With 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.
Eric 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?