Jewels from the Crown: What were your memories of Ed Snider? (JFTC Note: Flyers founder and long-time owner Snider passed on Monday after a long battle with bladder cancer. Stothers was Philadelphia's first-round pick in 1980, playing and coaching in the organization for over 20 years)
MS: Oh, boy. That's a tough one. Great man. An intense man.
He could stare anybody down. He could outstare me down. He was a great owner. He loved his players. He was very hands on individual. He liked to know what was going on, how it was going to be achieved, what direction everybody was going. He loved his players. The guys who won the two Cups for them, he took care of those guys. He was passionate about hockey.
It's hard because if you look at him, he was such a proud guy, stoic guy, he just oozes power. He had that presence about him. Just perfect suits. Wardrobe was impeccable. His hair, his everything about him was just perfection. So to lose the battle the way he did, it's tough. But you know he battled. You know he would've battled right down to the bitter end.
My wife and I were watching the Flyers game on Saturday. And Lauren Hart was singing "God Bless America." She had her cellphone on the ice, so she was actually singing to Mr. Snider. So it almost kind of gets you welling up...right now, actually, so...it's too bad. It's too bad.
JFTC: What struck me doing the recent Snider tributes is how people that he fired, such as Billy Barber remained loyal. (JFTC: Stothers was part of Barber's Flyer coaching staff which was let go in 2002)
MS: Oh, yeah. That's just the nature of the business. I mean, he fired his own son. Jay was running the team at one point. Wasn't going in a good enough direction, so [Mr. Snider] got more involved again. I mean, that's tougher than firing Billy Barber, you know what I mean?
But Billy Barber and Bobby Clarke and Bernie Parent were his boys. Those were the guys who won the Stanley Cups. He took care of those guys. It's just part of the business. You don't build an empire like he did, become as wealthy as he did, as big as a businessman without...sometimes, you have to make hard decisions. You're not going to be the most popular guy.
He did what he had to do...It's time for them to move on, wished them well with the new team. But it's all about winning, being successful. And he was super, super-successful. So he had to do some tough things.
But he was able to separate the business part of it from the emotional. That's not an easy thing to do. But him and Keith Allen (JFTC: Allen was Philadelphia GM during the Broad Street Bullies era), I don't know if anybody could say a bad word about them in the Flyers organization. They were just that special as people.
So that's a big loss. It's a big loss for Philly. It's a big loss for the NHL. Mr. Snider was pretty influential on a lot of the decisions that are made...with rule changes and the game itself. He's the old-school. When he spoke, people listened. He's going to be missed.
JFTC: What were your feelings about MODO's recent relegation? (JFTC: MODO hasn't been relegated from the SHL since 1983. HT Robyn_P for this question)
AK: Tough feeling for me too. Played there last three years. I was born like 30 minutes from that city, so that's been the team I've been known for since I was a little kid. It's always tough when teams get relegated. It's just things that's going to happen some time. They're going to bounce back and be back in the top league soon enough.
JFTC: I've read that you're a big coffee drinker. That you consider yourself "the king of coffee." Is that true?
AK: Eh, yeah. For the World Juniors team, they asked who the big coffee drinker on the team was. The guys said me.
But maybe not on [the Reign]. There's a bunch of guys who drink coffee there. But the coffee's different here than in Sweden. It's a little bit stronger in Sweden, I like that. So I'm not the biggest coffee drinker on the Reign.
JFTC: Have you found any American coffee as good as Swedish?
AK: No, I haven't yet. I'm still looking for the good coffee. When I cook at home, I cook pretty good coffee.
JFTC: Is Starbucks here different than in Sweden?
AK: Yeah, it is. It's stronger in Sweden...less taste here.
JFTC: Have you been able to get any of your teammates to take a fika with you? (JFTC: That's a Swedish coffee break. It's an institution there, to be taken with a friend and a snack.)
AK: Probably Brods a couple times. Otherwise, no.
JFTC: And how about cinnamon rolls? Find a good one here yet?
AK: Oh, that's the best. That's the best thing. It's my favorite. There's a bunch here, but my brother brought me a couple from Sweden.
KG: Just overall. I think that's one of the big things I need to work on. I've been working on it in previous summers...
It's something that's still coming for me. I'm aware that obviously I need to get stronger, probably in all aspects. It's noticeable to myself at least, especially up top, when you're in the corners with the guys up there, and they're kind of leaning on you. Body position and things like that. So obviously, adding more weight and strength is incredibly beneficial to you. You can get body position on a guy...
It's something I need to work on and something that they've told me and I'm aware. It's something I'm going to try to work on this summer.
JFTC: How will you balance increasing your strength without losing your speed?
KG: I'm not really worried about that. I think as you become stronger, you can become faster. Become more explosive. Those are the kinds of things you work on. You work on it with your trainer. Guys down here, guys up there. They'll get you on the right program.
Ultimately, they'll have me working on the right things. I'll be working out just to work out. I'll be working out to improve. Improve my strength. Improve my speed. We'll probably sit down, and they'll lay out a thing, lay out a program. Get some feedback back and forth. Kind of go from there.
Obviously, we're hoping to have a long run here. Hopefully, we don't start doing that for a while.