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

1 Comment

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?

Flyers edge Red Wings, stay hot in 2018

Leave a comment

At this rate, Travis Konecny might earn the nickname “OT.”

For the second straight game, the young forward scored the OT-winner for the Philadelphia Flyers. In this case, it salvaged a 3-2 overtime win against the Red Wings in Detroit, pushing Philly’s winning streak to four games.

Red Wings fan left the building booing, as Konency just barely avoided being offside on the decisive goal. Such a finish will probably sting a little extra for Tyler Bertuzzi, who was all over the place in the third period but couldn’t seal the Red Wings’ rally.

Three of the Flyers’ four straight wins have come in overtime, so they’re gutting out some close wins lately.

It’s a sweet deal for the Flyers, as they’ll end the night in the Metropolitan Division’s third spot, even if the New York Rangers win their game against the Anaheim Ducks.

Such a rise isn’t just about this four-game winning streak.

After ending 2017 on a down note (losing three of their last four games of the year), the Flyers are now 8-2-0 in 2018. Tuesday was promising for Philly even beyond its own work, as the Carolina Hurricanes (loss to Pittsburgh) and New Jersey Devils (fell to Bruins) both fell in regulation.

Quite the turnaround for a team that once dropped 10 straight games and saw fans calling for head coach Dave Hakstol’s head, huh?

A strong second period played a big role in Philly’s win. Detroit carried a 1-0 lead into the middle frame, but the Flyers scored twice to take a lead that would ultimately get them into overtime. They generated an 18-7 shots on goal advantage in the second period and a 31-21 edge overall.

The Flyers continue to do enough of everything to win games, and such versatility might just earn them a playoff berth. For all we know, that might even end up battling for a round of home-ice advantage.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Rough night for goalie injuries: Devils’ Schneider, Panthers’ Reimer

Getty
Leave a comment

Tuesday could end up being a tough night when it comes to goalie injuries.

  • The New Jersey Devils have already been struggling, but this high-offense/shaky-defense mix could really crumble without a healthy Cory Schneider. That’s the concern tonight, as he left the Devils’ game against the red-hot Boston Bruins with a lower-body injury.

The Devils were already dealing with Keith Kinkaid being sidelined with a groin issue, so Ken Appleby is taking over, and likely absorbing some outstanding jokes about chain restaurants and/or cheap appetizers.

  • On a similar note, the Florida Panthers were already waiting as Roberto Luongo heals up, and now James Reimer is dealing with something during tonight’s game against the Dallas Stars. While footage of Schneider laboring after moving laterally is not yet available, here’s a GIF of Reimer being shaken up:

Reimer cooled off in January, but he helped keep the Panthers’ playoff hopes at least on life support in December, going 7-3-3 with a sparkling .932 save percentage during that month.

Both the Panthers and Devils were already dealing with some struggles, so possibly being down to the third goalies on their depth charts wouldn’t help matters. Each squad has to hope that their goalies are only dealing with minor issues.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Islanders could play quite a bit at Nassau Coliseum in future (Report)

Getty
Leave a comment

The New York Islanders need to wait for what sounds like a better home arena situation at Belmont Park, but in the meantime, why not make a lot of people by finding a happy medium?

Newsday’s Jim Baumbach cites anonymous sources who indicate that the Islanders could end up becoming quite a presence back at Nassau Coliseum from 2018-19 to whenever the Belmont Park arena is ready (Baumbach indicates that would be no earlier than the 2021-22 season).

It sounds like there would be some mixture of Brooklyn (Barclays Center) and Long Island (Nassau Coliseum) dates in this setup. Baumbach reports that talks point to about 12 games at Nassau Coliseum in 2018-19; if that test run goes well, the Islanders could play about half of their home games at their former longtime home on Long Island.

While Baumbach reports that there are certain details that need to be hashed out, an official announcement may come soon.

Baumbach adds this interesting detail that indicates that quite a few parties would love to see more games at Nassau, and not just a significant portion of Isles fans:

Interesting.

On paper, an NHL team in Brooklyn sounded wonderful, but Barclays Center simply wasn’t built with hockey in mind. There have been plenty of complaints about ice quality, obstructed views, and challenges for fans trying to get to games.

That said, it’s interesting that the Islanders have been pretty strong at home so far in 2017-18, going 13-7-3 as of this writing.

If you ask a lot of Islanders fans, the dream is probably to see a lot more of John Tavares, preferably at Nassau Coliseum. Time will tell what happens with their big star, but the locale part might work out for fans.

It almost makes you want to start up a “Yes!” chant, doesn’t it?

(H/T to The Score.)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

How will Bruins handle loss of Charlie McAvoy?

1 Comment

Monday brought rough news for the red-hot Boston Bruins: sensational rookie defenseman Charlie McAvoy will miss at least two weeks after undergoing a procedure to treat an abnormal heartbeat.

As you can see in the video above, Keith Jones and Anson Carter discussed McAvoy’s absence, believing that the Bruins will be able to handle it reasonably well.

Tuesday represents the first test, as the B’s take on the New Jersey Devils in a game that’s currently in progress. It’s unclear how much it has to do with McAvoy not being in the lineup, but early on Boston is struggling on defense.

Via Left Wing Lock, it looks like Brandon Carlo slides into the top pairing with Zdeno Chara, while the other pairings look like this:

Chara — Carlo

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid

Matt GrzelcykKevan Miller

Now, Bruce Cassidy deserves credit for taking Claude Julien’s move to a more modern system in 2016-17 to a new level this season, and players like Krug and Carlo boast some promise.

That said, McAvoy’s beyond-his-age impact might be slipping under the radar. So far this season, only Chara (23:26 per game) is averaging more ice time than McAvoy (22:48), with Krug coming in at a distant third of 20:01. McAvoy’s possession stats have, honestly, been pretty brilliant.

While McAvoy undoubtedly benefits from the presence of Chara and what Jones (persuasively) argues is the best offensive line in hockey in Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak, other blueliners haven’t been this brilliant even while receiving such a plum gig. Via this handy tool from CJ Turtoro using Corey Sznajder’s data, you can see that McAvoy has been a beast in transition and in denying opponents entry into his zone:

In other words, McAvoy is off the charts for a 20-year-old by most measures, including a healthy 25 points in 45 games this season. If the Calder Trophy was friendlier to defensemen, he’d probably be getting more hype as one of the best rookies in the NHL.

You don’t have to use “for a rookie” or “for a 20-year-old” qualifiers with McAvoy, though. He’s an important piece by any measure.

Even if McAvoy’s numbers are quite inflated – again, plausible with Chara still being really good – the Bruins could feel the sting from a depth standpoint. Guys who maybe should be in street clothes instead get foisted into the lineup. Someone better suited for a mid-level role might be asked to do too much.

McAvoy is expected, at least initially, to only miss two weeks, which would mean missing somewhere between 5-7 games the way Boston’s schedule falls. Of course, this is a heart-related procedure we’re talking about, so the Bruins need to proceed with caution if the young skater experiences setbacks.

If it’s only two weeks, it probably wouldn’t be a big deal; it might just give the Bruins a chance to realize just how pivotal he’s been in their rise from a team fighting for its playoff life to something more.

Update: The Bruins extended their point streak to 17 games, winning 3-2. Tuukka Rask was forced to make 37 saves, though.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.