Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Home ice||Wachovia Center|
|Colours||Black, white, orange|
|League||National Hockey League|
|Head coach||Ken Hitchcock|
|General manager||Bob Clarke|
- Founded: 1967-1968
- Arena: Wachovia Center (capacity 19,519)
- Uniform colors: orange, white, black
- Logo design: a lowercase "p" with an orange dot and lines streaking from the back
- Stanley Cup final appearances: 7 (2 wins, 5 losses: 1973-1974 (won), 1974-1975 (won), 1975-1976 (loss), 1979-1980 (loss), 1984-1985 (loss), 1986-1987 (loss), 1996-1997 (loss))
After years of clamoring for an NHL franchise, Philadelphia finally got one when the league expanded in 1967 for the first time in 40 years. The new teams were hampered by restrictive rules that kept all major talent with the "original 6" instead of the Expansion six. The Flyers' top goal scorer that first season, Leon Rochefort, scored only 21 times.
All six of the new franchises were placed into the "Western Division", where the Flyers finished first in their inaugural season. They would be upset by the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the playoffs.
The Flyers, would prove by the early 1970s that they could challenge the original 6. Bobby Clarke would emerge as the expansion teams' first superstar as they became the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup in 1974, defeating the Boston Bruins in six games. The Flyers, however, were derided by other teams for being thugs (earning them the name "Broad Street Bullies"), and rightfully so: seven players racked up over 100 penalty minutes during that Cup-winning season, and one (Dave "The Hammer" Schultz) sat in the box for 348 minutes--the equivalent of almost six whole games.
The approach worked though - they won the Cup again the next year, defeating the Buffalo Sabres, as Dave Schultz set a record for penalty minutes (472). In 1976, they lost to the Montreal Canadiens in the finals, and would make at least the second round of the playoffs every year until 1982.
In 1980, with second-year forward Ken Linseman leading the team in scoring, they would make the finals again, but would lose to the New York Islanders on Bob Nystrom's overtime goal in game 6. The tying goal in that game remains in dispute by Flyers fans to this day, as they believe the Islanders were offside. It was also during this season that the Flyers were undefeated for a record 35 straight games (25-0-10).
The Flyers would return to the finals in 1985, behind the goaltending of Pelle Lindbergh (who led the league with 40 wins) and two 40-goal scorers, Tim Kerr and Brian Propp. They would prove to be no match for the Edmonton Oilers however, losing in five games.
Lindbergh would die in a car accident just after the start of the 1985-1986 season, and the Flyers would lose in the first round of the playoffs to a cinderella New York Rangers team. A rejeuvenated Flyers team (with Ron Hextall at goalie) would return to the finals in 1987, but lose again to the Oilers, in seven games.
The Flyers stumbled in 1987-1988, finishing third in the Patrick division (after a first-place finish the previous three years). Coach Mike Keenan was fired and replaced by Paul Holmgren in 1989, Kerr and Rick Tocchet would score 40 goals, and the Flyers would make the Wales conference finals before losing to the Canadiens.
They would not make the playoffs again for another five years, despite winning the arbitration battle for Eric Lindros against the New York Rangers. Lindros, Mikael Renberg, Rod Brind'Amour and John LeClair (the latter acquired mid-season in a trade with Montreal for Mark Recchi) would shine in the abbreviated 1995 season as the Flyers made the conference finals before losing to the New Jersey Devils. Two years later, they made the Stanley Cup finals but lost to the Detroit Red Wings.
The Flyers would get high-scoring right winger Mark Recchi back in time for the 1999 playoffs (after a very successful three-year stint in the early 1990s), and they would make the Eastern Conference finals before losing to the Buffalo Sabres. In 2000, the Flyers made it back to the conference final on the heels of an amazing goaltending performance by rookie Brian Boucher. They went up three games to one in the series, however the New Jersey Devils managed to stage one of the greatest comebacks in Stanley Cup Playoff history.
This would set off a string of disappointing postseasons, as well as erratic goaltending from Boucher, who would be replaced by Roman Cechmanek, a former star goalie in the Czech Republic. In 2001, they again lost to the Buffalo Sabres in the first round, which featured a matchup between former Czech National Team teammates Dominik Hasek and Roman Cechmanek, as well as an 8-0 loss in the final game of the series. The next season, the Flyers would again lose in the first round of the playoffs, this time to the emerging Ottawa Senators. Roman Cechmanek, much maligned for giving up "soft goals", took most of the blame for this loss, despite lackluster play from marquee players such as Adam Oates, Mark Recchi and John Leclair. Leclair and Recchi failed to record a single point in the series.
During the offseason, GM Bob Clarke would clean house, firing coach Bill Barber and hiring former Cup winner and Dallas Stars head coach Ken Hitchcock. There were also a few roster moves, with former rookie sensation Brian Boucher being dealt to the Phoenix Coyotes for Michal Handzus and goaltender Robert Esche, a career backup.
In 2003, the Flyers endured a seven game first-round matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but would lose once again to the Ottawa Senators in a gutsy six game series. The Flyers did not escape the playoffs without controversy, however, as Roman Cechmanek, despite allowing fluky goals, publicly lambasted his team for playing poorly against the Senators. Cechmanek would be traded to the Los Angeles Kings during the offseason for a third round draft choice despite having the second best GAA in the league over his three years in Philadelphia. Four time Stanley Cup winner Patrick Roy had the best GAA over that period.
With the departure of Roman Cechmanek, the Flyers signed free agent journeyman goaltender Jeff Hackett, but would lose him midseason due to vertigo. During this time, Robert Esche quickly established himself as a number one goalie, and led the Flyers to the conference final for the first time since the 1999-2000 playoffs, where they lost in seven games to the eventual Stanley Cup champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
On March 5, 2004, the Flyers became the first NHL team not in the Original Six to score 10,000 goals. That same game, the Flyers and the Ottawa Senators got into several brawls and set an NHL record for the most penalty minutes in a game with 419.
Players of Note
- Tony Amonte
- Eric Desjardins
- Robert Esche
- Simon Gagne
- Michal Handzus
- Ken Hitchcock (coach)
- Sami Kapanen
- John LeClair
- Kim Johnsson
- Danny Markov
- Keith Primeau
- Jeremy Roenick
- Alexei Zhamnov
Not to be forgotten:
- 1 Bernie Parent
- 4 Barry Ashbee
- 7 Bill Barber
- 16 Bobby Clarke
- 99 Wayne Gretzky (retired league-wide by the NHL)
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