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 10-4-4-2 mark -- which includes a 6-2-2-2 record at home -- on December 17th over the course of franchise history.
Philadelphia has scored 71 goals, while giving up 61 to their opponents in the 20 contests played on this day.
Some of the more memorable moments and brief recaps in Flyers history that took place in December 17th games:
1967: Leon Rochefort snapped a 1-1 tie late in the second period and Bernie Parent stopped 36 of 37 shots to lead the Flyers to a 2-1 triumph over the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Spectrum.
The Pens outshot Philadelphia by an 18-6 margin in the opening period, but the frame ended up deadlocked at 1-1 due in large part to Brit Selby's goal 1:14 after the opening faceoff and Parent's spectacular goaltending.
The win was Parent's second straight and ninth in a Flyers uniform, while Pittsburgh's Les Binkley made 20 saves in a losing cause for Pittsburgh.
1968: Dick Sarrazin scored a pair of goals and assisted on two others, Brit Selby and Andre Lacriox each scored twice, and Bernie Parent turned aside 34 of 36 shots as the Flyers breezed to an 8-2 blowout over the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Spectrum.
Forbes Kennedy and Leon Rochefort also lit the lamp for Philadelphia. Jim Johnson assisted on three goals, and Larry Hale, Jean-Guy Gendron, and Allan Stanley each added two helpers apiece.
For the second consecutive year Parent outplayed Pittsburgh's Les Binkley, who stopped 28 of 36 Flyer offerings in the loss. Parent yielded just two goals -- both scored by Keith McCreary, with the first coming in the last five seconds of the opening stanza, and the other in the last forty seconds of regulation.
1975: Bob Kelly's goal with 8:39 remaining in the third period snapped a 2-2 tie and lifted the Flyers to a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks at Chicago Stadium.
Philadelphia twice took one-goal leads in the first two stanzas, only to have the home team tie it up later in the frame.
Rick MacLeish's power play marker staked Philly to a 1-0 lead early in the opening period, but Dennis Hull knotted the score with a shorthanded tally late in the session.
The Flyers gained a 2-1 advantage with a Ross Lonsberry marker in the middle frame, but Pit Martin evened things up 1:29 later to make it a 2-2 game at the second intermission.
Following Kelly's go-ahead marker, Reggie Leach gave Philly a measure of insurance with his 20th of the campaign to seal the deal for the Flyers.
Wayne Stephenson stopped 27 of 29 'Hawks shots to pick up the victory, while Tony Esposito made 28 saves in defeat.
1977: Bob Kelly scored twice and Bernie Parent made 21 saves as the Flyers topped the Atlanta Flames, 4-3, at the Omni.
Trailing 2-1 heading into the third period, Philadelphia got goals from Bill Barber, Orest Kindrachuk, and Kelly's second of the contest to turn the deficit into a 4-2 lead.
Rick MacLeish and Bob Dailey each added a pair of assists apiece in the win.
Atlanta goalie Daniel Bouchard turned in a 26-save performance in the loss.
1978: Reggie Leach scored two goals and Pete Peeters turned aside 16 of 17 shots in his NHL debut to carry the Flyers to a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues at the Spectrum.
Leach opened the scoring with 6:35 remaining in the second period then made it a 2-0 game midway through the third stanza, and Blake Dunlop scored just eight seconds later to give Philadelphia a commanding three-goal lead.
Bill Barber made it 4-0 with a shorthanded strike late in the frame, before Bernie Federko snapped Peeters' shutout bid with only 51 seconds left.
Future-Flyer Phil Myre made 32 saves in defeat for the Blues.
1981: Behn Wilson's penalty shot goal late in the second period broke a 1-1 deadlock and proved to be the game-winning goal as the Flyers skated to a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres at the Spectrum.
Trailing 1-0 on a first period Ric Seiling goal, Philadelphia tied the game late in the middle session off the stick of Ray Allison.
Wilson -- who missed the previous 11 contests with a slight groin pull and a bout with the flu -- returned and played wing instead of his usual spot on the blue line. He beat Don Edwards on a penalty shot just 1:28 after Allison's goal to give the Flyers their first lead.
Pete Peeters turned away 21 of 22 shots he faced to pick up his sixth victory in his last seven decisions.
1983: Ilkka Sinisalo beat Ed Mio with 6:07 left in regulation to lift the Flyers into a 3-3 tie with the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
Rich Sutter opened the scoring in the first stanza, but Detroit stormed back with three straight power play tallies in the middle frame -- two by Ron Duguay and one from Brad Park -- before Thomas Eriksson's man advantage marker to bring Philly to within one goal late in the session.
Philadelphia's Bob Froese stopped 32 of 35 shots in the draw.
1987: Brian Propp's goal late in the second period proved to be the game-winner and Ron Hextall made 23 saves as the Flyers dropped the New York Islanders, 4-3, at the Spectrum.
Trailing 2-1 midway through the second period, Peter Zezel tied the contest with a power play goal, and Philadelphia took the lead just over two minutes later when Rick Tocchet scored to give the Flyers the lead. Propp's goal made it 4-2 before Mikko Makela's second of the game closed out the scoring.
Kelly Hrudey stopped 27 of 31 shots in a losing effort.
1988: Rick Tocchet's fifth career hat trick propelled the Flyers to a 7-1 drubbing of the Toronto Maple Leafs at Maple Leaf Gardens. Tocchet beat Leafs starter Allan Bester twice in the first period, then completed the hat trick in the third period with Jeff Reese between the pipes for Toronto.
Doug Sulliman, Scott Mellanby, Tim Kerr, and Dave Poulin also scored for Philadelphia, and Brian Propp, Mike Bullard, Gord Murphy, and Derrick Smith each added a pair of assists apiece.
Ron Hextall picked up the victory, stopping 18 of 19 shots for his fourth straight win and sixth consecutive decision without a defeat (5-0-1).
1995: Chris Therien scored a pair of first period goals and Rod Brind'Amour's goal with 2:12 remaining in regulation snapped a 5-5 tie and lifted the Flyers to a 6-5 triumph over the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Spectrum.
In addition to Therien's two tallies, Eric Lindros and Joel Otto also lit the lamp to give Philadelphia a 4-2 lead late in the middle stanza. But Bryan Smolinski brought the Pens to within a goal in the period's last minute, markers from Ron Francis and Petr Nedved gave the visitors a 5-4 lead at the midway point of the third.
Eric Desjardins knotted the contest at 5-5 with 7:10 left with a power play goal before Brind'Amour's game-winner.
Brind'Amour, Desjardins, and Petr Svoboda each added a pair of helpers to the victorious cause.
Philly's Garth Snow turned aside 33 of 38 Penguin shots, while former-Flyer Ken Wregget made 43 saves in the loss.
2002: Keith Primeau and Mark Recchi scored third period power play goals 59 seconds apart and Roman Cechmanek stopped 40 of 42 shots to pull the Flyers into a 2-2 deadlock with the Dallas Stars at the First Union Center. The tie gave Philadelphia a 3-1-6 record in their last 10 contests, and the man advantage goals were the first in the last six games (0-20 in the previous five)..
It appeared as if Marty Turco would make first period goals from Mike Modano and Jason Arnott hold up until the Primeau and Recchi strikes. Turco finished with 34 saves, including five in an overtime period dominated by the Orange-and-Black.
Both Recchi and Primeau assisted on the others tallies in the draw, and Marty Murray added helpers on both goals.
2005: R.J. Umberger and Mike Knuble each scored a pair of goals and Antero Niittymaki turned away 29 of 31 shots as the Flyers defeated the St. Louis Blues, 5-2, at Scottrade Center.
Branko Radivojevic also scored for Philadelphia, while Peter Forsberg, Sami Kapanen, Ben Eager, and Jon Sim all added a pair of assists apiece.
December 17th Flyers Birthdays:
On this day in 1958, centerman Dave Poulin was born in Timmins, Ontario. Following four years at Notre Dame, Poulin was signed by the Flyers as a free agent in March of 1983. He spent time with Philadelphia's AHL affiliate, the Maine Mariners, then was called up to the big club at the end of the 1982/83 campaign. Poulin scored a pair of goals in his first game in a 6-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 2nd. As a 24-year-old rookie in 1983/84, he scored 31 goals and broke Brian Propp's team rookie mark for points with 76. Following the retirement of Bob Clarke and trade of Darryl Sittler -- who was set to become the new Flyers captain -- just prior to the 1984/85 season, Poulin was named the seventh team captain in franchise history in a capacity with which he would serve for six years. In parts of eight seasons Poulin notched 161 goals (including 27 shorthanded markers), 394 points, in 467 regular season contests, and captained the club to two Stanley Cup Finals (1985 and 1987) in which they lost both to the Edmonton Oilers.
Craig "Chief" Berube was born in Calahoo, Alberta on this day in 1965. In two stints with the Orange-and-Black, the rugged 6' 1", 205-pound enforcer scored 20 goals, posted 54 points, and racked up 1,138 penalty minutes in 323 regular season games. Now 47, Berube is a member of Philadelphia's coaching staff, serving as one of Peter Laviolette's assistants.
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.