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 11-3-2-2 overall record -- which includes a sparkling 7-0-0-2 mark at home -- on December 22nd over the course of franchise history.
Philadelphia has scored 63 goals and allowed 44 to their opponents in 18 December 22nd outings.
Some of the more memorable moments and brief recaps in Flyers history that took place on December 22nd:
1973: Bobby Clarke snapped a 2-2 tie with 8:12 remaining in the third period and Bernie Parent stopped 26 of 28 shots to lift the Flyers to a 4-2 triumph over the Chicago Blackhawks at the Spectrum.
The game was tied heading into the final stanza, but Stan Mikita gave the visitors the lead with a power play tally at 1:14. Simon Nolet evened things just under three minutes later, setting the stage for Clarke's game-winner.
Dave Schultz also scored in the opening frame, and Barry Ashbee hit the empty net with two seconds left and Tony Esposito pulled for an extra attacker as Chicgo attempted to force a tie.
Bill Barber added a pair of helpers to the winning cause.
1974: Bernie Parent turned away all 24 shots he faced to post his sixth shutout of the season and he received offensive support from four different skaters as the Flyers blanked the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-0, at the Spectrum.
Rick MacLeish's shorthanded tally midway through the middle stanza was all Parent would require, but late-period strikes from Reggie Leach and Ross Lonsberry and a third period marker from Bob Kelly gave ample breathing room as the legendary netminder posted the 28th regular season shutout in a Flyers' uniform.
Bobby Clarke and Ed Van Impe each added two assists.
1979: Goals by Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber, and Kenny Linseman staked the Flyers to an early 3-0 lead and Phil Myre stopped 18 of 20 shots as 'The Streak' turned to 29 games to set the NHL record for the longest stretch of games without a loss in a 5-2 victory over the Boston Bruins.
Boston Garden had been a veritable house of horrors for Philadelphia through the years -- as their overall 14-37-9 record against the Bruins in both regular season and playoff contests would attest -- including a disastrous 0-23-4 mark from 1969 into 1974, and 4-20-6 all-time at the Garden.
With the Flyers leading 3-0 early in the second period, Boston mounted a counterstrike as goals from Tom Songin and Mike Milbury in a 1:07 span brought the home team back to within a goal. But defenseman Jimmy Watson beat Gilles Gilbert just 30 seconds later to restore a two-goal cushion, and Bob Kelly closed out the scoring in the final session as the Flyers made history.
The victory broke a personal stretch of four straight ties for Myre, who improved his record to 9-0-5 during the undefeated run.
Philadelphia's 29-game unbeaten streak -- which began innocently enough following a 9-2 drubbing at the hands of the Flames in Atlanta in the second contest of the season -- consisted of 20 wins and nine ties, shattering the previous mark set two years earlier by the Montreal Canadiens.
The win gave the Flyers an amazing 21-1-9 record at the 31-game mark and a large lead for first place overall among NHL clubs.
1982: Ron Flockhart's second goal of the game snapped a 1-1 tie early in the second period and Pelle Lindbergh turned away 27 of 28 shots to lead the Flyers to a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils at Brendan Byrne Arena.
Mark Howe gave Lindbergh some breathing room with a shorthanded marker midway through the middle stanza.
1983: Ray Allison posted a pair of goals and an assist and Pelle Lindbergh stopped all 29 shots he faced as the Flyers skated to a 5-0 whitewash of the New Jersey Devils at the Spectrum. The shutout was Lindbergh's first of the year and fourth of his young career.
Doug Crossman opened the scoring with a late first period power play tally, then a pair from Allison and one from Paul Holmgren in the second chased Devils starter Glenn Resch. Ron Low relieved "Chico" and yielded only Tim Kerr's 24th of the season out of the 16 shots he faced in the final frame.
1985: Murray Craven scored at 2:12 of overtime to lift the Flyers to a 3-2 triumph over the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Spectrum.
The clubs traded second period goals -- with Mario Lemieux giving Pittsburgh the lead and tough guy Dave Brown knotting it at 1-1 just 54 seconds later -- in a middle frame that saw the visitors outshoot Philly by a 13-4 margin.
Ilkka Sinisalo's 18th of the season put Philadelphia ahead 2-1 early in the third, but Terry Ruskowski evened things up with 7:50 remaining in regulation.
Bob Froese turned aside 25 of 27 shots to pick up the win.
1987: Rick Tocchet notched a pair of goals and three points and Ron Hextall made 30 saves to lead the Flyers to a 6-4 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Trailing 2-0 on two John Ogrodnick goals early in the opening period, Philadelphia got markers from Tocchet, Derrick Smith, and Pelle Eklund in a 4:10 stretch to take a 3-2 lead into the locker room at the first intermission.
The teams each scored twice in the middle stanza -- with Murray Craven and Mark Howe providing the offense for the Flyers, and Walt Poddubny and Tomas Sandstrom for the Blue Shirts -- to make it a 5-4 Philly lead heading into the final frame.
Hextall had to be very good in the third as N.Y. outshot the visitors, 14-4, and Tocchet sealed the win with his second of the contest with 7:55 left.
In addition to his second period goal, Howe also added a pair of helpers to the winning effort.
1988: Ron Sutter scored twice and Ron Hextall stopped 26 of 28 shots as the Flyers skated out of Nassau Coliseum with a 4-2 triumph over the New York Islanders. The victory made it nine consecutive contests without a loss for the Orange-and-Black (8-0-1).
Brian Propp and Jeff Chychrun also scored, with Chychrun's first NHL goal coming in the second period and ending up as the game-winner. Tim Kerr and Jay Wells each added two assists apiece.
The win was the sixth in a row for Hextall, and gave him a personal eight-game unbeaten streak (7-0-1).
1991: Brad Jones scored 1:10 into overtime to give the Flyers a 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals at the Spectrum.
Defensemen Kjell Samuelsson and Steve Duchesne scored goals 1:12 apart in the opening period as the teams went into the third period tied at 2-2. Rod Brind'Amour gave Philadelphia a 3-2 lead midway through the stanza, but Kelly Miller knotted the game with 44 seconds remaining in regulation.
Ken Wregget made 25 saves to garner the victory, while Don Beaupre stopped 24 of 28 Flyer offerings in defeat.
1996: Eric Lindros scored twice within a 48 second span in the second period to erase a 2-0 deficit and Garth Snow turned away 25 of 27 shots to help the Flyers salvage a 2-2 deadlock with the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center.
Chicago took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission on goals from Sergei Krivokrasov and Tony Amonte, but things turned around in the second. Lindros got Philadelphia on the board via the power play just seven seconds after a James Black slashing minor, and tied the score with an even strength marker less than a minute later.
Krivokrasov's goal came at 2:38 of the opening frame and snapped a club record streak of scoreless play at 265:08, in which the Flyers had recorded four consecutive shutouts.
Eddie Belfour made 30 saves -- including the only two in the extra session -- to earn the draw.
2001: Mark Recchi set up Jeremy Roenick for a third period game-tying goal, then beat Arturs Irbe for his second of the contest just 27 seconds into overtime to give the Flyers a 4-3 triumph over the Carolina Hurricanes at the First Union Center.
Both teams scored once in each period, with Recchi, Simon Gagne, and Roenick doing the honors for Philadelphia. Sami Kapanen posted a goal and an assist for Carolina.
Donald Brashear -- playing in his second game since being acquired in a trade from the Vancouver Canucks for Jan Hlavac -- notched his first point as a Flyer with an assist on Recchi's first period marker.
Brian Boucher stopped 20 of 23 shots to post the win.
2005: Simon Gagne -- who played for the first time after missing five games with a groin strain -- scored once and assisted on another goal and Antero Niittymaki made 25 saves as the Flyers built a 4-0 second period lead, and held on for a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators at the Wachovia Center. It was head coach Ken Hitchcock's 700th game behind an NHL bench.
Mike Knuble, Sami Kapanen, R.J. Umberger, and Gagne beat Dominik Hasek to make it 4-0 midway through regulation, but tallies from Zdeno Chara, Antoine Vermette, and Mike Fisher brought the visitors back to within the slightest of margins.
Peter Forsberg posted a pair of assists in the win.
2007: Mike Richards fought Nathan Paetsch in the first period, scored two goals in the second, and added an assist on a Kimmo Timonen third period marker to register a Gordie Howe hat trick, but the Flyers dropped the decision when Thomas Vanek beat Martin Biron for the game-winning goal with just eight seconds remaining in regulation to give the Buffalo Sabres a 6-5 victory at the Wachovia Center.
As For The Present:
With the lockout now at the 98-day mark and counting and with the league's announcement Thursday that games are now canceled through January 14th, the official count of games the team has lost all-time due to lockout is now at 158 -- 36 in the shortened 1994/05, the entirety of the 82-game schedule in 2004/05, and 41 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
December 31 FLYERS @ Phoenix Coyotes
January 3 FLYERS @ Los Angeles Kings
January 5 FLYERS @ San Jose Sharks
January 6 FLYERS @ Vancouver Canucks
January 10 Montreal Canadiens @ FLYERS
January 12 New York Rangers @ FLYERS
The NHLPA may proceed with a Disclaimer of Interest action, which could be forthcoming soon.
Not to be outdone, the league has a class action complaint pending 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, 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 -- a day before the cancelation of more games.
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.