Decades Later, LCB Line Still Has The Legs

31 Dec

CITIZENS BANK PARK — Mark Recchi only retired from the NHL last season. Eric Lindros, John LeClair and Jeremy Roenick are all younger than he. But none of them logged the most ice time. Instead, Pat Quinn’s Flyers alumni leaned on perhaps the most famous line in Flyers history.

Reggie Leach, Bobby Clarke and Bill Barber, one of the team’s most potent scoring lines ever, led the team in ice time. Brian Propp had a team-high 16:11, but as for lines, the LCB line was tops.

“It shouldn’t have been,” said Clarke. “It just took us a long time to get off.”

“All we wanted to do was make sure we didn’t get scored on, or get over the red line and get it in deep,” added Barber. “Either way it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it.”

They started the game for the Flyers, bringing back many memories for fans who remember the days of those three in the Spectrum with Bernie Parent between the pipes.

“It was great to see,” said Barber, now a scouting consultant with the Flyers. “You stood back, you’re in awe of everything. You say ‘what’s going on? We’ve got a bunch of old guys who are playing, stumbling around out there.’ But it was a great time.

“We were a little slow at times, or all the time I should say. It was an honor for me. I’ve always enjoyed playing with Clarkie and Reggie. We go back a long way and have had some success so it’s always great to suit up with those guys and play a little bit.”

Leach, who scored 306 goals for the Flyers, wasn’t prepared to be out there that long.

“Not really, I was surprised that we played as much as we did,” he said. “Just going out there enjoying the moment and everything was fine. It got a little tougher in the third. The legs felt better in the third, for myself anyhow and for the other guys too.

“But when you haven’t played for so long you try to get the legs together with your brain and your stick and everything’s off. It was a great time.”

Barber was the only one of the three to register a shot on goal. Clarke was 4-of-10 inside the faceoff circle. But none of that mattered to the 45,808 in attendance. Nor did it to the players.

“I was just in awe, looking at the crowd and sitting with all these great players that played for the Flyers over the years. It was wonderful to me,” said Leach. “I just smiled the whole game sitting on the bench with these guys. It’s once in a lifetime. You get to play with the best players to every play in a Flyers uniform.”

On more than one occasion, Leach said it was a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to get the whole crew back together. As far as Stanley Cup team members go, Leach says this may have been a last hoorah.

“It’s hard to do it every year because it wouldn’t be special then if it’s an annual thing,” he said. “Something like this that Mr. Snider did and Paul Holmgren and bringing all these players in like this, it’s a once in a lifetime thing. This will be my last. Maybe down the line Eric [Lindros] and them will play in another one, but this is something really special.”

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