CELEBRITIES OR HEROES! Are they the same?

I came across a great quote today that made me think about who we select to be our heroes and which celebrities we choose to glorify. Here is the quote:

“Celebrity-worship and hero-worship should not be confused. Yet we confuse them every day, and by doing so we come dangerously close to depriving ourselves of all real model”. Daniel J. Boorstin (1)    

Just because someone is a celebrity doesn’t mean that he is a hero or a role model. Parents should be vigilant on who their children choose as their hero. Let’s not let the media choose them for us. It seems to me that we are all victims of advertising, marketing and the media selecting what is important for us to watch and hear.  

Tiger Woods never had as much exposure as when he had a big sex scandal. Lindsay Lohan has been on the headlines more for her addictions than for her talent as an actress. I won’t expand on the eccentricity of “Lady Gaga” as a role model for our kids. Hockey has had its bad boys too so it’s important that kids pick the right celebrity to adulate.

Celebrities often don’t realize the impact they can have on young people and adults as well. They have a responsibility towards their fans as much as to the team that they play for. The impact can define itself by a simple autograph given with a smile and a caring comment or giving a presentation in a school.

I experienced this myself several times as a professional athlete. Some events happened during my career as a goalie in the NHL that seemed very trivial to me but were so memorable to the people that I interacted with.

Recently I met a man who showed me a picture of the two of us. He was an 8 year old wide eyed kid standing beside me getting an autograph. He was very excited to finally get his picture signed. To my surprise, he remembered every details of our encounter. What seemed so trivial to me to sign an autograph was important to him and he remembered it through his adult life.  

Then my distant cousin recently connected with me and gave me a DVD of his collection of scrapbooks, newspaper clippings and pictures over my whole career. He is so excited about his production that he posted it on YouTube.   (http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=phil+myre&aq=f). I met him only on a couple of occasions when he was about 10 years old and I was beginning my career with the Montreal Canadiens. We never saw each other beyond that but the short time that we had was enough to influence him as he was growing up.

Those stories illustrate the impact that a celebrity can have on young people. It may seem insignificant to the famed person but yet, can have a lifetime impact to the fan involved.   

So let’s not be fooled between a celebrity and a role model. Yes, some celebrities can be role models but the title doesn’t come automatically. Conversely, role models don’t have to be celebrities. The person who had the biggest positive impact on my childhood was my grandfather. And don’t let the media choose who our heroes should be.  


Phil Myre (philmyretalkshockey.com)   (Blog every Tuesday and Friday)

(1)      Boorstin was an American historian, professor, attorney, and writer. He was appointed twelfth Librarian of the United States Congress from 1975 until 1987.  Boorstin describes shifts in American culture — mainly due to advertisingwhere the reproduction or simulation of an event becomes more important or “real” than the event itself.




PART TWO Was there ever a time in your life when you felt on top of the world and wish it would never end? 

On the way to the 35 game unbeaten streak with the Philadelphia Flyers, there are some special games that stand out in my mind. We shattered the Flyers record of 23, surpassed the NHL record at 28 held by the Montreal Canadiens and the Pro Sport record at 33 held by the L.A. Lakers. Breaking the Flyers record was special because it was, after all, the second longest unbeaten streak in NHL history. But other games earn special mention. 

 The 27th and 28th games were both 1-1 ties. They especially stand out because we were within range to this great achievement and yet so close to blowing it. I may have played my best game of the streak in Madison Square garden to salvage the tie in game 27, stopping 35 shots. The score was tied at one after the first period and remained that way to the end. Bill Barber, a clutch player, scored our goal. 

  In game 28, the game that tied the Canadiens record, Pete Peeters and Greg Millen battled to a 1-1 tie also. Millen was outstanding for the Pittsburgh Penguins, stopping 34 shots, and almost took away our privilege of tying the NHL record. Behn Wilson scored the tying goal with less than 5 minutes left in the game ruining Greg’s shut-out but giving us a chance to continue our quest. What a shame it would have been if we had lost that game. 

  Game 29, in Boston, was the record breaker. The Flyers had not won in Boston Gardens in 5 years. But in this game, there was no question that we would be the winners. There was tension in the dressing room and nobody even talked about the record in specific terms. We all knew what was at stake.  We controlled the play from beginning to end. The best memorabilia I own from this game is a picture with our coach Pat Quinn on the ice after the game which made front page in TIME MAGAZINE. (see picture) 

  Another memorable game is the 34th game in Buffalo against the Sabres. Its notoriety isn’t just because we beat the All Pro Sport record with a 4-2 win. The game itself was really uneventful until about 7 minutes left in the 3rd period. Pete Peeters, my partner in goal, started the game although he didn’t feel very well. Leading 3-2 in the 3rd period, he got sick and vomited in the crease. Feeling a little “woozy”, he left the game and “gifted me with the stained crease” to close the game. We scored a goal to make it 4-2 shortly after I came in relief. Buffalo had a great chance that I stopped late in the game with the goalie pulled. Ironically, if I didn’t make that save and let a goal in, I would have been the goalie on record with the win and not Pete. (I’ll let you figure that one out…) 

  Every game after breaking the NHL Record was like a playoff game. Opponents and fans around the league wanted to be the ones to end the streak at all costs. When we finally lost (7-1) in Minneapolis, the noise still resounds in my head as the loudest crowd I ever heard in a hockey building. The North Stars took an early lead and the crowd smelled blood and knew that history was about to be made. We could hardly hear the whistle by the referee throughout the game. Yes, I did play that game. 

  Pat Quinn was our coach. Pat was ahead of his time as a coach in those days. He is a great strategist and even a better human being. He knew what buttons to push. Bob Boucher and Bobby Clarke were his assistant coaches. Jacques Plante was the Goalie Coach. Together, they were aware of the pulse of the team and gave the players a lot of freedom to express their skills and play their role. Keith Allen was our “classy and knowledgeable” general manager. I need to mention my good friend Joe Kadlec who did everything for the players and their families and who has a Flyer emblem tatooed on his heart. 

  Finally, I can’t talk about playing for the Flyers without mentioning the owner, Mr. Ed Snider. He is very competitive and demanding but extremely caring and a family oriented owner. It would have been great to win another cup for him that year. There is no question that the success that the Flyers have had over the years begins with his leadership

  We didn’t want the streak to end but what a ride it was…one I will never forget and proud to have been a part of… 


  Phil Myre

FLYERS 35 GAME STREAK – part one

79-80 Flyers

Did you ever participate in something so special that it will remain in your memory forever?

Was there ever a time in your life when you felt on top of the world and wish it would never end?

There are several accomplishments and memories that make me feel that way but none as memorable as the Philadelphia Flyers 35 game unbeaten streak during the 1979-80 season. This record will most likely never be broken because of the overtime period that was instituted in the NHL just a few years later for the 1983-84 season

That season would have been the ultimate achievement had we won the Stanley Cup. We finished first overall, had the streak but we lost to the New York Islanders in the Stanley Cup Finals. (Does anybody remember the famous off-side goal in the final game?)

The successful season wasn’t without ups and downs and battles along the way. I was traded to the Flyers from St-Louis Blues that summer for Rick Lapointe and Blake Dunlop. Prior to the trade, my wife and I suffered a family tragedy when we lost a baby girl (Elisabeth) to Respiratory Distress Syndrome three days after birth. This was the most difficult time of my life and still is very emotional for both of us. Moving to Philadelphia was a chance for a new start. But I had a terrible training camp. I had difficulty focusing and my performance was erratic. Regardless, I started the first game and won at home. The second game was “ugly” and typical of my play at training camp that year. I suffered a 9-2 loss in Atlanta, my former team. Little did I know that we wouldn’t lose another game until January 7th.

Following that forgettable game, we started to win and my focus and competitiveness improved as we progressed. Pete Peeters was my partner in goal as a rookie. We had a good team, but more importantly, we competed hard and had great leadership.. The core group of defensemen was Jimmy Watson, Bob Dailey, Andre Dupont and Behn Wilson. We also had rookies on defense; the 3 B’s: Norm Barnes, Mike Busniuk and Frank Bathes who were special people and had career seasons. Brian Propp was a rookie forward and had a terrific year. Our scoring leader was Ken Linseman and Reggie Leach scored 50 goals. What a “sniper” Rick MacLeish was. He scored a lot of big goals for us.

Our leadership definitely came from Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber and Paul Holmgren. All three of those players were model citizens, they practiced as hard as they played the game and would never let anybody “slack off” at any time. Clarkie was the player I hated to play against the most but the best teammate I ever had.

Our “role players” were so important to our success. Mel Bridgman, our captain, defines the term “role player”. He was so efficient in all areas. He did it all. He was not a good skater but he won faceoffs, played special teams, he played hard, he was a smart player and always stuck up for his teammates. He also contributed offensively with 47 points. Any team who achieves some level of success must have support players who play for the team and are willing to play hard for short minutes. Our role players included Bob (hound) Kelly, Al Hill, Tom Gorence, John Paddock, Jack McIIlhargey. They were great guys who deserve a lot of credit for the success of that season.

The buzz about a “Streak” started in Philadelphia and around the league at around 18 undefeated games. The Flyers record was 23 and it also was the second longest unbeaten record in the league. The league record was 28 held by the Montreal Canadiens. Pete Peeters and I almost split the games through the streak and it was fitting that Pete played both games that tied the records and I played both that beat the records. We also beat the Pro Sports record held by the L.A. Lakers at 33.

Can you believe that we had only lost one game when we had our New Year’s Eve party? A celebration I will always remember.

There was very little conversation about beating any record in the dressing room. But it was there. It was a quiet confidence and a subtle determination that we would do it. The euphoria, the media coverage and the fan interest grew as we kept winning. We broke attendance records in some buildings. Many hockey fans and opponents who “love to hate the Flyers” made the games very intense as we got closer. Boston Gardens was the dreaded building where the Flyers had not won a game in almost 5 years. We stepped onto the ice with the conviction that we would become part of something very special. From start to finish, we controlled the play and won the game 5-2.

I am very privileged and honored to have been a member of the Philadelphia Flyers and to have been a part of this outstanding accomplishment that will be ingrained in my memory forever.



Phil Myre


Most coaches have a rating system to evaluate their players’ performance for each game. For example, Jacques Martin uses a 1-5 scale, Mike Keenan would uses a scale of 0-1-2. Some use letters.  Whatever the scale or the system used, coaches use it to keep a record of each player’s performance. By doing this, a coach can track the evolution or the consistency of the players.      

The same holds true for goalies. As a goalie coach I take it one step further. I rate the QUALITY OF GOALS SCORED AGAINST. It’s a very effective tool to motivate, teach and assess the the degree of responsibility for the goalie, especially if a team gives up too many goals. 

Here is how it works:   

We rate each goal 0, 1 or 2. I say “we” because the goalie and I rate each goal together. Goalies are pretty honest about it and are often more severe than I am on their own rating. Video, of course can be used effectively for this purpose.   


  1. If the goalie had absolutely no chance, the goal is rated a “0”. It’s a GOOD GOAL! We don’t spend time analyzing a good goal but we do CELEBRATE IT because that’s the what we try to achieve.
  2. When the goalie is solely responsible for the puck entering the net he receives a “2”. It’s a BAD GOAL!  It’s important to look for patterns of bad goals and they must be eliminated.  
  3. Anything in between a GOOD GOAL AND A BAD GOAL is given a “1”. It’s an ERROR. This is the chance to teach or make corrections.That can be done with related drills, video sessions and constant reminders.  The goalie has to know what mistake he made and what he needs to do the next time this situation comes up.   

I keep track of the goals against and their ratings all year-longThe average per game should be 2 or below.  The quality of the goals against usually coincides with wins and losses. GOOD GOALS produce more wins, that’s why we celebrate them.   

Goalies generally take on this challenge very positively. It gives a positive edge to a negative situation which is a goal against. If a goalie gives 5 or 6 goals and gets only two points in the rating, we can focus on the quality rather than the number of goals and give it a positive spin. If the rating is high, then the goalie takes responsibility, “we” identify the errors and take the steps necessary to correct them.    

This rating system celebrates good goals, helps cut down bad goals and identifies areas to work on with the goalie.    




Goal Scored



The NHL salary cap continues to climb every year! Average players are handed out exorbitant amounts of money on the free agent market. Players coming out of their Entry Level contracts are banking excessive amounts and long term contracts. One General Manager, Dale Tallon, spent and guaranteed in excess of $100 million dollars in one day in his attempt to rebuild his team, the Florida Panthers.

Many hockey fans are bewildered and confused. With unemployment hovering at around 10% in the US, home values deflated up to 45% in many areas and the many other issues facing the economy, it’s hard to understand the amounts of money that NHL teams are willing to pay their players.  

I can’t say that I understand all of the reasoning or agree with all of those contracts but I can offer some plausible explanations:

The 2004 NHL lockout gave the owners what they wanted most: COST CERTAINTY. They wanted to control the high spenders and have the ability to project player cost by establishing a salary cap.

The NHL salary cap is formally titled the “Upper Limit of the Payroll Range” (the ceiling) in the new CBA.  Following the NHL lockout, for the 2005–06 season, the salary cap was set at $39 million dollars per team, with a maximum of $7.8 million (20% of the team’s cap) for one player. The CBA also contains a “Lower Limit of the Payroll Range”, (the floor) which is the minimum that each team must pay in player salaries. The lower limit was originally set at 55% of the cap, but is now defined to be $16 million below the upper cap.

The NHL salary cap in 2011-12 will be $64.3 million per team, with the “floor cap” set at $48.3 million dollars. That is $8.7 million more than the “upper cap” was in 2005 after the lockout.

How did all this happen?  Is our game so good that hockey fans and corporate sponsors will spend money to watch hockey regardless of a poor economy? The NHL has done an excellent job in increasing the visibility and exposure of our sports and developing a new fan base by promoting our great stars. Is that enough to justify the increase in revenue and spending? I don’t think so.

One of the reasons for the continued increase in revenues that the league has enjoyed in the past few years is the “Canadian Dollar”.

Revenues for the six (now seven) Canadian teams have all increased significantly since the lockout due to the fact the Canadian dollar has risen in value, reaching parity with the U.S. dollar. As a result, league-wide revenues measured in U.S. dollars have been inflated accordingly. Most Canadian teams play to near capacity; ticket prices are generally higher in Canada to reflect the supply and demand and the difference in monetary exchange. All six Canadian teams pay into the current revenue sharing plan which was designed in the new CBA to provide some protection to small market teams.

Consequently, the cap has been raised each year to its current figure of $64.3 million for the 2011–12 season, with a cap of $12.86 million for one player.

The league as a whole is happy regardless of the increase in salary as long as the fixed percentage of total league revenues doesn’t go over the 57% stipulated in the CBA. 

To ensure compliance with this provision, a percentage of each player’s salary is withheld in escrow until the season is over, at which time the funds are divided between the players and owners to reach the agreed percentage. In the first season of the current CBA, revenues exceeded expectations to such a margin that players received the entire escrow back plus additional funds from the owners, however in subsequent seasons this has not been the case.

While Canadian teams are enjoying this increase in revenues, the percentage paid to the players (57%) is a figure calculated league wide. Some U.S. teams are far below the league average in revenues and are struggling with the unexpected increase in salaries. Not all teams benefit from the revenue sharing and the money THEY spend on players’ salaries far exceed the league wide 57% of THEIR revenue.

It will be interesting to watch the posturing from both sides in preparation for the next bargaining agreement which expires at the end of the 2011-12 season. My guess is that the players would like to have “status quo” but don’t like the “escrow”.  I believe that the owners have some issues that will surface at the negotiation table. The NBA and the NFL will be first at modifying their CBA. Although specific issues are totally different, some fundamental principles may pave the way to solving some of the NHL issues.


PHIL MYRE (www.philmyretalkshockey.com)

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NHL_salary_cap