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Talbot hopes Pens fans remember him fondly

| Sunday, July 3, 2011

Max Talbot knew the Thursday before the NHL entry draft that his Penguins tenure was over.

A three-year offer from general manager Ray Shero was one that Talbot couldn't accept with free agency looming. His first call was to longtime friend Sidney Crosby.

"One of toughest phone calls I've ever had to make," Talbot said. "Eventually he said, 'Yeah, it makes sense for you to go' ... but he didn't tell me to go to Philly."

Talbot, who signed a five-year deal worth $9 million with the Flyers on Friday, shared some thoughts Saturday with the Tribune-Review:

On realizing he was about to join the enemy:

"At noon (Friday), Danny Briere called me, then Ian Laperriere called me, and all of a sudden I'm, like, 'Holy... it's the Flyers!' But when I heard from the GM and then Chris Pronger, I realized what was there in Philly. It would have been tough for me to go to a weaker organization, because when you leave Pittsburgh you leave a winning organization that does everything the right way. My top priority was having a chance to win the Stanley Cup again, and Philly is a great fit that way. But, yes, the rivalry did cross my mind — but then it was, like, 'I'm not going to play in Pittsburgh anymore, so where is the best place for me to make a difference?' And it was Philly."

On Evgeni Malkin's reaction:

"I just texted him (Saturday) about this, but when he heard last week that I wasn't going to be a Penguin anymore he sent me a text that was so Geno. It just said, 'Why?' "

On leaving the Penguins:

"My foundation is going to stay in Pittsburgh. It was six years, and I worked hard to establish that knowing I could be somewhere else someday. The money I raise there will stay there. It's not like the base of fans I created — at least I hope not — won't support my charity work. I don't want to be thought of as a traitor. I know it's emotional for fans for me to be leaving for the Flyers, but I hope I'll still have some support. It's going be tough for fans to accept. If people are upset, they are allowed to be, but I hope they say, 'Max helped us a lot and tried to do stuff in the city and stuff like that.'

On his signature Penguins memory:

"Tough to pick just one, but the day of the (2009 Cup) parade, and lifting that thing in front of the fans — that was unbelievable. Also, having dinners at Mario's house with Sid; those meals were special. The thing that just popped into my head is late this season there was a sign I remember. It was a little kid and the sign said, 'Max, Love You!' Yeah, Pittsburgh is a special place.'

On playing as a Flyer at Consol Energy Center on Dec. 29:

"I feel lucky it's late in the season, not right from the start. After two months of playing for the Flyers, I'll look at myself in an orange sweater and be used to it. That date will keep me awake at night for a few days before."

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