If anyone knows Flyers hockey, it’s Bill Clement. As a former player who helped guide the orange and black to two Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975 respectively, to a current position as a broadcaster for NBC Sports, Clement sure as heck has seen it all in the sport of hockey. When he speaks highly of a current player in Nolan Patrick, well you can bet your bottom dollar he will be good, “Nolan Patrick is something else. He is something special, and he will play like last year.” Moreover, Clement continues to praise other players, as well, “Wayne he will have a heck of a year, as he’s finally healthy, G will too. Konecny I mean wow. He’s grown so much from last year.”
The Flyers do not give Clement a list of players to praise, as for one he doesn’t work for the Flyers, rather NBC Sports. Clement has the knack of knowing who to praise, and when to praise them. The knack comes from his playing days, and he doesn’t mind being a homer either.
“I am a homer. It’s not hard to be, I am. For ESPN I had to be objective. When I worked for ESPN I didn’t cheer for colors, I cheered for people. Now for the Flyers I want them to do well.”
Clement continues, “Nobody tells us what to say about any player. We work for NBC Sports, not the Flyers. I look for a player that does things well. I want an announcer that gives hope. As a former player one thing that’s easy to spot is how smart a player is. That’s what I know about Mikhail Vorobyev is how damn smart he is.”
Previously while broadcasting for ESPN, Clement sure had a great time calling games for them. Think back to the Isles vs Caps game on Easter Sunday in 1987, “That was great, and that was one of the most fun times,” Clement said, “We had no programming or video between periods. Looking back it was the ‘Woodstock’ of hockey. The next day we a bottle of Dom Perignon from the President of ESPN, but the Executive Vice President Steve Bornstein ripped us. I had to dare to be different.”
Imagine playing in a game, scoring an insurance goal, then finding out you were actually traded before the game began. Clement just learned last week that’s what happened to him. The Washington Capitals defeated the New York Rangers 7-5 in January of 1976. Clement pots the insurance goal, and afterwards finds out he was traded. No thank you, no nothing, just goodbye.
“That was early in my career. I found out the other day I was already traded before the game was played. I was told by a writer that actually saw a letter of agreement before the game, but I ended up playing the game (Laughing). Thanks here’s your ticket from Washington (Laughing).”
Picking the brain of Clement is not an easy thing to do. However, it’s easy to see in his voice how much love and passion he has for the sport of hockey, and in particular the Flyers. When he speaks people tend to listen, “I got high expectations for this young team,” Clement says of the current Flyers. “There’s something that has to remain, and that’s the health of Brian Elliott. He was really good against Vegas, and he was really good last year. If he can remain healthy watch out. Not getting into the other Goaltenders.”
The broadcasting legend in Clement continues, “I think it’s unrealistic that Giroux can’t have 102 points like last year. The Flyers are so young, and there’s so much growth potential your seeing it. Oskar Lindblom I knew he’d take another step. I think he’s going to have a great year.”
This talented “young” (laughing) man in Clement always thinks about other people. Would he shave his mustache for charity? You bet. Does he think Giroux lacks the respect he deserves throughout the NHL? Of course, but he gives us his analysis as to why it might be confusing for some people to give Giroux the utmost respect that he deserves throughout the NHL.
“I would shave my mustache again for charity (Laughing), as a matter of fact I did it a few years ago. It’s not like I’m cutting my face off, and it makes me younger (Laughing).”
He continues about the lack of respect for Giroux, “One thing that it might be is he gets so many points on the Power Play. What I mean is you have to evaluate the position, and last year he was a first year Left Winger. It confuses people, and it confuses people like Craig Button because Giroux has always been a Center. Maybe that’s why. No one is more competitive than Giroux, and I might add Couturier to that.”
Flyers hockey is alive and well on Broad Street, according to Clement. He knows that the orange and black wouldn’t be here today without the support of the fans. Clement loves Philadelphia, the fans, and all the bells and whistles the City has to offer. One thing is certain Flyers fans, the future is bright in Flyerland.
Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports