2010 Stanley Cup finals: How the Flyers fared since '75 Cup

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flyersrichards.jpgWith the Philadelphia Flyers back in the Stanley Cup finals and HBO airing its documentary on “The Broadstreet Bullies,” it’s fun to think back to that era in the team’s history. After all, a lot has happened since that dominant 1974-75 Cup run. In fact, let’s look at the different eras in the team’s history since then.

(Expect something similar about the Blackhawks later tonight, too.)

The post-Cup Bullies years

The Broadstreet Bullies gave way to the Montreal Canadiens in the late-70s. Although the LCB line of Reggie Leach, Bobby Clarke and Bill Barber achieved great things and the team was still a contender for a few years, they’d never win the Cup again. Eventually head coach Fred Shero (father of Penguins GM Ray) left the team for the New York Rangers and a few seasons later there wasn’t much left of the rough-and-tumble semi-dynasty.

Until the mid 80s, the most noteworthy moment for the team probably happened when the Flyers went 25-0-10 for a stretch during the 1979-80 season.

Ron Hextall Era

The Flyers experienced a rebirth when Mike Keenan took over in 1984 and icon Ron Hextall came to the team in 1986. Hextall was ahead of his time when it came to handling the puck; he even scored a goal during a regular season game before managing to score one in a playoff match against the Washington Capitals.

Still, the team couldn’t best the Wayne Gretzky-era Edmonton Oilers and failed to claim a Cup. That doesn’t change the fact that Hextall’s great, manic play (and those teams in general) gave Flyers fans of the time some great memories.

After the jump, I’ll take a look at the 90s and 00’s.


johnleclair.jpgEric Lindros and “The Legion of Doom”

The Flyers started the decade off slow again but would make a bold move in 1992 to change their fortunes (and, really, the future of the NHL as a whole). As great as Lindros was at times in Philly, the bounty the Quebec Nordiques received helped them – well, the Colorado Avalanche – win two Cups in the future. Here’s the details of the deal.

In order to acquire Lindros’ rights, the Flyers parted with six players, trading Steve Duchesne, Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, Kerry Huffman, Mike Ricci, Chris Simon, a 1993 first round draft pick (Jocelyn Thibault), a 1994 first round draft pick (Nolan Baumgartner), and $15 million to Quebec.

(Of course, Thibault was also involved in the Patrick Roy trade.)

Still, Lindros had an impressive (and controversial) run as the leader of “The Legion of Doom” line that also featured John Leclair (pictured) and Mikael Renberg, winning a Hart trophy and helping the team make a run to the Stanley Cup finals. Obviously, Lindros couldn’t completely live up to expectations but he still made an impact before concussion problems did ruined his career.

Jeremy Roenick and Keith Primeau almost get it done

The post-Lindros teams were competitive but not quite good enough. The team nearly made it to the ’04 Stanley Cup finals but couldn’t beat the eventual champion Tampa Bay Lightning in a closely matched seven game series. Ken Hitchcock brought the group to a high level as the team shuffled through Jeremy Roenick, Keith Primeau and – oddly enough – Peter Forsberg among others but couldn’t break all the way through.

A brief low

After the Buffalo Sabres embarrassed them with a post-lockout-friendly attack, Hitchcock received the boot and the Flyers had one rough year as one of the league’s worst teams. Bobby Clarke got fired, Paul Holmgren took over as GM and added players like Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell (and even guys who weren’t Nashville Predators, like Danny Briere) to help bolster the Flyers lineup.

Since coming back onto the scene, the team was tormented by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs … until this year. After being destroyed by the 90s Red Wings and the 80s Oilers in the Cup finals, the Flyers find themselves in a familiar spot as underdogs. The question is, will they make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself this time around?

It’s Pittsburgh Penguins day at PHT

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The Pittsburgh Penguins became the first team since the 1997-98 and 1998-99 Detroit Red Wings to repeat as Stanley Cup champions last season.

After a summer of painful (if necessary) losses, the Penguins now aim to become the first NHL team to “three-peat” since the New York Islanders rattled off a dizzying four consecutive championships from 1980-83.

Just yesterday, Matt Cullen became the latest omission from the Penguins’ mix, but he was far from the only noteworthy loss. Marc-Andre Fleury headlines a list of exits that also includes Nick Bonino, Chris Kunitz, Trevor Daley, and Ron Hainsey.

Their additions have been a mix of small (Matt Hunwick) and polarizing (giving up a first-rounder for Ryan Reaves), so overall this team saw some minuses this summer.

That said, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that the Penguins navigated the choppy waters of the postseason despite plenty of bruises, especially with Kris Letang out for the entire 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. One could argue that a healthy Letang cancels out most of the Penguins’ losses.

(You know, not that this franchise isn’t accustomed to seeing Letang, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin miss significant time almost every year.)

It’s been a remarkable run, as the Penguins have been on fire ever since Mike Sullivan took over. Phil Kessel‘s been a brilliant addition, even with the hot dog jokes and surprising trade rumors.

Matt Murray‘s also been a revelation, although the 2017-18 season presents an intriguing test for a goalie who has enjoyed a Ken Dryden-like start to his career. With “The Flower” out of town, more rests on Murray, a goalie who’s passed all of his tests with flying colors so far, but hasn’t ever carried a franchise netminder’s workload.

There’s a lot to like when it comes to the Penguins next season, who even with some tough losses, retain the vast majority of their key contributors. Will they run out of gas after two championship runs, not to mention some key players getting older? Can they continue to generate great results in a challenging Metropolitan Division?

PHT explores the defending champions’ burning questions today.

Draisaitl on signing with Oilers: ‘We have something really special’

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As a restricted free agent, Leon Draisaitl only had so much say regarding his future with the Edmonton Oilers, especially since teams rarely send offer sheets around in the NHL.

Even so, Draisaitl could have opted for a “bridge” deal; instead, he signed for the maximum of eight years for a whopping $68 million on Wednesday.

Some would probably grumble but understand if Draisaitl explained his rational by pointing at one of those big checks or at a calculator. Instead, the promising young forward explained that he believes that the Oilers have a bright future, and he wants to be a part of it.

In case you’re wondering, additional details have surfaced regarding the year-to-year breakdown of Draisaitl’s deal. TVA’s Renaud Lavoie also reports that Draisaitl has a no-movement clause, thus making it that much more likely that he’ll get his wish to stick with the Oilers:

Of course, with Draisaitl and Connor McDavid combining for a $21M cap hit beginning in 2018-19, the bigger question is not whether they will stay, but who the Oilers will manage to keep in the fold.

Still, that’s for GM Peter Chiarelli & Co. to decide. For Draisaitl, this is a great moment, and he might even be able to back up that big contract with big results on the ice.

Cullen explains why he chose Wild over Penguins

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If you check out a bio on Matt Cullen, you’ll notice that he’s from Minnesota. It doesn’t take a leak, then, to explain why Cullen signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday.

As Cullen explained to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “this is a family decision.” As he goes deeper into his logic, even especially sore Pittsburgh Penguins fans should probably understand Cullen’s perspective.

“Minnesota is home and it’s a special place for me,” Cullen said. “It’s not easy to say goodbye and it’s not easy to walk away [from Pittsburgh]. I’m confident in the decision we’re making and it’s the right thing for our family. But at the same time, it’s not an easy one.

Now, to be fair, Cullen also told Russo that he believes the Wild are a “hungry” team that might have been the West’s best in 2016-17. It’s not like he’s roughing it, and surely the $1 million (and $700K in performance bonuses that Wild GM Chuck Fletcher hopes Cullen collects) didn’t hurt, either.

Still, such a decision makes extra sense for a 40-year-old who’s played for eight different NHL teams during his impressive career. Russo’s story about Cullen attending his kids games and seeing his brothers is worth a read just for those warm and fuzzy feelings we often forget about in crunching the numbers and pondering which teams might be big-time contenders in 2017-18.

This isn’t to say that getting a fourth Stanley Cup ring wouldn’t be appealing to Cullen, but perhaps he’ll get his family time and win big, too?

There’s also the familiarity that comes with playing three fairly recent seasons with the Wild, so Cullen’s choice seems like it checks a lot of the boxes.

In other positive Wild news, Russo reports that Eric Staal is feeling 100 percent after suffering a concussion during the playoffs.

Tuesday was Wild day at PHT, but perhaps this feels more like Wild week?

Bovada gives McDavid higher odds than Crosby to win Hart in 2017-18

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In handing Connor McDavid an eight-year, $100 million extension, the Edmonton Oilers essentially are paying the 20-year-old star based on the assumption that he’ll provide MVP-quality play.

At least one Vegas oddsmaker agrees, as Bovada tabbed McDavid as the favorite to win the Hart Trophy, edging Sidney Crosby.

That’s interesting, yet it might be even more interesting to note where other players fall in the rankings. Auston Matthews coming in third is particularly intriguing.

Who are some of the more interesting choices? The 20/1 range seems appealing, as Carey Price is one of the few goalies with the notoriety to push for such honors while John Tavares has the skill and financial motivation to produce the best work of his career next season.

Anyway, entertain yourself with those odds, via Bovada: (Quick note: Bovada originally had Artemi Panarin listed as still playing with Chicago. PHT went ahead and fixed that in the bit below.)

2017 – 2018 – Who will win the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player?
Connor McDavid (EDM)                         3/2
Sidney Crosby (PIT)                              5/2
Auston Matthews (TOR)                         17/2
Alex Ovechkin (WAS)                            9/1
Patrick Kane (CHI)                                 14/1
Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)                       15/1
Evgeni Malkin (PIT)                                16/1
Carey Price (MON)                                 20/1
John Tavares (NYI)                                20/1
Jamie Benn (DAL)                                 25/1
Steven Stamkos (TB)                             25/1
Erik Karlsson (OTT)                               33/1
Nikita Kucherov (TB)                              33/1
Jack Eichel (BUF)                                  50/1
Ryan Getzlaf (ANA)                               50/1
Patrik Laine (WPG)                                50/1
Brad Marchand (BOS)                            50/1
Tyler Seguin (DAL)                                50/1
Nicklas Backstrom (WAS)                      60/1
Brent Burns (SJ)                                    60/1
Braden Holtby (WAS)                            60/1
Phil Kessel (PIT)                                    60/1
Artemi Panarin (CBJ)                              60/1
Joe Pavelski (SJ)                                  60/1