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 put together a 6-4-3-2 overall record in December 2nd games -- which includes four consecutive overtime games, a current two-game win streak, and a 3-1-2-2 mark at home -- over the course of franchise history.
Philadelphia has scored 51 goals while allowing 45 to their opponents in the 15 December 2nd contests.
Some of the more memorable moments and brief recaps in Flyers history that took place in December 2nd games:
1971: Bobby Clarke scored midway through the second period and Doug Favell made 26 saves as the Flyers and Detroit Red Wings skated to a 1-1 tie at the Spectrum.
Nick Libett staked the visitors to a 1-0 lead early in the middle frame, but Clarke scored the equalizer just over five minutes later.
Joe Daley stopped 25 of 26 Philadelphia shots in the draw.
1973: Bill Flett and Ross Lonsberry each scored a goal and assisted on another and Bernie Parent stopped 28 of 29 shots as the Flyers brawled their way to a 5-1 triumph over the California Golden Seals at the Spectrum.
Trailing 1-0 after the first period, Philadelphia got goals from Rick MacLeish and Dave Schultz in the first 2:53 of the second to grab a quick 2-1 lead.
Things got ugly several minutes later when California's Barry Cummins clubbed Bobby Clarke over the head with his stick, opening up a gash on the Flyers captain's forehead that would take 20 stitches with which to close. Philadelphia skaters descended upon Cummins and pummeled and bloodied the rookie defender until his own teammates had to drag him off the ice.
Order was restored after a 20 minute delay but an even larger scale, bench-clearing brawl came with 4:04 left in the stanza. MacLeish and Morris Mott engaged in a fight before both teams poured onto the ice and joined the melee, which took more than 25 minutes for officials to get everyone seperated.
There were six players in all that received game misconducts in the wild second period -- Cummins and former-Flyer Hilliard Graves from the Seals, and Bob Kelly, Dave Schultz, Don Saleski, and Ed Van Impe from Philadelphia.
With tempers calmed there were no more penalties the rest of the way, and third period goals from Lonsberry, Flett, and Simon Nolet closed out the scoring.
1979: Al Hill scored a pair of goals as the Flyers pushed their unbeaten streak to 21 games (16-0-5) with a 4-4 tie with the Detroit Red Wings at the Spectrum.
Paul Holmgren's power play goal with 7:22 remaining in regulation time gave Philadelphia a seemingly insurmountable 4-2 lead, but Detroit fought back with goals from Willie Huber (42 seconds after Holmgren's tally) and Dan Labraaten with 3:07 left.
The deadlock was the second in a row for the Flyers and third in five contests as 'The Streak' moved forward towards the incomprehensible 28 straight games without a loss set by the Montreal Canadiens during the 1977/78 campaign.
Pete Peeters made 23 saves but yielded three goals in a third period in which the Red Wings outshot Philadelphia, 13-5.
Dennis Ververgaert also scored for Philly.
1986: Brian Propp scored four times and Mark Howe netted a pair and an assist to lead the Flyers to a 7-1 drubbing of the St. Louis Blues at the Spectrum.
Propp struck twice in the first period -- one of which was shorthanded -- and twice more in the third, while Howe connected once in the second period and closed out the scoring with a shorthander of his own late in regulation.
Pelle Eklund assisted on three Philadelphia goals.
The goals made it six straight games with at least a point for Propp, who racked up a total of eight goals and 15 points over that span.
Glenn "Chico" Resch made 26 saves for the Flyers, allowing only a first period power play goal to St. Louis defenseman Ric Nattress. Meanwhile at the other end, Greg Millen yielded all seven Philly goals and was yanked in favor of Rick Wamsley following Howe's shorthanded marker with 6:08 left in the third.
1993: Vyacheslav Butsayev posted his first and only NHL hat trick, Mark Recchi added two goals, and Dominic Roussel stopped 34 of 37 shots as the Flyers doubled up the Vancouver Canucks by a 6-3 score at Pacific Coliseum. Kevin Dineen also lit the lamp for Philadelphia.
Butsayev struck two times in the second period then completed the hat trick early in the third period to make it a 6-2 contest. Unfortunately for the Russian forward, he would exit the game shortly thereafter when he was assessed a cross-checking major and a game misconduct.
1999: Eric Lindros and John LeClair posted a goal and assist apiece and John Vanbiesbrouck stopped 18 of 20 shots to lead the Flyers over the Buffalo Sabres, 4-2, at the Marine Midland Arena.
Simon Gagne and Jody Hull also put the puck past future-Flyer Martin Biron, who made 28 saves in the loss.
2008: Mike Richards scored his second goal of the game with the man advantage 2:05 into overtime to lift the Flyers to a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Wachovia Center.
All four of the Philadelphia markers came via special teams units, with Richards' other tally being shorthanded 36 seconds into the second period, and Jeff Carter's pair coming on the power play.
Every one of the Tampa goals came off the sticks of former Flyers, as Mark Recchi, Vinny Prospal, and Steve Downie (with 4:35 remaining in regulation to force the extra session) beat Martin Biron, who made 21 saves to post the victory. Mike Smith stopped 22 Flyers shots, but was beaten on the lone offering of the overtime period.
2011: Claude Giroux's power play marker with 1:31 left in overtime capped a furious comeback from a 3-0 deficit to lift the Flyers to a 4-3 triumph over the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center to spoil Bruce Boudreau's debut as Anaheim's head coach.
Philadelphia skated with a four-on-three advantage with Ryan Getzlaf in the penalty box, Scott Hartnell sent the puck from the side of the Ducks' cage to Danny Briere straightaway in the high slot. Briere looked to be loading up for a big slapshot but instead sent a perfect, flat pass to Giroux at the left faceoff circle. Setting up on the off wing, Giroux was able to one-time a blast high to the short side over Jonas Hiller's glove hand for the winner.
Trailing 3-0 late in the second period, Jaromir Jagr began the climb back with a power play goal to get Philadelphia on the board before the second intermission. The future Hall-of-Famer then notched his second of the night in the first five minutes of the third frame to bring the visitors to within a goal, before Hartnell knotted the score at 3-3 with 3:02 remaining in regulation.
Former-Anaheim netminder Ilya Bryzgalov recovered from a shaky start to finish the contest with 19 saves on 22 shots to record the victory.
December 2nd Flyers Birthdays:
Paul Holmgren -- the current Philadelphia general manager was born on this day in 1955 in St. Paul, Minnesota. A Flyers sixth-round draft pick in 1975 (108th overall), the rugged winger posted 138 goals, 309 points, and 1,600 penalty minutes -- second-most in franchise history to Rick Tocchet's 1,817 -- in 500 regular season games in Philly. Holmgren's best year was 1979/80 when he hit the 30-goal plateau and recorded 65 points. The 6' 3", 210-pounder also had a tremendous postseason as he notched 10 goals and 20 points -- including a hat trick against the New York Islanders in the Stanley Cup Finals -- in 18 contests as the team came up just short of a championship. 'Homer' was traded to the Minnesota North Stars during the 1983/84 campaign. Following his retirement as an active player, Holmgren coached the Flyers from 1988 until his firing 24 games into the 1991/92 campaign (8-14-2 record). In 266 contests, Holmgren posted a 107-126-31 record, managing to hit the .500 mark just once and getting Philadelphia to qualify for the playoffs just once -- both in his first year behind the bench. Holmgren took over general manager duties following Bob Clarke's resignation early in 2006/07.
Ron and Rich Sutter -- the twins were born in Viking, Alberta on this day in 1963. Both gritty forwards from the infamous Sutter clan were drafted in 1982 -- Ron fourth-overall by the Flyers, and Rich 10th by the Penguins -- with Rich coming to Philadelphia in an October, 1983 trade with Pittsburgh. Ron notched 137 goals, 360 points, and 854 PIMs in 555 contests with the Flyers, appeared in two Cup Finals for Philly (1985 and 1987) and captained the team for two years (1989 and 1990). Rich scored 36 goals, posted 83 points, and 381 PIMs in 204 games with the Flyers. He appeared in three games in the 1985 Final, scoring one goal in Game 4 and accounting for two of the three in Edmonton's Cup-clinching 8-3 triumph in Game 5.
As For The Present:
With the lockout now well into its third month and games canceled through December 14th, the official count of games the team has lost all-time due to lockout is now at 147 -- 36 in the shortened 1994/05, the entirety of the 82-game schedule in 2004/05, and 29 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
Many Flyers are currently playing as the lockout drags on -- now nearing the 80-day mark -- scattered throughout different leagues in Europe. Some of the bigger names NHLers have already bolted for alternate leagues in which to play hockey, with Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos being the latest rumored to be considering the jump.
U.S. federal mediators stepped in to take a shot at helping the sides come to some sort of common ground as they joined negotiations Wednesday and Thursday, but talks went nowhere and the sides have scrapped mediation involvement altogether in any future talks.
The latest development has the players pondering an offer made by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to meet with owners without any hierarchy from either side -- just the owners and players outside the presence of their leadership groups. A decision was expected Saturday but none was forthcoming as of yet, at least publicly.
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 more-and-more like the sides may just be content to self-destruct.