Flyers

Flyers trade Wayne Simmonds to Predators before deadline

Flyers trade Wayne Simmonds to Predators before deadline

Updated: 5:28 p.m.

VOORHEES, N.J. — Next stop for the "Wayne Train" is Nashville, Tennessee.

Just before Monday's 3 p.m. deadline, the Flyers traded one of the organization’s most beloved players to Music City in exchange for right winger Ryan Hartman and a fourth-round pick in 2020, which could be a third-round selection if the Predators win a playoff round.

The move marks the end of an era.

"I was extremely on edge, obviously, not knowing where the day would go or how it would unfold,” Simmonds told TSN. “I went to the rink this morning for practice and then I was told I wouldn’t be practicing. I got a chance to say bye to the boys for a last time. It happened at the last minute of the deadline and I’m kind of overwhelmed right now."

Acquired from the Los Angeles Kings on June 23, 2011, along with Brayden Schenn and a second-round pick for Mike Richards and Rob Bordson, Simmonds turned out to be the best part of that package.

Even if the Flyers had just received Simmonds (which would have seemed ludicrous back then) and nothing else, the Flyers still would have overwhelmingly got the better part of that trade with L.A. 

And it didn’t take long for Flyers nation to become completely enamored with the skinny 6-foot-2 kid from Scarborough, Ontario.

He had a 28-goal season in his first full year in Philadelphia to go along with 114 penalty minutes. He brought goals and grit every season as if he was time capsuled from the 1970s to play for this city in front of these fans.  

What Chase Utley personified to the Phillies, what Brian Dawkins meant to the Eagles is exactly how you would characterize Simmonds within the Flyers' organization over the past eight years.

“He's been an ultimate warrior, he's been the best teammate all these years,” Claude Giroux said Saturday after their last game together. “We've all been here for a while now, we understand the business of it, but it doesn't mean we have to like it. There are not enough good words I can say about Wayne Simmonds."

Speaking with raw emotion following Saturday’s 4-3 overtime win, Jakub Voracek referred to him as his “best friend.” The rest of the league wasn’t as fortunate. Just ask Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin, who was rocked by Simmonds into the glass at Lincoln Financial Field and never returned — diagnosed with a concussion.

That check and the ensuing melee that resulted in the loss of defenseman Kris Letang changed the entire complexion of the game. The Penguins may have thought it was a borderline dirty hit, but it was vintage Simmonds and the league obviously agreed. 

Somehow, Simmonds engaged in 41 fights during his time with the Flyers and spent 784 minutes in the penalty box, and yet not once was he forced to miss a single game as the result of a suspension.

“It’s part of the game. I’m not a dirty player. I’ve never been suspended in my life. I don’t pick people’s heads. I don’t do any of that stuff," Simmonds said proudly said after Saturday’s game. "I play the game honest and hard, and I can sleep at night."

There are a handful of goalies around the league who have endured some sleepless nights staring at the back of No. 17.

Even though he was affectionately known as the "Wayne Train" throughout his Flyers career, Simmonds was more of a snow plow on a cold February morning in front of the opposition’s net. He would remove and clear out whatever stood in his way in order to score a goal, especially on the power play.

Since 2011, only Washington’s Alex Ovechkin has ripped off more power-play goals than Simmonds. 

But if you ask him, here’s how Simmonds probably wants to be remembered.

Just last season, he suffered a tear in his pelvic area before training camp, which eventually led to him pulling his groin. He fractured his ankle in the line of fire of a slap shot, and then tore ligaments in the right thumb of his shooting hand. On top of all of that, he lost six teeth after taking a stick to the face while enduring some of the most excruciating mouth pain one person could possibly imagine.

Wayne Simmonds gave the city of Philadelphia everything he had playing the game of hockey.

And whatever he’s got left, whatever muscles and tendons are still attached, is what he’ll give to the fans of Nashville. 

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Podcast: Jim Jackson, Marc Zumoff, Tom McCarthy talk careers in sports, and more

Podcast: Jim Jackson, Marc Zumoff, Tom McCarthy talk careers in sports, and more

On a brand new, cross-sports podcast, Philadelphia's play-by-play broadcasters Jim Jackson, Marc Zumoff, and Tom McCarthy sat down this week to reminisce about their careers, chat about the future, and plenty more.

Here's a segment-by-segment rundown of the show:

0:40 - Personal appearance during the stay-at-home orders.

4:47 - Listening to their own broadcasts.

9:10 - Managing long seasons.

12:35 - Selling radio.

14:48 - Mount Rushmore of broadcasters.

29:01 - First job in the business.

35:24 - How they became the play-by-by broadcaster for the Flyers, Phillies, and Sixers.

43:38 - Optimism in the face of COVID-19.

You can listen to the full episode, in all its glory, below.

Subscribe and rate Phillies Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Subscribe and rate Sixers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

Because of coronavirus outbreak, James van Riemsdyk sees possible 'unique opportunity' for NHL playoffs

Because of coronavirus outbreak, James van Riemsdyk sees possible 'unique opportunity' for NHL playoffs

There always seem to be the people out there pleading for the NHL to become more marketable, more fun, more appealing.

If there's a silver lining to the suspension and uncertainty of the 2019-20 season amid the coronavirus outbreak, it could be the doors opening for some experimentation by the league.

Wednesday morning saw the calendar flip to April. The 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs were originally scheduled to start April 8. Nobody knows when or if they'll begin. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the NHL has been out of commission since March 12 and on Tuesday extended its isolation period to April 15.

Every NHL team has at least 11 games left on its regular-season schedule. The Flyers, who are a point behind the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals, have 13 games left.

With each passing day, the hopes of finishing the 2019-20 season in full weaken.

"That’s been the hardest part, for not only us but I feel like everyone in the world — there’s all this uncertainty around everything," James van Riemsdyk, the Flyers' NHLPA representative, said Tuesday night in a conference call. "It’d be nice to be like, ‘You know what, you sit at home for a month and then everything will go back to normal.’ I think that would obviously be a lot easier for everyone to handle than these daily to weekly updates on stuff and you’re kind of still unsure about what’s going to go on. A lot of people feel like, I’m sure, just running in place right now trying to stay busy and keep yourself in shape.”

Will the NHL find a way to drastically change its plan throughout the summer to play 2019-20 in its entirety? Should the league ax the remainder of the regular season and jump right into the playoffs? Could the postseason format change? Is the season going to resume at all?

A veteran of 11 seasons, van Riemsdyk knows all options will be on the table.

"I’d like to think we’ll find a way, but ultimately we want to guarantee the safety of everyone involved whether that’s players, staff, fans, families — we don’t want to do anything at the expense of any of that," van Riemsdyk said. "This is a way bigger issue than sports.”

He sees the NHL's predicament as a possible tryout opportunity for the league.

“Ultimately it’s going to come down to timing and how we can fit everything in," van Riemsdyk said. "In a perfect world, you’d like to finish the regular season and play it out as it may and go from there. But if some of those timeframes become a little bit too shortened where we can’t fit that in, it kind of creates a unique opportunity, in my opinion, to maybe try something a little bit unique with the playoff structure.

"I know that’s been talked about in the last couple of years especially is try to maybe add some more teams to it. If we’re in a situation like we are this year, it’s basically a free chance to try something a little bit outside the box maybe and see what might work.

"We’ll cross those bridges when we get there as far as time-wise and when we’re able to start things up and how that might look.”

Sixteen of the NHL's 31 teams qualify for the postseason. Each round features a best-of-seven series. The NHL playoffs have always been must-see entertainment. They could be a whole lot more fun, for all viewers, with a look that will be different to everybody. After all, 2019-20 has now become much different than other seasons in the past.

“If it gets to the point where we don’t have enough time to play out the regular season, which I’m sure everyone obviously would like to do," van Riemsdyk said, "then we can be more creative in the sense of trying something a little bit outside the box with the playoff structure potentially.”

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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