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 went winless in their first three December 14th games (0-2-1), but have still managed a 11-4-3-0 overall record -- which includes three wins in a row and six victories in the last seven, and a torrid 7-1-2-0 mark at home -- on December 14th over the course of franchise history.
Philadelphia has scored 51 goals and allowed just 33 to their opponents in 18 December 14th outings. Part of the reason for the brilliant defensive numbers were three consecutive shutouts (1995-1997) and four whitewashes in five contests on this date.
Some of the more memorable moments and brief recaps in Flyers history that took place on December 14th:
1967: Brit Selby scored his first two goals in a Flyers uniform -- with the second being the game-tying marker -- and Bernie Parent stopped 30 of 32 shots as Philadelphia tied the St. Louis Blues, 2-2, at the Spectrum.
The visitors twice took leads -- on a last-minute goal in the first by Frank St. Marseille and the second from Gary Sabourin midway through the middle frame -- but both times Selby knotted the score minutes later.
Gary Dornhoefer assisted on both of Selby's tallies.
Selby -- who came to the Flyers via the 1967 expansion draft -- was in his first game back after missing 17 straight contests with a seperated shoulder sustained in the eighth game of Philly's initial campaign against the Minnesota North Stars on November 2nd. The Kingston, Ontario-native had picked up just one assist in those early-season games.
Parent had to be very good with the score deadlocked in the third, as St. Louis controlled the last stanza by an 11-4 shot total. Glenn Hall made 29 saves in the draw, including 15 in a 17-shot second period.
1972: Bill Clement's second goal of the game snapped a 3-3 tie with 3:28 remaining in the third period and goaltender Michel Belhumeur stopped 37 of 40 shots to lead the Flyers to a 5-3 triumph over the St. Louis Blues at the Spectrum.
Philadelphia stormed out to a 3-0 opening period lead on goals from Gary Dornhoefer, Bill Barber, and Bill Clement, but the Blues gained some equilibrium in the middle frame. Mike Murphy scored 13 seconds into the second on a power play carried over from a Dornhoefer hooking minor late in the first period, and Gary Sabourin made it a one-goal game just over eight minutes later.
Jack Egers knotted the game at 3-3 with 7:58 remaining, setting up Clement's late game-winner. Bill Flett hit the empty net with 22 seconds left to clinch the outcome.
Ross Lonsberry assisted on two Philly goals.
Belhumeur was especially good in crunch time when he stopped 14 of 15 shots in the third period to gain his fourth win of the season.
1976: Gary Dornhoefer scored a pair of goals to help stake the Flyers to a 3-1 lead late in the third period, but Tim Young scored twice within the last two minutes -- including the game-tying strike with just 16 seconds remaining -- in a 3-3 deadlock with the Minnesota North Stars at the Met Center.
Bobby Clarke also scored for Philadelphia with a shorthanded marker in the opening stanza, and Rick MacLeish added a pair of helpers. The two goals gave Dornhoefer four goals and seven point in a four-game point-scoring streak.
Flyers netminder Gary Inness stopped 24 of 27 shots, and Minnesota's Pete LoPresti made 17 saves in the draw.
1978: Reggie Leach's goal with 5:00 left in the second period snapped a 1-1 tie and Bernie Parent stopped 24 of 25 shots to lead the Flyers to a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Spectrum.
George Ferguson gave the visitors a 1-0 lead with a shorthanded tally 7:06 into the opening frame, but Mel Bridgman tied the score just over seven minutes later.
Denis Herron made 31 saves in a losing effort.
1980: Rick MacLeish beat Mike Liut with 3:12 remaining in the third period to lift the Flyers to a come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Blues at the Spectrum.
Trailing 3-1 after the opening stanza, Philadelphia outshot the visitors by a 36-12 margin over the final two periods -- which included a lopsided 22-3 middle frame -- and climbed their way back into the contest.
Paul Holmgren's second period tally made it a 3-2 Blues lead at the second intermission, and third period strikes from Bill Barber and Reggie Leach in the first 3:15 of the session actually put the Flyers in front, 4-3.
But Wayne Babych's power play goal knotted the score 4:48 later, setting the stage for MacLeish's late-game heroics.
Defenseman Behn Wilson scored a goal and added two assists in the win.
Goaltender Rick St. Croix made 22 saves to pick up the victory, while Liut stopped 39 of 44 Flyer shots in the loss.
1985: Dave Poulin scored with 2:01 remaining in regulation to snap a 4-4 tie as the Flyers capped a four-goal third period to claim a 6-4 triumph over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
Down 4-2 entering the final frame, Philadelphia got an early goal from Brian Propp and Doug Crossman's second of the game (and first two of the season) to even the score at 6:29. Former Red Wing Murray Craven iced the game with an empty-netter with seven seconds left.
Tim Kerr scored his 28th goal of the year in the first period, while Pelle Eklund, Brad McCrimmon, and Brad Marsh each assisted on a pair of goals apiece.
Head coach Mike Keenan lifted goaltender Bob Froese after John Ogrodnick's goal with five minutes left in the second period and brought in Darren Jensen, who did not allow a goal on the nine shots he faced the rest of the way to garner the victory.
1986: Tim Kerr scored a pair of goals and Ron Hextall stopped 30 of 31 shots to lead the Flyers to a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets at Winnipeg Arena.
Brad McCrimmon and Peter Zezel also lit the lamp for Philadelphia, and Dave Poulin added a pair of helpers.
Hextall won his 18th game of his rookie campaign, and added an assist on Zezel's second period goal for good measure. The netminder, however, lost his shutout when Andrew McBain beat him just 16 seconds after Zezel's tally.
1995: John LeClair and Eric Lindros each figured in on three goals and Ron Hextall stopped all 18 shots he faced to post his first shutout of the season in a 4-0 whitewash of the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Spectrum.
LeClair opened the scoring with a power play goal with 17 seconds remaining in the first period, then set up Lindros midway through the middle stanza to make it 2-0. LeClair scored his second of the game and 20th of the season late in the frame, and Pat Falloon closed out the scoring with a third period marker.
The three points for LeClair gave him six goals and 10 points in his last five outings.
Current Flyer goaltending coach Jeff Reese stopped 27 of 31 Philly shots in the loss.
1996: Rod Brind'Amour scored a pair of goals and Garth Snow made 21 saves to record his first shutout as a Flyer as Philadelphia skated to a 4-0 triumph over the Hartford Whalers at the Hartford Civic Center.
John LeClair and Eric Lindros also scored for the Flyers, and Dale Hawerchuk and Trent Klatt each added a pair of assists apiece.
1997: John LeClair scored twice and Ron Hextall turned aside all 20 shots he faced to post his second shutout of the year and 17th of his career in a 3-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at the CoreStates Center.
Rod Brind'Amour scored the only goal Hextall would need on a shorthanded strike midway through the second period with Chris Gratton in the sin bin. LeClair would post his 25th of the season later in the session, then add his 26th in the final stanza to close out the scoring.
It was the fourth straight game in which LeClair had netted at least a goal, a span that saw him score six times.
Serving as a backup to Roman Cechmanek, Esche's record stood at an impressive 5-1-2 after being acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes over the summer along with Michal Handzus in exchange for Brian Boucher.
2009: Kimmo Timonen scored twice in the third period and Brian Boucher made 26 saves to lead the Flyers to a 3-1 victory over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden in a prelude to the upcoming NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day at Fenway Park.
Timonen's blue line shot changed direction before it got to Bruins starter Tim Thomas and floated over the goalie's glove and high into the net to give the visitors a 2-1 lead with 9:32 left in regulation. Timonen added a shorthanded empty-netter with 41 seconds remaining and also assisted on van Riemsdyk's earlier strike, as the defender figured in on all three goals in the stanza.
2010: Scott Hartnell's power play goal with 9:56 remaining in regulation snapped a 2-2 deadlock and propelled the Flyers to a 3-2 triumph over the red hot Pittsburgh Penguins at the Wells Fargo Center, putting an abrupt halt to the Pens 12-game winning streak. It was Philly's fifth win in six outings, moving them ahead of their cross-state rivals into first place overall in the NHL.
Brian Boucher made 21 saves to pick up the victory, while Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 34 of the 37 Flyer shots he faced in the losing effort.
December 14th Flyers Trade:
On this day in 1972, the Flyers sent defender Brent Hughes and winger Pierre Plante to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for rugged defenseman Andre Dupont. The stocky 6', 200-pounder would become a vital member of the Broad Street Bullies' blue line, adding a highly physical presence and chipping in with the occasional "Moose Shuffle" after scoring a goal. Dupont would play a key defensive role in the two Stanley Cup championship teams in the mid-1970's.
December 14th Flyers Birthday:
Chris Therien was born on the day in 1971. The 6' 5", 235-pound defenseman was selected by Philadelphia in the third round (47th overall) of the 1990 draft, and appeared in 753 contests with the Orange-and-Black. He posted 29 goals, 159 points, a +125 rating, and 583 penalty minutes while skating as the defensive partner of Eric Desjardins for much of his time with the Flyers. Now 41, Therien has been the color analyst for Flyers radio broadcasts on Sports Radio 94 WIP since 2008.
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
The league and NHLPA met this week with the help of U.S. federal mediators Scot L. Beckenbaugh and John Sweeney, with approximately 43% of the season having already been wiped out in the labor dispute. The sides are exploring their options in what appears could be a waiting game for some time.
After the last optimistic turn a couple of weeks ago ended up falling flat in a failed attempt at a resolution, fans expectations are not very good. In a current TSN fan poll titled "After the latest setback, what's your prevailing thoughts on CBA negotiations?", just 18.5% selected "Both sides are very close, a deal is going to get done to save the season", while a whopping 81.4% chose "Both sides have pretty much exhausted all their options and the season will be lost" with 33,684 votes tallied.
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.