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Snider sees Flyers as 'team of destiny'

by Brian Compton
PHILADELPHIA -- The moment Simon Gagne broke a 3-3 tie in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals to complete the most miraculous of comebacks against the Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider had that special feeling.
Less than two weeks later, his team finds itself in the Stanley Cup Final thanks to Monday's 4-2 win against the Montreal Canadiens at the Wachovia Center.
Snider, who has owned the franchise since it broke into the League in 1967, watched with great disappointment as his Flyers fell behind 3-0 in their best-of-seven series against the Bruins in Round 2. The feeling was worse when his team rallied to force a Game 7, only to fall behind 3-0 in that decisive game.
"When (the Bruins) scored those three goals, I said, 'Well, it's been a great run … we gave it a great shot,'" Snider told Monday night. "I have to be honest, I thought it was over. These guys never know what over is. They never quit."
Philadelphia rallied to tie that showdown at TD Garden, then won it when Gagne scored on the power play at 12:52 of the third period. That's when Snider knew.
"I think this team is a team of destiny," the owner proclaimed. "This team has shown more guts, more gumption, more heart than almost any team I've ever seen in my life, in any sport. The story of this team is unbelievable. Everything they've done has been incredible. You just can't ever count 'em out."
Because of that, the Flyers find themselves in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1997. It was easy to see the excitement in Snider's face.
"I can't wait for the Final," he said. "I think we're going to be alright. It's really terrific."
That's when Snider asked the media a question.
"When do they start? Saturday? Oh my God, we get a little rest."

Indeed, the 2010 Stanley Cup Final gets under way Saturday night, when the Flyers face the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. Chicago is coming off a sweep of the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Final, which ended on Sunday afternoon.
Can this team of destiny upset the Blackhawks, the No. 2 seed in the West? Better yet, do the Flyers' players believe what their owner believes?
"I don't know … it's tough to say right now," Philadelphia captain Mike Richards said. "We have a great team. We have a lot of belief in our team. When the chips have been down, it seems like we get better and obviously, we play well as a team.
"We're fully confident. I don't want to say destined or anything, but we have a great team. We feel we have a good chance, obviously; and we're going to lay it all out there."
It's been 35 years since the Flyers last hoisted the Stanley Cup. Snider was 42 at the time. He celebrated his 77th birthday in January. You could understand if his patience has worn thin.
"I don't think I can imagine it … it's been so long," Snider said. "It's something I'm really hoping we can accomplish. I think these guys deserve it. They really do."
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL

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