Outspoken former captain and General Manager of the Philadelphia Flyers Bob Clarke, has never been one to mince words. And given the chance by The Hockey News’ Alan Bass, Clarke immediately attacked the credibility of the Penguins’ organization.
“We were allowed to spend the money, we always tried to win,” Clarke said, when asked about the Flyers’ success since expansion in 1967. “We didn’t do what Pittsburgh did; lose seven years in a row so they could get good. They did it twice, in fact. They went through six or seven different owners. We’ve had one owner.”
Clarke then took his attack to other franchises, who he sees undeserving of their current success.
“It’s somewhat embarrassing that three of the last teams (in the 2009 playoffs) missed the playoffs six or seven years in a row,” Clarke said. “Washington, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. Now they’re good and the teams that try to win all the time get penalized.”
To Washington’s credit, they only suffered a four-year playoff drought, but Clarke’s point is still valid.
The term “tanking” rolls quickly off the tongue of every hockey fan who debates the recent success of the Penguins. But that word should also be used in the same breath of the Blackhawks, who are profiting from the production of a plethora of high first-round picks, most notably Cam Barker, (3rd overall, 2004) Jonathan Toews (3rd overall, 2006) and Patrick Kane (1st overall, 2007.)
Clarke may be in the process of still trying to swallow the bitter pill that is the Penguins’ recent Stanley Cup victory. But despite his biting words, he makes a good point — In the NHL, it pays to lose.