped out on the ice Gagne said, “It’s been a long time since I’ve played hockey and I need the extra practice”… “I feel good, but it’s going to take a while to get back where I was.” His performance proved these statements to be true. He didn’t look as sharp as I remember, but I’m confident he’ll find his groove very early on in the season. Our new captain Richards, showed us why he was awarded the big “C”, scoring two short-handed goals. Lupul and Coburn were responsible for the other two. Bryan Berard (tryout) chimed in with two assists, which is a great way to stay on the team. Sbisa, our number one draft pick this year, gave the impression that he was comfortable on the ice with the rest of our team and happy to be a Flyer. Biron had 25 saves and his moves were interpreted as quick and intelligent, confirming depth in that department. Overall, we played a very physical game (several hard hitting fights were witnessed) and it’s nice to see a fire lit under our butts before the regular season starts. Hopefully we’ll be able to carry that attitude throughout the whole season and not have the mid-end of the season slump that we’re so familiar with. Unfortunately, we lost to Carolina on Sunday, which puts us in second place behind Pittsburgh and ahead of the dreaded Devils. Our official season starts on October 11th at 7:00pm against the Rangers. GO FLYERS!
The Philadelphia Sepctrum: home to a combination of 10 NHL and NBA playoff championship series including two Stanley Cups (1974 & 1975) and 76ers Championship victory (1983), March Madness memories like the 1992 NCAA East Regional Final (site of the famous last-second shot by Christian Laettner of Duke to beat Kentucky) along with hosting the NCAA Final Four (1976 & 1981), the Broad Street Bullies, stars such as Dr. J, Bobby Clarke, Charles Barkley and Ron Hextall, two Calder Cups, Flyers vs. Soviet Red Army, and 53 sold out shows from the Grateful Dead. Thanks for all the good times and many memories, you’ll be missed.