DETROIT _ Thursday's ugly incident in London Ontario, where a fan threw a banana onto the ice at Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds, will have a unifying effect on the hockey team.
No, this isn't the way they wanted to bond _ by the reprehensible actions of one knucklehead _ but they will do their best to get past it.
Simmonds, one of the NHL's few black players, already has.
"I've grown a lot playing in this league and throughout my whole life," said Simmonds, who is mature beyond his years (23). "I'm not going to dwell on that. It's over with now."
Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, issued this statement on the incident:
"We have millions of great fans who show tremendous respect for our
players and for the game," he said. "The obviously stupid and ignorant action by one individual is in no way representative of our fans or the people of London,
The Flyers play the Red Wings in Detroit on Friday night. Based on comments made in the locker room after Thursday's 4-3 shoot-out loss to the Red Wings in London, the players will have Simmonds' back tonight....and the rest of the season.
The Flyers, of course, made numerous off-season moves and have a new-look team this year. Building chemistry and a bond off the ice, coach Peter Laviolette said, is just as important as developing cohesiveness on it.
In that sense, the London knucklehead expedited the process.
For video of Flyers forward Max Talbot talking about the incident, click here.
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Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter at BroadStBull.
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