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 are a collective 10-4-3-0 -- which includes a sparkling 5-0-1-0 record on the road -- on December 9th over the course of franchise history. Philadelphia has outscored their opponents 69-51 in the 17 contests played on this day.
Some of the more memorable moments and brief recaps in Flyers history that took place in December 9th games:
1970: Serge Bernier scored one goal and assisted on three more and Doug Favell stopped 29 of 31 shots to lead the Flyers to a 5-2 triumph over the Blues at St. Louis Arena.
Bob Kelly beat Ernie Wakely early in the second period to snap a 2-2 tie and give Philadelphia a lead in which they would not relinquish the rest of the way.
Bill Lesuk, Jean-Guy Gendron, and Joe Watson also lit the lamp for the Flyers. Jim Johnson added a pair of helpers.
1973: Phil Esposito scored his second goal of the game with 32 seconds left to give the Boston Bruins a 3-3 tie with the Flyers at the Spectrum.
Goals by Orest Kindrachuk, Simon Nolet, and Rick MacLeish staked Philadelphia to a 3-1 lead late in the third period before Bobby Orr made it a one-goal game with 1:22 remaining on the clock, and Esposito knotted the game in the waning seconds with his 28th goal of the season.
Boston's Gilles Gilbert stopped 27 of 30 Flyers shots, while Bernie Parent made 23 saves in the deadlock.
Don Saleski and Andre Dupont each recorded a pair of assists for Philly.
1976: Gary Dornhoefer scored a goal and assisted on another and Bernie Parent stopped 17 of 18 shots as the Flyers defeated the Boston Bruins, 3-1, at Boston Garden.
After Wayne Cashman gave the Bruins a quick 1-0 lead, Rick MacLeish -- who was coming off a three-goal performance in the previous contest against the Cleveland Barons -- evened things up with his 18th of the year before Dornhoefer put Philadelphia ahead for good.
Boston had one last gasp late in the contest when Mel Bridgman was whistled for interference with 32 seconds still on the clock, but Bobby Clarke clinched the win with a shorthanded empty-netter just 12 seconds later.
Gilles Gilbert made 13 saves in a losing effort for the B's.
1978: Rick MacLeish notched his 10th career regular season hat trick and Bobby Clarke added another two goals as Philadelphia blasted the Boston Bruins by a 9-2 count at the Spectrum.
A pair of goals from MacLeish and one each from Bob Dailey and Clarke gave the home team a 4-0 lead after one -- a period thoroughly dominated by the Orange-and-Black as they outshot Boston, 12-2.
The Bruins got their bearings and cut the deficit in half with goals from Peter McNab and Don Marcotte with 6:13 left in the middle frame. But markers from Clarke and Bill Barber restored the four-goal cushion, with Barber's coming at 19:43 of the period.
MacLeish completed his hat trick just over seven minutes into the final stanza to make it 7-2 before Bob Kelly and Blake Dunlop closed out the scoring.
Bernie Parent made 16 saves to record the victory, while Gilles Gilbert stopped 16 of 22 shots in taking the loss before being relieved by Gerry Cheevers (five saves on eight shots).
1979: Terry Ruskowski scored with 50 seconds left in the third period to lift the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-4 tie with the Flyers at the Spectrum.
The tie was the fourth in five contests for Philly and though it was disappointing to lose a point on the late goal, Philadelphia made it 24 games in a row without a loss (17-0-7) and pulled to within four of the all-time record set by the 1977/78 Montreal Canadiens.
Goals by Bob Kelly, Rick MacLeish, and Mel Bridgman staked the Flyers to a 3-1 lead early in the third period, but Doug Wilson and Tim Higgins (second of the game) knotted the score at 7:01. Brian Propp gave Philadelphia a 4-3 lead with 3:39 remaining before Ruskowski forced the deadlock.
The third period was especially bitter for the Flyers to swallow, considering they outshot Chicago by a 15-4 count, yet both clubs scored three times in the stanza.
Blackhawks goalkeeper Mike Veisor made 27 saves and Philly's Phil Myre stopped 17 of 21 in the draw.
1981: Bill Barber scored twice, Bobby Clarke added a goal and an assist, and Pete Peeters stopped 24 of 25 shots to lead the Flyers to a 4-1 triumph over the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Igloo.
Opening period goals by Kenny Linseman (shorthanded) and Clarke bolstered Philadelphia to a 2-0 lead, but the Pens Paul Gardner made it a one-goal contest at 2:08 of the final frame.
Barber gave Peeters some insurance midway through the stanza, then clinched it with Michel Dion pulled for an extra attacker with four seconds left.
It was the fourth consecutive game with multiple points for Barber, giving him five goals and nine points over that stretch.
1982: Ron Flockhart scored twice, Ron Sutter posted his first NHL goal, and Pelle Lindbergh stopped 27 of 28 shots to lead the Flyers to a 4-1 victory over the Quebec Noriques at the Spectrum.
After Flockhart got Philadelphia on the board first, Sutter -- playing in just his fifth contest since being selected fourth-overall in the summer's entry draft -- beat John Garrett for what would become the game-winning goal at 8:50 of the opening frame for a 2-0 lead.
Flockhart notched his second of the game early in the second, and Paul Holmgren added a power play marker with 3:30 remaining in regulation.
Lindbergh's only blemish was Michel Goulet's 21st goal of the season on a second period Quebec power play.
Behn Wilson assisted on a pair of Flyer goals in the win.
1986: Mark Howe and Rick Tocchet each posted a goal and two assists apiece and Bob Froese stopped 28 of 31 shots as the Flyers skated to a 6-3 triumph over the Vancouver Canucks at the Spectrum.
Ron Sutter, Pelle Eklund, and Scott Mellanby lit up Vancouver starter Frank Caprice to give Philadelphia a 3-0 lead in the first 7:17 of play. Second period strikes from Tocchet and Ilkka Sinisalo made it a 5-2 game, and Howe closed out the scoring with a man advantage tally late in regulation.
Peter Zezel and Lindsay Carson both added two assists in the winning cause.
1989: Murray Craven scored a pair of goals and added an assist, but the Quebec Nordiques scored two goals in the last 23 seconds of regulation to force a 6-6 tie with the Flyers at Le Colisee in one of the weirdest finishes in team history.
Philadelphia jumped on Quebec netminder Sergei Mylnikov for the first three goals of the opening period -- with Pelle Eklund, Ron Sutter, and Jiri Latal doing the honors -- before Joe Sakic and Tony McKegney answered for the Nords to cut the Flyers lead to 3-2 before the close of the frame.
Second period strikes from Craven and Mike Bullard extended the visitors to a 5-3 lead at the second intermission, but the third stanza would be a wild one, indeed.
Brian Lawton made it a one-goal contest with 6:23 remaining, but Craven made it 6-4 1:31 later.
Mylinkov skated to the bench for an extra Quebec attacker in the last minute of play, and things got really strange for Philly as goaltender Ken Wregget would self-destruct in a big way. First he knocked the cage off its moorings during a netmouth scramble with 23 seconds ticks left on the clock, and Sakic was awarded a penalty shot. 'Joe Cool' scored to make it a 6-5 game, finishing the contest with a pair of goals and four points.
From there, it would only get worse for Wregget.
On the ensuing faceoff following the Sakic penalty shot marker, the Nordiques iced the puck. Instead of letting one of his defenseman touck it up for the whistle and faceoff at the other end, Wregget played -- and then misplayed -- the puck behind the net, where Lucien Deblois was more than happy to tuck home a goal with just seven seconds remaining to steal a point.
Almost lost in the shuffle of the letdown was the fact that Bullard -- who assisted on Eklund's first period goal, scored one of his own in the middle stanza, and picked up a fighting major midway through the third -- had recorded a Gordie Howe hat trick.
Mark Howe and Sutter each assisted on two Philly goals in the deadlock.
1990: Pelle Eklund's power play goal with 4:12 remaining in regulation proved to be the game-winner, and Ron Hextall stopped 29 of 33 shots to post his first victory of the season as the Flyers skated to a 5-4 triumph over the Chicago Blackhawks at Chicago Stadium.
Goaols by Murray Craven, rookie Mike Ricci, and Rick Tocchet gave Philadelphia a 3-1 lead at the first intermission, with Derrick Smith making it a 4-1 game at 1:37 of the middle stanza.
But defenseman Dave Manson notched his second goal of the contest -- this one shorthanded -- and Steve Thomas connected with 6:34 left in the third to bring the home squad back to within one at 4-3. Eklund netted his man advantage tally 2:22 later before Steve Larmer lit the lamp on the power play with 36 seconds left to close out the scoring.
Ricci scored a goal for the third time in four outings, and posted a point for the ninth time in the last 10 contests.
Hextall -- making just his fourth appearance of the year because of a nagging groin injury -- won a game for the first time since February 22nd, 1990.
Ed Belfour made 19 saves in the loss.
1999: Eric Lindros scored three times to post his 11th and final regular season hat trick in a Flyers uniform and John Vanbiesbrouck made 27 saves to lead Philly to a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at the First Union Center.
The 'Big E' beat Toronto goaltender Glenn Healy twice in the first period, and a tally from John LeClair in the middle session made it a 3-0 Flyers lead at the second intermission.
The Leafs got goals from Mats Sundin and Tie Domi in the first 6:13 of the third to pull to within 3-2, but Lindros completed the hat trick with 1:06 remaining on the clock.
The goals gave Lindros four goals and seven points in the last four contests, and nine goals in his last nine games. Mark Recchi assisted on two Flyer goals.
2008: Simon Gagne's power play goal with 8:52 remaining in regulation snapped a 3-3 deadlock and Martin Biron stopped 24 of 27 shots to lift the Flyers to a 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders at the Wachovia Center.
Down 2-0 midway through the opening period, Arron Asham got Philadelphia on the board before the first intermission.
Darroll Powe connected on his first goal of the season midway through the middle frame, before Jeff Carter scored his 20th of the year late in the session to give Philly its first lead.
Blake Comeau tied things up early in the third before Gagne's late-game heroics with Brendan Witt in the sin bin.
2010: Danny Briere posted two goals and an assist and Brian Boucher turned aside 31 of 32 shots as the Flyers skated to a 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre.
Ville Leino and Chris Pronger also scored for Philadelphia -- who picked up at least a point in their fourth consecutive outing (3-0-0-1) -- while Andrej Meszaros added a pair of helpers.
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
Hockey fans have been through a roller-coaster ride of emotion over the past 85 days, none possesing more dramatic highs and lows than this past week. The rumored imminent CBA agreement blew up in an angry Gary Bettman address Thursday night, and the sides have not talked since.
As NHLPA head Donald Fehr said, "The one thing we know for certain is that you can't make agreements if you're not talking about it."
While there is still hope that sanity will somehow prevail and there can still be something to salvage of a 2012-13 NHL season -- which is now looking like a 48-game season as a best-case scenario -- it is unfortunately again looking like the sides may just be content to self-destruct.