Blogs > In The Room with Anthony SanFilippo

Daily Times beat writer Anthony J. SanFilippo takes you inside the locker rooms of the Philadelphia Flyers and the rest of the NHL.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Were the Canadiens trying to sabotage the Flyers’ efforts before the game even began Saturday?

That’s a question that may never be answered, but will certainly be a topic of debate for some time to come.

Apparently a bucket of sand, or some other “sandy” substance was emptied onto the floor outside the door of the Flyers’ locker room and down toward the tunnel.

It caused several players’ skate blades to dull quickly and as such a handful had to go off the ice during their 3-0 win over the Canadiens in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals – some of them repeatedly – for maintenance.

Mike Richards left the ice three times with skate issues. Kimmo Timonen did so twice. Other players on the grainy train were Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux and Darroll Powe.

The Flyers did some maintenance of their own to try to keep the granules off the blades by putting a series of towels down, but it was only partially effective.
How the sand got there is an unknown. Obviously, no one from the Canadiens would take ownership and no one from the Flyers chose to be accusatory, as many of them feigned ignorance to the concept of their Bell Centre locker room being turned into beachfront property.

However, when given the opportunity to speak on the condition of anonymity, several members of the Flyers’ organization had a lot to say about what may or may not have taken place.

“I don’t know where it came from,” said one player. “But it was definitely getting in our skates. To have that many skate problems in one game is rare, no, more than rare, it’s unheard of.”

Another player said he doesn’t know who was responsible for the sand but added “you never know to what length some people will go. Teams are always looking for any edge they can get, so you never know if this was one of those situations.”

It wouldn’t be the first time something like this would happen in sports.
Hall-of-Fame basketball coach Red Auerbach allegedly used to have the hot water turned off in the visitor’s locker room at old Boston Garden when his Celtics were in the playoffs.

The New York Giants were accused for years of opening the doors at one end of Giants Stadium when opponents would attempt field goals to try and get some assistance from the wind tunnel created.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s what happened here,” said one member of the Flyers’ organization who has been around hockey for a long time. “It wouldn’t surprise me at all.”

Richards, who seemed to have the most trouble with his skates, said the sand had no impact on him but rather stepping on sticks twice and jamming his blade against the post on another instance.

Still, one Flyers’ official wasn’t buying it.

“They tried to (mess) with us,” he said.

If so, it didn’t work.


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