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GREENBERG: The Best of the Alumni Game

The best goals, plays and moments from the Flyers-Pens Alumni Game

by Jay Greenberg @NHLFlyers

10. FIT TO BE TIED: Jocelyn Thibault ruined the big finish, robbing LeClair and Mikael Renberg after a Lindros steal set them up in the final seconds. But hey, for any Penguins who played between 1974-89, the 3-3 tie was the closest they ever got to winning in Philadelphia, so have a heart.

9. THE HOUND: The Sixtysomething guy with the best legs was Bob Kelly, who forced the giveaway that resulted in Dave Brown's goal. Young Marsh was up ice continually but he will learn to pick his spots as his career moves along. Good thing he had Mark Howe for a partner. The No. 2 on his back remained superfluous; that glide remaining distinguishable. The years have been good to it.  

8. MR. PLAYOFFS: Briere cutting in and roofing one, like not-so-old times.

7. NUMBER SEVEN: Bill Barber being out there on two knees that soon will be replaced. "I will pay for this tomorrow," he said. "And I still wouldn't have missed it for anything."Video: Barber on his last appearance in Flyers' alumni game

6. NUMBER THIRTY-SEVEN: Eric Desjardins, 10 years out of the game, not an ounce of middle-age spread visible, going to the net to take a perfect diagonal pass from Luke Richardson for a goal. "To think, in five years we were here together, we never were a pair," said Richardson.

5. LINE DANCE: The LCB, Legion of Doom, and Dave Poulin-Tim Kerr-Propp lines were all together again, magically, and then over the boards for the next shift would come another era of the team's wondrous history. On the orange carpet before the game -and even playing in 73-year old Joe Watson's case-were members of the first Flyers team in 1967-68, and also participating were Simon Gagne and Danny Briere, who still were in the NHL as late as two seasons ago. "I had the chance to be on the ice with family, players that I grew up watching," said Briere, "It was a great honor to be selected."

Video: ALUMNI POSTGAME: Boucher, Lindros, Poulin and Briere4. THE SHOW: A memorial presentation before the game was even more moving than it was on opening night, since being remembered were contemporaries of the players on the ice. The two biggest hands were for Pelle Lindbergh and Roger Neilson, the latter especially heart warming since his time here was cut short by cancer and ended so unhappily for him.

3. GUFFAW: Brian Propp scooting around the ice 15 months after suffering a debilitating stroke. His speech seems virtually unimpaired and, most important, rehab is putting his "guffaw" arm in increasing working order. "An inspiration for everybody here," said Brad Marsh, the Director of Community Development and Alumni President, who put the amazing night together, the Flyers sparing no expense. The proceeds from the Friday night event at Sugar House Casino are going to the Snider Hockey rink construction project, the past paying forward, the way it should be.   

2. THE CAPTAIN: The ovation for Bobby Clarke, who had acknowledged that this was his last alumni game. The cheers weren't dissipating when Lou Nolan introduced the next player. Bill Meltzer named Clarke the first star, one more nice touch in a night filled with them. "You saw me," Clarke smiled afterwards. "There are new alumni coming and I don't think there is any use in pushing it. It was really, really appreciated to be back with the fans, just incredible."Video: Clarke following his last alumni game appearance

1. YOU: The sellout, of course. "Isn't that amazing?" said Eric Lindros. "To watch slow motion." As best put by Phil Bourque, now a Penguin broadcaster. "You kind of pinch yourself and remember how great it is to play in the National Hockey League.

Said Danny Briere, "Living the dream for one more day, basically, that's what it was. The morning skate, hanging out with the guys, hearing the stories, playing in front of 20,000 people; it was amazing from beginning to end."

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