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 managed an 8-6-4-1 overall record -- which includes a 6-2-3-1 mark at home -- on December 18th over the course of franchise history.
Philadelphia has scored 58 goals and allowed 46 to their opponents in 19 December 18th outings.
Some of the more memorable moments and brief recaps in Flyers history that took place on December 18th:
1976: Bill Barber scored an opening period goal and assisted on another and Bernie Parent posted his fourth shutout of the season as the Flyers blanked the St. Louis Blues, 2-0, at St. Louis Arena.
Ross Lonsberry notched the second goal, a power play marker just 56 seconds after Barber's.
It was the 13th straight decision for Parent without a loss (10-0-3), and 38th regular season whitewash during his time in Philadelphia for the netminder.
1980: Rick MacLeish scored a goal and assisted on another and Rick St. Croix turned aside all 22 shots he faced to notch his first NHL shutout as the Flyers skated to a 2-0 triumph over the Colorado Rockies at the Spectrum.
Defender Behn Wilson opened the scoring 50 seconds into the second period, and MacLeish doubled the lead just under eight minutes later. Gary Morrison assisted on both goals.
Colorado's Hardy Astrom made 36 saves in the loss.
1982: Darryl Sittler scored one goal and assisted on two others and Bobby Clarke tallied a game-tying power play goal with 5:38 remaining in regulation as the Flyers and New York Islanders finished in a 4-4 deadlock at Nassau Coliseum.
Goals by Ilkka Sinisalo, Brian Propp, and Sittler staked the visitors to a 3-1 lead early in the third period, but N.Y. tallies from Mike Bossy (second of the contest and 26th of the year), John Tonelli, and Brent Sutter gave the Isles a 4-3 lead with 7:32 left in the stanza before Sittler's tying marker.
Mark Taylor assisted on two Flyer goals.
Pelle Lindbergh stopped 21 of 25 shots and Islanders netminder Roland Melanson made 28 saves in the draw.
1983: Tim Kerr's power play marker with 4:48 remaining in the third period snapped a 2-2 tie, but Steve Yzerman beat Pelle Lindbergh with just one tick left on the clock to force a 3-3 deadlock with the Detroit Red Wings at the Spectrum.
Philadelphia opened the scoring midway through the first period on a Brad Marsh goal, but Detroit tied it up with a Ron Duguay marker late in the frame. Ron Sutter gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead midway through the second, but Reed Larson knotted the score late in the middle session.
The final session went the same way with Philly grabbing a lead, only to have the visitors even things up on the scoreboard before the stanza ended.
Lindbergh finished with 20 saves on 23 Red Wing shots, while Eddie Mio made 36 saves to earn the tie.
1986: Tim Kerr and Dave Poulin each notched hat tricks and Ron Hextall turned away 34 of 38 shots to lead the Flyers to a wild 9-4 victory over the New York Islanders at the Spectrum.
Philadelphia got rolling early in the opening period with goals from Poulin and Kerr just 22 seconds apart, and Kerr's second made it a 3-0 lead just 6:04 into the contest.
Ilkka Sinisalo scored before the frame concluded to give the Flyers a 4-2 lead at the first intermission, and early second period strikes by Brad McCrimmon (35-second mark) and Poulin's second of the game made it 6-2 to chase Isles starter Billy Smith, who ended the night with nine saves on 15 shots.
After Patrick Flatley got one back for the visitors, defenseman J.J. Daigneault scored his first goal in a Flyer uniform to make it a 7-3 score at the second intermission.
Kerr beat Kelly Hrudey 1:30 into the third to complete his hat trick, and Poulin followed suit to accomplish the feat 3:30 later.
Poulin also added an assist, and Rick Tocchet posted a pair of helpers in the big win.
Despite being outshot by a wide 30-13 margin over the final two periods, Philly actually outscored N.Y., 5-2, over that stretch as Hextall was brilliant in the Flyers net.
1988: Rick Tocchet scored a pair of goals and Ron Hextall turned aside 24 of 25 shots as the Flyers blasted the Winnipeg Jets, 5-1, at the Spectrum. It was the fifth straight victory and seventh in the last eight outings for the Orange-and-Black.
Philadelphia jumped out to an early lead on first period goals by Derrick Smith and Dave Poulin, and that lead was doubled after tallies from Tocchet and Doug Sulliman midway through the middle stanza.
Sulliman's marker knocked Winnipeg starter Alain Chevrier from the game in favor of Eldon "Pokey" Reddick, who allowed only Tocchet's second of the contest to close out the scoring early in the third period.
1993: Yves Racine's power play goal late in the second period served as the game-tying marker, and Tommy Soderstrom stopped 23 of 25 shots in a 2-2 draw with the Chicago Blackhawks at the Spectrum.
Al Conroy scored his first goal of the season -- a shorthanded tally -- earlier in the middle stanza.
Future-Flyer netminder Jeff Hackett made 34 saves for Chicago -- including four in an overtime dominated by Philly -- to force the deadlock.
1997: Joel Otto notched his first goal of the season 4:04 into the third period to earn a 2-2 tie with the Boston Bruins at the Spectrum.
Eric Lindros opened the scoring early in the first period, but Boston took a 2-1 lead on goals by P.J. Axelson and Dmitri Khristich heading into the final frame.
Ron Hextall finished with 22 saves on 24 shots to extend his unbeaten streak to four straight contests (3-0-1).
Defenseman Ulf Samuelsson notched his first goal as a Flyer to give Philadelphia a lead early in the first period before LeClair's pair and a Marc Bureau shorthanded marker to close out the scoring midway through the final stanza.
It was the fifth multiple-point game in the last six outings for LeClair, who posted six goals and 11 points over that span.
2001: Chris Therien's shorthanded tally -- his first goal of the season -- snapped a 3-3 tie midway through the final period, and Mark Recchi scored the 400th goal of his career to lead the Flyers to a 6-3 triumph over the St. Louis Blues at the First Union Center.
Recchi's strike was his 12th of the season and 176th as a Flyer, as he became the 65th NHLer to reach the 400-goal milestone.
Goaltender Roman Cechmanek stopped 30 of 33 St. Louis offerings directed his way, and Blues goalkeeper Brent Johnson made 23 saves in a losing effort.
2002: Justin Williams scored one goal and assisted on another and Mark Recchi snapped a 1-1 deadlock with 7:13 remaining in the second period to lead the Flyers to a 3-1 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena.
Donald Brashear added an insurance marker early in the third period for Philadelphia, who made it five consecutive games without a loss (4-0-1-0).
Netminder Robert Esche made 23 saves -- including all 15 in a third period dominated by Atlanta (15-2 shot totals) -- to win his third straight decision and improve his record for the year to 6-1-2-0.
It was also the 1,000th NHL game for defenseman Eric Desjardins, who became the 185th NHLer to attain the mark and seventh to accomplish the feat while wearing a Flyers uniform.
Zherdev lit the lamp in his third consecutive contest -- in which he notched four goals and five points -- and for the fourth time in the last five in which he appeared. He opened the scoring at the midpoint of the middle stanza jumping out of the penalty box after serving a minor, taking a Mike Richards pass, and finishing off the play by beating Henrik Lundqvist on a breakaway with a backhand-forehand move that sent the puck over the goaltender's glove and high into the net. Zherdev closed out the scoring with a power play tally with just under five minutes left in the third period.
Boucher won for the fourth straight time and extended his undefeated streak to seven games in a row (6-0-1). The 33-year-old was beaten only once -- a second period shot from the slot by Derek Stepan -- just moments after stoning Stepan on a breakaway.
"King Henrik" was spectacular for the Blue Shirts in a losing cause, stopping 35 of 39 Flyer shots.
Other Notable December 18th Flyers Moments:
1995: Philadelphia is granted an AHL expansion franchise named the Phantoms, replacing the Hershey Bears as the organization's top minor league affiliate. The team is set to commence operations in the 1996/97 campaign in the Spectrum, which will be vacated with the Flyers move across the parking lot to the soon-to-be completed CoreStates Center.
December 18th Flyers Trade:
On this day in 1986, Philadelphia sent disgruntled netminder Bob Froese to the New York Rangers in exchange for hulking 6' 6", 235-pound defenseman Kjell Samuelsson and a draft pick. Froese felt he had the number one job locked up heading into the 1986/87 campaign, but rookie Ron Hextall had a very impressive showing at training camp and got the opening night call against the powerhouse Edmonton Oilers in a 2-1 win. Froese won all three games in which he appeared that season, but it was apparent head coach Mike Keenan felt Hextall's combative nature was a better fit for his club and Froese requested a trade.
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.
With nothing coming from tose talks, the NHLPA took a vote to possibly proceed with a Disclaimer of Interest, which could be forthcoming very soon.
Not to be outdone, the league then filed a class action complaint Friday afternoon which seeks a declaration to confirm the legality of the lockout.
Just when you thought things couldn't get any more contentious or litigious between the sides...
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.
And it will be interesting to see what fan reaction will be once this mess is finally sorted out and the league resumes operations -- because after what they've been put through, the base that pays the bills may just have filed a "Disclaimer of Interest" of their very own.