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 have a collective 8-7-1-1 mark -- which includes wins in the last three and victories in extra time in the last two, and a torrid 7-1-0-0 record at home -- on December 11th over the course of franchise history.
Philadelphia has scored 74 goals, while allowing 67 to their opponents in the 17 contests played on this day.
Some of the more memorable moments and brief recaps in Flyers history that took place in December 11th games -- and for a date that has produced just over a .500 mark, there truly are some amazing highlights:
1969: Andre Lacroix posted a hat trick and four points, and Bernie Parent turned aside 37 of 40 shots as the Flyers doubled up the Toronto Maple Leafs, 6-3, at the Spectrum.
Lacroix assisted on Bobby Clarke's goal then scored the third and fourth Philadelphia goals of the opening frame to push the Orange-and-Black to a 4-3 lead at the first intermission, and completed the hat trick with 37 seconds remaining in the contest to close out the scoring.
Gary Dornhoefer and Earl Heiskala each notched a goal and an assist in the victory, while Jim Johnson, Jean-Guy Gendron, and Simon Nolet added a pair of assists apiece.
1976: Bill Barber's second goal of the game with 1:49 left in the third period proved to be the game-winner as the Flyers scored twice in the last 3:01 to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 triumph over the Boston Bruins at the Spectrum.
Barber opened the scoring early in the first stanza, but Boston tallied the next three courtesy of Don Marcotte, Peter McNab, and Rick Middleton to propel the visitors to a 3-1 lead late in the second period.
But Mel Bridgman started the comeback on a power play with 5:04 left in the middle session to give Philadelphia momentum heading into the final period.
Bridgman's marker began a feeding frenzy for the Flyers, as they outshot the Bruins by a 16-2 count in the third. Gary Dornhoefer finally found a way to beat Gerry Cheevers at 16:59 to even the score before Barber's late game-winning tally.
Bernie Parent stopped 16 of 19 Boston shots to post his third straight win and extend his undefeated streak to 10 (7-0-3), while the much-busier Cheevers was collared with the loss despite making 34 saves.
1977: Tom Bladon posted four goals and eight points to set the NHL record for points in a game by a defenseman as the Flyers scored the contest first 11 goals en route to an 11-1 shellacking of the Cleveland Barons at the Spectrum.
First period markers from Reggie Leach, Bladon, Don Saleski, and Mel Bridgman made it a 4-0 lead after the first 20 minutes, which was doubled in the middle frame as Philadelphia got goals from Rick MacLeish, a pair from Bladon to complete the hat trick, and Paul Holmgren.
Bladon notched number four on the night early in the third before MacLeish's second of the game, and Bill Barber's 15th of the season with 6:13 remaining to make it 11-0.
Dennis Maruk got the Barons on the board with a man advantage goal with 1:15 left to spoil Bernie Parent's shutout bid.
Philly set the tempo against the overmatched Cleveland squad, outshooting the visitors by a lopsided 52-18 count, which included a 20-4 margin in the third.
Bobby Clarke and Ross Lonsberry each added four helpers apiece.
Losing goaltender Gary Edwards gave up eight goals on 32 shots through two stanzas before being relieved by Gilles Meloche after the second intermission. Parent stopped 17 of the 18 shots he faced to pick up his sixth consecutive victory and stretch his unbeaten skein to 12 (9-0-3).
1984: Ilkka Sinisalo's goal with two seconds remaining in regulation evened the game at 4-4 and sent it into overtime, but Paul McLean won it for the Winnipeg Jets at 3:58 of the extra session at Winnipeg Arena.
Trailing 4-2 late in the third period, Philadelphia got a goal from Lindsay Carson to pull within one before Sinisalo's tying marker in the waning seconds.
Brian Propp and Ron Sutter also lit the lamp for Philly.
Sutter notched a Gordie Howe hat trick in the loss. He scored a goal at 7:49 of the second period, fought Laurie Boschman at 8:32 of the third, then assisted on Carson's late tally.
1986: Lindsay Carson snapped a 3-3 tie when he beat Reggie Lemelin with 6:47 remaining in regulation in a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames at the Spectrum.
Goals from Pelle Eklund, Dave Poulin, and Derrick Smith had Philadelphia even at the second intermission, and the Flyers turned up the tempo to outshoot the Flames by an 18-5 margin in the final stanza. After giving Philly the late lead, Carson sealed the triumph with an empty-netter.
Rick Tocchet and Ron Sutter each added assists on both of the Carson's third period markers.
Ron Hextall made 18 saves to pick up the win, while Lemelin turned away 32 of 36 Flyer shots in the loss.
1997: Eric Lindros beat Tommy Salo with 1:27 remaining in the third period to break a 3-3 tie and complete his 10th regular season hat trick as the Flyers defeated the New York Islanders, 4-3, at the CoreStates Center.
John LeClair also scored for Philadelphia, and Rod Brind'Amour added a pair of assists in the win.
Ron Hextall made 15 saves to record the victory, while Salo stopped 25 Flyer shots in defeat.
1999: Eric Lindros recorded a Gordie Howe hat trick with an assist on a Keith Jones tally in the first, a fight against Alexander Karpovtsev in the middle frame, and a goal with 2:25 remaining in regulation to pull the Flyers back to within 5-4 in an eventual 6-4 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Maple Leaf Gardens.
It was the first time since December 18th, 1986 -- when Tim Kerr and Dave Poulin both accomplished the feat in a wild 9-4 victory over the New York Islanders -- that Philadelphia had two players post hat tricks in the same game.
Lupul posted the game's first two goals but the Pens knotted the score on power play markers from Ryan Whitney and Petr Sykora late in the frame to make it a 2-2 contest heading into the second period.
Umberger connected twice within 2:00, then Mike Knuble connected for a man-advantage tally with 10 seconds left in the stanza to stake Philadelphia to a 5-2 lead at the second intermission.
The Flyers ran Pittsburgh out of the building in the third thanks to undisciplined play by the Penguins, as the home team scored three more power play goals in the final session. Lupul completed his hat trick, defenseman Braydon Coburn made it 7-2 before Umberger struck to give him a three goal, five point effort.
Lupul finished with three goals and six points in his biggest single-game offensive output during his time in Philly. Mike Richards added three assists for the Flyers.
Philadelphia outshot Pittsburgh by a 15-2 clip in the third, 29-10 over the last two periods, and 40-22 for the game.
Martin Biron made 20 saves in the victory.
2008: Scott Hartnell scored three times -- once on the power play, one shorthanded, and the other at even strength -- to post his fourth career hat trick and the Flyers overcame a 5-1 third period deficit to complete the biggest home regular season comeback in team history with 6-5 triumph in a shootout over the Carolina Hurricanes at the Wachovia Center.
Trailing 5-1 in the third and with Carolina on a power play, Hartnell scored a shorthanded tally for his second of the contest. He brought the Flyers to within 5-3 five and a half minutes later when he knocked in a Joffrey Lupul rebound.
Philadelphia outshot the Hurricanes by a 15-6 count in the third.
Following a scoreless extra period, Gagne and Mike Richards both beat Carolina (and future-Flyers) netminder Michael Leighton in the shootout, while Antero Niittymaki thwarted Tuomo Ruutu and Rod Brind'Amour to take the extra point from the stunned 'Canes.
2010: Mike Richards beat Tim Thomas with just three seconds remaining in overtime to lift the Flyers past the Boston Bruins, 2-1, at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Philadelphia captain stole a Marc Savard pass and skated in on a three-on-one break, where Richards snapped a wrist shot from the right circle past Thomas to win the game.
The late-overtime scenario was the second in a week for the Flyers captain. Richards scored late in the extra session to apparently beat the San Jose Sharks just three days earlier, but video replay showed the puck did not cross the goal line prior to time running out and that game instead went to a shootout (which Philadelphia lost).
As For The Present:
With the lockout now well into its third month and Monday's announcement that games are now canceled through the end of the calendar year, the official count of games the team has lost all-time due to lockout is now at 153 -- 36 in the shortened 1994/05, the entirety of the 82-game schedule in 2004/05, and 35 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
November 3 Anaheim Ducks @ FLYERS
November 4 FLYERS @ NY Rangers
November 6 Buffalo Sabres @ FLYERS
November 8 FLYERS @ Carolina Hurricanes
November 10 Carolina Hurricanes @ FLYERS
November 13 Minnesota Wild @ FLYERS
November 16 FLYERS @ Buffalo Sabres
November 17 Buffalo Sabres @ FLYERS
November 21 Ottawa Senators @ FLYERS
November 23 Winnipeg Jets @ FLYERS
November 24 FLYERS @ NY Rangers
November 28 FLYERS @ Toronto Maple Leafs
November 29 FLYERS @ NY Islanders
December 1 FLYERS @ Florida Panthers
December 4 FLYERS @ Tampa Bay Lightning
December 6 San Jose Sharks @ FLYERS
December 8 FLYERS @ New York Islanders
December 9 New York Islanders @ FLYERS
December 11 New Jersey Devils @ FLYERS
December 13 FLYERS @ Washington Capitals
December 15 Carolina Hurricanes @ FLYERS
December 19 New Jersey Devils @ FLYERS
December 21 FLYERS @ New Jersey Devils
December 23 FLYERS @ Ottawa Senators
December 27 FLYERS @ Nashville Predators
December 29 FLYERS @ St. Louis Blues
With the league and NHLPA not communicating and no meetings scheduled at the present time, approximately 43% of the season has been wiped out in the latest labor dispute.
At this juncture, there is really only two ways the gridlock can end, either with a shortened, condensed calendar like the 1994/95 lockout -- where an agreement was finally reached in the second week of January and games began on January 20th in the 48-game schedule -- or watching the entire campaign go up in flames as it did in 2004/05.
While there is still hope that sanity will somehow prevail and there can still be something to salvage of a 2012/13 NHL season, it is unfortunately looking like the sides may just be content to self-destruct.