PHILADELPHIA -- Bob Clarke spoke with the media before the game tonight. He talked about his career and how "lucky" he was to play with so many great players. He talked about the Spectrum, which has been reduced back to a skeleton across the street -- "it's time, it's the right thing to do," he said.
And he talked about this Flyers team, which is "very good." The only way they can be great, he says, is if they win a Stanley Cup. Obviously. Watch the full video embedded above. You can find a transcript courtesy of Flyers PR after the jump.
Q: If your grandson were to ask you in a couple years, ‘Pop pop, how would you like to be remembered as a player for this team?' what would you tell him?
"Just that I hope I was a good team player. When I look backwards, and I have lots of time to do that, I was lucky. I came to a team that, well, Mr. Snider and Keith Allen were committed to winning. They were committed to spend the money to do whatever it took to win. The decade and a half that I played, I was telling [Steve Coates] tonight, I was treated better financially, emotionally, every which way you can imagine, than [Bobby] Orr, [Phil] Esposito, any of the players from the year that I played. I played most of my career with [Reggie] Leach, [Bill] Barber, and [Bernie] Parent. You'd almost have to be no good at all to not have success playing with that level of players. I always had great players to play with. I benefited from it tremendously. Most people don't get the opportunities that I had. It was the team. It always is, but from my standpoint it was the right organization, right owner, right manager, right coach, and right players to play with."
Q: So you really weren't that good then?
"I think I can play. I mean, I was good enough to be in the league but I benefitted from being part of the organization."
Q: Do you know what you're going to do with the banner?
"My son has claimed it already."
Q: What do you think when you look across the street and you see the Spectrum totally gutted right now?
"[Peter] Laviolette just pointed out, he said that we had a picture of it when it was going up, and now it's coming down, and he said the picture looks the same [laughs]. I mean, the Spectrum was obviously special to those of us who played there as part of our team. But, it was time for it to go. It was an old building and it was tired. Once this new building came up [Wells Fargo Center], the Spectrum was finished. It's the right thing to do."
Q: Bob, you talked about the team and what it meant when you were playing. Obviously that's still a mantra for this organization but with the way things have changed in this league over the last 30 years, how difficult is it to maintain that M.O. in today's game? Why does this team have success with it?
"The requirements to win have never changed. The rules have changed, the game's changed, but the requirements and the commitment from the players, the working together, the coming to practice, the being on time, the lifestyle off the ice are what championship teams do and are still the same as they were in the 70's, 60's, and I'm sure the 50's. It's the same today. Those things don't change. I don't care, you can change the rules, you can do whatever you want, but the commitment to winning is because of what the team does. I know it's hard to do, otherwise everybody would win. Winning teams have the same characteristics and it doesn't matter what era you're from."
Q: Bob, the overtime goal in Game Two against Boston in 74, would you consider that to be the biggest goal of your career?
"Well I don't think so. If you don't win that series it's an insignificant goal, right? We won the series because Bernie Parent stood on his head, [Bill] Barber scored, [Bill] Flett scored, everybody played great. I got a goal in overtime but again its only one small part of beating the Boston Bruins. It was just another goal if we don't win the series really."
Q: What do you think of this year's team? How far do you think they could go?
"I love this team. I think this is a really good team. It's really deep. We have had lots of good teams over the years. The [Dave] Poulin era had some great teams. [Eric] Lindros' group had some great teams. I guess we can't even call them great because if you are going to be great you have to win the Cup, but they were really good teams. This is a really good team. It's deep. It's got pretty much every ingredient you could want. If they could win the Cup, it would be a great team. Everybody from my era is hoping that they could win the Cup obviously."
Q: Bob, what was your relationship with Fred Shero?
"I knew Fred probably about as good as any player here, but I don't know that anybody got real close to Freddie. How could I best describe him? He was just part of the team, obviously a big part. He was a tremendous coach, but he was never superior to anybody else, or lower than anybody else. Everybody was the same. You make your contribution to help the team win. When the team wins there is enough glory for everybody, and we all got a lot of glory from it."
Q: Do you ever miss being a part of the day to day [operations]? Does that competitive fire still burn, or no?
"No, I don't miss it. I wouldn't want Paul's [GM Paul Holmgren] job. Not for any other reason than that I don't want to sit behind a desk all day and do those kinds of things. I did it until I had enough. I was lucky I was able to do it for a long time, but you just sort of reach the end when you don't want to sit behind a desk anymore. This way you can be less responsible, and I'm very less responsible. I'm still able to hang around the locker room and talk to the players on a personal basis, but I don't try to manage, and I don't try to coach. I just like hanging around, like a kid hanging around the locker room, and it's fine with me."