The Philadelphia Flyers are a team built on grit. From the management to the players to the fans, Philadelphia is one of the toughest cities on earth. Some players shy away from this type of blue-collar play but some embrace it and use it as a way to make a mark on the NHL.
Darroll Powe is one of those players.
The Flyers forward is a rising star in the NHL and will be known for his defensive capabilities, if not already!
I’d like to thank Darroll Powe and the Flyers organization for taking time to speak with me.
Donald Wood: How did you come to get signed by the Flyers after going undrafted?
Darroll Powe: It was actually after my senior year at Princeton, I hired an agent and he got my name out there. One of the teams that were interested was the Phantoms of the AHL. I didn’t get many looks from NHL teams right off the bat and it was the Phantoms that contacted me. Paul Holmgren was the GM of the Phantoms and the Flyers and he is the one who gave me the chance.
DW: You’re turning into a really solid two-way forward; did you come out of college thinking that you would be a defensive-minded forward?
DP: I was always defense minded first. Coming out of Princeton I knew I wasn’t going to be a guy who put up a bunch of points and I knew if I wanted to make it I’d have to be a role-player. I learned a lot under Guy Gadowsky [Princeton men’s hockey coach], so I just focused on that part of my game
DW: You took over for Ian Laperriere last year on the penalty kill when he went down. How was it to take over for a veteran like Laperriere?
DP: It was tough to see Lappy go down and he’s been one of the best penalty killers in the league and he’s been around for a long time. It kind of put me on the penalty kill and I was trying to do my best to fill in and do well. Me and [Blair] Betts got a chemistry going and things worked out and we played well during our playoff run last year.
DW: I interviewed Blair Betts a little while back and he said how much he liked playing with you; how do you like playing with him?
DP: I love it. It’s easy to play next to him because he works so hard and he’s just always doing the right things on the ice. He doesn’t have a bad habit in him. He always thinks defense first and makes the right plays and his effort and second efforts are great. I learned from him on the PK and on and off the ice.
DW: The Flyers penalty kill is in the top 10 this year so far, what do you credit with your success?
DP: Like you said, it’s not just me. There are a lot of players who kill penalties on this team, our goaltending has been great, and our back end, Kimmo [Timonen] and Prongs [Chris Pronger] and everyone. We all block a lot of shots and clear the box and me and Betts play with Mike Richards and Claude Giroux too, and they bring the offensive aspect to the penalty kill. We got a lot of great things going on with our PK but unfortunately we had a lot of practice.
DW: How do you like Philly?
DP: I love it. There’s no better place to play in the league and I think it's No. 1 of all the places I’ve been, especially during playoff time. Philadelphia fans are amazing and I love playing here.
DW: With the added depth on defense, what are the expectations for the team this year?
DP: Our goal is to win the Stanley Cup this year and with the pieces in place, I don’t think that’s an unreachable goal. Our defense is loaded up, we got enough firepower up front and our goaltending is playing great. We are a legitimate threat to go all the way this year we just need to keep working. That’s the biggest thing, not to get complacent and keep pushing and trying to be better.
DW: You lead the team with 77 hits and you’re in the top 25 in the NHL, what does that physical play bring to the game?
DP: That’s part of my role. When you get in and finish checks on the forecheck and get the defensemen looking over their shoulder doing the double take. If it helps get them to rush a little or panic so I try to just finish all my checks. Everyone on the team does that and it’s a small part of the game but it’s very important when you add it up.