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Quick Hits: WJC, Reading Royals, Brind'Amour and More

August 9, 2022, 12:34 AM ET [209 Comments]
Bill Meltzer
Philadelphia Flyers Blogger •NHL.com • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Quick Hits: August 9, 2022

1) WJC Prep: Team Canada defeated Sweden, 4-3, in pre-tournament exhibition action on Monday, one day before the rescheduled 2022 IIHF World Junior Championships get underway for real. Canada jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period but a second period shorthanded goal by the Junior Crowns cut the gap to 3-1. Canada restored a three-goal margin early in the third period but a pair of goals by Sweden narrowed the gap to 4-3 with 2:20 remaining in regulation. The Canadians held on for the win.

Flyers defense prospect Emil Andrae took a double roughing minor in the middle stages of the second period while potential first overall 2023 pick Connor Bedard of Team Canada received two minutes. None among Andrae, Tyson Foerster or Elliot Desnoyers otherwise got on the scoresheet.

The preliminary round of the WJC gets underway on Tuesday but none of the teams featuring Flyers prospects are in action until Wednesday. On that day, Sweden (Andrae) takes on Switzerland (Brian Zanetti) while Canada (Foerster and Desnoyers) play Latvia.

2) On Monday, the Flyers announced a two-year extension of their affiliation agreement with the ECHL's Reading Royals. The deal runs through the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons with an option to extend for a third year.

In a statement, Flyers general manager and president of hockey operations Chuck Fletcher said, "We've had an excellent relationship with the Royals for the last eight years and are thrilled to continue that partnership. We have put a big emphasis on the development of our young prospects and our club has seen the difference firsthand how beneficial it is to have not just one, but both of our primary minor league affiliates ([the AHL's Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the Royals in the ECHL] just a few hours away."

Last season, three players who had spent previous time in the ECHL with Reading -- goaltender Felix Sandström and forwards Max Willman and Hayden Hodgson -- made their NHL debuts with the Flyers.

3) August 9 Flyers Alumni birthday: Rod Brind'Amour

One of the hardest-working and most popular players in Philadelphia Flyers franchise history, Flyers Hall of Fame forward Rod Brind'Amour was born August 9, 1970, in Ottawa, Ontario but raised in Prince Rupert and Campbell River, British Columbia.

The two-way center, who also periodically played left wing during portions of the mid-1990s, spent 633 regular season games in a Flyers uniform among his career 1,484 games in the NHL. Brind'Amour produced 235 goals, 366 assists and 601 regular season points as a Flyer, adding 24 goals, 27 assists and 51 points in 57 playoffs games.

Although Brind'Amour spent four seasons in Philadelphia in which he produced 33 or more goals (topping out at 37 goals in 1992-93) and six years with 74 or more points (with a high of 97 points in 1993-94), he was only the team's first line center in his first Flyer season; one year prior to the arrival of Eric Lindros.

Even more than for his point totals, Brind'Amour became best known for his incredible conditioning, ability to play a strong defensive as well as offensive game and for his durability. During his tenure, Brind'Amour set a still-standing franchise record with 484 consecutive games played.

After attending the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame boarding school in Wilcox, Sask., and playing hockey for the famed Notre Dame Hounds hockey program (which has produced a host of future NHL players), Brind'Amour was recruited to attend a play hockey for Michigan State University.

The Flyers targeted both Brind'Amour and Teemu Selanne in the 1988 NHL Draft but general manager Bob Clarke was unable to work a trade to move up into the top 10 of the selection order. Philadelphia selected power forward Claude Boivin with the 14th overall pick after Brind'Amour went ninth overall to the St. Louis Blues and Selänne went 10th to the Winnipeg Jets.

Even as a young player, Brind'Amour's work ethic and intensity stood out. A devotee to weight lifting who was almost fanatical about matters of diet and exercise, no one outworked Brind'Amour either in the gym or on the ice.

Brind'Amour turned professional at the end of his freshman year at Michigan State. As a rookie with St. Louis, Brind'Amour enjoyed a highly successful 1989-90 campaign, producing 26 goals and 61 points in 79 regular season games and then averaging more than a point per game (five goals, 13 points) in 12 playoff matches. The next year, however, Brind'Amour had a down year (17 goals, 49 points) and rather inexplicably fell out of favor with the Blues.

Brind'Amour unexpectedly became available in trade in 1991, by which time Russ Farwell had taken over the Flyers' general manager post. Farwell pounced on the opportunity to land Brind'Amour, although the cost was steep. On Sept. 22, 1991, Philadelphia dealt team captain Ron Sutter and sturdy defensive defenseman Murray Baron to the Blues. In return the Flyers obtained Brind'Amour and offensively skilled forward Dan Quinn.

The deal quickly turned out to be one of the best trades of an otherwise dark era in Flyers hockey.

Brind'Amour earned a spot in the 1992 NHL All-Star Game, which was played at the Philadelphia Spectrum. That year, he scored 33 goals and 77 points in 80 games and won the Bobby Clarke Trophy as the team's MVP.

The Flyers valued Brind'Amour so highly that they made him untouchable in any of the various trade packages being discussed with the Quebec Nordiques for the rights to Eric Lindros. The Nords asked, but Farwell's answer was always no when it came to including either Recchi or Brind'Amour in a multi-piece deal for Lindros.

The Flyers' vision of building around a Lindros and Brind'Amour tandem was ultimately a contributing factor to the Flyers reluctantly parting with top prospect Peter Forsberg in the Lindros trade. For Philly, it ultimately came down to whether they preferred to wait for Forsberg, who did not plan to come over to North America for at least another year (two years, as it turned out), or to have the services of a Lindros and Brind'Amour one-two punch at center right away.

Ultimately, Forsberg made his NHL debut for the Quebec Nordiques in the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season. Brind'Amour would spend much of his Flyers career being mentioned in a variety of trade rumors but he always ended up staying put until he was finally traded in January 2000.

Lindros' arrival in Philadelphia put an end to Brind'Amour's brief stint as the team's first line center. However, for the rest of his tenure in Philly, Brind'Amour became one of the NHL's best second-line forwards and he typically moved up to the top line whenever Lindros missed time with injuries. Brind'Amour went on to set a Flyers' iron man streak of 484 consecutive games played.

In his third season with the Flyers, Brind'Amour enjoyed his career-best offensive season. That year, he compiled 35 goals and 97 points while primarily centering a line with Kevin Dineen and assorted left wingers. Although never known as a naturally gifted goal scorer, Brind'Amour had four seasons in Philly in which he scored 33 or more goals.

One of the physically strongest players in the NHL of the 1990s to 2000s, the muscular Brind'Amour also gained a reputation as one of the league's top two-way centers and top faceoff men. When requested to do so, he shifted to left wing during his Flyers years, but clearly preferred to play center.

The Flyers made heavy use of Brind'Amour in all game situations. He could be called upon to kill penalties or protect narrow leads late in games in addition to serving on the power play and being used in the offensive zone.

Perhaps the crowning moments of his Flyers came in the clinching game of the 1997 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Brind'Amour sent the crowd in a frenzy and put the Flyers firmly in control of Game Five by scoring two shorthanded goals on the same penalty kill.

The Flyers ultimately reached the Stanley Cup Final before losing in four straight games to the Detroit Red Wings.

Brind'Amour frequently played left wing or moved down to the third line when the Flyers acquired Chris Gratton in 1997. He wasn't happy about being shuttled around the lineup but did as he was asked and produced a 36-goal, 74-point season.

The next year, the Flyers reinstalled Brind'Amour as the second-line center on a full-time basis and moved Gratton to left wing. Gratton scored only one goal in 26 games before being traded back to the Tampa Bay Lightning along with Mike Sillinger in exchange for Mikael Renberg and Daymond Langkow.

Brind'Amour generated a 24-goal, 74-point season in 1998-99, which proved to be his final full season in Philadelphia. His iron man streak came to an end the following season, as a fractured foot suffered before the start of the 1999-2000 season required surgery and kept him out of the line for the first 34 games of the season.

On January 23, 2000, the Flyers traded the 29-year-old Brind'Amour to Carolina in the deal that brought Keith Primeau to Philly. The trade also sent goaltending prospect Jean-Marc Pelletier and a 2000 second-round pick (Argis Saviels) to Carolina and a 2000 fifth-round pick (later traded to the New York Islanders and used on the selection of Kristofer Ottosson) to the Flyers.

Brind'Amour spent the remainder of his career with the Hurricanes and went on to capture a Stanley Cup as the Canes captain on the Peter Laviolette-coached 2005-06 team. After a rough start to their player-coach relationship, Brind'Amour eventually bonded with Laviolette.

For many years, Rod Brind'Amour was one of the NHL's most underrated players because he so frequently (and understandably) took a backseat to Lindros in his Philly days. It was only in his final couple years in Carolina that people league-wide started to realize just how good his career was in many different aspects of the game.

Brind'Amour had his number 17 retired by the Hurricanes and was honored in a special ceremony on Feb. 11, 2011 on a night chosen to coincide with the Flyers (then coached by Laviolette) playing the Canes in Raleigh. Four years later, Brind'Amour joined the Flyers' Hall of Fame and finally got his chance to thank the Flyers' fans and to bask in their appreciation for his career.

Following his retirement, Brind'Amour moved to the coaching ranks. After serving as a Hurricanes assistant coach from 2011-12 to 2018-19, he became the head coach. He will enter his fifth season the team's head coach in 2022-23. To date, the team's deepest playoff run under Brind'Amour was a trip to the Eastern Conference Final in 2018-19. The team has exited in the second round in each of the last two seasons.

4) Aug. 9 Flyers Alumni birthdays: Harvey Bennett (1952), Andy Brickley (1961).
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