Starting Lineups: Wayne Simmonds Is The Most Philly Athlete GoingHockey, No Class Friday — By Dillon Friday on March 21, 2014 at 10:35 am
When I think of the Rev, I think of Philly sports. The man has two tvs and two cable providers (actually one is satellite if we’re getting technical) so that house guests can take in two games at once. This is especially convenient when the Sixers and Flyers play on the same night. So seeing how I’m taking over Mr. Revere’s Friday post for this week, I wanted to highlight one Philadelphia athlete who currently holds the title of “Most Philly Player Going.” By the way, that name is subject to change. I’m trying to figure this out and it’s late.
At any rate, dating back to Chuck Bednarik there’s always been a member of a Philadelphia sports team that embodies the city. Tough. Rugged. Driven. The person in question makes up for an apparent lack of skill, or size in some cases, with voracious tenacity. Think Bobby Clarke. Think Allen Iverson. Iverson handed the torch to Brian Dawkins who when the Eagles cut him, passed it to Chase Utley. Agreed? Agreed.
Now that title belongs to the Flyers Wayne Simmonds. Simmonds looks so at home in Flyers orange and black that its hard to believe that he wore anything else. He and Brayden Schenn came over in the deal that sent captain Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings. Richards was a fan favorite in his own right during his stay, but he feuded with the media and clashed with head coach Peter Laviolette.
Simmonds was a throw-in in that deal, a third or fourth line grit guy who could occasionally find the back of the net. In his three years in Philadelphia, though, he has become indispensable. After last night’s two goal effort in a 4-2 Flyers win over the Dallas Stars, Simmonds has surged past his previous career high in points, which he set his first season here back in 2011-12 with 49. He now has 23 goals and 52 points through 69 games.
Simmonds scores. He sticks up for his teammates. He fights, which is important to Philadelphia. He cares, which is important to Philadelphia. And like Clarke’s toothless smile, Simmonds wears his toughness on his face. Scars mar his cheeks and a crooked nose. He is a black guy with black eyes.
In two and a half seasons of hockey, accounting for the lockout a season ago, Simmonds has missed just three games despite his style of play. In other words, a night off is a very rare occurrence for the 25 year old, both for when he’s playing and when he’s not. We love him for it.
Here are your Friday links to close out the week, enjoy the madness.