Published On: Mon, Jul 30th, 2012

Talking Sports with legendary Flyers goalie Bernie Parent

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By Anthony Caruso III
The Capital Sports Report
Owner/Managing Editor/Sr. Writer

Bernie Parent, the legendary Philadelphia Flyers goaltender, recently took time to do an interview with The Capital Sports Report. His interview is about his ice hockey career.

Bernie Parent (Getty Images)

TCSR: You were one of the best goalies ever in the sport of the National Hockey League. You were inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984. Could you talk about playing ice hockey during your time?

BP: “Hockey was a lot different when I played.. There were not as many advances, as there is now, with the goalie equipment. I began my career with the Boston Bruins, which a lot of people forget. I was left unprotected in the 1967 expansion draft, and the Flyers selected me. When I first arrived here in Philadelphia, I had to split time with Doug Favell, before I eventually took the starting position from him. After several seasons with the Flyers, I eventually moved on to the (Toronto) Maple Leafs, where I played behind Jacques Plante. He was my idol growing up, and he taught me so much to become a better goalie. I ended my career with the Philadelphia Blazers in the World Hockey Association.”

TCSR: As you mention, there have been many changes to the game since you last played in 1979. In your opinion, were they good or bad changes?

BP: “Well, I think change is good. If you look at the players when I played, the average weight of a hockey player was a 135 pounds. Now, it is around 220 pounds. The ice surface remains the same, so the players are faster and bigger. You need to be better protected.”

TCSR: What are your thoughts on the turnover of the team from going from the Mike Richards-Jeff Carter era to the new era led by Claude Giroux, who is expected to be the new captain?

BP: “First thing, I always hate to see guys go, because a lot of them I’ve become friendly with. But these were all business decisions. I’m very happy for those guys that made it to the (Los Angeles) Kings and won the Stanley Cup. They are good guys and good people, but at the same time, on the other side of the coin, the Flyers are building a good young core of players that should be around for a very long time. The near future looks very bright.”

TCSR: Being the legendary goalie, as you are, have you reached out to Ilya Bryzgalov when he struggled last season?

BP: “Well, it was a big adjustment for him to go from Phoenix, where expectations are different, to Philadelphia. He came to Philly and struggled, because of the pressure on him, which he was not used to. But he didn’t quite, as he kept on playing through those growing pains. That’s a big quality to have, especially in a goaltender. In March, he was the Player of the Month. I think the second time around when he comes back this year, he knows what is expected of his self, and I think you are going to see a big change in him.”

TCSR: Do you think the recent trade of Sergei Bobrovsky to the Columbus Blue Jackets puts more pressure on him? The Flyers re-signed Michael Leighton to be Bryzgalov’s back up.

BP: “Not really. Ilya is one of the leaders on this team, and I remember when I played, you are looking at one thing: looking forward. When you are the starter, you don’t concentrate on the back up. He is only asked to come in when you need a rest, or when you are injured. That’s how I dealt with it, and that’s how I think he’ll deal with it.”

TCSR: The Flyers were interested in Zach Parise and Ryan Suter; however, they both decided to sign with the Minnesota Wild. There were also reports that the Flyers were interested in Cherry Hill, NJ native and Anaheim Ducks forward Bobby Ryan. Do you have any thoughts on the moves that they’ve made this off-season?

BP: “I believe in Paul (Holmgren). It’s his department to call on the shots on who is signed, or who is traded for. But one thing about the Flyers organization – some people don’t understand, but it’s very important to understand this – it comes from the top with Ed Snider, the owner. They are always trying to put the best team forward to put us in the position to win the Stanley Cup. People may not agree with Paul’s decisions, but he has the best intentions when he makes the moves.. You can see people’s appreciate in the effort from the players and from the front office, because they’re back every year. Snider isn’t selfish and doesn’t look out for himself; he lives for this city and for this team. He wants to bring back a Stanley Cup so bad back to Philadelphia. He does everything in his own power to bring the right people here to put us in the situation to win the first Stanley Cup since 1975. When they win, it would be a long-time coming.”

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About the Author

- Anthony Caruso III is the Publisher for The Capital Sports Report. He has covered local and national events, including numerous Heisman Trophy ceremonies, two Little League World Series, and the Army-Navy college football game.