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 9-4-3-0 overall record -- which includes a 7-1-3-0 mark at home (with the loss coming in their last home game on this day in 2010) -- on December 20th over the course of franchise history.
Philadelphia has scored 53 goals and allowed 40 to their opponents in 16 December 20th outings.
Some of the more memorable moments and brief recaps in Flyers history that took place on December 20th:
1973: Bobby Clarke, Bill Clement, and Ross Lonsberry each scored a pair of goals and Bernie Parent stopped 23 of 26 shots to lead the Flyers to a 9-3 demolition of the Vancouver Canucks at the Spectrum.
11 different Philadelphia skaters posted multiple points, led by Clement's three (two goals, assist).
Bob Kelly -- who was assessed a fighting major during a second period melee -- scored a goal early in the third and assisted on Clement's second of the contest to complete the Gordie Howe hat trick.
Future-Flyer defenseman Bob Dailey scored two of the three Vancouver goals.
Parent won his second straight game and 18th of the season, while Jacques Caron was shelled for all nine Flyer goals on 39 shots.
1979: Behn Wilson deflected a Dennis Ververgaert shot past netminder Greg Millen for the game-tying power play goal with 4:08 remaining in regulation to keep the Flyers unbeaten streak alive at 28 -- tying the NHL record for longest undefeated stretch -- in a 1-1 draw with the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Spectrum.
Trailing 1-0 on a first period Ron Stackhouse man advantage tally, Millen thoroughly frustrated Philadelphia as they attempted to knot the score. The Orange-and-Black dominated the final period to the tune of a 16-6 shots advantage, but the second-year goalie kept them off the board into the latter stages of regulation time.
With time waning and the shot to rewrite the history books slowly fading away, Pittsburgh defender Bob Stewart was whistled for a hooking minor at 15:21. The Flyers got the chance they were waiting for with the first power play opportunity of the third stanza, and took full advantage with Wilson's game-tying goal.
Pete Peeters turned away 22 of 23 Penguins shots and ran his record to 12-0-3 for his rookie season.
Wilson's goal enabled Philly to tie the 1977/78 Montreal Canadiens record of 28 consecutive contests without a loss, giving the club a 19-0-9 mark during the span.
The Flyers would now head to Boston to play a Bruins club in which they had a collective 14-37-9 record against (regular season and playoffs) -- including a horrific 0-23-4 mark from 1969 into 1974 and 4-20-6 at Boston Garden -- in the pursuit of history.
1980: Reggie Leach scored twice as the Flyers erased a 2-0 second period deficit to defeat the Washington Capitals, 5-2, at the Cap Center in Landover, Maryland.
Trailing 2-0 at the first intermission on goals from future-Philadelphia property Tim Tookey (first NHL goal) and former-Flyer Bob Kelly, Philly turned it on in a second period in which they outshot Washington, 20-7, and scored three unanswered goals.
Bob Dailey beat Mike Palmateer to get the Flyers on the board early in the middle frame, and the visitors took the lead on goals from Leach and Tim Kerr within a 28 second span late in the stanza.
Tom Gorence and Leach (shorthanded) provided third period insurance markers as Philadelphia continued to carry play, outshooting the Capitals by a 32-10 margin over the final two sessions.
Pete Peeters stopped 21 of 23 shots to improve to 12-2-2 on the year.
1981: Ron Flockhart snapped a 1-1 tie with 2:15 left in regulation and Pete Peeters turned aside 24 of 25 shots as the Flyers skated to a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Spectrum. It was Philadelphia's third consecutive win and eighth in their last nine contests.
Reggie Leach scored in the first period, and Bill Barber added an empty-netter and an assist in the win.
Future-Flyer Mike Bullard posted the lone Pittsburgh marker, and Michel Dion made 34 saves in the loss.
1984: Rick Tocchet and Ilkka Sinisalo each notched a pair of goals as the Flyers blasted the New Jersey Devils, 8-4, at the Spectrum.
After future-Flyer Doug Sulliman staked N.J. to an early opening period lead, Philadelphia countered with strikes from Tim Kerr, Sinisalo, and two from Tocchet to take a comfortable 4-1 lead into the first intermission.
Thomas Eriksson, and Murray Craven added a goal and two helpers apiece in the win, Brad McCrimmon scored one goal and assisted on another, and Ron Sutter assisted on both Tocchet markers.
Pelle Lindbergh made 17 saves for the victory, breaking a personal four-game losing skid and seven-game winless stretch (0-5-2).
1986: Tim Kerr remained red hot with his 27th goal of the season and an assist and Ron Hextall stopped 29 of 33 shots to lead the Flyers to a 6-4 triumph over the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Igloo.
Philadelphia got a quick jump midway through the opening period when Brad McCrimmon and Pelle Eklund scored goals 10 seconds apart to make it a 2-0 score, but Flyer-killer Willy Lindstrom cut the Flyers lead to 2-1 before the end of the stanza.
Despite being outshot by an 11-6 margin in the middle frame, Philadelphia potted four of the period's five goals (Mario Lemieux tallied for the Pens). Dave Poulin, Murray Craven, Kerr, and Mark Howe each lit the lamp to give the Flyers a 6-2 lead heading into the third.
Ilkka Sinisalo assisted on Philly's first three markers, giving him four helpers and five points in the two contests since returning from a three-game absence with a sprained knee.
It was the fourth multiple point outing for Kerr (seven goals, nine points), who extended his point-scoring streak to eight straight contests in which he notched nine goals and 14 points during that span.
1997: Rod Brind'Amour scored one power play goal and assisted on another, Eric Lindros scored for a third straight game, and Garth Snow snuffed out all 14 shots he faced as the Flyers blanked the Florida Panthers, 2-0, at the CoreStates Center.
The whitewash was the third and final shutout for Snow during his time in Philadelphia before being dealt to the Vancouver Canucks for Sean Burke in March of 1998.
2001: Keith Primeau stuffed a Chris Therien rebound past Ed Belfour midway through the second period to snap a 1-1 tie and Brian Boucher turned aside 29 of 30 shots to lead the Flyers to a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars at the First Union Center.
Primeau also assisted on Marty Murray's first period goal.
Donald Brashear played in his first game with Philadelphia -- and 500th NHL contest -- after being acquired three days earlier from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Jan Hlavac. The tough winger was whistled for two minors, the second leading to Dallas' only goal of the night on a Martin Rucinsky power play tally.
The win was the fifth in six decisions for Boucher and improved his record to 8-4-1 for the campaign.
2003: Defenseman Jim Vandermeer posted his first two-goal game of his NHL career and Robert Esche stopped 18 of 19 shots as the Flyers skated to a 3-1 triumph over the New York Islanders at the Wachovia Center.
New York's Alexei Yashin gave the visitors a 1-0 lead early in the second period, but Vandermeer tied it late in the middle stanza and staked Philadelphia to its first lead of the contest 6:18 into the third period.
Simon Gagne closed out the scoring with a man advantage marker with 7:26 remaining in regulation
There were two milestones set by Philly skaters in the win -- John LeClair became the 16th player in team history to play in 600 games with the Flyers, and Jeremy Roenick assisted on Vandermeer's game-winning goal in the third period to give him 635 in his career to surpass Neal Broten for fifth place on the all-time list of American-born players. Roenick later added another helper on Gagne's PP goal.
Former-Flyer Garth Snow stopped 16 shots in the loss.
2008: Scott Hartnell scored three times in the third period and added an assist, Jeff Carter notched a pair of goals and four points and Antero Niittymaki turned away 47 of 48 shots as the Flyers -- though badly outshot, 48-28 -- blew the Washington Capitals out of the Wachovia Center, 7-1.
Niittymaki was spectacular as the Caps held a 25-6 shots advantage in the opening period, but trailed Philadelphia 1-0 on a Joffrey Lupul goal.
As a matter of fact Washington dominated play for the first 40 minutes of the contest -- with a healthy 29-13 lead in shots on goal -- but found themselves down, 3-0 after Carter scored twice in the middle frame.
Hartnell -- who had notched a hat trick against the Carolina Hurricanes nine days earlier -- beat Jose Theodore, who came into the game at the start of the third in relief of starter Brent Johnson, three times in a span of 11:40 to record the fourth three-goal outing as a Flyer. The four points gave the redhead seven goals and 10 points in his last six contests.
Simon Gagne also tallied for Philadelphia, and Brooks Laich spoiled Niittymaki's bid for a shutout in the final session for the Capitals only goal of the night.
Like Hartnell and Carter, Lupul also posted four points as he assisted on three markers in addition to his goal.
As For The Present:
With the lockout now at the 96-day mark and counting and games 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 NHLPA reportedly 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 as the waiting game continues, it seems that is exactly what happened.
And just to throw a bit more confusion into the mix, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said on a radio show Wednesday that he believes there will be a season.
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.