Wednesday, May 7, 2008

PERHAPS, it won't be up for a Stupid Sports Quotes Award, but Pittsburgh's Russian-born superstar Evgeni Malkin should have known better.
"That's one of the teams that it's really not a pleasure to play against. I really don't like playing against them. I don't like that team," Malkin was quoted as saying. It was long-winded for a guy with a minimal English vocabulary, but you can bet it's been written on the Philadelphia dressing-room wall.
On Friday night, the Flyers will be head-hunting against the Penguins and Malkin along with Sid Crosby when the NHL conference finals open. In the other set, Detroit Red Wings square off against the Dallas Stars. The conference champs play for the right to hold Lord Stanley's mug high in the air.
But back to Malkin's long-winded opinion piece concerning the cross-Pennsylvania foes. He probably would have been wise to shut his yap.
After all, it would appear that these 2007-08 version are a remake of the Broad Street Bullies from the 1970s.
Remember those villains, who claimed a couple of Stanley Cups and were feared for their ferocity?
Philly captain Bobby Clarke was the team leader, but Dave Schultz (aka Zeus and The Hammer) intimidated the opponents with his fists.
Take for instance when Philly upended the Boston Bruins four games to two for the Stanley Cup in the 1974 final. Schultz spent 38 minues in the "sin bin" while teammates Andre Dupont had 33 penalty minutes (PIM) and Jimmy Watson had 30.
Besides bashing the opposition, Schultz went on to co-author a book (with Stan Fischler) called The Hammer and even had a recording called Penalty Box.
Schultz also holds an NHL record for the most penalty minutes in a season (1974-75) with an astounding 472 PIM.
And the Flyers had another advantage for that era because the great Kate Smith would inspire them with her rendition of 'God Bless America.'
The Broad Street Bullies also had Fred Shero behind the bench and he once was quoted as saying: "I swear I have never told a player to attack another player. In fact, I have told my players if they ever hear me saying something like this, they can break a stick over my skull. I ask only that they play aggressively."
Malkin, meanwhile, recalls his dislike for the Flyers was intensified in March when Flyers' Mike Richards' skate ran over his cheek and left him with a nasty cut. Then on April 2, the Flyers and the Pens waged a mini-war less than a minute into the game.
So while the names may have changed from the 1970s the Philadelphia attitude hasn't in 2008 for they don't believe in turning the other cheek.
And one final note about the Broad Street Bullies of Bernie Parent, Bill Barber, Bill Clement, and, of course, The Enforcer, Schultz, Fred Shero's kid, Ray, was once a Philadelphia rink rat and followed their every move.
Today, Ray Shero has switched his loyalty from the Flyers. After all he's now the Pittsburgh general manager so he better be cheering for the Penguins.
SPEAKING OF STUPID SPORTS QUOTES: Former Toronto quarterback Joe Theismann apparently once said: "Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein." ... Shaq O'Neal on whether he had visited the Parthenon during his visit to Greece: "I can't really remember the names of the clubs that we went to." ... And there's the one attributed to the late CFL and NFL GM Jim Finks, when asked after a loss what he thought of the refs: "I'm not allowed to comment on lousy officiating."
STUPID SPORTS INCIDENTS (From The Corbett Files): Jan. 6, 1972 -- After St. Louis Blues coach Al Arbour was showered with debris at Philly's Spectrum, Arbour and a couple of his players went after the garbage throwers; then on Dec. 29 of the same year, an idiot in Vancouver's Pacific Coliseum reached over the glass and pulled Don Saleski's hair. What happened? Six players were docked $500 when assault charges were laid ... Dec. 23, 1979 -- The infamous Mike Milbury Incident when the Boston Bruins standout grabbed a fan's shoe and beat him with it. It was all part of fight night at the Garden as the Beantowners went into the stands to take on the hostile New York fans.


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