This is a daily column that will run during the duration of the NHL lockout. It is not meant to depress hockey fans, but is rather intended to provide a reminder of some of the more memorable moments in Philadelphia Flyers' history, and act as a much-needed distraction from the ongoing negativity surrounding the lockout for hockey fans. What must not be forgotten during the labor strife is just how great of a game we have been blessed with to enjoy throughout the years.
The Flyers sport a 7-6-1-1 record (6-3-1-1 at home) in 15 games played on October 23rd through the course of their history. Philadelphia has managed 58 goals in those games (for a 3.86 GPG average) while allowing 59 to their opponents (3.93 GAA), and has played six consecutive October 23rd contests at home (dating back to 1986).
As for the more memorable moments in all-time October 23rd Flyers contests:
1969: Bernie Parent made 37 saves and Andre Lacroix figured in on both second period goals (goal, assist) as the Flyers and Detroit Red Wings skated to a 2-2 tie at the Spectrum.
The tie was the third in the first five games of the season for Philadelphia (1-1-3 record at the time), and the club would battle to stalemates in their next two contests as well to give them five ties in the first seven games on the way to finishing with a team-record 24 during the 1969-70 campaign.
The legendary Gordie Howe came up a goal and fight short of what would come to be known as a 'Gordie Howe hat trick' for Detroit in the loss.
1976: Bill Barber scored twice and Bernie Parent stopped 18 Buffalo shots as the Flyers defeated the Sabres, 3-2, at the Spectrum.
Philadelphia heavily outshot the visiting Sabres, 37-20 -- including a 21-4 margin in the second period -- but goaltender Gerry Desjardins came up with 34 saves to keep Buffalo in the game.
1980: Brian Propp scored the game-winning goal at 7:11 of the third period and Pete Peeters made 23 saves to lead the Flyers to a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders at the Spectrum.
Bobby Clarke scored into an empty net in the game's final seconds and also assisted on a Reggie Leach marker in the first period, while defenseman Bob Dailey added three helpers.
1982: Bobby Clarke played in his 1,000th NHL game -- all with the Flyers -- in a 4-2 loss to the Penguins at the Igloo in Pittsburgh.
The game was thoroughly dominated by the visitors to the tune of a 50-17 shots on goal count -- including a whopping 38-8 total after two periods -- but the game was tied at 2-2 heading into the third period thanks to the heroic efforts of netminder Michel Dion.
Doug Lecuyer and Pat Boutette scored goals 1:05 apart early in the third to help Dion and the Pens steal the victory.
Bill Barber and Brian Propp scored the goals for Philadelphia, while Rick St. Croix stopped just 13 of the 17 shots he faced and was collared with the tough loss.
1983: Six different players recorded multiple-point games and the Flyers for a second consecutive year on this date peppered an opponent's goalie with 50 shots as Philadelphia blasted the Toronto Maple Leafs in a wild 8-5 affair at the Spectrum.
Bill Barber, Rick MacLeish, and tough defenseman Glen Cochrane all scored a goal and added two assists on the night, while Pelle Lindbergh made 30 saves for the home team. The Flyers also got goals from Miroslav Dvorak, Ilkka Sinisalo, Tim Kerr, and one apiece from Ron and Rich Sutter.
Beleaguered Leafs' netminder Mike Palmateer faced all 50 shots -- including 20 in the first period and 18 in the third -- in the defeat.
1984: The Flyers got a goal and an assist from both Brian Propp and Lindsay Carson and saw seven different skaters score goals as the visiting Flyers trounced the Minnesota North Stars, 7-2.
Following a scoreless first, Propp, Mark Howe, Murray Craven, and Rick Tocchet all scored second period goals on the way to the rout.
Defenseman Thomas Eriksson assisted on three Philadelphia goals, while stopped 31 of 33 Minnesota shots in the winning cause.
1986: Mark Howe scored once and assisted on three other Philadelphia goals to lead the visiting Flyers to a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Civic Arena.
Ilkka Sinisalo, Pelle Eklund, Tim Kerr, and Rick Tocchet also scored for the Flyers, while Mario Lemieux recorded a goal and assist in the losing effort.
Philly was able to withstand being outshot by the Pens, 31-20, and received a strong goaltending performance from Bob Froese, who turned aside 28 shots. Pittsburgh goaltender Gilles Meloche made 15 saves.
1988: Despite a four-point effort from Rick Tocchet, the Flyers fell to the visiting Calgary Flames, 5-4, on a Jim Peplinski goal in overtime.
Tocchet scored twice and assisted on Brian Propp's tally -- all in the first period, then added a helper on Peter Zezel's go-ahead goal early in the third. But Hakan Loob tied the contest with 1:21 remaining in regulation to send the game to extra time, setting the stage for Peplinski's heroics.
Ron Hextall made 36 saves, while winning goalie Rick Wamsley stopped 22 of 26 Flyers shots.
Alexei Zhamnov added a goal and three helpers for the Jets, who took an early 3-0 lead on Philadelphia in the see-saw tilt. The Flyers stormed back with four goals (Josef Beranek, Rod Brind'Amour, and a pair from Mikael Renberg) and it was a 5-5 deadlock after two, but Winnipeg outscored the home team 4-1 in the decisive third period.
Renberg ended up with two goals and an assist, and Mark Recchi scored once and added two helpers for Philly.
Tommy Soderstrom remained in net for the Flyers for the duration of the debacle and was torched for all nine Jets goals on 32 shots, while Bob Essensa made 18 saves in relief of Stephane Beauregard to post the win.
1997: John LeClair scored the game-winning goal with 1:53 left in the third period and Garth Snow stopped 20 Calgary shots as the Flyers defeated the visiting Flames, 4-3.
Rod Brind'Amour scored a goal and assisted on another, while Colin Forbes and Trent Klatt also scored for Philadelphia.
Marty McInnis scored twice for the Flames, while Dwayne Roloson made 30 saves in the loss.
2001: Keith Primeau is named the 13th captain in Flyers' history, replacing defenseman Eric Desjardins in the role.
2010: Mike Richards scored once and asissted on two other goals as the Flyers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-2, at the Wells Fargo Center. Philadelphia dominated play from the opening faceoff, outshooting the Leafs by a wide 40-14 margin.
October 23rd Trades -- 1983: 'Flockey Hockey' Departs Philadelphia
To the Flyers: Rich Sutter, 1984 2nd and 3rd round draft picks
To the Penguins: Ron Flockhart, Andy Brickley, Mark Taylor, 1984 1st and 3rd round draft picks
On this date in 1983, Ron Flockhart, the popular center who burst onto the Philadelphia hockey scene with a flashy style of play that brandished the "Flockey Hockey" title, was dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins as part of a package to bring right winger Rich Sutter -- Ron's twin brother -- to the Flyers.
Flockhart, who centered the "Hi-Speed Line" with wingers Brian Propp and Ray Allison, had posted 65 goals and 145 points in 167 contests in Philadelphia. He would go on to have stints with the Montreal Canadiens, St. Louis Blues, and Boston Bruins before heading to Italy in the 1988-89 season.
The trade was thought to bring a long-term duo to Philadelphia, but Rich ended up as being more of a whipping boy for then-head coach 'Iron' Mike Keenan. Rich was sent to the AHL's Hershey Bears often as an incentive for Ron -- the better of the Sutter brothers -- to perform at a higher level through threats from the coach.
The gritty Rich would go on to play 204 games over the course of three seasons in Philly before being dealt to the Vancouver Canucks, scoring 36 goals, posting 83 points, and piling up 381 penalty minutes during his stay in Philadelphia. He would go on to play for the St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Toronto Maple Leafs with his last active season being in the 1994-95 campaign.
As For The Present...
With Friday's announcement that games are now canceled through November 1, the official count of games the team has lost all-time due to lockout is now at 127 -- 36 in the shortened 1994-05, the entirety of the 82-game schedule in 2004-05, and nine thus far this season:
October 11 Boston Bruins @ FLYERS
October 13 FLYERS @ NY Islanders
October 18 Pittsburgh Penguins @ FLYERS
October 20 Winnipeg Jets @ FLYERS
October 25 FLYERS @ Montreal Canadiens
October 27 Toronto Maple Leafs @ FLYERS
October 28 FLYERS @ Buffalo Sabres
October 30 Dallas Stars @ FLYERS
November 1 New Jersey Devils @ FLYERS
If there is an accord reached by October 25th and the regular season commences on November 2nd (3rd for the Flyers in a 1:00 Saturday matinee against the visiting Anaheim Ducks), the games that were erased will be made up during the course of the season.
There have been no negotiations since the weekend and there are no further talks scheduled at this time as the league-imposed deadline approaches. While there is still hope that sanity will somehow eventually prevail and there will be a full 2012-13 NHL season, it's looking more-and-more like the sides are content with the current 'self-destruct' mode.
If an agreement is not reached by Thursday, expect an announcement from the league canceling a more-substantial block of games in addition to what has already been wiped off the slate.