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Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers are a professional ice hockey team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). Part of the 1967 NHL Expansion, the Flyers were the first of these expansion teams to win the Stanley Cup in 1974 and again in 1975. Despite five return trips to the Stanley Cup Finals, the Flyers have not won the Cup since.

The Flyers all-time winning percentage of .577 (as of the end of the 2007–08 season) is the second best in the NHL, behind only the Montreal Canadiens .591 winning percentage.

The Flyers have played their home games on Broad Street since their inception, first at The Spectrum from 1967 until 1996, and then at the Wachovia Center from 1996 to the present, hence their nickname, "The Broad Street Bullies."

They have had rivalries with several teams over the years, the most heated rival of late being the Pittsburgh Penguins. Their most well known rivals have been the New York Rangers, with whom the Flyers have had many brawls and playoff matchups over the years and the New Jersey Devils, with whom the Flyers traded the Atlantic Division title every season between 1995 and 2007 and have faced three times in the playoffs, winning once in 2004 and losing twice in 1995 and 2000.

Franchise history

Philadelphia waited almost 35 years from when the Quakers' played their last home game (a 4–0 loss to Chicago on March 17, 1931) for the NHL to return when the city was awarded an expansion franchise on February 9, 1966. Philadelphia was a bit of a surprise choice since a group from the nearby city of Baltimore were considered favorites to land a team.

The man who often receives the most credit for bringing NHL hockey back to Philadelphia is Ed Snider. While attending a basketball game in 1964 at the Boston Garden, the then vice-president of the Philadelphia Eagles observed a crowd of Boston Bruins fans lining up to purchase tickets to see a last-place team. Intrigued, he began making plans for a new arena upon hearing the NHL was looking to expand due to fears of a competing league taking hold on the West Coast and the desire for a new television contract in the United States. Snider made his proposal to the league and the Philadelphia group — including Snider, Bill Putnam, Jerome Schiff, and Eagles owner Jerry Wolman — was chosen over the Baltimore group.

1967–1972

Beginning play in 1967–68, the Philadelphia Flyers made their debut on October 11, 1967, losing 5–1 on the road to the California Seals. They won their first game a week later, defeating the St. Louis Blues on the road, 2–1. The Flyers made their home debut in front of a crowd of 7,812, shutting out their intrastate rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins, 1–0 on October 19. The new teams were hampered by restrictive rules that kept all major talent with the Original Six. In the NHL Expansion Draft, most of the players available were either aging veterans or career minor-leaguers before expansion occurred. Among the Flyers' 20 selections were Bernie Parent, Ed Van Impe, Joe Watson, Lou Angotti, Leon Rochefort, and Gary Dornhoefer. Angotti was named the Flyers' first captain and Rochefort was the Flyers' top goal scorer that first season with a total of 21 goals. With all six expansion teams grouped into the same division, the Flyers were able to win the division with a sub-.500 record despite being forced to play their last seven home games on the road due to a storm blowing parts of the Spectrum's roof off. Playoff success did not come so quickly, as the Flyers were upset by St. Louis in a first round, seven-game series.

Angotti left the team in the off-season and was replaced by Van Impe as team captain. Led by Van Impe and the team-leading 24 goals of Andre Lacroix, the Flyers struggled during their sophomore season by finishing 15 games under .500. Despite their poor regular season showing in 1968–69, they made the playoffs; however, they were manhandled by St. Louis in a four-game sweep. Not wanting his team to be physically outmatched again, owner Ed Snider instructed General Manager Bud Poile to acquire bigger, tougher players. While head coach Keith Allen soon after replaced Poile as GM, this mandate eventually led to one of the most feared teams to ever take the ice in the NHL. The keystone of those teams was acquired when the Flyers took a chance on a 19-year-old diabetic from Flin Flon, Manitoba named Bobby Clarke with their second draft pick, 17th overall, in the 1969 NHL Amateur Draft. Keeping to Snider's mandate, the team also drafted future enforcer Dave Schultz 52nd overall.

By the time training camp came around it was clear that Clarke was the best player on the team, and he quickly became a fan favorite. His 15 goals and 31 assists in his rookie season earned him a trip to the NHL All-Star Game. Despite his arrival, the team struggled in 1969–70 recording only 17 wins--the fewest in franchise history (as of completion of the 2006–07 season). They lost the tiebreaker for the final playoff spot to Oakland, missing the playoffs for the first time. In 1970–71 the Flyers returned to the playoffs, but were swept by the Chicago Black Hawks in the first round. Even though the team had improved their record in his second season behind the bench, head coach Vic Stasiuk was replaced by Fred Shero in the off-season.

Clarke continued to progress as he led the team in scoring in 1971–72 and became the first Flyer to win an NHL award, the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. However, in the season's final game, the Flyers needed a win or a tie against the second-year Buffalo Sabres to beat out Pittsburgh for the final playoff spot. The score was tied late in the game, but with just four seconds on the clock, former Flyer Gerry Meehan took a shot from 80 feet away that somehow eluded Flyers goalie Doug Favell. The Flyers lost the tiebreaker to Pittsburgh and missed the playoffs. As it turned out, it was the last time the Flyers missed the playoffs for 18 years.

1972–1976

It was during the 1972–73 season that the Flyers shed the mediocre expansion team label and became the intimidating Broad Street Bullies, a nickname coined by Jack Chevalier and Pete Cafone of the Philadelphia Bulletin on January 3, 1973 due to the team's brawling ways. That same month, Clarke was the youngest player (at that time) in NHL history to be named team captain, replacing Ed Van Impe. Rick MacLeish became the first Flyer to score 50 goals in a season and the Flyers recorded their first winning season. An overtime goal by Gary Dornhoefer in Game 5 turned the tide of their first round series with the Minnesota North Stars in the Flyers' favor, as the Flyers got their first playoff series win in six games. They were outmatched in the semifinals by the Montreal Canadiens, however, losing in five games. After the season, Clarke was awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL's Most Valuable Player.

Goaltender Bernie Parent, an "Original Flyer", returned to the franchise in the off-season, and the Flyers proved that the expansion teams could challenge the Original Six in 1973–74. The Bullies continued their rough-and-tumble ways, led by Dave Schultz's 348 penalty minutes, and reached the top of the West Division with a record of 50–16–12. The return of Parent proved to be of great benefit as he established himself as one of if not the best goaltender in the league by winning 47 games, a record which stood for 33 years. Since the Flyers, along with Chicago, allowed the fewest goals in the league, Parent also shared the Vezina Trophy with Chicago's Tony Esposito.

Come playoff time, the Flyers swept the Atlanta Flames in four games in the first round. In the semifinals, the Flyers faced the New York Rangers. The series, which saw the home team win every game, went seven games. Fortunately for the Flyers, they had home ice advantage as they advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals by winning Game 7. Their opponent, Bobby Orr and the Boston Bruins, took Game 1 in Boston, but Bobby Clarke scored an overtime goal in Game 2 to even the series. The Flyers won Games 3 and 4 at home to take a 3–1 series lead, but Boston won Game 5 to stave off elimination. That set the stage for Game 6 at the Spectrum. The Flyers picked up the lead early when Rick MacLeish scored a first period goal. Late in the game, Orr hauled down Clarke on a breakaway, a penalty which assured the Flyers of victory. Time expired as the Flyers brought the Stanley Cup to Philadelphia for the first time. Parent, having shutout Boston in Game 6, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Playoff MVP. The Flyers won the NHL Stanley Cup in only their 7th season of existence.

In 1974–75, Schultz topped his mark from the previous season by setting an NHL record for penalty minutes (472 in all). Clarke's efforts earned him his second Hart Trophy and Parent was the lone recipient of the Vezina Trophy. The Flyers as a team improved their record slightly with a mark of 51–18–11, the best record in the league. After a first-round bye, the Flyers easily swept the Toronto Maple Leafs and were presented with another New York-area team in the semifinals. The Flyers looked to be headed toward another sweep against the New York Islanders after winning the first three games. The Islanders, however, fought back by winning the next three games, setting up a deciding seventh game. The Flyers were finally able to shut the door on the Islanders, winning Game 7, 4–1.

Facing Buffalo in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Flyers won the first two games at home. Game 3, played in Buffalo, would go down in hockey lore as The Fog Game due to an unusual May heat wave in Buffalo which forced parts of the game to be played in heavy fog, as Buffalo's arena lacked air conditioning. The Flyers lost Games 3 and 4, but won Game 5 at home in dominating fashion, 5–1. On the road for Game 6, Bob Kelly scored the decisive goal and Parent pitched another shutout (a playoff record fifth shutout) as the Flyers repeated as Stanley Cup Champions. Parent also repeated as the playoff MVP, winning a second consecutive Conn Smythe Trophy.

The highlight of the 1975–76 season had no bearing on the season standings. On January 11 at the Spectrum, the Flyers, as part of the Super Series '76, played a memorable exhibition game against the Soviet Union's dominant Central Red Army team. As the Bullies had put intimidation to good use the past three years, the Flyers' rugged style of play led the Soviets to leave the ice midway through the first period, protesting a hit on Valeri Kharlamov, whom Clarke had slashed on the ankle in the famous Summit Series '72, by Ed Van Impe. After some delay, the Soviets returned after they were warned that they would lose their salary for the entire series. The Flyers went on to win the game rather easily, 4–1, and were the only team to defeat the Red Army outright in the series. Head coach Fred Shero proclaimed, "Yes we are world champions. If they had won, they would have been world champions. We beat the hell out of a machine.

The Flyers recorded the best record in team history (points wise) with a record of 51–13–16. The LCB line, featuring Reggie Leach at right-wing, Clarke at center, and Bill Barber at left-wing, set an NHL record for goals by a single line with 141 (Leach 61, Clarke 30, Barber 50). Clarke, on his way to a third Hart Trophy, set a club record for points in one season with 119. Heading into the playoffs, the Flyers squeaked past Toronto in seven games and defeated Boston in five games, Game 5 featuring a five-goal outburst by Leach, the Riverton Rifle, to head to a third straight appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals. However, the Flyers didn't come close to a third straight championship without an injured Bernie Parent, as they ran into an up-and-coming dynasty in Montreal, and were swept in four straight games. Despite the loss, Leach was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy for scoring a record 19 goals in 16 playoff games.

1976–1984

Dethroned, the heyday of the Broad Street Bullies came to an end, as prior to the 1976–77 season, tough-guy Dave Schultz was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. Despite a slight drop-off in performance, the Flyers dominated the Patrick Division with what proved to be their 4th straight division title. After disposing of Toronto in six games, the Flyers found themselves in the semifinals for the fifth consecutive season. Pitted against Boston, the Flyers lost Games 1 and 2 at home in overtime and did not return home as they were swept in four straight games. The Flyers lost their hold on the Patrick Division in 1977–78 and settled for second place. After sweeping the Colorado Rockies in 2 games in the preliminary round, the Flyers moved on to beat Buffalo in five games. They faced Boston in the semifinals for the second consecutive season, and lost again, this time in five games. Following the season, the Flyers were stunned when head coach Fred Shero left to become general manager and head coach of the Rangers. As compensation for The Fog, the Flyers received the Rangers' first-round draft pick in 1978.

Bob McCammon, who had just coached the Flyers' first year AHL Maine Mariners farm club to a Calder Cup title, replaced Shero behind the bench. After a slow start in 1978–79 the Flyers switched McCammon with Pat Quinn, Shero's previous assistant coach, who had replaced McCammon with the Mariners. Adding to the problems, Bernie Parent suffered a career-ending eye injury. The Flyers rallied under Quinn and finished in 2nd place. Matched-up against the Vancouver Canucks in the preliminary round, the Flyers won the series in three games. The Flyers' season came to an end against Fred Shero's Rangers in a five-game quarterfinal loss.

The Flyers began the 1979–80 season with a somewhat controversial move by naming Clarke a playing assistant coach and giving the captaincy to Mel Bridgman. While Clarke was against this initially, he accepted his new role. The Flyers went undefeated for a North American professional sports record 35 straight games (25–0–10), a record that still stands to this day. In doing so, the Flyers wrapped up the Patrick Division title with 14 games to spare and the No.1 overall seed in the playoffs. Their regular-season success continued into the playoffs, as the Flyers swept a young Wayne Gretzky and his Edmonton Oilers in the first round, then went on to get revenge against Fred Shero and his Rangers by beating them in five before disposing of Minnesota in five to lock up a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals. Facing the Islanders for the Cup, the Flyers ultimately lost in six games on Bob Nystrom's overtime Cup-winning goal. The end result of the series was marred by controversy, as the Islanders were offside on the play that resulted in their second goal, but the call was not made. Linesman Leon Stickle admitted after the game that he had blown the call.

The Flyers made early playoff exits the next four years, including three first round exits in a row. After a tough, five-game preliminary round series win against the Quebec Nordiques, the team's 1980–81 season came to an end as they lost in the quarterfinals to the Calgary Flames in seven games. They lost to the Rangers two years in a row in 1981–82 and 1982–83 and then were swept by the Washington Capitals in 1983–84. It was after the latter of these playoff losses that Bobby Clarke retired and was named Vice President and General Manager of the team.

1984–1992

Mike Keenan, a relative unknown at the time, was hired in 1984 to coach the team, and named second-year player Dave Poulin team captain. Behind the goaltending of Pelle Lindbergh (who led the league with 40 wins and won the Vezina Trophy), the Flyers won a franchise-record 53 games, the best in the league. The Flyers rolled through the playoffs by sweeping the Rangers in three games, defeating the Islanders in five, and beating Quebec in six to return to the Stanley Cup Finals. Though they defeated the defending Stanley Cup Champion Oilers in Game 1 by a score of 4–1 at home, Edmonton won the next four games and the series. A month into the 1985–86 season, Pelle Lindbergh was fatally injured in a car accident. The team rallied and showed perseverance by garnering the best record in the Wales Conference and matching their win total (53) from the previous year. Tim Kerr scored 58 goals and the defense pairing of Howe and Brad McCrimmon led the league in plus/minus, a +85 and a +83 respectively. Bob Froese filled in admirably in net for Lindbergh, being named a 2nd Team All-Star and sharing the William M. Jennings Trophy with teammate Darren Jensen. Despite their regular season success, an emotionally exhausted Flyers team lost in the first round of the playoffs to a "Cinderella" Rangers team in five games.

In 1986 the Flyers were rejuvenated by the addition of another Vezina Trophy goaltender between the pipes, with Ron Hextall from Brandon, Manitoba. In his rookie season, he became the third Flyers goaltender to win the Vezina Trophy, joining Parent and Lindbergh. With Hextall providing the critical stops at crucial times, the Flyers captured a third-straight Patrick Division title, and were able to gain revenge on the Rangers by beating them in six games, as well as surviving a tough seven-game test from a gritty Islanders club. The Flyers then defeated the defending Stanley Cup Champion Canadiens in a fiery six game series (notable for a famous bench-clearing brawl during the Game 6 warmup) to win the Wales Conference and return to the Stanley Cup Finals. Unfortunately, three bruising playoff series in a row had taken their physical toll and the Flyers became decimated by injuries, the most significant of which was losing Kerr for the remainder of the playoffs. After falling behind 3 games to 1 in the Stanley Cup finals, the Flyers rallied from a two-goal deficit on the road in Game 5 to extend the series, then won Game 6 at home with another stunning comeback. However they could not overcome the odds a third time and eventually succumbed to the highly-favored Oilers 3-1 in Game 7. Oddly enough, Hextall was voted playoff MVP, the second such time a Flyer won the Conn Smythe Trophy despite being on the losing team, the other being another Manitoban, Reggie Leach, in 1976.

The Flyers stumbled in 1987–88, finishing third in the Patrick Division (after a first-place finish the previous three years). Hextall became the first NHL goaltender to score a goal by firing the puck into an empty net in a December 8 game against Boston. In their first round playoff series with Washington, the Flyers blew a 3–1 series lead as Washington forced a Game 7. They then blew a 3–0 lead in Game 7 as Washington won in overtime 5–4. It was because of this playoff collapse that "Iron Mike" was fired. Paul Holmgren was named Keenan's replacement, the first time a former Flyer was named the club's head coach. Despite finishing at the .500 mark in 1988–89, the Flyers made the playoffs for the 17th consecutive season. Facing first-place Washington in the first round, the Flyers pulled off the upset in six games. Ron Hextall managed to score another empty-net goal in the waning moments of Game 5, becoming the first NHL goalie to score a goal in the playoffs. The Flyers then defeated Pittsburgh in seven games to make the Wales Conference Finals before bowing out to Montreal in six games.

The 1989–90 season got off to a bad start for the Flyers, and continued to get worse. Hextall missed all but eight games due to suspension, contract holdout issues and injury, the suspension given for attacking Chris Chelios at the end of the Montreal playoff series the previous spring. Holmgren replaced Dave Poulin as captain in December with Ron Sutter, which led to Poulin's (and later that season, Brian Propp's) trade to Boston. As a result, the Flyers missed the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 1972. Bobby Clarke, having been with the Flyers organization since he was drafted in 1969, was fired and replaced as GM by Russ Farwell; Clarke resurfaced with the Minnesota North Stars. Hextall continued to be hampered by injuries during the 1990–91 season. He only played in 36 games and as a result the Flyers missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year, finishing fifth in the division and three points short of a playoff spot after a late-season collapse.

Prior to the 1991–92 season, the Flyers acquired Rod Brind'Amour from St. Louis. Brind'Amour led the Flyers in goals (33), assists (44), and points (77) in his first season with the club. With Ron Sutter gone to St. Louis in the Brind'Amour trade, Rick Tocchet was named team captain. As the Flyers continued to flounder, Paul Holmgren was fired midway through the season and replaced by Bill Dineen, father of Flyer Kevin Dineen. On February 19, the Flyers and Pittsburgh made a major five-player deal which featured Tocchet — who never grew comfortably into the role of captain — heading to Pittsburgh and Mark Recchi coming to Philadelphia. Recchi recorded 27 points in his first 22 games as a Flyer, but the team missed the playoffs for the third consecutive year, due in large part to an awful road record (10–26–4).

1992–2000

In June 1992, the Flyers persuaded Clarke to return to the team as senior vice president after Jay Snider won the hard fought arbitration battle for 1991 #1 overall pick Eric Lindros against the Rangers. It was determined that Quebec had made a deal with the Flyers before making a deal with the Rangers. 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. This deal ultimately turned the Flyers around and led them back to the playoffs and top of the conference.

The trio of Lindros, Recchi, and Brent Fedyk formed the Crazy Eights line in Lindros' first two years in the league, the eights being the player's jersey numbers (88, 8, and 18 respectively). In 1992–93, Recchi set the franchise record for points in a season with 123 (53 goals, 70 assists) and Lindros scored 41 goals in 61 games. After struggling early the Flyers made a run at the playoffs, but came four points short of the last spot. Head coach Bill Dineen was fired at the season's end, while Clarke left town again to become general manager of the expansion Florida Panthers.

For 1993–94, Terry Simpson was hired as the new head coach in hopes that the Flyers would finally return to playoff contention after four consecutive off-years. Recchi recorded 107 points (40 goals, 67 assists) and Lindros 97 (44 goals, 53 assists) while Mikael Renberg set a Flyers rookie record with 82 points. Offense was generated yet the Flyers still failed to clinch a playoff berth, again falling four points short of the final playoff spot. Jay Snider stepped down as President, forcing his father Ed Snider to take over day-to-day operations. The elder Snider had decided he had seen enough of Farwell as GM, and began courting Bobby Clarke to leave his GM post with Florida to return to Philadelphia. Farwell's last move as GM was firing Simpson after a lackluster performance.

Bobby Clarke returned to the General Manager position prior to the 1994–95 season and immediately began putting his stamp on the team. New head coach Terry Murray replaced Kevin Dineen as team captain with Lindros prior to the start of training camp. In order to shore up the defense, Ron Hextall was re-acquired from the Islanders and high-scoring winger Recchi was traded to Montreal for John LeClair, Eric Desjardins and Gilbert Dionne early in the abbreviated season. Lindros and LeClair teamed with Renberg to form the Legion of Doom line, a mix of scoring talent and physical intimidation. Lindros came in second to Jaromir Jagr by a tiebreaker in the race for the Art Ross Trophy, but made up for it by capturing the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league's MVP. The playoff drought came to an end as the Flyers won their first division title in eight years and clinched the No.2 seed in the Eastern Conference. After dispatching Buffalo in five and sweeping the defending Stanley Cup champion Rangers, the Flyers lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the eventual-champion New Jersey Devils in six games.

Lindros eclipsed the 100-point mark for the first time in 1995–96, gathering 115 points, and LeClair scored 51 goals, as the Flyers repeated as Atlantic Division champs and clinched the No.1 seed in the East. Facing the 8th-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning, the Flyers dropped two of the first three games. They rallied by winning three straight games to win the series. After taking two of the first three games against their second-round opponent, Florida, the Flyers were defeated in overtime in Game 4 and double-overtime in Game 5. An upstart Florida club with stellar goaltending from John Vanbiesbrouck ended the Flyers' season in Game 6. The Flyers said goodbye to the Spectrum and prepared to open a new arena - the CoreStates Center - for the next season.

Though Lindros missed 30 games in 1996–97, LeClair still managed to score 50 goals for the second consecutive year. Despite finishing just one point shy of a third straight Atlantic Division title, the Flyers blitzed their way through the Eastern Conference playoffs. Backstopped by the goaltending tandem of Hextall and Garth Snow, the Flyers dominated Pittsburgh, Buffalo and the Rangers all in five games apiece to win the Eastern Conference championship, and clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1986–87. However, their opponent, the Detroit Red Wings, swept the Flyers in four straight games. After Game 3, Terry Murray said that the team was in a "choking situation". It is said this remark cost Murray his job, as he was fired soon after.

The man picked to replace Murray, Wayne Cashman, was deemed ill-suited for the job as the Flyers played inconsistently throughout the 1997–98 season. With 21 games to go in the season, Roger Neilson took over as coach while Cashman was retained as an assistant. John LeClair was able to score at least 50 goals for the third consecutive year (netting 51), the first time for an American-born player, and goaltender Sean Burke was acquired at the trade deadline. Burke proved ineffective in net, as the Flyers were eliminated in the first round by Buffalo in five games. In the off-season, the Flyers went looking for a new goaltender. Burke was let go and Hextall was about to enter his final season as a backup. They chose to sign former Panther John Vanbiesbrouck over former Oiler Curtis Joseph, who ended up signing with Toronto. The 1998–99 season was marred by a life-threatening injury sustained by Eric Lindros on April Fools' Day during a game against the Nashville Predators, a season-ending injury later diagnosed as a collapsed lung. Up until that point, Lindros was having an MVP-type season with 40 goals and 53 assists in 71 games. Without Lindros, the Flyers had trouble scoring in the playoffs even after having re-acquired Mark Recchi at the trade deadline. Although Vanbiesbrouck allowed nine goals to Joseph's eleven allowed, the Flyers lost their first round series with Toronto in six games.

One of the most tumultuous seasons in franchise history, 1999–2000, actually started in July three months prior to the start of the regular season. In the span of a few days, longtime broadcaster Gene Hart died due to illness and defenseman Dmitri Tertyshny, coming off his rookie season, was fatally injured in a freak boating accident. The season itself was no better as head coach Roger Neilson was diagnosed with bone cancer, forcing him to step aside in February 2000 to undergo treatment. Assistant coach Craig Ramsay took over as interim coach for the rest of the season. In January, longtime Flyer and fan favorite Rod Brind'Amour was shipped to Carolina for Keith Primeau, with the intention of acquiring a big center to complement Eric Lindros. Meanwhile, the strife between Flyers management (particularly Clarke) and Lindros, continued to worsen. Less than a month after Ramsay took over, Lindros suffered his second concussion of the season. He played several games after the initial hit and afterwards criticized the team's training staff for failing to initially diagnose the concussion after it happened. It was after this that the Flyers' organization decided to strip Lindros of the captaincy on March 27 and sew the C on the sweater of defenseman Eric Desjardins.

With Lindros out indefinitely, the Flyers rallied to overcome the distractions and a 15-point deficit in the standings to win the Atlantic Division and the No. 1 seed in the East on the last day of the regular season. They easily defeated their first round opponent, Buffalo, in five games. Primeau's goal in the fifth overtime of Game 4 against the team's second-round opponent, Pittsburgh, turned that series in the Flyers' favor as they won in six games, coming back from a 2–0 series deficit. After dropping Game 1 to New Jersey in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Flyers peeled off three straight wins to take a 3–1 series lead. But New Jersey refused to give up. After New Jersey won Game 5, Lindros returned to the lineup for the first time since March for Game 6 in another losing effort. Early in Game 7, Lindros was on the receiving end of a hit by Scott Stevens, giving him another concussion and leaving the Philadelphia crowd deflated. Without Lindros, the Flyers lost the decisive game by a score of 2–1. It was the 2nd time in franchise history the team lost a series after being up 3 games to 1. To add insult to injury, New Jersey went on to win the Stanley Cup.

2000–2006

Lindros would never wear a Flyers uniform again, as he sat out the season awaiting a trade. Also, Craig Ramsay retained the head coaching position as Neilson was not asked to return, which became a matter of some controversy. Ramsay only lasted until December when he was replaced by former Flyer great Bill Barber. Brian Boucher, who as a rookie backstopped the Flyers' playoff run the previous season, couldn't duplicate his performance in 2000–01 and therefore lost the starting goaltending job to Roman Cechmanek, a former star goalie in the Czech Republic. The performance of Cechmanek, worthy of a Vezina nomination, helped the Flyers stay afloat, but they lost in the first round to Buffalo in six games.

In the off-season, the Flyers re-vamped their lineup by signing Jeremy Roenick and finally trading Lindros to the Rangers for Kim Johnsson, Jan Hlavac, Pavel Brendl, and a 2003 3rd-round draft pick (Stefan Ruzicka). Desjardins stepped down as team captain eight games into the season and was replaced by Primeau. The Flyers began 2001–02 with high expectations and with Roenick leading the team in scoring the Flyers finished with an Atlantic Division title. The power play was one of the NHL's worst however, so Adam Oates, the third leading point-producer in the league at the time, was acquired from Washington at the trade deadline. It was of no benefit as the Flyers couldn't muster much offense, scoring only two goals in their five-game, first-round playoff loss to the Ottawa Senators. They only led once during the entire series--an overtime win in game one. It turned out there was much discontent in the locker room as Bill Barber was fired. The Flyers hired a proven winner when they turned to former Dallas Stars and Stanley Cup-winning head coach Ken Hitchcock.

In 2002–03, Roman Cechmanek had a 1.83 GAA and the Flyers acquired Sami Kapanen and Tony Amonte prior to the trade deadline; however, they fell one point short of a second straight Atlantic Division title. As a result, the Flyers endured a long, brutal seven-game first round match-up with Toronto that featured three multiple overtime games, all in Toronto. After winning Game 7, 6–1, the Flyers fought Ottawa in the second round with equal vigor as they split the first four games of the series, Cechmanek earning shutouts in both wins. Cechmanek's inconsistency showed through, however, as he allowed ten goals in the final two games and Ottawa advanced in six games. Cechmanek was traded to Los Angeles for a 2004 second round draft pick during the off-season despite having the second-best goals-against average in the league over his three years in Philadelphia.

Free-agent goaltender Jeff Hackett was signed from Boston to replace Cechmanek and challenge backup Robert Esche for the No.1 spot in 2003–04, but Hackett was forced to retire in February due to vertigo. During the course of the season, serious injuries suffered by both Roenick (broken jaw) and Primeau (concussion) in February forced the Flyers to trade for Chicago's Alexei Zhamnov, who filled in well and kept the Flyers afloat. On March 5, 2004, the Flyers set an NHL record in a game against Ottawa where they set a combined record of 419 penalty minutes in a single game. Esche entrenched himself as starter and remained in that position even after the Flyers re-acquired Sean Burke from the Phoenix Coyotes as the Flyers clinched the Atlantic Division title over New Jersey on the last day of the season. Though solid in net, Esche's performance was trumped by the play of captain Keith Primeau in the playoffs. Primeau led the Flyers past the defending Stanley Cup Champion Devils in five, and Toronto in six on their way to the Eastern Conference Finals and a match-up with Tampa Bay. Despite winning Game 6 on the late-game heroics of Primeau and winger Simon Gagne, the Flyers came up short once again losing Game 7 in Tampa, 2–1.

With the NHL preparing for looming labor unrest, the Flyers let their leading scorer, Mark Recchi, leave for Pittsburgh during the off-season. Unsure about what the future would bring, the Flyers were unsure about Recchi's worth. The NHL Lockout forced the cancellation of the 2004–05 NHL season. The Flyers were one of the more active teams once the NHL Lockout came to an end. Replacing the high-profile names of Amonte, LeClair, and Roenick were superstar Peter Forsberg, along with defensemen Derian Hatcher and Mike Rathje, as well as several players from the Calder Cup-winning Philadelphia Phantoms. When all was said and done, the team had experienced a turnover of nearly two-thirds of the roster.

The Flyers began the season with lofty expectations. Despite being hampered by injuries prior to and during 2005–06, the Flyers lived up to those expectations in the first half of the season, reaching the top of the league standings in January while simultaneously holding a ten-point lead in the Atlantic Division. The Deuces Wild line of Forsberg, Gagne, and Mike Knuble recorded 75, 79, and 65 points respectively while Gagne, with Forsberg feeding him, scored a career high of 47 goals. However, the injuries began to accumulate and take their toll, the most crippling of which was Keith Primeau season-ending concussion. All told, the Flyers were third in the NHL with 388 man-games lost to injury, tops amongst playoff teams. The second half of the regular season was defined by a record hovering around .500, sending the Flyers on a steady slide in the standings. The Flyers fell short of an Atlantic Division title, finishing second by tie-breaker to New Jersey, drawing the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference and a first round match-up with fourth-seeded Buffalo. The Flyers lost the series in six games.

2006–present

The Flyers' 40th year anniversary season turned out to be the worst in franchise history. The Flyers traded Michal Handzus to Chicago, lost Kim Johnsson to free agency and Eric Desjardins and team captain Keith Primeau retired in the off-season. The Flyers found themselves without many leaders to guide the team. Peter Forsberg replaced Primeau as team captain, but a chronic foot injury had him in and out of the lineup throughout the season and limited his effectiveness. Eight games into the regular season and with a record of 1–6–1, General Manager Bobby Clarke resigned and head coach Ken Hitchcock was fired. Assistant coach John Stevens replaced Hitchcock and assistant general manager Paul Holmgren took on Clarke's responsibilities on an interim basis.

The changes did little to improve the Flyers fortunes in 2006–07 as setting franchise records for futility became the norm. They had several multiple-game losing streaks including a franchise worst 10-game losing streak and a 13-game home losing streak that stretched from November 29 to February 10. Ultimately, the Flyers finished with a 22–48–12 record--the most losses and the worst winning percentage in franchise history, and the worst record in the league. They also set the NHL record for the biggest points drop off in the standings in a one-year span (101 points in 2005–06 to 56 points in 2006–07, a difference of 45 points). The Flyers fan base was voted "The Most Intimating Fans in the NHL" by a ESPN Players Poll.

With the team clearly on the verge of missing the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, Paul Holmgren set his sights on rebuilding the team and preparing for the future. Forsberg, unwilling to commit to playing next season, was traded to Nashville for Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent, and 2007 1st and 3rd-round draft picks. Veteran defenseman Alexei Zhitnik was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers for prospect defenseman Braydon Coburn and disappointing off-season acquisition Kyle Calder was sent to the Detroit Red Wings via Chicago in exchange for defenseman Lasse Kukkonen. The Flyers also acquired goaltender Martin Biron from the Buffalo Sabres for a 2007 2nd-round pick. Given wide praise for his efforts, the Flyers gave Holmgren a two-year contract and removed the interim label from his title.

The Flyers began the 2007-08 season with the intention of putting the disaster of the previous season behind them. In June, the Flyers made a trade which sent the first round draft pick they had acquired in the Forsberg trade (23rd overall) back to Nashville for the rights to negotiate with impending unrestricted free agents Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell. Both were signed to six-year contracts. After much speculation as to whether the Flyers would trade the 2nd overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, the Flyers stayed put and selected New Jersey native James vanRiemsdyk.

The Flyers wasted no time in addressing their free agent needs. On July 1, the Flyers signed Buffalo co-captain Daniel Briere to an 8-year, $52 million contract. Continuing to revamp their defensive core, Joni Pitkanen and Geoff Sanderson were traded to Edmonton for Oilers captain Jason Smith and Joffrey Lupul. Smith was named Flyers captain on October 1.

The Flyers adopted the slogan of "Back with Vengance" for the 2007-08.A 7-3 start in October and a 9-3-1 January run had the Flyers near the top of both the division and conference standings. The Flyers did not forget their "Broad Street Bullies" past with 5 players receiving multiple-game suspensions, the most serious being 25-game suspensions to Steve Downie and Jesse Boulerice for two separate incidents. A disastrous 10-game losing streak accorded in February. An 8-3-4 run in March, coupled with two shutout wins over New Jersey and Pittsburgh over the final two games of the regular season put the Flyers back in the playoffs as the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference

This set up a 1st round matchup with Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. The Capitals took Game 1 (5-4) with an Alexander Ovechkin game winning goal with 4:32 left in regulation. The Flyers took the next two games 2-0 and 6-3. The Flyers went on to win Game 4 and took a 3 games to 1 lead over Washington, but the Capitals won Games 5 and 6 to force a Game 7 in Washington. The Flyers won the game and series in overtime on Joffrey Lupul's powerplay goal.

The Flyers then drew a matchup with heavily-favored Montreal in the 2nd round. Despite being outshot and outplayed a majority of the series, the Flyers upset Montreal in 5 games and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the 1st time since 2003-04 to face Pittsburgh.

Before the start of the series, the Flyers suffered a fatal blow when it was learned that Kimmo Timonen was out with a blood clot in his ankle. Coupled with a gruesome facial injury to Braydon Coburn in Game 2, Pittsburgh ran roughshod over the Flyers' depleted defense and jumped out to a 3-0 series lead. The Flyers won Game 4 at home to stave off elimination, and although Timonen returned for Game 5, Pittsburgh finished off the Flyers in 5 games.

On June 20 at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, the Flyers traded R.J. Umberger and the 118th overall to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Colorado's 1st round pick (19th) and number 67th overall. The Flyers drafted defenseman Luca Sbisa with the 19th overall pick. The Flyers traded their 1st round pick (27th) to Washington in exchange for Steve Eminger and the 84th overall pick. During the free agent period they signed forward Glen Metropolit from Boston, Arron Asham from New Jersey and defensemen Ossi Vaananen from Djurgårdens IF of the Swedish Elite League.

The Flyers will open up the 2008-09 NHL season at home against the New York Rangers on Saturday, October 11.

On September 17 the Flyers named Mike Richards as their new Captain.

Team information

Colors, name and logo

On April 4, 1966, Bill Putnam announced there would be a name-the-team contest and that orange, black and white would be the team colors. Wanting what he referred to as "hot" colors, Putnam's choice was influenced by the orange and white of his alma mater, the University of Texas, and the orange and black of Philadelphia's previous NHL team, the Quakers.

Details of the name-the-team contest were released on July 12, 1966. As sponsor of the contest, ballots were available at local Acme Markets grocery stores and included a top prize of a RCA 21" color television, two season tickets for both the second and third prize winners, and a pair of tickets to a game for the next 100 winners. Among the names considered behind the scenes were Quakers, Ramblers, and Liberty Bells. The first two were the names of previous Philadelphia hockey teams and given the connotations of losing (Quakers) and the minor leagues (Ramblers), were passed over. Liberty Bells, though seriously considered, was also the name of a local race track. Bashers, Blizzards, Bruisers, Huskies, Keystones, Knights, Lancers, Raiders, and Sabres were among the other names considered.

It was Ed Snider's sister Phyllis who ended up naming the team when she suggested Flyers on a return trip from a Broadway play. Ed knew immediately it would be the winning name, since it captured the speed of the game and went well phonetically with Philadelphia. On August 3, 1966, the team name was announced. Of the 11,000 ballots received, more than 100 selected Flyers as the team name and were entered into a drawing to select a winner. Alec Stockard, a 9-year-old boy from Narberth, Pennsylvania who had spelled it "Fliers" on his entry, won the drawing and was declared the winner.

With the name and colors already known, Philadelphia advertising firm Mel Richmann Inc. was hired to design a logo and jersey. With Tom Paul as head of the project, artist Sam Ciccone designed the logo to represent speed. Ciccone's winged P design, four stylized wings attached to a slanted P with an orange dot to represent a puck, was considered the "obvious choice" over his other designs which included a winged skate. The Flying P has remained the same since the beginning and was ranked the sixth best NHL logo in a 2008 Hockey News poll. The Flyers unveiled a 3D version of this logo with metallic accents during the 2002–03 season which was used on orange 3rd jerseys until the end of the 2006–07 season.

Jerseys

As with his logo design, Ciccone's jersey design was meant to represent speed. The home jersey was orange with a white stripe down each shoulder and down the arms (meant to represent wings) with a white number on the back and black sleeve numbers. The away jersey was white with orange striping, an orange number on the back and white sleeve numbers. Other than a few minor alterations to the numbers and the switch the NHL made to wear white at home and dark on the road for 1970–71, this general design was used until the end of the 1981–82 season.

The Flyers unveiled second generation jerseys for the 1982–83 season. The main difference was the increased width of the shoulder and arm stripes with black trim added to the border of the stripes. Also, a pinstripe (black for the white jersey, orange for the dark) was added to the bottom of each sleeve. With the exception of a similarly designed black jersey replacing the orange and the NHL switching back to wearing darks at home and whites on the road prior to 2003–04, this design was used until the end of the 2006–07 season.

Many NHL teams started using 3rd jerseys during the mid-1990s and the Flyers unveiled a black 3rd jersey that was similar in design to their second generation jerseys during the 1997–98 season. During the 2000 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the black jersey became the primary dark jersey with the orange jersey being retired after the 2000–01 season. In 2002–03, a new orange 3rd jersey was introduced which was a radical departure from any jersey the Flyers had used before. Unique striping and fonts were used along with the aforementioned metallic 3D logo and the first use of a color other than orange, black or white on a Flyers jersey, silver/gray. These jerseys were used until the end of the 2006–07 season.

The Flyers, along with the rest of the NHL, unveiled new Rbk Edge jerseys prior to the 2007–08 season. The black home jersey now features white shoulders with orange and black sections at the elbow and black cuffs. The white road jersey features orange shoulders with black and white sections at the elbow, and black cuffs. The Flyers plan on unveiling a new orange 3rd jersey based on their 1973–74 jerseys during the 2008–09 season.

Shortlived additions

The Flyers debuted a shortlived skating mascot named "Slapshot" in 1976 but dropped the character by the next season. It remains the only mascot in Flyers' team history, although the team occasionally employs the services of "Phlex", the mascot of the team's minor league affiliate and next door neighbors, the Philadelphia Phantoms.

The Flyers were the first and one of only two (the Hartford Whalers being the other), NHL teams to wear Cooperalls, hockey pants that extend from the waist to the ankles, in 1981–82. They wore them the following season as well, but returned to the traditional hockey pants in 1983–84.

Seasons and records

Season by season results

This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Flyers. For the full season-by-season history, see Philadelphia Flyers seasons

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes

Records as of April 25, 2008.

Season GP W L T OTL Pts GF GA PIM Finish Playoffs
2003–04 82 40 21 15 6 101 229 186 1357 1st, Atlantic Lost in Conference Finals, 3–4 (Lightning)
2004–05 Season cancelled due to 2004–05 NHL lockout
2005–061 82 45 26 11 101 267 259 1187 2nd, Atlantic Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 2–4 (Sabres)
2006–07 82 22 48 12 56 214 303 1285 5th, Atlantic Did not qualify
2007–08 82 42 29 11 95 248 233 1457 4th, Atlantic Lost in Conference Finals, 1–4 (Penguins)

1 As of the 2005–06 NHL season, all games will have a winner; the OTL column includes SOL (Shootout losses).

Franchise records

Regular season

  • Most goals in a season: Reggie Leach, 61 (1975–76)
  • Most assists in a season: Bobby Clarke, 89 (1974–75 & 1975–76)
  • Most points in a season: Mark Recchi, 123 (1992–93)
  • Most penalty minutes in a season: Dave Schultz, 472 (1974–75) (NHL record)
  • Most points in a season, defenseman: Mark Howe, 82 (1985–86)
  • Most points in a season, rookie: Mikael Renberg, 82 (1993–94)
  • Most wins in a season: Bernie Parent, 47 (1973–74)
  • Most shutouts in a season: Bernie Parent, 12 (1973–74 & 1974–75)
  • Most power play goals in a season: Tim Kerr, 34 (1985–86) (NHL record)Playoffs
  • Most goals in a playoff season: Reggie Leach, 19 (1975–76) (shares the NHL record with Jari Kurri)
  • Most goals by a defenseman in a playoff season: Andy Delmore, 5 (1999–2000)
  • Most assists in a playoff season: Pelle Eklund, 20 (1986–87)
  • Most points in a playoff season: Brian Propp, 28 (1986–87)
  • Most points by a defenseman in a playoff season: Doug Crossman, 18 (1986–87)
  • Most penalty minutes in a playoff season: Dave Schultz, 139 (1973–74)Team
  • Most points in a season: 118, (1975–76)
  • Most wins in a season: 53, (1984–85, 1985–86)
  • Most goals scored: 350, (1983–84)
  • Least goals allowed (full season): 164, (1973–74)
  • Longest undefeated streak: 35 games, (1979–80) (NHL record)

Current roster

Honored members

Hall of Famers: The Flyers currently have at least thirteen personnel in the Hockey Hall of Fame. At least seven have been inducted into the players category, at least four in the builders category and at least one in the broadcasters category. Inducted as players were Goaltender Bernie Parent in 1984, forward Bobby Clarke in 1987, forward Bill Barber in 1990. Paul Coffey, Dale Hawerchuk, Darryl Sittler and Allan Stanley were also inducted as players, each having played no more than two and a half seasons for the Flyers. Inducted as builders were Keith Allen who was Head coach (1967–69), GM (1969–83) and Executive VP (since 1980), Roger Neilson, Head coach (1997–2000), mainly for his overall NHL coaching career, Bud Poile the Flyers GM (1967–69) and Ed Snider the Flyers majority owner (1967–96) and Chairman (since 1996). Gene Hart (1967–95), was inducted as a broadcaster.

Retired numbers: The Flyers have retired four of their jersey numbers and taken a number out of circulation. The Flyers have retired number 1 for goaltender Bernie Parent (1967–71 & 1973–79) on October 11, 1979, number 4 for defenseman Barry Ashbee (1970–74) on April 3, 1975, number 7 for left-winger Bill Barber (1972–84) on October 11, 1990, and number 16 for center Bobby Clarke (1969–84) on November 15, 1984. The number 99 was retired league-wide for Wayne Gretzky on February 6, 2000. The number 31 of goaltender Pelle Lindbergh (1981–86), was taken out of circulation after his death in November 1985 and is considered unofficially retired.

Flyers Hall of Fame: Established in 1988, the Flyers Hall of Fame honors those who have made significant contributions to the Flyers in their careers. To date, 19 former players and executives have been inducted, including charter inductees Bernie Parent (1988) and Bobby Clarke (1988), as well as Bill Barber (1989), Gene Hart (1992), Tim Kerr (1994), Brian Propp (1999), Mark Howe (2001) and Dave Poulin (2004) to name a few. The newest member to be added was Ron Hextall on February 6, 2008.

Leaders

Team Captains

Head Coaches

General Managers


References

Footnotes

See also

External links

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