"If we could have 20 other teams draw like Philadelphia on the road, however it was achieved, I'd be very pleased," National Hockey League President John Ziegler told an informal media gathering today.
Lest the context of this statement be questioned, Ziegler added, "Philadelphia plays a very aggressive style of hockey and always has. They beat you in the corners and they use their body every way they can. That's part of the game."
Ziegler said he had received few complaints from other NHL teams about the Flyers' tactics and insisted that even media objections came from only a small minority of those covering the NHL.
"To the extent they (the Flyers) break our rules I hope the officials will call it," Ziegler said. "If not, we will deal with the officials. But I do not expect any official to call a different game against one team than he would against another. If anyone does, he will not be an official."
The Flyers long have complained that their inflated penalty totals are the result of extra attention from officials. Ziegler said he had received as many complaints from the Flyers on that subject as he had from opponents concerning the Flyers' tactics.
Physical intimidation on the ice is part of the game," Ziegler said. "It is no different from intimidation in football. There is intimidation by size, speed and the nature of contact.
"Fights are no problem. They are a small percentage of the game compared to total time. And the Flyers are no danger to the game. They play it hard and play it rough. If they get out of line, they are penalized."
Ziegler also said that attendance over the first half of the season was up 2 percent over last year. He said there was every indication the league would break the all-time attendance mark set a year ago.