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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 8:23 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Remembering Brad McCrimmon

PHILADELPHIA -- Brad McCrimmon made his mark on many players all over the NHL during his 18 seasons as a player as well as his coaching career. It was that coaching career that took him to the Lokomotiv team in Russia this year, and led to his tragic death in September's plane crash.

McCrimmon spent five seasons with the Flyers, and in today's Alumni Game, his presence was felt as each player had a No. 10 patch on their left shoulder.

"About a month ago I requested to do it and the entire organization thought it would be a great idea," said Mark Howe, McCrimmon's defense partner for three seasons during which the Flyers went to the Stanley Cup Final twice. "Brad was a very important part of the team in the '80s and a dear friend to a lot of people in the locker room and it was only fitting he be remembered as part of the team."

The players certainly were proud to do something to memorialize McCrimmon.

"Brad McCrimmon was a tough loss for all of us," said Rick Tocchet. "For me especially. He was one of the main reasons I stuck in the NHL. I sat beside him in the locker room. He was a big part of my life, teaching me how to be a pro."

Contact Adam Kimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 8:11 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Desjardins soaking it all in

PHILADELPHIA -- When Eric Desjardins walked out of the dugout for today's Alumni Game, he wanted to make sure he remembered every second of it.

"I had the iPhone from my son," Desjardins told NHL.com. "I wanted to have memories. Sometimes there are so many things going on, it's tough to get it all in. I wanted to have something to look after and remind me I was here."

Desjardins put in his usual solid effort, playing 14:52, and didn't look much different from the player who spent 17 seasons in the NHL, his final 11 with the Flyers.

"It felt great," he said of the reaction he received from the fans. "It was a lot of fun. Not only to come back and play for the Flyers, but outdoors like this in the big stadium, it was a great feeling."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 8:06 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

No little save for Little

PHILADELPHIA -- Growing up in Medicine Hat, Alta., Neil Little admitted he was a fan of the dynasty Edmonton Oilers teams of the 1980s. He got an up-close look at one member of that dynasty in today's Alumni Game when Glen Anderson had a penalty shot in the third period.

Anderson, who scored 498 goals on his way to a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame, broke in alone, but Little -- who played two NHL games -- got his shoulder on the shot, knocking it high and wide.

"Yeah, how about that?" Little told NHL.com. "That was enjoyable."

Little stopped 11 of 12 shots he faced in just over 27 minutes of action. While he never got a long run in the NHL, he's been a part of the Flyers' organization as a player and scout for all but one season in Finland since 1993.

"That was special," Little said after the game. "I was a little nervous off the bat, but that's to be expected. After that it was fantastic. Just soaked it up and enjoyed the moment.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 5:19 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Flyers win, Flyers win, Flyers win

Glenn Anderson got a penalty shot opportunity with 5:01 to play due to a Flyers penalty, but Neil Little came up with an arm save to keep the puck out and preserve the Flyers 3-1 lead.

The Rangers tested Little a few more times before time finally wore out and the home team walked off the field with a 3-1 victory.

New York eventually pulled goalie Dan Blackburn with just over a minute left, but it didn't work.

The crowd of 45,808 thoroughly enjoyed the alumni game today. It was fun to watch from the press box, too.

If I had to give out three stars, they'd go to:

1. Bernie Parent -- 6 saves in four minutes, stole the show early

2. Dan Blackburn -- Tremendous game from the guy who had his career cut short due to injury

3. Shjon Podein -- Used his plethora of ice time well and scored a goal

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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 5:09 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Under seven minutes left, Flyers lead

Time winding down here and the Rangers need a goal.

It remains 3-1 with under eight minutes left and the chants of "Let's go Flyers" are coming from the first base side of the stands.

Give these guys credit, they're still going hard with now under seven minutes to play.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 5:01 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Howe converts on penalty shot, Flyers lead 3-1

The third penalty shot of the game was given to Mark Howe, and the Hall of Famer delivered the Flyers a 3-1 lead with 15 and a half minutes left in the third period.

Howe was hooked on his way to the net by Kypreos, who earlier in the game failed on a penalty shot. Howe showed his hands by freezing Dan Blackburn, who apparently cana give up a goal, before firing a forehanded shot right past him.

The clock is ticking down, bleeding to under 14 minutes left, and the Flyers have themselves a comfortable yet feared two-goal lead.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 4:38 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Podein shows hands, misses penalty shot

Nick Fotiu wrapped his stick around the midsection of Shjon Podein as he was attempting to shoot, setting up another penalty shot, this time with 2:15 left in the second period.

Podein made a deke to his backhand and had Blackburn down, but he lifted the puck high over the crossbar and into the glass.

Blackburn is just too good right now to be scored on.

The best moment, though, was when Fotiu acted as if he did nothing wrong. There has never been a more blatant hook in the game of hockey.

The second period is now over with the Flyers alums clinging to a 2-1 lead over the Rangers alums. At the end of the period they announced an attendance of 45,808.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 4:32 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Rangers get one back

The Rangers have gotten one back to make it 2-1, and it's Glenn Anderson getting the credit.

Darius Kasparaitis delivered a shot-pass in the direction of Brian Leetch, but Anderson got his stick on it and deflected the puck past Flyers goalie Neil Little at the 9:25 mark of the second period.

It appears the Rangers are motivated by the impressive play of Dan Blackburn.

TV timeout now with 5:48 left in the second period.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 4:28 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Blackburn giving star performance

Dan Blackburn didn't have a long career in the NHL, and in the second period here he's looking like he's making up for some missed opportunities.

Blackburn just made a sprawling kick save on a one-timer from Jeremy Roenick. He went from his left to right, went down on his left hip, kicked up his right leg and kep the puck out of the net.

Minutes later, Blackburn read the pass from John Leclair to Mark Recchi on a 2-on-1, and he came across, this time from his right to left, to make another tremendous pad save.

Blackburtn is swimming all over his crease, but the Flyers can't seem to beat him. He's the only reason the Rangers alumni aren't getting blown out here.

It's still 2-0. Blackburn gets a star by his name.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 4:20 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Kypreos needs some penalty shot practice

The second period started much like the first, with the Rangers owning the territorial advantage. Except, this time there was no Bernie Parent to be the story.

Rangers goalie Dan Blackburn was instead the story early with a big-time split save with the left pad on Ken Linseman, who is wearing goggles for glasses, a new fashion statement that probably won't catch on in today's NHL.

Kerry Fraser whistled for a slashing penalty on Eric Lindros, who whacked Nick Kypreos' stick in the corner. Instead of getting a power play, Kypreos got a penalty shot opportunity, but Mark LaForest was up to the task, making a pad save to preserve the Flyers 2-0 lead with more than 15 minutes left in the period.
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