In his time with the Flyers, Bob Clarke has done enough to be satisfied with his career.
Two Stanley Cups, the Hockey Hall of Fame, and 19 seasons as a general manager, is more than some players dream about, but there is one more thing he looks back on fondly: His involvement with the startup AHL franchise, the Phantoms.
"I was the manager of that team when it started and helped build the foundations," Clarke said yesterday. "At the meeting before we started I asked [Flyers chairman Ed Snider] if he thought it would be successful and he said, 'It's going to be successful. You just get the franchise and get it going.'
"So we got the franchise, we got the players and the best thing I probably did was hire Bill Barber and put him in charge of putting the foundation in place.
"Now the Phantoms are a really, really good organization and just being a small part of it, that is pretty important to me."
The Phantoms will honor Clarke by inducting him into the team's Hall of Fame before Sunday's game with Hamilton at the Wachovia Center.
In addition, the team will wear replica jerseys of the 1968-69 Flin Flon Bombers, the junior team Clarke played for in his home town in Manitoba.
"The Phantoms came up with the idea," Clarke said. "I think it's really neat. Once you're done playing and go into the next phase of your life, to develop young players to play in the NHL is as good a feeling as you're going to get, other than winning a Stanley Cup.
"I've had a lot of success in the NHL but these young players that come through and get proper guidance and coaching and then make it to the NHL is humbling. It's an honor to be part of the process that does that."
Simon Gagne (concussion) was back at the Flyers' practice facility yesterday, and said that while he is not thinking of trying to play in the playoffs he is feeling better.
"It's been almost a month-and-a-half since the injury and I'm feeling pretty good," he said. "Every day is getting better; the symptoms are almost gone. I'm going in the right direction like I want. I would like to be 100 percent right away but I know it's going to take time. We have a long period of time before I start playing again."
Randy Jones (hip flexor) and R.J. Umberger (left knee sprain) also got treatment, skated and worked out while the rest of the team took a day off. Jones said he is planning to practice today and hopes to play in New Jersey tomorrow night.
"I feel better," he said. "The hip flexor has come along really well. This is my second day getting out there and getting some cardio."
Jones was injured March 12 and has missed the last six games.
"[Today] is my first team practice and I'm looking forward to it," he said.
Umberger also said he is feeling better.