NHL

Snider has Stanley Cup expectations for Flyers

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PHILADELPHIA (AP)

Ed Snider expects the Stanley Cup back in Philadelphia. He'd love to hoist the NBA championship trophy and throw another parade down Broad Street, too.

Snider could get his wish with the defending Eastern Conference-champion Flyers this season. And while the 76ers have little chance of winning a title this year, a playoff berth in coach Doug Collins' first season has him thrilled about the future.

But Snider has more modest expectations for his latest project.

Snider, chairman of Comcast-Spectacor, which owns the 76ers and Flyers, will see his name on the big screen this month as executive producer of ''Atlas Shrugged: Part 1.'' Snider once owned the rights to the 1957 Ayn Rand novel and tried since the early 1980s to develop a screenplay into a movie.

''I doubt if there will be an Oscar in Hollywood for this movie,'' Snider said, laughing. ''But I guarantee an awful lot of people are going to love it.''

Snider, who founded the Flyers, was a friend of Rand and staunch believer in her philosophies of capitalism, individual achievement and objectivism. He was a founding contributor of the Ayn Rand Institute and was set to attend the movie's premiere Tuesday night at Union Station in Washington. The movie was made with a cast of mostly unknown actors for about $10 million and has its national release on April 15. Philadelphia businessman John Aglialoro financed the movie and made sure to give Snider, who once ran the independent film studio Spectacor Films, a producer's credit.

''I''m a little embarrassed by it because I really didn't do anything,'' Snider said before Monday's 76ers game. ''I don't deserve to have my name on it, but I'm happy about the fact the movie came out.''

Arguably Philadelphia's most powerful sports figure of the last four-plus decades, Snider has no reason for embarrassment over the play of his two franchises this year. The Flyers picked up where they left off after last season's Game 6 loss to Chicago in the Stanley Cup finals. They spent about two months atop the Eastern Conference standings before a last-month slump knocked them into second.

The Flyers start the quest for their first championship since winning the last of consecutive Stanley Cup championships in 1975 on Thursday vs. Buffalo.

''The goal for this team is always a Stanley Cup,'' Snider said. ''When you talk about realistic expectations, it's a hard, hard battle to win the Cup. I don't feel like I want to put that kind of pressure on anybody. I'm just saying, that every single year, we play the game, we work toward winning the Cup.''

As for the Sixers, a blossoming nucleus has the franchise in the right direction toward becoming Eastern Conference contenders. For now, the path to the NBA finals still runs through Boston, Miami and Chicago.

Like the Flyers, the Sixers also have slumped hard in the final weeks and need a win in Wednesday's finale to clinch a winning record for the first time in six years.

But after a dreadful 27-win season, Collins has the Sixers playing hard and believing they can beat any team.

''It's certainly better than the alternative,'' Snider said. ''I think it's all been Doug's influence. He's done an incredible job. I feel really good about the fact that we are in the playoffs and I feel really good about our future.''

- On bringing the NHL's Winter Classic to Philadelphia, ''I hope so, but I have no knowledge one way or the other. I'd love to have it here.''

- On the Philly Live! entertainment complex set to take the place of the demolished Spectrum, ''We're just about breaking ground on the world's largest sports bar on the corner of 11th and Pattison. We're looking at the potential of a four-star or five-star hotel. Nothing's been scaled back. It's going to be done in stages because of the economy.''

- On the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation's mission to improve five public skating rinks in the city, ''They're going to be state-of-the-art modern rinks. These kids will be able to get off the streets 365 days a year as long as their grades are kept up. We give them life skills. I'm thrilled.''

About a lot of things these days.

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