Four Broad Street Bullies set to become American citizens

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daveschultz.jpgIf there’s something every hockey fan knows about Philadelphia it’s that they’ll always be known for the “Broad Street Bullies” of the 1970s. Hell, they’ve been trying to recreate that atmosphere in Philly ever since then it seems and why not, those were the teams that brought Philadelphia their only two Stanley Cups in team history. If you’re wondering what it could take to have players from those teams endear themselves to the city of Philadelphia even more, how about becoming American citizens? That’s what four players from the Flyers’ golden age are doing.

Canadians Bill Clement, Orest Kindrachuk, Bob Kelly and Dave Schultz are known for leading the Flyers to their only two Stanley Cup titles in 1974 and 1975. They raised the Cup together and they’ll raise their right hands to take the citizenship oath.

“It’s just the right thing to do,” Kelly said. “It’s something we should have done a long, long time ago.”

The Flyers foursome was encouraged by former teammate Bob Dailey and U.S. Representative Bob Brady to start the citizenship process this year.

“They’re not terrorists, though they were terrorists on the ice,” Brady said. “They’re law-abiding contributing citizens in the Philadelphia area.”

Most fans probably know Bill Clement by now either from his days as Gary Thorne’s sidekick on ESPN or EA’s NHL video games or from, perhaps his forever creepy bug spray commercial. Orest Kindrachuk has one of the best all-time hockey names and centerman on those teams while Bob Kelly was a left wing.

Dave Schultz you may know better from his nickname as “The Hammer.” Schultz was one of the toughest guys on those Broad Street Bullies teams which is a compliment in and of itself. Don’t worry, with such a reputation on the ice it’s doubtful the United States will hold that against him while doing a background check on him to become a citizen. He’s been an upstanding person since retiring from the NHL, at least as far as we can tell. The thought of Schultz giving someone the business in an office setting is both hilarious and terrifying all the same.

With the process to become citizens underway, the foursome hope to become official dual citizens by the end of the year.

Hitchcock going to more aggressive attack for Blues

Ken Hitchcock
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ST. LOUIS (AP) After three straight first-round playoff exits, the St. Louis Blues have learned to temper expectations.

They have been consistently among the NHL’s best in the regular season and realize it is past time to build something for the long haul. The sting still lingers from the latest failure, against the Minnesota Wild last spring.

“We’re all disappointed, everybody can agree on that,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s never easy to kind of think about your failures, but we grow every time it happens.”

Management isn’t ready to tear it all down yet.

“We play, in my opinion, one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NHL, and we’ve finished first or second in the last four years,” forward Alexander Steen said. “So we have an extremely powerful team.”

Maybe a change in strategy will be enough: Coach Ken Hitchcock is back with a mandate for a more aggressive, even reckless, style of play from a roster that hasn’t changed appreciably.

“We’re coming hard from the back and we’re coming hard to see how close we can get to the attack,” Hitchcock said. “I think it’s where the game’s at; I think it’s where the game’s going to go.”

The 63-year-old Hitchcock is pushing forward, too, unwilling to dwell on the flameouts. Coach and players agree that would be “wasted energy.”

“My opinion is when you sit and think about the past, you do yourself no good,” Hitchcock said. “If you learn from the past, that’s when you do yourself a whole bunch of good.”

There were only two major roster casualties. Forward Troy Brouwer came from Washington in a trade for fan favorite T.J. Oshie. Defenseman Barret Jackman, the franchise career leader in games, wasn’t re-signed.

“If you were expecting 23 new faces to be on the roster this year, I don’t think that was realistic,” captain David Backes said. “We’re going to miss those guys in the room and on the ice, but there has been some changeover and I think it’s pretty significant.”

Things to watch for with the Blues:

GOALIE SHUFFLE: Just like last year, there’s no true No. 1 with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen sharing duties. The 25-year-old Allen missed a chance to seize the job last spring when he failed to raise his level in the playoffs.

TOP THREAT: Vladimir Tarasenko had a breakout season with 37 goals and was rewarded with an eight-year, $60 million contract. The 23-year-old winger is by far the Blues’ most dangerous scoring option and said he won’t let the money affect his play. “I never worry about it,” Tarasenko said. “If you play good, you play good.”

NEW FACES: Brouwer and center Kyle Brodziak add a physical element that was perhaps lacking a bit last season. Brouwer has three 20-plus goal seasons and Brodziak, acquired from Minnesota, fills a checking role. Veteran forward Scottie Upshall got a one-year, two-way deal after being coming to camp as a tryout. Rookie forward Robby Fabbri, a first-round pick last year, will get an early look. Another promising youngster, forward Ty Rattie, begins the year at Chicago of the AHL.

RECOVERY WARD: Forward Jori Lehteri bounced back quickly from ankle surgery and opens the season without restrictions. Another forward, Patrik Berglund, could miss half of the season following shoulder surgery.

TRACK RECORD: The Blues won the Central Division last season and Hitchcock, fourth on the career list with 708 regular-season wins, has consistently had the team near the top of the standings. “He is our coach, tough cookies if you don’t like it,” Backes said. “From my experience, he puts together one heck of a game plan.”

It looks like Havlat won’t make Panthers

Martin Havlat

As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.

Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.

While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.

It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.

One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.

Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.

Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.

Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?