Standing just outside the door that leads to the Flyers' locker room - minutes before he would come into the focus of 19,702 fans and one gleaming spotlight at center ice - Bob Clarke was blown away by the awaiting media interest.
"I had one of these nights already, 25 years ago," Clarke said before last night's on-ice ceremony.
During the time his grandson, Peter White Jr., took to fold up the same banner from his retirement ceremony at the Spectrum more than 25 years ago, Clarke had yet another moment to put his long and legendary career in perspective.
Clarke, the still-humble 62-year-old from Flin Flon, Manitoba, said he just wanted to be remembered one way.
"Just that I hope I was a team player," Clarke said. "When I look backwards, and I have lots of time to do that, I was lucky. Most people don't get the opportunities I had. I came to a team that, well, Mr. Snider and Keith Allen were committed to winning. They were committed to spend the money to do whatever it took to win.
"The decade-and-a-half that I played, I was treated better financially, emotionally, every which way you can imagine, than [Bobby] Orr, [Phil] Esposito, any of the players from the years that I played. I played most of my career with [Reggie] Leach, [Bill] Barber and [Bernie] Parent. You'd almost have to be no good at all to not have success playing with that level of players. I benefitted from it tremendously."
As a player, Clarke collected three Hart Trophies as league MVP, nine All-Star Game selections, more than 1,000 points, one call to the Hall of Fame and two Stanley Cups. As a general manager, Clarke's teams went to the Stanley Cup finals three times.
And while his passion for the game has not disappeared, Clarke is content with stopping by the Flyers' practice facility each day without much responsibility.
"I don't miss it," Clarke said. "I did it until I had enough. I was lucky I was able to do it for a long time, but you just sort of reach the end when you don't want to sit behind a desk anymore. I'm still able to hang around the locker room and talk to the players on a personal basis, but I don't try to manage, and I don't try to coach. I just like hanging around, like a kid hanging around the locker room, and it's fine with me."
Confirming a report from TSN's Darren Dreger in Canada, an organization source said the Flyers could be in the mix to sign rehabbed goaltender Ray Emery to a contract - despite a log-jam of goaltenders in the minor leagues. Anaheim is one of the other team's Dreger mentioned.
Michael Leighton and Johan Backlund, who both have one-way NHL contracts next season, are already on the Phantoms' roster in Adirondack.
Emery's agent, J.P. Barry, reportedly said Emery would be willing to take a two-way contract. He has not played since an intense bone-graft surgery last March, when he was with the Flyers, to cure avascular necrosis in his hip. Emery, 28, does not need to clear waivers but needs to sign before Feb. 28 to be eligible for the playoffs.