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Dowd enjoying life after hockey

Thursday, 12.25.2008 / 1:00 AM
Mike G. Morreale  - NHL.com Staff Writer
Jim Dowd remains confident he is still able to help any playoff-bound team in the NHL.

Sure, he's 39 years, is showing signs of gray, and already has played for 10 teams spanning 16 seasons. Fact is, the pride and joy of Brick, N.J., remains tough as nails.

In addition to coaching his son's squirt team, daily workouts at the gym and skating regularly in Red Bank, N.J., Dowd was recently enjoying some time as a co-host on NHL Radio. He's hoping to land a regular spot and provide listeners with first-person accounts throughout the rigors of the regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I have to admit, I'm enjoying my time being able to take my kids to school, heading to the gym at my leisure and then going for a skate," Dowd told NHL.com. "I kind of like the radio thing and I just want to see if I'm any good at it. Maybe it'll work out."

Dowd was released from his pro tryout contract with the Philadelphia Flyers on Oct. 4. He played 73 games in Philadelphia during the 2007-08 season, scoring 5 goals and 5 assists while chipping in with a goal and 2 assists in 17 playoff games. More importantly, however, was the fact he was an inspirational boost both on the bench and in practice during Philadelphia's surprising run to the Eastern Conference Finals.

"The reason we wanted him in camp is because he is a high-quality individual and very competitive," Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren said. "Jimmy did a great job for us last year, but it just comes down to numbers sometimes. I'm thankful he came into camp, and I thought he added some spark."

Dowd, who was the Flyers' nominee for last season's Bill Masterton Trophy as the player who best exemplified the qualities of perseverance and sportsmanship, harbored no regrets.

"I knew it was going to be tough for Philly; they had a lot of young guys and they were at the cap limit," Dowd said. "It was definitely disappointing, but I'm the type of guy that says, 'It wasn't meant to be.' So in order to get ahead, you have to move on. That's how I look at everything."

For his career, Dowd has 71 goals and 239 points in 728 games. In addition to being the fifth-oldest player ever to wear a Flyers jersey, Dowd also played for four American Hockey League clubs and one International Hockey League franchise. He also spent a year playing in Germany during the 2004-05 work stoppage.

Dowd isn't completely ruling out the possibility of becoming an assistant coach someday. In fact, he's already received some offers, but declined -- for now.

"I'm just trying to do some radio stuff and maybe some television, so I'm looking to break in somewhere," Dowd said. "I just want to stay in the game somehow so who knows? I'm enjoying taking the time to hang with my kids helping them skate and play. In due time, I might give coaching a shot on the professional level."

He said today's game is sometimes hard to watch.

"You'd like to see a little more battling going on because that creates more opportunities and scoring chances," Dowd said. "When you get the tugs here and there, that's when it's interesting.

"I get frustrated because with some hockey games, it's like watching ping-pong matches; they're sort of sloppy in a way. There's no question the game is getting younger and younger and you don't see many 35-year-old guys in the League anymore. But it's the progression of the game and something you saw coming 15-20 years ago. I came into the League during a time when Craig MacTavish was playing without a helmet -- I loved that stuff. I've seen it all, have played through lockouts and have seen the whole transition from the old-school type of guys to the way it is now. I'm very fortunate."

Dowd will never forget his time in New Jersey and winning a Stanley Cup (1995) playing with the team he grew up idolizing.

"I've had some unbelievable teammates over the years like Joe Sakic and Marty Brodeur, but when the Devils moved to New Jersey, I was 13-years-old, became a Devils fan and had posters of guys like Bruce Driver, Ken Daneyko and John MacLean on my wall," Dowd said. "To have a chance to actually play with those guys and win a Cup with them was unbelievable. And they were great veterans when I first broke in as a young guy and that's why we had so much success."

Even if Dowd never does get another chance to lace on the blades with an NHL team, he was extremely grateful for the opportunities he did have.

"I'd like to be remembered as a good team player who worked hard and enjoyed the game -- enjoyed every second of it," Dowd said. "I enjoyed coming to the rink every day and trying to help the guys and team win. That's what really mattered to me."

What also matters is teaching his two sons, Jimmy and Anthony, the fundamentals of the game.
 
"I tell my kids three things," Dowd said. "Work hard, listen to your coach and have fun and, as a bonus, make sure the team always comes first. That's usually my message when speaking with all young kids. If anybody tells you differently, don't listen to them."

Contact Mike Morreale at mmorreale@nhl.com.


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