The memories never fade for Bill Barber.
In an instant he can step back in time and visualize it, as if he were still the kid from Kitchener, Ontario, with a blistering shot from left wing.
So what if it’s been nearly 37 years since the Flyers stunned Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito and the Bruins to win their first Stanley Cup. Nearly 37 years since Barber’s late, third-period blast won Game 4 to set the stage for an epic clincher. Almost four decades since Fred Shero scribbled on his blackboard, “Win today and you’ll walk together forever.” And close to 37 years since the real Kate Smith — not a video likeness of her — stepped onto the Spectrum ice to sing, “God Bless America.” To the 58-year-old Barber, it’s like it all just happened.
“We had a great game plan,” Barber said yesterday prior to Game 2. “We tried to dump the puck in on Orr’s side and make him get it. Over six to seven games, we wore them down.”
Bernie Parent stopped everything in sight and Rick MacLeish scored the winning goal on May 19, 1974.
“It’s hard to register at the time,” said Barber of Shero’s prophesy. “But there couldn’t be a more true statement. The guys have never forgotten and ended up friends forever.’’
Only they’re tired of hogging the glory.
“It would be pretty nice to see a changing of the guard,” said Barber, now the Flyers’ scouting coordinator after a two-year stint as coach. “Hopefully, we can win a championship. But I don’t think that team will ever be forgotten.”
They’d just like someone else to share the memories.