Wayne Simmonds is back in the City of Brotherly Love, back in the Wells Fargo Center, back on Broad Street.
The guy we affectionately called “Train” is a member of the New Jersey Devils now, but No. 17 will always be a Bully. I wish to pay tribute to one of my all-time favorite Philadelphia Flyers, and also get a little pumped up with the home opener just a few hours away. So let’s do both at once, and check out some of Simmer’s best fights in orange and black.
First as a Flyer
Simmonds came to Philly as an unknown commodity from the Los Angeles Kings. He’d scored 14-16 goals and 30-40 points over the previous two seasons as a third liner in LA. He’d been playing 13-14 minutes a night, without much special teams time, and was thought more of as the “other piece” to the previous summer’s trade that also landed “the best player not in the NHL” Brayden Schenn in Philadelphia. But there was still a buzz that Flyers fans were “gonna like this guy.”
Wayne went on to become a 30-goal scorer and an All-Star with Philadelphia, but through his first 23 games had only racked up four goals and four assists. But in that 23rd game on November 26, 2011, we got a glimpse of what we were really going to like about one of the guys we got in exchange for Mike Richards.
How tough is this dude?
There aren’t many unanimous decisions that’ve gone against Simmer that I can recall, but this one goes to Brandon Prust, and there’s no shame in losing a clean scrap.
The game, from November 26, 2011, actually began with Prust and Zac Rinaldo squaring off, plus a little physicality between Simmonds and Sean Avery, so we’ll start there. Boom! Bonus fight.
Not long after Prust had served his first fighting major, he and Simmonds got tangled up and received matching unsportsmanlikes. Immediately following the expiration of their minors, they squared off for real. Wayne Train takes the worst of it, but he’s not backing down any time soon.
Don’t touch G
This is another from 2011-12, and it’s got a lot of great elements. Simmonds doing what he always did, standing up for his teammate. Dion Phaneuf pretending to be a tough guy. Three Leafs failing to bully Wayne. And Simmonds throwing haymakers.
“I’ve made a huge mistake.”
Mike Weber thought he was doing the right thing, sticking up for his teammate and fighting Simmonds after a bad hit along the boards. Mike Weber thought wrong. And then, to add insult to injury, received an instigator penalty.
The 2012-13 lockout-shortened hockey season was a bummer. The Flyers failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for just the second time in 18 seasons. It also limited Simmer’s fight card to just six, following a season where he logged ten. But here we have yet another case of a player, this time Travis Moen, realizing, rather quickly, that he’d made a mistake somewhere in his decision making process.
Preseason? C’mon... Leave the kid alone.
I love this one just because Tyson Strachan had been “looking to go all night.” Looks like 2013-14 picked up right where the previous season left off.
The late comeback
Wayne had a few quick KOs, but he also had some stamina. A fight wasn’t lost just because he fell behind on points early. Simmonds is giving up two inches and 35 pounds to Brad Mashinter here. Doesn’t make much of a difference in the end, though.
Brawl with the Caps
I mean, you knew this was making the cut.
Simmonds powers through the neutral zone, absolutely demolishes a Cap trying to defend him and then gets right into it with Tom Wilson.
The Flyers fell to 4-9-0 following this 7-0 drubbing, at home, to the Washington Capitals. Funny thing though, they went 10-4-2 (.688 points-percentage) over their next 16 and went on to make the playoffs that year.
Just a nice scrap between Simmonds and Colin Greening, from January 6, 2015.
What’s better than beating up a Senator?
Beating up another Senator.
Another big boy
Giving up three inches and fifty pounds to Dylan McIlrath, Simmonds wants to set the tone for his team early, dropping the gloves 39 seconds into the first period. It didn’t work, but I blame that on Ryan White, who fought Tanner Glass twenty seconds later.
Not the best timing, but...
Sure, I’d prefer to have Wayne Simmonds on the ice for the final minutes of a one goal playoff game. I’ll give you that. But can you tell me you’d be disciplined enough to forego punching Tom Wilson in the face?
My personal favorite
Jonathan Ericsson is another guy with a couple of inches and more than a few pounds on Simmer, and this showdown was anticipated, but Wayne isn’t getting paid by the hour out here.
Appreciate the effort
Just a great teammate. I miss this guy already.
Simmonds gets some good shots in on Kevan Miller, but loses his balance and I respect the hell out of Miller for not knocking Wayne out on his way down. He was vulnerable and Miller had the sense to hold up.
Sparking the boys
As the Flyers of this era have been prone to do, Philly fell behind by a goal just 39 seconds into the first period. Wayne Simmonds had an answer. He found the biggest bastard he could and gave him his all in a fight, Simmonds’ first of 2018-19.
Imagine recovering from Jamie Oleksiak’s (6-7, 255) initial flurry. Simmer did, and held his own against the towering defenseman. A few minutes later, Travis Konecny tied the game at one, and eventually the orange and black skated away with a 4-2 victory over their Keystone State rivals.
Sure, maybe they would’ve won anyway. Maybe the fight had nothing to do with changing the momentum. But the Flyers did win, and Simmonds did fight a monster. Those are just the facts.
I will close this long, winding journey down the Hockey Fights rabbit hole with the final fight of Wayne’s Flyers career. From February 17, 2019- just one week before he was traded to the Nashville Predators.
Simmonds takes on Anthony Mantha in the first minute on the back end of a home-and-home against Detroit.
The Flyers won the previous game 6-5 in OT, but Mantha took it upon himself to try to injure Claude Giroux with one of the most blatantly dirty hits I’ve ever seen.
So the following night, he had to step up to Wayne Simmonds. That’s hockey.
Well, that’s it. The best Wayne Simmonds tribute you’ll see today. I hope you’ve enjoyed watching grown men pummel each other as much as I have.