A fan in Philadelphia added a new element to the Devils-Flyers' rivalry today by tossing a homemade smoke bomb on the ice during overtime of the Flyers' 3-2 victory today at Wachovia Center.
It happened with 1:46 left in overtime immediately after referee Dave Jackson waived off a near-winning goal by Simon Gagne after video review.
The device, which building security said was a signal flare that was turned into a smoke bomb, came from the stands across from the players' benches. It landed in the middle of the ice in the Devils' zone and slid into the boards just to the right of where Devils backup goaltender Kevin Weekes was sitting on the bench.
"It was down from me where our bench was there," Weekes said. "It landed just in front of there about two feet down from the bench."
Weekes recognized what it was right away.
"It was a flare, 100 percent," Weekes said. "There were flames coming out of it and smoke shot out of it after the flames."
Flyers center Mike Richards skated over and touched it with his stick, which caused more smoke to come out. Then, Flyers defenseman Ossi Vaananen came over and picked it up. He started skating it toward the Zamboni entrance at the opposite end of the ice, but dropped it after more flames came out.
The smoke smelled of sulfur.
"It smelled like New Year's," Vaananen said.
Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur said the incident was unnerving.
"There's 20,000 people watching the game and there's us playing the game and everybody is looking down at us," Brodeur said. "That that guy was able to do that -- not that it was going to scare me or be paranoid about it -- but it's unbelievable. I've (seen) stuff thrown on the ice from batteries to pocket knives maybe and stuff like that -- a big bottle of liquor fell right beside me in junior too. It happens, but this was a flare...Your eyes started itching and it was hard breathing. So, who knows what's next if they don't pay attention to these things. Security has to be more tight.
"It's one incident. Don't get me wrong. There's no need to panic about it, but I think it's important that they look into it."
After the public address announcer made a request that those who saw it point out the culprit, some Flyers' fans pointed to an apparently innocent man wearing a Devils' jersey.
"It looked like everybody was pointing at this poor Devils' fan," Brodeur said. "I was like, 'Oh my God. Poor guy.'"
Security had a description of the fan who threw the flare, but has not apprehended anyone so far.