Best Nicknames in Flyers History

More than in any other sport, hockey players refer to their teammates by nickname only.  Listen to one post-game interview with a player and you will hear nothing but nicknames when he is talking about his teammates.  Other than the obvious ones which just add “ie” or “s” to a shorter version of the players last name (Richie, Carts), nicknames generally come from inside jokes.  This phenomenon speaks to the camaraderie of the locker room; the “us” against “them” mentality.

Picking up on Johnny’s list of the Best Nicknames in Eagles History, here is a list of the best nicknames for players who’ve worn the Orange and Black.  I’ve also thrown in the best names given to lines in team history.  Be sure to let us know if I missed any.

The Players

  1. “Zeus” Dave Schultz (While the media stuck with “Hammer,” his teammates called him “Zeus.”)
  2. “Big Bird” Don Saleski (His mop top hair made him a dead ringer for the Sesame Street character.)
  3. Bob “Hound” Kelly
  4. Andre “Moose” DuPont (He was the size of a moose.)
  5. “Cowboy” Bill Flett (The guy was literally a cowboy.  He grew up wrestling steer and riding broncos.  And he dressed like one too, boots and cowboy hat included.)
  6. “Hawk” Rick MacLeish (After some off-color comments he made to a woman at a bar, she pressed his nose flat with her fingers and said “Hawk Nose! Hawk Nose!.”  This happened within earshot of Bill Clement, who coined the name “Hawk.”)
  7. “Ash Can” Barry Ashbee
  8. “Frank” Antero Niittymaki (Named after the famous mobster Frank Nitty.)
  9. “Chico” Robert Esche (Keith Tkachuk saw Eshe’s sticks, which have “R. Esche” on them, and said “When did Chico get here?” referring to goaltending great Glenn “Chico” Resche.)
  10. “Arnie” Bill Barber (Teammates thought he looked like the pig on Green Acres, Arnold Ziffel.)

The Lines

  1. The Legion of Doom (Lindros, LeClair, Renberg)
  2. The LCB Line (Leach, Clarke, Barber)
  3. The Fighting Dans (Dan Kordic, Daniel LeCroiux, Scott Daniels)
  4. The Deuces Wild Line (Gagne, Forsberg, Knuble- all had “2s” in their numbers)
  5. The Crazy Eights Line (Lindros, Recchi, Fedyk- all had “8s” in their numbers)
  6. The Blackhawk Down Line (Roenick, Amonte, Zhamnov- all former Blackhawks)


Larry Mendte Shares His Favorite Philly Sports Moment

Larry Mendte needs no introduction. I doubt there is a Philadelphian who doesn’t know his name. He has a house swimming in Emmys for his terrific television work (including two earlier this year). And though his career at KYW ended in scandal in 2008, he has since recovered nicely, writing for Philly Mag, doing commentary for WPIX in New York, and becoming an advocate for the 9/11 First Responders. And this isn’t the first time he’s been gracious enough to respond to an inquiry from me. In 2006, he talked to me about ghosts. Well, here he talks about the ghosts of 1972, when Philly sports hit rock bottom, and how surviving during the lean years has made the recent success of Philly sports all the sweeter.

The present is the best of times for Philadelphia sports fans. The Phillies are the best team in baseball. The Eagles will be the Super Bowl favorites in football. The Flyers made moves that put them in the mix for a Stanley Cup run. Even the Philadelphia 76ers are showing signs of something better than mediocre thanks to the return of my favorite Sixers’ player, now my favorite Sixers’ coach, Doug Collins.

And that takes us back to the worst of times. For to truly be able to bask in what is, you need to have suffered through what was. In 1972 I was 15 years old and a sophomore at Monsignor Bonner High School in Drexel Hill, Delaware County. It was an age and a year when you were fully invested in your sports teams for better or worse. But in Philadelphia there was no column A – everything was worse, record setting worse.

The Philadelphia 76ers started out the year losing their first 15 games and the season went downhill from there. In the middle of the year they suffered a then record setting 20 game losing streak. And yet I can remember the names of every player on that team as I used to go to the Spectrum, buy a nose bleed seat and by the 3rd quarter I was courtside. The team was so bad I had the urge to yell “next.” When the team ended the season 9-73, the worst record in NBA history, it was depressing.

But the 76ers were not alone, every team was pitiful. I challenge anyone to come up with a worse year in Philadelphia sports than 1972 bleeding over to the beginning of ’73. I contend it stands as the worst year in Philadelphia professional sports history.

The Philadelphia Phillies were 59 – 97 that year and finished last in the National League East. Cy Young award winner Steve Carlton won 27 of those games. Without Carlton the Phillies could have easily contended for the title of worst team in Major League Baseball History. One shudders to think how many games the team would have lost without Lefty.

The other team to play at The Vet was even worse. The Philadelphia Eagles were 2-11-1 in 1972 and finished last in the NFC East. They beat the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Oilers both by one point, so they were just two points away from a winless season. The team scored just 12 touchdowns in a 14 game season.

The Philadelphia Flyers finished with a 26-38-14 record in 1972. In a city of last place teams, the Flyers fourth place finish in the NHL West made them a giant among midgets. But there was more than that, a new coach named Fred Shero seemed to have a vision. And Bobby Clarke in his third season had the making of a superstar.

The four teams I mentioned had a combined record of 96-219-15. 1972 may not only be the worst year in Philadelphia sports history, but the worst year that any city with at least four major league franchises has ever suffered.

Philadelphia was dubbed The City of Losers. It was depressing for a 15 year old kid in Lansdowne who felt a deep connection with the teams. It was no wonder that Big 5 basketball and Penn State football was so big in the early 70’s. The college teams gave Philadelphia our only taste of winning.

But that would quickly change, for Fred Shero did have a vision. The very next year, the Philadelphia Flyers would shed their reputation for mediocrity; emulating the swagger of a city that had something to prove and nothing to lose. I watched all six games of that Stanley Cup series from the kitchens and living rooms of friends and family. It was on everywhere.

Famously, before game six against the great Boston Bruins, Shero posted a note in the locker room. “Win today and we walk together forever.” They won game six and the Stanley Cup series 1-0 thanks to the brilliance of goalie Bernie Parent.

That night I remember celebrating with my friends and a few hundred other people in the middle of street in Yeadon, Delaware County. The crowd chanted “1,2,3,4. Who the F—is Bobby Orr.” There was sheer elation. Philadelphia became a hockey town that year. The team known as the Broad Street Bullies defiantly ripped the label “City of Losers” from all of our chests.

Philadelphia became a hockey town that year. Suddenly kids, who used to play stick ball, pick-up basketball and touch football, were playing street hockey. And Fred Shero’s prophecy came true, as Clarke, Shultz, Barber, Parent, DuPont, Dorhoefer and Saleski were overnight household names. They were walking together forever into Philadelphia Sports immortality.

Everything seemed to change after the cup came to town. The Flyers would win again and the Phillies, 76ers and Eagles all seemed to drink from it. The City of Loser was now the City of Winners. Clarke and Parent were joined by Schmidt, Dr J and Vermeil. Within the next ten years the City would have a World Series win, an NBA Championship and a Super Bowl appearance. I was there when Tug McGraw lifted the trophy over his head at JFK stadium and I chanted “Fo, Fo, Fo” as Moses moved down Broad Street in a victory parade. But my favorite sports moment in Philadelphia happened at the intersection of Church and Whitby when I shared in shared in a loud and emotional mass transformation of Philadelphia sports fans from what we were, repressed and resigned, to what we are today, proud and passionate.

The suffering of 1972 made 1974, 1980, 1981 and 1983 more meaningful. It makes those of us who remember 1972, the worst of times, treasure today, the best of times.

This is Part 4 of our series on Philly sports memories. Here are the previous entries.

Part 1, with Nick Staskin of Phillies Nation.

Part 2, with John Finger of CSN Philly.

Part 3, with Maxx of Black Landlord.

The Other Big Trades in Flyers History

This past Thursday, the Flyers front office made two of the biggest trades in team history.  The Flyers swapped Jeff Carter for Jakub Voracek and a 1st and a 3rd, and followed that up with Mike Richards for Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn and a 2nd rounder in next year’s draft.  In less time than it takes for one West German BMW Commerical, Richards and Carter, the faces of the franchise for the past 5 years, were gone.  With these blockbusters in the books, lets take a look at some of the other big impact deals in Flyers History:

January 31, 1971: The Flyers send Mike Walton to the Boston Bruins for Rick MacLeish and Danny Schock.

MacLeish became a Flyers legend, scoring 328 goals in the Orange and Black in addition to 54 in the playoffs.  Add to that a Cup clinching goal in Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Finals against the Bruins to give the Flyers their first championship, and you’ve got one hell of a trade.  The Hawk was a consistent 30 goal scorer in the regular season, and turned things on in the playoffs: he led the NHL in playoff scoring during the Flyers’ runs to the Cups in ’74 and ’75.

May 15, 1973: The Flyers send a 1st-Round pick (Bob Neely) and future consideration (Doug Favell) to the Leafs for Bernie Parent and a 2nd-Round pick (Larry Goodenough).

Without this trade, the Flyers don’t win consecutive Cups in ’74 and ’75.  In those Cup years, Parent won back to back Vezina (best goalie) and Conn Smythe (playoff MVP) Trophies.  Parent became the best goalie in franchise history and his #1 was the first hockey sweater to be retired in Philadelphia.

May 24, 1974: The Flyers trade Larry Wright, Al MacAdam and a 1st-Round pick to the California Golden Bears for Reggie Leach.

The Flyers had just won their first Stanley Cup and they went ahead and traded young talent for a known commodity in sharp-shooter Reggie Leach.  The move proved to be the right one as Leach was one of the stars of the ’75 Cup winning team.  Alongside Bobby Clarke and Bill Barber, Leach scored 47 regular season goals and 8 in 17 playoff games.

August 20, 1982: The Flyers trade Greg Adams, Ken Linseman and a 1st and a 3rd to the Hartford Whalers for Mark Howe and a 3rd-Round pick (Derrick Smith.

Mark Howe suffered a horrible injury late in the 1980 season when he slid feet first into the net and basically impaled himself on the steel of the old-school point in the middle of the net.  The Whalers thought Howe wouldn’t get back to form and the Flyers took a chance on him.  Howe became one the best two-way defensemen of the ’80s, made the Stanley Cup Finals three times and was a 3-time runner up for the Norris Trophy.

June 20, 1992: The Flyers give the house to the Quebec Nordiques for Eric Lindros.  The house included: Peter Forsberg, Mike Ricci, Steve Duchesne, Kerry Huffman, Ron Hextall, Chris Simon, 2 1st-Round picks (1993- Jocelyn Thibault; and 1994- Nolan Baumgartner) and $15,000,000.00.

Although the Lindros had all the tools and all the potential to become the “Next One,” hindsight proved that the Flyers got the short-end of the stick in this deal.  When healthy, Lindros was one of the most dominant players in the league.  But several concussions severely limited the E-Train’s effectiveness and shortened his career.  There was also the locker room issues in which Lindros was front and center.  The Avalanche ended up with a young Peter Forsberg (pictured above), trade bait they used to acquire Patrick Roy and a Stanley Cup.

February 9, 1995: The Flyers trade Mark Recchi and a 3rd-Round pick to the Montreal Canadiens for Eric Desjardins, John LeClair and Gilbert Dionne.

Although this trade didn’t correlate to a Stanley Cup, it was a fantastic deal for the Flyers, especially considering Recchi would rejoin the team a few years later.  For over a decade, Desjardins was the Flyers’ best defenseman.  Before injuries got the better of him, Desjardins was a consistent 40-50 pt. blue liner.  Along with Eric Lindros and Mikael Renberg, LeClair formed the Legion of Doom line, one of the most physical and productive lines in team history.  LeClair became the first American-born player in the NHL to record 3 consecutive 50-goal seasons and ranks 5th in team history with 333 goals in a Flyers uniform.

August 20, 1997: The Flyers trade Mikael Renberg and Karl Dykhuis to the Tampa Bay Lightening for 1st-Round picks in ’98, ’99, ’00 and ’01.  With those picks the Flyers chose: Simon Gagne, Maxime Oullet, Justin Williams and Tim Gleason (who was transferred to Ottawa).

By breaking up the Legion of Doom, the Flyers acquired a stockpile of draft picks that resulted in Simon Gagne and Justin Williams.  As a rookie, Gagne scored 20 goals, added 28 assists and was named to the NHL All-Rookie team.  He made the All-Star team in his second season, but his career really took off after the lockout when he played with Forsberg and Knuble on the Dueces Wild line.  Gags was always one of the most offensively skilled players on the team until 3 concussions in 5 months and then a hernia injury shut him down and eventually led to him being traded in 2010.  Justin Williams was another offensively talented winger who, in my opinion, was traded away a bit too early.

January 23, 2000: The Flyers trade Rod Brind’Amour, Jean-Marc Pelletier and a 2nd-round pick to Carolina for Keith Primeau and a 5th-Round pick.

At the time, getting rid of Rod-the-Bod was gut-wrenching.  He was one of the true good-guys: hard-working, professional, passionate.  But the guy we got in return gave us one of the most memorable playoff goals of all time and 4 years later, he gave us the most dominant playoff performance in Flyers history.  In the 2000 Eastern Conference Semis, Primeau did this to Pittsburgh in the 5th OT of Game Four.  And then in 2004, he was a man on fire.  To say that Primeau carried the Flyers during the run to the Eastern Conference Finals is an understatement; he scored 9 clutch goals and 16 points during the 18 postseason games.  They aren’t called the “Primeau Playoffs” for nothing.

February 15, 2007: Flyers trade Peter Forsberg to the Nashville Predators for Ryan Parent, Scottie Upshall, a 3rd-Round pick, and a 1st-Round pick that was subsequently traded back to the Predators for Kimmo Timonen and Scottie Hartnell.

When this trade was made, Forsberg’s career was just about over.  The 17 games he managed to play for the Predators wasn’t worth nearly what the Flyers got in return.  Timonen is as smart as they come and is captain material (he was Nashville’s at the time of the trade).  Hartnell has proven to be a contributor in addition to being an agitator.  At the time, Ryan Parent and Scottie Upshall were young players with a ton of upside.  Of all the trades on the list, this one may be the most lopsided in favor of the Fly-guys.

February 24, 2007: The Flyers send Alexei Zhitnik to the Atlanta Thrashers for Braydon Coburn.

The Thrashers brought in the Russian-born defenseman for playoff experience late in ’07 season.  Not a good move.  Zhitnik’s contract was bought out less than a year later and he returned to Russia.  Coburn, on the other hand, has developed into one of the better skating defenseman and can provide offense when called upon.  Coburn shined during the 2010 playoffs.

June 26, 2009: The Flyers trade Joffrey Lupol, Luca Sbisa two 1sts and a 3rd to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for Chris Pronger and Ryan Dingle.

In the summer of ’09 the Flyers again traded away youth for veteran leadership.  In addition to the picks, Lupol was 25 and and Sbisa was just 19.  Although he battled through injuries this year, Pronger was a stud in the 2010 season that ended in the Stanley Cup Finals.  The 36-year-old almost never makes a poor decision and provides the grit and leadership along the blue-line and in the locker room that will most likely have him wearing the “C” come October.

H/T to, which lists every trade in franchise history.

On This Date In 1997, Destiny Seemed Certain

It was May 25th, 1997, the Flyers defeated the New York Rangers 4-2 and four games to one in the series. 20,000+ Flyers fans roared and roared and roared as the Flyers were returning to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in a decade. Eric Lindros went through the handshake line sharing a word with the Rangers greats who had loaded up for one last run at the Cup. When Lindros passed, Brian Leetch, Mark Messier, Esa Tikkanen, Mike Richter and Wayne Gretzky there was no denying the feeling that the torch had been passed. The icons of the eighties were on the way out and it was the time of a new superstar. Eric Lindros had ascended the throne.

The Flyers had rolled through the first three rounds of the playoffs defeating those Rangers, Sabres and Mario Lemieux’s Penguins in five games each. Lindros had eleven goals so far in the playoffs, including his huge game-winning goal with just seven seconds left in game four.

When the Prince of Wales Trophy was presented on the CoreStates Center ice at the conclusion of the series Lindros didn’t touch the trophy presented to the Eastern Conference champion and barely acknowledged the glistening metal. The throngs continued to scream. “Let’s Go Flyers” chants rang through the “House that Lindros Built” as the fans filed down the escalators. So giddy, the only uncertainty anyone had was just how many Cups Lindros would bring to Philadelphia.

We know how the Lindros era turned out but on that beautiful spring afternoon, destiny seemed certain.

May 25, 1997 Box Score [Flyers History]

Flyers Set New Team Record

If you tuned into Versus for Game 3 of he Flyers/Bruins series last night a couple minutes late, you missed a new team record…and not the good kind of team record.  Just 30 seconds into the game, Zdeno Chara lit the lamp on a one-timer after Kris Versteeg somehow lost the 6’9″ defenseman.  Then before the Bruins PA announcer finished announcing the Chara goal, David Krejci put the Flyers down 2-0.  The Krejci goal came at the 1:03 mark of the first period when Andrej Meszaros let the forward slip in front of him.  The Flyers defense in the first 1:03 of last night’s game was as non-existent as Danny Briere was all night.

By giving up two goals in the first 63 seconds of last night’s playoff game, the Flyers set a franchise record for the fastest 2 GAA in a playoff game.  History will be made, right?

The previous mark was set on May 26, 1985 in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Edmonton Oilers.  In Game 3, a relatively unknown forward named Wayne Gretzky scored twice in the first 85 seconds against Pelle Lindbergh.  Flyers winger Derrick Smith would get one back just 16 seconds later, but the Great One added another later in the first period.  The Oilers went on to win the game 4-3, and took the Cup (their second straight) in five games.

So thanks to last night’s defensive ineptitude, there is one less hockey trivia question out there for which you can just guess Gretzky and be right.

A Look Back at 1974: the Big, Bad Bruins v. the Broad Street Bullies


Both needing seven games to get past their first-round opponents, the Flyers and Bruins face-off beginning this Saturday in a rematch of last year’s memorable Eastern Conference semi-finals in which the Flyers came back from a 3 game to zero deficit and a 3 goal to zero deficit in Game 7 to advance to the conference finals and eventually to the Stanley Cup Finals.  Most of the talk heading into this series will be about last year’s epic comeback, or collapse, depending on who you’re talking to, but let’s dive a bit deeper into history and look at the first ever meeting of these teams in the NHL playoffs.

In the 1973-74 NHL season, the Bruins were the class of the entire league offensively.  They won the most games in the NHL and scored 49 more goals than any other team in the East and 76 more goals than the Flyers, who led the West.  Their most telling offensive stat was that the players who finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in scoring in the NHL all wore the Black & Gold (Phil Esposito, Bobby Orr, Ken Hodge and Wayne Cashman).

The Flyers won the West with 50 wins and 112 points, but were much more gritty and defensive-minded than their Finals foe.  With Bernie Parent in net, the Flyers tied the Blackhawks with the lowest number of goals allowed (164 in 78 games). Parent’s 47 wins was a record that stood until the 2006-2007 season.  The Bullies also led the NHL by amassing 1750 penalty minutes, which was 603 more minutes than the second most penalized team in the league.  The leading scorer for the Flyers, Bobby Clarke, sat in 5th behind the four Bruins in NHL scoring.  Clarke finished with 35 goals and 52 assists in the regular season to lead the NHL West.

Entering the series, the Flyers were huge underdogs; not only because of the waves of offensive talent the Bruins could throw at their opponents, but also because of the history between the two teams.  Since joining the NHL in 1967, the Flyers faced the Bruins a total of 28 times; their record: 4-20-4.  This abysmal record included a 27 game winless streak which stretched from November 1969 to March 1974.  Piling more history against the Flyers was the fact that the Bruins had home-ice advantage in the Finals.  Prior to the series, the Flyers had won one game at the Boston Garden and that win took place 6 years, 5 months and 25 days before the Finals began (in the meantime, they went winless in 21 games at the Garden).

In Game 1, the Bruins got out to a 2-0 lead with first period goals from Wayne Cashman and Gregg Sheppard. The Flyers got one in the second and then Bobby Clarke tied the game 5 minutes into the 3rd period. The score would stay knotted until Bobby Orr’s slap shot with 22 seconds left beat Bernie Parent and put the Flyers down 1-0 in the series.

Game 2 provided the turning point of the series.  All square at 2-2, Game 2 went into overtime.  With the Flyers needing a victory to avoid digging a 2 games to 0 hole, Bobby Clarke scored the most important goal of his career:

In Games 3 and 4, a re-energized and confident Flyers team held serve at home and took the series lead 3 games to 1.  Back in Boston for Game 5, the Bruins “outmuscled, outskated and outhustled” (in the words of Bruins’ coach Bep Guidolin) the Flyers en route to a 5-1 victory.  The pressure of the series came through in Game 5, resulting in a playoff record 43 penalties, including 6 fights.  Schultz averaged 1 fight per period.

With series at 3-2, Game 6 was played in Philadelphia.  In the dressing room before the game, Fred Shero wrote his most famous pre-game quote: “Win today, and we walk together forever.”  After Kate Smith’s God Bless America caused the Spectrum to go bat-shit, Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr skated up to her, shook her hand and gave her flowers in an attempt to foil the Flyers’ good luck charm.  At that point, the Flyers were 36-3-1 when she sang.  Their attempt wasn’t successful.

At the 14:48 mark of the first period, Rick MacLeish deflected home a power play goal.  That was all Bernie needed.  Parent was under fire all night, but made save after save.  Instilling confidence in the Flyers and frustration in the Bruins, Parent was flawless.  Bernie saved all 30 shots he faced and shut out one of the best offenses in NHL history in a Stanley Cup clinching Game 6 win.

Elimination Day?

Both the Sixers and the Flyers are in action today with their playoff lives on the line.  The Sixers, down 3-0 in the first round, try to avoid being swept by the Heat at home at 1pm.  The Flyers, down 3-2 in the Conference Quarterfinals, are in Buffalo where the puck drops at 3pm.

Having two teams in this precarious position on the same day isn’t common: this is only the second time it’s occurred.  The only other time both the Sixers and Flyers needed wins on the same day to avoid playoff elimination was May 1, 1977.

The 1976-77 Sixers was one of the most talented and deep teams in franchise history.  In addition to reaping the benefits of the ABA-NBA merger by adding Julius Erving, George McGinnis and Caldwell Jones, the 76ers were loaded with Henry Bibby, Steve Mix, Fred Carter, Joe Bryant, World B. Free and Darryl Dawkins.  Oh yeah, there was also that Doug Collins guy.  The Sixers rolled through the Eastern Conference, earning the #1 seed and the first-round playoff bye that came with it.

The Sixers faced the pre-Bird Celtics in the Conference Semifinals.  Each team traded wins, forcing a Game 7 on May 1, 1977 in Philadelphia.  The Sixers took the seventh game 83-77 and went on to the NBA Finals.

In the Finals, the Sixers lost 4 games to 2 to the Bill Walton led Portland Trailblazers.  Game 2 of that series saw the series changing Darryl Dawkins sucker-punch followed by Maurice Lucas sucker-punch followed by Dawkins/Lucas square-up seen below:

On the same day the Sixers beat the Celtics in Game 7, the Flyers were in Boston trying to avoid being swept in the Conference Semifinals.  The 1976-77 Flyers were led by Rick MacLeish, Bobby Clarke and mid-season pickup Bob Dailey.  The Flyers advanced to the semis by defeating the Maple Leafs in six games.  After losing their first two games at home against the Leafs and being down 2-0 in game three, the Flyers turned the series around and reeled off four straight wins.

Reaching the conference semifinals for the fifth straight year, the Flyers repeated their early first series performance by digging an 0-2 hole with home losses.  However, this time there was no turnaround.  When the series shifted to Boston, the Flyers lost Game Three 2-1.  On May 1, 1977, Boston completed the sweep with a 3-0 shutout victory.  After the game, the Bruins’ organist John Kiley poured some salt into the wounds by switching out his normal victory song for “God Bless America.”  Douche.

The last time both teams faced elimination, Philly was treated with a mixed bag of results.  There is no telling what will happen later today, but by the time 6 o’clock rolls around, there’s a chance that the Phillies will be getting our undivided attention.

The Day the Hammer Dropped 42

Perhaps there’s a Toronto sports history blog that looks at April 22nd, 1976 as the day Darryl Sittler scored five goals in a playoff win against the Flyers. But in Philadelphia we look at today as  the anniversary of Dave “The Hammer” Schultz setting a playoff record for penalty minutes in a single game. The 42 minutes in penalties Schultz racked up in the Flyers 8 to 5 loss still stands as a record.

Read the rest of this entry »

Flyers Goalie Masks: the best and worst

Although the Flyers 2011 playoff run is still in its infancy, there isn’t a shortage of story lines.  You’ve got Danny Briere going up against his former team; you’ve got JVR playing in beast-mode; you’ve got Boosh taking over for Bob; and you’ve got Prongs day-to-day with a broken (maybe twice) hand.  Then there’s the goalie mask.  Yep, the goalie mask.

Both Flyers goaltenders have had mask issues.  Sergei Bobrovsky thought he’d try on a new mask for size before entering the playoffs.  He changed his paint scheme and went with Rocky IV on one side and Sideline, I mean, Sideshow Bob on the other.  The move hasn’t really worked out for him as he was pulled in Game Two and was a healthy scratch in Game Three.  And then last night, the goalie mask proved important as well.  During a frenetic 5 on 3 PK with the puck in our zone, Boosh knocked his mask off his head to stop play because it “became loose.”  I’m not sure the Buffalo faithful believe him.

I’ve always been a fan of the goalie mask.  In most sports, you are fined for the most trivial deviation from the team uniform.  The paint scheme on a goalie mask is that rule’s biggest exception, making it the best outlet in sports for a player to show off some personal flair.  With the goalie mask being a story in the playoffs so far, and this being a sports history site we thought we’d take a look at goalie masks throughout Flyers history.  (Note: I’m still waiting for a Flyers goalie to use a Clockwork Orange styled design around one eye-hole. Please, please, please.)  Without further adieu, let’s take a look at some of the memorable masks donned by Flyer goaltenders over the years:

The Good

#10: Kicking off the top ten is Pete Peeters going blackface long before Ted Danson.


#9: Michel Larocque played only 2 games for the Flyers and gave up 8 goals.  However, the nickname “Bunny” on his mask is good enough to overcome a 4.00 GAA.

The Top 8 masks can be seen after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Fog Game

The Sabres and Flyers met in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1975 (The divisions were quite different then, and there were only 18 teams in the whole league.) They had tied for the most points in the regular season, and the town of Buffalo was so excited about their team they released a terrible song called “We’re Gonna Win that Stanley Cup”. Seriously.

The Flyers won the first two games handily, so the Sabres went into Game 3 desperately needing a win. They would get it, but not before things got really weird.

A bat began flying around the arena, and distracting the players and the fans. Finally, Buffalo center Jim Lorentz decided to take a swat at it. He killed it. In true horror movie fashion, a few minutes later, a creepy fog began rising from the ice (it was an unusually humid May in Buffalo, thus causing the fog). The fog got so bad that soon the players couldn’t see the puck. Nonetheless, play resumed, and the Sabres ultimately won in overtime and went on to win Game 4 as well. The Flyers then took games 5 and 6 and hoisted the Stanley Cup Trophy. Since then, neither the Flyers not the Sabres have won a Stanley Cup. In Buffalo, many people blame Jim Lorentz for cursing the team.