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 a 14-5-1-1 overall record -- which includes five (1967-1976) and six-game (1989-2000) win streaks, and a torrid 9-2-0-1 mark at home -- on December 16th over the course of franchise history.
Philadelphia has scored 74 goals and allowed just 48 to their opponents in 21 December 16th outings. The Flyers shutout their opponents in three of the first four contests on this day and yielded just two goals in their first five December 16th outings.
Some of the more memorable moments and brief recaps in Flyers history that took place on December 16th:
1967: Lou Angotti beat Glenn Hall with less than a minute left in the second period and Bernie Parent turned away all 25 shots he faced to record his first shutout with the Flyers in a 1-0 decision over the St. Louis Blues at St. Louis Arena.
The whitewash was his second in the NHL, with the first coming in his initial season in 1965/66 with the Boston Bruins.
1971: Serge Bernier scored twice and added an assist and Doug Favell stopped all 35 shots he faced to post a shutout as the Flyers defeated the Buffalo Sabres, 5-0, at the Spectrum.
Dick Sarrazin, Bill Clement, and Gary Dornhoefer also scored for Philadelphia.
1972: Bobby Clarke scored once and assisted on another goal and Michel Belhumeur turned aside 18 of 19 shots as the Flyers downed the New York Islanders, 2-1, at Nassau Coliseum.
Clarke opened the scoring with a power play goal 5:40 into the second period, then set up Bob Kelly for an even-strebgth strike 10 minutes later to give the visitors a 2-0 lead at the second intermission.
Germain Gagnon ruined Belhumeur's shutout bid with 31 seconds left in the game. Billy Smith made 28 saves in the losing effort.
1973: Bill Barber notched a goal and an assist and Bernie Parent made 25 saves for his seventh shutout of the season to lead the Flyers to a 4-0 triumph over the New York Islanders at the Spectrum.
Rick MacLeish, Don Saleski, and Bill Clement also lit the lamp for the Orange-and-Black, and Bobby Clarke and Gary Dornhoefer each added a pair of assists.
1976: Larry Goodenough, Rick MacLeish, Gary Dornhoefer, and Bobby Clarke scored goals and Bernie Parent stopped 19 of 20 shots as the Flyers went on to a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks at the Spectrum.
Parent had a shutout until late in the third period, until Darcy Rota finally solved him with 6:39 remaining in the contest.
Chicago's Tony Esposito made 42 saves in defeat.
1979: Bill Barber scored a shorthanded goal in the first period and Phil Myre made 34 saves as the Flyers and New York Rangers skated to a 1-1 deadlock at Madison Square Garden. The tie made it 27 consecutive games for Philadelphia without a loss (19-0-8), now just one short of the NHL mark of 28 set by the 1977/78 Montreal Canadiens.
1981: Bill Barber's power play goal 6:19 into the third period snapped a 3-3 tie and propelled the Flyers to a 7-3 win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Goals by Mark Botell, Ray Allison, and Glen Cochrane were good enough for a 3-all deadlock after two frames, and Bob Hoffmeyer, Brian Propp, and Ron Flockhart beat Steve Weeks following Barber's go-ahead marker. Hoffmeyer and Allison each added two assists apiece.
Rick St. Croix made 25 saves in the victory.
1982: Bobby Clarke scored a pair of goals and assisted on two others and Pelle Lindbergh turned away 38 of 40 shots as the Flyers blew the Detroit Red Wings out of the Spectrum by a 7-2 score. Brian Propp also scored twice, while Paul Holmgren, Darryl Sittler, and Ray Allison also put the puck past Detroit netminder Greg Stefan.
Mark Howe and Ron Flockhart each added three helpers apiece.
1989: Gord Murphy, Mike Bullard, Rick Tocchet, and Ilkka Sinisalo all scored within a five-minute span in the second period to lead the Flyers to a 5-2 triumph over the Los Angeles Kings at the Spectrum.
Doug Sulliman also scored for Philadelphia, and Pelle Eklund added two assists.
Philly's Ken Wregget stopped 29 of 31 shots to pick up the victory, while L.A. starter Kelly Hrudey was yanked after allowing all five goals midway through regulation to take the loss before giving way to Mario Lessard.
1990: Rick Tocchet scored with 51 seconds remaining in the second period to break a 2-2 deadlock en route to a 4-2 Flyers victory over the Winnipeg Jets at Winnipeg Arena.
Gord Murphy opened the scoring for Philadelphia but goals by Brent Ashton and Craig Duncanson staked the Jets to a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.
Stephane Beauregard made that lead stand up until late in the middle stanza, when Dale Kushner tied it up with 3:26 left and Tocchet's go-ahead marker in the frame's final minute.
Pelle Eklund sealed the outcome when he beat Beauregard with 2:37 remaining in regulation.
Ron Hextall made 19 saves to post the win.
1993: Mark Recchi's late-second period tally snapped a 2-2 tie and Dominic Roussel made 16 saves as the Flyers defeated the Quebec Nordiques, 3-2, at the Spectrum.
Mikael Renberg and Josef Beranek beat future-Flyers netminder Garth Snow in the first period, while Chris Lindberg and Joe Sakic struck for Quebec.
1995: Rod Brind'Amour's second goal of the game early in the third period proved to be the game-winner and Ron Hextall turned aside 23 of 25 shots to lead the Flyers to a 4-2 triumph over the Montreal Canadiens at the Forum.
Shjon Podein posted a shorthanded marker in the second period, and Eric Lindros notched his 20th of the year with 1:43 remaining in regulation to clinch the win.
Pat Falloon assisted on two of the Philadelphia goals.
1999: Late third period goals from John LeClair and Mark Recchi erased a 3-2 deficit as the Flyers came-from-behind to post a 5-3 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes at the First Union Center.
A pair of markers off the stick of Keith Tkachuk and one by Dallas Drake were one better than Philadelphia's two from Dan McGillis and Keith Jones to stake Phoenix to a 3-2 lead at the second intermission.
LeClair began the comeback with 2:48 left in regulation to tie, then Recchi gave the Flyers their first lead of the night 1:43 later with the man advantage to make it 3-2 with 1:05 remaining. Jody Hull hit the empty net with 29 seconds left on the clock.
John Vanbiesbrouck made 14 saves in the victory, while Bob Essensa stopped 33 of 37 Flyers shots in the loss.
2000: Simon Gagne posted a pair of goals and three points and Roman Cechmanek stopped 30 of 33 shots as the Flyers downed the New Jersey Devils, 6-3, at the First Union Center.
Goals by Daymond Langkow, Rick Tocchet, and Ruslan Fedetenko staked the home squad to a 3-1 lead at the first intermission, and Gagne's first of the contest early in the middle frame made it 4-1. But Flyer-killer Patrik Elias scored and Alexander Mogilny connected for his second of the game to pull N.J. within a goal at 4-3 heading into the third period.
With the outcome still hanging in the balance late in regulation time, 6' 8", 250-pound defenseman Chris McAllister scored his first goal as a Flyer and Gagne notched his second of the night 21 seconds later to put the game away.
Tocchet assisted on Langkow's first period marker and notched a goal of his own in the first, then fought Randy McKay in the second period to complete the Gordie Howe hat trick. He added a second helper with an assist on Gagne's second period tally.
Langkow and Luke Richardson each contributed two assists to the winning cause.
Martin Brodeur made 20 saves in a losing effort.
2008: Mike Richards and Simon Gagne each scored one goal and assisted on two others and Antero Niittymaki stopped 29 of 31 shots to lead the Flyers to a 5-2 triumph over the Colorado Avalanche at the Wachovia Center.
All of the opening period markers came via special teams as Paul Stastny's power play goal gave Colorado a 1-0 lead, but a power play strike from Mike Knuble and a shorthanded tally by Jeff Carter -- his 22nd goal of the season -- gave the home team a 2-1 lead after one.
Philadelphia extended their lead in the middle frame on goals from Joffrey Lupul and Richards 1:18 apart to make it 4-2 at the second intermission.
Gagne added a power play marker early in the third to close out the scoring. Kimmo Timonen assisted on two Philly goals.
Richards points stretched his point-scoring streak to eight games, in which he notched seven goals and 15 points.
Other Notable December 16th Moments:
2007: Even though he would score later in the contest, Danny Briere was stoned by Martin Brodeur on a penalty shot midway through the second period with the score tied at 1-1 in an eventual 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils at Continental Airlines Arena.
December 16th Flyers Trades:
On this day in 2006, Philadelphia sent defenseman Freddy Meyer and a conditional draft choice to the New York Islanders for veteran rear guard Alexei Zhitnik. The then 34-year-old would spend just 31 games with the Flyers -- posting three goals, 13 points, and a -16 rating -- during the worst campaign in club history. What he did for the team during that short stretch wasn't nearly as important as what he brought to Philly when he was dealt to the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for young defenseman Braydon Coburn, who has continued to be one of the leaders on the current Flyers blue line.
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.