VOORHEES – Some say the greatest achievement in Flyers history was finding a way to stop the best defenseman of all time on the way to winning their first Stanley Cup.
That player’s name was Bobby Orr and shutting him down was the main reason why Philadelphia won its first championship in 1974.
Some 45 years later, the Flyers aren’t trying to contain another kid named “Orr,’’. . .they’re hoping to set him loose on the NHL.
And that’s exactly what they had in mind when they traded “up’’ to take speedy forward Bobby “Orr’’ Brink with the 34th pick in the second round of the NHL Entry Draft at Vancouver.
The Flyers used their newly acquired No. 45 and packaged it with their No. 65 to take Nashville’s pick and get Brink.
From all scouting accounts, the youngster has a knack around the net.
At the draft, Brink explained how his middle name became Orr. His father was a big fan of the Bruins’ legend and apparently decided to pay homage to his idol in a rather unusual way.
Now he hopes to, in some fashion, live up to that famous moniker.
By the way, it feels great to be wanted, according to Brink.
“It’s an awesome feeling, just pure excitement,’’ he said the other day at development camp at the Skate Zone. “Going to such a great organization like the Flyers with such passionate fans, it was really cool.’’
At 18, Brink is already aware that playing in a town with committed fans can be challenging.
“I think it’s just more excitement that you’re playing in a good market with passionate fans who are there to support you,’’ he said. “But you have to play well because they will be hard on you if you’re not.’’
The Flyers look forward to a day when they can use Brink’s hard, accurate shot to their advantage. He’s not called “The Hammer’’ for nothing.
“It (the shot) developed over time with hard work and just working on your shot I think it just keeps getting better,’’ he said. “I just need to keep working on my skating and keep getting bigger in the gym. Those are the two areas I need to improve on the most.’’
Many were quick to observe that Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher has a connection to the Brink family, which could have played a part in this whole process.
“Our scouting staff puts the list (of draftees) together,’’ Fletcher was quick to point out. “I certainly know some of the players and occasionally will give my opinion, and ultimately I have to make the decision, but I rely on the scouts to put the list together and Bobby was a player that our entire staff scouted and very much liked as a hockey player.
“Certainly I’ve known Bobby and his family for many years. His dad, Andy, coached my son and also taught him in school. So there’s a long relationship there certainly. In terms of the background, I felt comfortable giving my opinion to the staff that he’s a quality kid from a quality family. I watched him play at every level, and it’s remarkable – he was a star player in squirt and peewee, and he’s a star player in the USHL. He’s a high-quality prospect.’’
>Sixty seconds with Cam York
The Flyers made headlines last weekend by making the first trade in the first round of the draft, getting defenseman Cam York with the 17th overall pick.
Here’s a quick Q & A with the young backliner:
>What do you know about the Flyers organization?
“I remember when I was a little kid I would always tell my parents when they came out to Anaheim we need to go to this game. It’s one of those organizations that has a rich history and always a successful team. So, just really looking forward to being a part of it.’’
>Have you seen Gritty? Do you think your hair resembles his?
“I have. I saw a few things resembling me to him. It’s all good. Gritty is a beauty. I take it as a compliment.’’
>Any pressure playing in a city as passionate as Philadelphia?
“That’s the first thing I learned about Philadelphia is that they have passionate fans. They want to win. They hold their players really accountable and as a player I think that’s what you want, so just really happy to be here.’’
>What can you say about your strong two-way play in junior hockey?
“I feel I’m dynamic and can make things happen. I feel like defensively I don’t get enough credit for what I do. I think I led my team in plus/minus this year. I want to be a guy who plays 30 minutes a night, not just 20 because he’s just offensive. I want to be really good on both sides of the ice.’’
>Does going plus-56 speak to that balance?
“Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. I’m really solid at both ends of the ice and I think Philadelphia saw that and it is probably the reason they got me.’’