Jean-Guy Gendron

Jean Guy "Smitty" Gendron was a useful utility forward from the mid-1950s through to the mid-1970s. The Frenchman was dubbed "Smitty" by a teammate who could never remember his name. For some reason the unknown player came up with the very English nickname for Gendron and it stuck forever

Gendron got his NHL start in the bright lights of Manhattan with the New York Rangers in 1955. For three seasons he was restricted to a defensive depth role, not seeing a lot of playing time.

Perhaps the Rangers should have given Gendron a better look offensively. In 1958 he joined the Bruins and immediately set a personal best with 15 goals. The next season, playing with Charlie Burns and Jerry Toppazzini, he re-set his best with 24 goals, the 10th most in the entire NHL.

The offense dried up in 1960-61, and after just 1 goal in 23 games he was traded to Montreal. The Canadiens let him go after that season, but he obviously impressed his old teams with his work ethic and nose for the net. He returned to New York for 1961-62, and returned to Boston in 1962-63.

After a quiet 1963-64 season with the Bruins, Gendron was dispatched home to Quebec for several seasons starring with the AHL Aces. He enjoyed his years with the Aces, and, with NHL jobs so scarce in the days of the Original Six, may have happily resigned himself to the idea that his hockey days would end in Quebec. But that would all change when the NHL expanded in 1967-68 and the Philadelphia Flyers came into existence.

Aside from his big year in Boston, the well travelled Gendron's best years came in Philadelphia. The Flyers happily included the veteran in their expansion years, plucking him from Quebec. For three straight seasons he topped 20 goals three consecutive seasons, from 1968 through 1971. Gendron gained fame as part of the Flyers "French Line" with Andre Lacroix and first Dick Sarrazin and then Simon Nolet.

The Flyers let Gendron go after the 1971-72 season after he slowed to just 6 goals in 56 games. Gendron returned to Quebec to play two more big league seasons with the Nordiques of the WHA.

Jean Guy Gendron played in 863 NHL games, scoring 182 goals, 201 assists and 383 points. In 127 WHA games he added 28 goals and 63 points.



Rick Tocchet

Rick Tocchet did it all in 18 NHL seasons. For every game he brought his work boots, his lunch pail and punched the clock. And more than a few members of the opposition.

A blend of beauty and beast, Tocchet was a special player. In his best season he scored 48 goals, 109 points and had a healthy 252 PIMs. Okay, so the offensive numbers were a little skewed in 1992-93 thanks to Mario Lemieux, but Tocchet was often a threat to score 30 goals and exceed 200 PIMs. You won't find a coach in the league who wouldn't want Rick Tocchet on his team.

The Philadelphia Flyers drafted him in the sixth round in 1983, and he was in the NHL the following year when he was 20.

Tocchet scored 14 goals in each of his first two NHL seasons. But as his scoring prowess grew, so did his time in the penalty box.

He flirted with 300 minutes in his second, third and fourth years - posting a career-high 299 during the 1987-88 season, the same one in which he led Philadelphia with 31 goals.

By the time he finished his second stint with the Flyers in 2002, he was 12th on the team's career scoring list with 508 points; tied for 10th in goals with 232; and No. 1 in penalty minutes with 1,817 - nearly 500 more than famed bruiser Dave Schultz.

That makes Tocchet the biggest bully in the history of the Broad Street Bullies. But also one of the best.

"He was the type of player that stood up for his teammates," former teammate Keith Acton. "He's the kind of teammate that you really respected."

And one that Flyers fans naturally adored.

"A physical player that finished his checks and could play that grinding game which all fans would respect, but certainly in Philly they really respected that kind of play," Acton said.

The Toronto native broke out with 45 goals during the 1988-89 season and cut his penalty time under 200 minutes, the first time in five years he didn't lead his team. But now he was leading in more impressive ways. He topped the Flyers in goals (37) and assists (59) the following season and spent 196 minutes in the box.

"I'm not going to walk away (from fighting), but I know I'm going to stay on the ice more," he said in 1988. "I know that I'm going to play a lot smarter, but I'm going to still be aggressive. I've got to stay away from the fights (but) you know if a guy elbows you in the face or starts, you've got to drop your gloves."

After seven-plus seasons with the Flyers and less than one as team captain, Tocchet was dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992. He scored 14 goals in 19 regular-season games and six more in the playoffs to help Mario Lemieux and the Penguins win their second straight championship.

After parts of three seasons in Pittsburgh, Tocchet became a bit of a nomad. He spent two years in Los Angeles. Then he was sent to Boston, moved on to Washington, played three years in Phoenix and returned to Philadelphia for his final three seasons.

Tocchet wrapped up his career with 440 goals, 952 points and 2,972 penalty minutes. He nearly joined Dale Hunter as the only NHLers with 1,000 points and 3,000 penalty minutes.

"In your career, it's nice to be known that you stood up for your teammates but it's also nice that when your team needed a goal, you were put out in those situations," Tocchet said in 2000.



Jiri Dopita

You would never know it by his NHL stint, but big Czech Jiri Dopita is very much a hockey legend, at least back home.

Dopita is about as decorated as a player can get in the Czech Republic. He was a 7 time Czech league champion, 4 time regular season MVP and 3 time playoff MVP. He was part of three Czech world Championships and the 1998 Olympic gold medal championship. In 2001 he was given the Golden Stick Award, the top honour a hockey player can get in the Czech Republic. It is sort of like being inducted into a Hockey Hall of Fame.

For all his success he never gave the NHL a shot until he was 32 years old. He was drafted by Boston as a 23 year old in 1993, and then by the New York Islanders in 1998. Because of his size (6'3", 210lbs) and overseas success he was very much on the NHL radar as the century ended. But repeated attempts to lure him to the NHL failed and resulted in his playing rights bouncing around the league.

Finally in 2001-02 Jiri Dopita opted to bring his game to Philadelphia, where his good friend Roman Cechmanek landed the season before. Dopita was impressive at times, once scoring 4 goals in one game against the Atlanta Thrashers. But unfortunately injuries and coaching derailed his season. He suffered a knee sprain and cracked tibia in his very first game, and the injuries kept coming until arthroscopic surgery ended his season eventually. He only played in 52 games, scoring 11 goals and 27 points.

I mentioned coaching as a detriment in Dopita's transition to the NHL game. Dopita was a talented playmaker who was tough to separate from the puck. He was an understated mix of power and skill with deceptive quickness. Yet who did coach Bill Barber insist on saddling him with most of the season? Tough guy Donald Brashear.

The Flyers traded Dopita to the Edmonton Oilers for the 2002-03 season. It should have been a good fit for Dopita, as he was pencilled in as the 2nd line center and would be flanked by speedy youngsters like Ales Hemsky and Mike York. But injuries again derailed Dopita's season. He would play in just 21 games, scoring only 1 goal and 6 points.

With his contract expired, Jiri Dopita retreated back to the Czech Republic where he continued to play for many seasons. It was unfortunate he never had a better chance to show what he could do to NHL audiences.



Patrick Juhlin

The Philadelphia Flyers fell on hard times In the early 1990s. They came within a couple of bounces of defeating the might Edmonton Oilers in 1985 and 1987 to win the Stanley Cup, but came up short both times. The Flyers fall was quick however, sped up by injuries to key players like Tim Kerr, Mark Howe and even Ron Hextall. To make matters worse, years of success meant poor drafting position. Eventually that caught up with the Flyers as they had little talent within their own farm system.

The Flyers looked to remedy the situation by drafting talented European players. The hope was that these guys could come across the pond and add some firepower to the Flyers anemic offense.

Patrick Juhlin was one of the players the Flyers placed their hopes on. The 1989 second rounder was a standout forward for Västerås in Sweden. However Juhlin didn't make an immediate jump to the NHL, opting to remain in Sweden. He went on to star in the 1994 Olympics where his 7 goals in 7 games helped Sweden win the gold medal.. It wasn't until the 1995 lockout shortened season that Juhlin finally made his NHL debut.

Coming off such a great Olympic performance, it was hoped that Juhlin could make an immediate impact on the Flyers offense, much like fellow Swede Mikael Renberg had done in the previous season. However Juhlin struggled as he had a hard time adapting to the tighter checking, harder hitting NHL style. He scored just 4 goals and 3 assists in 42 games. He added one more goal in 13 playoff games.

The 1995-96 season started out with great promise for Juhlin. A strong preseason saw Juhlin appearing to be the Flyers new second line right winger. However Juhlin quickly slumped and soon was eating popcorn in the pressbox. The second half of the season was marred by a serious groin injury and an eventual demotion to the minor leagues in Hershey

Juhlin spent the following season with the Flyers new AHL affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms. Although he had a fine season for the Phantoms, the call never came for him to rejoin the Flyers.

After the 1996-97 season, Juhlin left Philadelphia to play in Finland.



Rick Foley

Rick Foley was an intriguing - and intimidating - blend of physicality and offense.

The defenseman was a giant of his day. At 6'4" and 225lbs he was likely the biggest man on the ice in most games he played in during his vagabond career in the late 1960s and the 1970s.

He liked to use his size to his advantage, too. His penalty minute totals were mindboggling. Well over 2000 minutes sitting in the penalty box in his professional career. The wild haired Foley totally fit that 1970s "Slap Shot" image of pro hockey.

But Foley could play, too. He had strong offensive numbers everywhere he played. He had 95 and 80 points in his 2nd and 3rd pro seasons - impressive even if it came in the lowly EHL. But he posted strong numbers the WHL and AHL as well, topping the 70 point mark in each league. Those are great numbers for a defenseman. And those numbers would have been even better had he not been sitting in the penalty box so much.

In 1971 the Philadelphia Flyers gave the 5th year pro his first real shot at the NHL. He would play 58 games for the Flyers that season, posting good numbers again with 11 goals, 36 points and 168 points. Mid-season he was suspended and demoted to the minor leagues because his weight was out of control. The Flyers, according to the Montreal Gazette, had a clause in Foley's contract calling for him to keep his weight below 218lbs. Clearly the Flyers felt Foley's weight hurt his play more than it helped.

The Flyers dismissed Foley after that one season. He briefly played for Detroit in the 1973-74 season and otherwise continued to roam the minor leagues.


Eric Lindros

I'm going to preface this article and come right out and say it: I like Eric Lindros. Actually he's one of my favorite players of the 1990s.

There, now I said it. Full disclosure.

I don't expect you to like Eric Lindros. It is not the easiest thing to do. He dug his own hole, taking unpopular stances about dictating where he was going to play. He's guarded, moody, abrupt and has no visibly likable personality, and he pissed off a lot of fans and a lot of hockey people along the way.

Before he ever stepped out on an NHL ice surface, Eric Lindros was heralded as the next great superstar. Even as a boy he could dominate NHLers physically, as he proved in the 1991 Canada Cup. Plus he had all the skills to be a great scorer - great shot, good passing, good skating, good stickhandling. He was unrealistically billed as the closest thing to a perfect hockey player since Gordie Howe. Expectations were out of this world.

Add to that the fact that he spurned much of Canada, especially French Canada, for his refusal to play for the Quebec Nordiques, and he had already turned many fans and media members against him. Then he goes to Philly, where he is immediately the target of a vicious circle of media and fans from arch rival cities like Washington, Pittsburgh, and especially New York. It seemed like the whole world was against this guy.

The Lindros saga actually begins before his drafting by and subsequent scandal involving the Nords. He was a 15 year old playing with Junior B. St. Michaels when he first gained national attention. He was the cream of the junior crop already, but in order for him to play junior hockey, he had to join the team that drafted him - the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. However the Lindros family did not want to play there, as it was too far away from their Toronto home. Lindros sat out, demanding to be traded. However the OHL had a rule that stated that teams could not trade their first round pick for a year after they drafted him. So Eric skated with Detroit Compuware, a tier II team in the Great Lakes Junior league.

The OHL, like all of junior hockey, has become more about making money than developing players over the years. And the league knew they could have a huge drawing card if they had Lindros in their league. Buildings would be filled to capacity wherever he played. So rather than risk losing him to the NCAA or another league, they changed the rules, and allowed the Greyhounds to trade Lindros to the Oshawa Generals for a package of players, draft picks, and cash. It was a steep price to pay, but it proved worth it as Lindros led the Generals to the Memorial Cup, and made the Generals ownership a ton of money in ticket and souvenir sales.

The following year Lindros scored a league high 71 goals and 149 points in just 57 games. He was the obvious choice for the first selection in the summer's entry draft. The only problem was the Quebec Nordiques held that coveted selection. Lindros made it quite clear that he did not want to play for the Nordiques, as he did not like their ownership and management groups. Critics suggested he was just a greedy kid who knew he could make more money if he played in the United States. Plus the team was downright awful, the tax laws were unforgiving, and his endorsement potential would be little in a small French town. Despite many lucrative trade offers, the Nords took Lindros first overall. Lindros refused to put the jersey on at the proceedings.

The Nords tried to sign Lindros. They reportedly offered over $50 million over 10 years, to which Lindros responded "If they offered me $100 million, I would not play for them." Clearly it wasn't a money issue for the Big E, who shocked many by turning down such a lucrative contract. "They don't want to win. I don't think everyone in their organization has the same goal: winning the Stanley Cup."

It was obvious that it would not be in the cards. The entire season elapsed before anything would be done to resolve the situation. During that season Lindros played mostly for the Canadian National team. He started the year in the Canada Cup, where he physically dominated NHL competition. He had memorable hits on Joel Otto, Martin Rucinsky and Ulf Sameulsson. He definitely did not look out of place, despite being only 18 years old, and the only non-NHLer to ever represent Canada at that tournament. Lindros also represented Canada the World Junior championships, and the Olympics, where he helped Canada win a silver medal.

Quebec finally dealt Lindros a year after drafting him. Actually, just to complicate the soap opera even more, they traded him twice. They had reached agreements with both the Flyers and the New York Rangers. The Flyers felt an agreement was made, only to have Quebec then go to New York and see if they would up the ante any. They did, and Quebec then agreed to trade Lindros to the Rangers. The Flyers cried foul. The NHL had to call in an arbitrator to settle the dispute. Finally, arbitrator Larry Bertuzzi concluded the deal first reached with Philadelphia was a legally binding agreement.

The Nordiques received defensemen Kerry Huffman and Steve Duchesne, goalie Ron Hextall, forwards Mike Ricci, Chris Simon, and Peter Forsberg, draft picks and cash reportedly in the neighborhood of $10 million US. By the way, the Rangers offer reportedly consisted of Alexei Kovalev, Tony Amonte, Doug Weight, John Vanbiesbrouck, cash and draft picks. Either way, the deal was a blockbuster of the most ridiculous of proportions! In fact even at the time of the deal it looked like the Nords got more for the soon to be rookie Lindros than the Oilers had gotten for trading Wayne Gretzky in his prime.

Lindros fit in well with the Flyers, who were rebuilding with the Big E as their centerpiece. Number 88 played on the "Crazy Eights" line with Mark Recchi (8) and Brent Fedyk (18). Lindros however missed nearly 20 games in his rookie season due to a knee injury. He had a fine rookie season - 41 goals and 75 points in 61 games. But that wasn't enough for many people. The most talked about rookie in NHL history didn't even win the Calder Trophy as the rookie of the year, as Teemu Selanne won with his mindboggling 76 goal season.

To make matters worse, Lindros was involved in an off ice scandal in a bar in Whitby Ontario, as a woman accused him of pouring beer all over her. The charges were eventually cleared, but the public relations nightmare for the Lindros' continued.

Lindros continued to battle his knee problems as he upped his offensive totals in to 44 goals and 97 points in 1993-94. But his Flyers again missed the playoffs, with a lot of heat going on the big man's shoulders.

The lockout shortened season of 1994-95 proved to be a good one for Lindros. He played all but two games, and tied Jaromir Jagr for the lead league in points with 70. But Jagr took home the Art Ross trophy as the league's leading scorer because he had more goals than Lindros. Lindros scored the Hart Trophy as league MVP. That wasn't a big concern for the Big E though, as he got his team to the playoffs for the first time. He had a great playoff too, scoring 15 points in 12 as the Flyers fell just short of reaching the conference finals. Lindros officially arrived as what many people already felt where he was - as the best player in the world.

Things seemed to be going just rosy for Eric at that time. He stayed healthy for most of the 1995-96 season, playing a career high 73 games and picking up career bests with 47 goals and 115 points. Again his Flyers went to playoffs, but again bowed out in the second round.

Things started going down hill in 1996-97. The season started with the World Cup, the replacement tournament of the Canada Cup. Lindros was brought in with a lot of older Canadian warriors, the likes of Gretzky, Coffey, Messier. It was supposed to be a proverbial passing of the torch if you will, as Canada would again exert its dominance in international and Lindros would take them there. Unfortunately the team ran into a hot goalie in Mike Richter in the final, and lost to the United States.

Lindros again ran into injury problems in the NHL season of 96-97. A nagging groin injury plus a rash of minor injuries kept him to just 52 contests that year. He played extremely well though, scoring 32 goals and 79 points. In the playoffs he led the Flyers all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals! He was dominant in the first three rounds. Finally it appeared that Eric Lindros would fulfill his destiny of bringing a Cup to Philadelphia. Unfortunately the young Flyers were taught a lesson by the high flying Detroit Red Wings. And especially unfortunate for the Flyers, Lindros was relatively quiet in the 4 game sweep by Detroit.

Lindros had a so-so 1997-98 regular season, scoring "just" 71 points in 63 games, as he suffered his first serious concussion, causing him to miss 18 games.

1998 also saw the first Olympic games with NHL competitors. Lindros was again the mantle piece on a Canadian team looking to regain its place a top the hockey world, but the Canadian team ran into hot goalie named Dominik Hasek in the elimination round. The Canadians eventually lost their chance to play in the gold medal game due to a silly shootout. Lindros, who was named captain and again was expected to take the torch and carry it, was blasted hard by an unforgiving media that never warmed to him.

1998-99 proved to be a tough season again for Lindros. Despite suffering a second concussion early on in the year, he got into 71 games and recorded 93 points. But late in the season he suffered a collapsed lung and could have died because of it. He was hospitalized and lost lots of weight. His season was done just as the playoffs were beginning again. Again, the Flyers playoff chances were shot.

Lindros had a particularly tough year again in 1999-2000. In the offseason he was criticized by his own GM, the impatient Bobby Clarke. Clarke challenged Lindros in the offseason to do better or else. Lindros accepted the challenge, but again, injuries refused to let him prove his critics wrong. He suffered a severe concussion on March 4 but he continued to play, as team doctors misdiagnosed his ailment as bad migraines. That was the worse thing could have happened to Eric, as his headaches only got worse and worse.

Lindros criticized the team doctors for misdiagnosing him. The proved to be the last straw for Clarke, who saw it as an opportunity to get rid of Lindros. He was tired of the Flyers always depending on Lindros, and then Lindros not being able to participate in the playoffs. He stripped Eric of his captaincy, and told him he would never play for the Flyers again.

Lindros continued to work out so that when he got the doctors clearance to play again, he could return to the lineup, despite what Clarke said. Only when Lindros got clearance to resume practicing, he suffered another concussion when he accidentally collided with a teammate.

Lindros came back from that too, and finally was given clearance to play in game 6 of the Conference finals against New Jersey. Clarke left the decision to use Lindros up to coach Craig Ramsay, who gladly accepted him. The Flyers lost that night, but Lindros was their best skater, scoring their only goal.

The loss forced a game 7 between the Devils and Flyers, with the winner going on to the Stanley Cup finals. Lindros was back, and things were looking up for the Flyers. Unfortunately, Lindros wasn't looking up, literally. Early in game 7, in a moment that will be etched in our memory for a long time to come, Lindros skated right down the middle of the ice, dancing in on the Devils blueline, but with his head down looking at the puck. That's when the beast of a defenseman Scott Stevens clocked Lindros with a horrifying but textbook clean open ice hit. Steven's shoulder hit Lindros right in the head, and his head hit on the ice when he crumpled motionlessly. It was a scary moment, as many believed we had seen the last of Eric Lindros.

His future was as cloudy as his memory must be some days, but after three concussions in the span of 2 months, and at least 6 in his lifetime, couple with his family's history for head injuries, you almost hoped he does realize its time to hang 'em up. Its not worth becoming a vegetable just to come back and disprove your critics.

Unfortunately Eric wanted to come back. He wants to prove himself, something he had yet to fully accomplish in his NHL career. It seemed no matter what he did, it was never enough for the media, the fans, even members of his own team. Lindros has always felt he had something to prove. But the fact is that unless he rewrote the record book like Wayne Gretzky and brought multiple Stanley Cups to a dynastic Flyers team, there was no chance in hell that Lindros could ever achieve what people expected of him.

Lindros did come back, but he quickly fell out of favor in Philadelphia. The team spent ridiculous amounts of money trying to bring home the Stanley Cup, although they never acquired a goaltender who could get the job done. But it was Lindros who took much of the blame, and that is in part thanks to GM Bobby Clarke. The two were involved in contentious contract negotiations which spilled out into the public. Perhaps Clarkie was deflecting blame from himself by taking the dispute public, we'll never know. What we do know is the divorce was very bitter.

Eventually the Flyers offered Lindros the minimum contract allowed under the collective bargaining agreement of the time, a qualifying offer of a small raise over his previous contract. Given his injury history Lindros may have been foolish not to take what still amounted to millions of dollars and run, but he took another stand in his bumpy hockey journey. He refused to sign the qualifying offer and sat out until he was traded.

The Flyers traded Lindros to their arch rivals - the New York Rangers. The Rangers were one of the few teams that could afford to gamble on the brittle and high paid star, and they offered up a package to Philadelphia's liking. Kim Johnsson, Pavel Brendl, Jan Hlavac and a draft pick were sent to Philly.

Lindros spent 3 seasons in New York, the first two of which were injury free. But he was not the same Eric Lindros who dominated games and once won the Hart Trophy. He changed his game save his body and his career, becoming more of a perimeter player and shying away from the danger zones. You can hardly blame him, but it only led to cat calls that he was washed up.

Lindros did have one moment of glory while with the Rangers, but it didn't come in Manhattan or even in a Rangers jersey. Lindros was selected by Wayne Gretzky to be one of the players selected to Canada's Olympic hockey team in 2002. The selection was a bit of a surprise, and as always controversial given his injury history and lack of results in big games. But this time Lindros tasted victory as Canada won the gold over Team USA in Salt Lake City.

After the NHL lockout season of 2004-05, Lindros finally gained the status he had always wanted. Unrestricted free agent. Unfortunately there were few teams willing to pay for the oft-injured, perhaps finished former star. He finally accepted a significant pay cut in order to sign with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs.

But injuries would again prevent Lindros from enjoying his childhood dream. A severe wrist injury ended his season. The Leafs did not renew his contract. He would play one more year with Dallas, but the wrist injury hampered him too greatly. By this stage of his career he was essentially a face-off specialist with a great shot but few goals to show for it. The wrist injury took that away.

Upon his retirement questions about his inclusion in the Hockey Hall of Fame inevitably popped up. After all, he was a Hart Trophy winner, an All Star, an Olympic gold and silver medalist and, when healthy, one of the most dominant players of his era. Though his career numbers were lessened by all the injuries, he was the sixth fastest player in NHL history to score 600 points, joining the elite company of Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Peter Stastny, Mike Bossy and Jari Kurri.

Nowadays, the hockey world, including us fans, are much more understanding of the dangers of concussions and head injuries in the sport of hockey. We vilified Lindros for not playing through the injuries. Now it is us who look bad, as we no longer think that way. Yet somehow empathy for Lindros will never come.


Bobby Clarke

No hockey player worked harder than Bobby Clarke, the tenacious leader of the Philadelphia Flyers for 15 enjoyable years. As a result, no one personified the Philadelphia Flyers better.

A wonderful talent blessed with great vision and playmaking skills, Clarke is better remembered for his physical talents - a relentless work ethic, a powerful leadership presence, and an unquenchable thirst to win complete with a willingness to do anything it took to capture victory.

As a result Clarke is immortally beloved in Philadelphia and remembered as one of the all time greats in hockey history. However hockey fans elsewhere love to perpetuate his status as one of hockey's most hated villains.

Growing up in the small Manitoba mining town of Flin Flon, all Clarke wanted to do was play hockey. However playing professional hockey must have seemed like a remote dream to Clarke when at age 15 he learned he had diabetes. However his love of the sport wouldn't let this deter him, and he went on to dominate the Canadian junior leagues.

Despite the setback, Clarke compiled back-to-back scoring titles in two full seasons in Flin Flon, accumulating 168 and 137 points, respectively during the 1967-68 and 1968-69 seasons. Clarke is such a legend in western Canadian junior hockey that the Western Hockey League named the trophy awarded to its top scorer in Clarke's honor.

Despite his obviously bright hockey future, teams shied away from Clarke in the annual Entry Draft because of his condition. Despite doctor assurances from the famed Mayo Clinic in Minnesota that diabetes would not interfere with his career as a professional athlete every team passed on Clarke. Even the Flyers, who drafted Bob Currier 6th overall, passed initially. But Philadelphia eagerly snatched him with the 17th overall pick, and his diabetes quickly became a non-issue.

Clarke immediately stepped in and succeeded. By the time he turned 23 years old, he was named captain of the Flyers - the youngest player in league history at that time to be so honored. The same year he won his first of three Hart Trophies as league MVP. And his 104 points made him the first player on a non-Original Six team to reach the 100 point mark.

Clarke was absolutely essential to the Flyers two Cups in the 1970s, the first time an expansion team won the prized trophy. Dave Schultz called him the "heart and soul of our club." Coach Fred Shero said there would be no championships in Philadelphia without Bobby Clarke. Clarke played with so much determination and all of his heart and soul, and he demanded it from every single one of his teammates.

It wouldn't be a stretch to say Clarke was the Pete Rose of hockey, a Charlie Hustle on skates. It could be game in the middle of January and up or down by 6 goals, but Clarke played every shift as if it was overtime in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.

His super-human will should not overshadow his high skill level. Clarke was an incredible defensive player. He was almost always the guy to take the big faceoff, kill a key penalty or defend a lead in the last minute of play. As the statistics suggest, Clarke was a great playmaker as well. Twice he led the NHL in assists, and had 852 in total in his career, compared to 358 goals.

Clarke was also a key member for Canada in international hockey events and he seemed to have great dislike for the great Soviet teams. He was a key player in the 1972 Summit Series. In fact he and Phil Esposito are the two players who get the most credit in that series, other than Paul Henderson of course. Clarke was also a key member of the 1976 Canada Cup championship team.
Clarke however has always been associated with some violent acts against the Soviets. In 1972 he broke the ankle with a deliberate slash to the boot of Valeri Kharlamov, the Soviets chief scoring threat. Clarke also introduced the Soviets to "Broad Street Bullies" hockey in a 1975 exhibition game between the Stanley Cup champs and the Soviets. In that game the Soviets left the ice because of the rough play. As a result Clarke became particularly disliked overseas, and his actions were inaccurate stereotypes of Canadian hockey.

Clarke played until the conclusion of the 1983-84 season. He retired with career totals of 1144 games, 358 goals, 1210 points and 1453 PIMs. In addition to his three Hart Trophies, Clarke also won the Masterton, Pearson, Patrick and Selke Trophies, making him one of the most decorated hockey players in history.

Following his playing days Clarke stayed very active in hockey, serving as general manager in Philly, but also with Florida and Minnesota. His winning record as a manager is impressive, although the Stanley Cup continues to elude him as an executive.


Dave "The Hammer" Schultz

Often looked upon as the baddest man in hockey, Dave "The Hammer" Schultz's reputation tended to precede him.

He set the NHL record for most PIM in a season with 472 in 1974-75. He led the NHL in PIM in his first 3 NHL seasons and 4 times in total. He epitomized the Broad Street Bullies - also known as the Philadelphia Flyers - during their reign of terror to the Stanley Cup in both 1974 and 1975.

But hey, Hammer wasn't that bad of a guy! He was just doing his job. In fact, he was always troubled by hockey violence. After retiring from hockey he wrote in his autobiography ``I love hockey, and wish reckless violence wasn't part of it.'' He also criticized the Flyers style of play and resented having to fight Bobby Clarke's battles.

Nicknamed "Hammer" because of a devastating right hand, Schultz eagerly accepted the tough guy role once he turned professional. He found the rush intoxicating, although ultimately too consuming, and it paved his way to the NHL, wealth and status.

Dave didn't do much fighting at all as a kid playing hockey in Saskatchewan. It wasn't until his coaches suggested he could reach the big time a lot faster with his fists rather than his finesse that Dave transformed his game to slashin' and bashin'.

But Dave also proved he was a pretty decent hockey player for those who were willing to look past his penalty antics. He scored 20 goals in 1973-74 - the first year that the Flyers won the Stanley Cup. This despite sitting in the penalty box for a league high 348 minutes. He was also an effective defensive forward, although he was rarely given the chance to prove he could be more.

After devastatingly notable losses to Clark Gillies and Ken Houston, the Flyers moved Schultz in the Flyers in the summer of 1976. The arrival of fellow rough-housers like Jack McIlhargey and Paul Holmgren, Schultz was traded to Los Angeles for some draft picks. He was moved on to Pittsburgh the following year. With the Kings and Penguins in 1977-78, he led the NHL in penalty minutes for the fourth and final time. His 405 penalty minutes that season made him the only player in NHL history to break the 400-minute mark twice.

Schultz finished his career with the Buffalo Sabres in 1980. When all was said and done, the big left winger from Waldheim Saskatchewan played in 535 games and scored 79 goals. He added 121 assists for 200 NHL points. In the playoffs Hammer added 8 goals and 20 points and 412 PIM in 73 games en route to earning two Stanley Cup rings.

His single-season penalty-minutes record, which still stands today, is as unthinkable by today's standards as it probably was back then. He also holds the record for most penalty minutes in one playoff game, with 42 against the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 22, 1976. Going head to head with his archrival, Dave 'Tiger' Williams, Schultz picked up one minor penalty, two five-minute majors, a 10-minute misconduct and a double game misconduct.

While Hammer understood his role and knew it was necessary, he was never really comfortable with it. But he knew if he didn't do it he'd almost certainly be out of a NHL job.

"The fighting gave me notoriety," he recalls. "That part I loved, but (it) never came naturally to me. I had to think about it all time. I would sit there the afternoon of every game thinking about who I was going to fight and visualizing the fight. It was nerve-wracking. I was always afraid of that one punch, the one that would knock me out of my career. Fortunately, it never happened, I had some well-publicized losses but I never really got the whipping that would destroy my confidence and value.

"It was different then, the rules were such that you could really help your team if you scared the right (opponent). I knew what the Flyers expected and I just totally got caught up in it. I was this did from Rosetown, Saskatchewan, suddenly a hero in a city of two million, making all this money and being afraid of losing everything. I knew it was a special time and how lucky I was to be part of it. I did what I had to do to keep it going."

Dave, an interesting guy who's interested ranged from rock and roll (he once cut a record called "Penalty Box") to building model ships, now owns his own limousine service.



Gord Williams

Gordie Williams was a high scoring junior star with the Lethbridge Broncos. He starred in the southern Alberta city for three years. In his two years in the Western Hockey League the Saskatoon Saskatchewan native twice scored over 50 goals and 115 points. He, along with Duane Sutter and Doug Morrison, was the star of the team. Some of his other more famous teammates back in his Broncos days include Lindy Ruff and Dave Barr. Gord's WHL totals in just two years are 115 goals, 124 assists and 239 points in 144 games!

Gord's brother Fred was also a western junior star with the Saskatoon Blades. Despite posting numbers generally nowhere near that of Gord, Fred was always the better prospect in the eyes of the NHL. Fred was the 4th overall draft pick in the 1976 NHL Entry Draft, as the Red Wings passed on the likes Bernie Federko, Buddy Cloutier, Reed Larson, Randy Carlyle and Thomas Gradin. However Fred would only get into 44 games and quickly went from prospect to suspect.

Three years later it was Gord's introduction to the Entry Draft.  Despite Gord's incredible statistics at the junior level, Gord didn't go until 119th overall when Philadelphia took a flyer on the 5'11" 190 pound right winger. Perhaps other teams were scared off by his brother's quick demise, but in fairness the 1979 Entry Draft was one of the deepest in history.

Gord never really got a chance to play in Philly. With the likes of Reggie Leach, Paul Holmgren, Tim Kerr and Ray Allison ahead of him on the right wing depth chart, Gord was relegated to 3 years of decent play with the Maine Mariners of the AHL. Despite a strong lineup in Maine Gord was able to add some nice offense and was rewarded in both 1981-82 and 1982-83 with a one game call up to Philadelphia.

Gord retired from hockey after the 1983 season, with just two NHL games, 2 NHL shots and 2 NHL penalty minutes under his belt. Gord didn't want to spend much of his young life riding the busses in the minor leagues, and knew there was little chance he would ever make the Flyers. So he took a realistic look at his life and decided to hang up the blades.



Todd Bergen

Todd Bergen had everything it took to be a great hockey player, except for one thing - desire. That was taken away by a young Mike Keenan - the controversial tyrant of an NHL coach.

Drafted 98th overall in 1982 by the Philadelphia Flyers, Todd was a bit of a late bloomer, not blossoming until his final year of junior. That year he was spectacular, scoring 57 goals in just 43 games!

The following season Bergen was playing with the Flyers farm team in Hershey, averaging a point a game. Late in the season Bergen was called up and was the talk of the league, setting the NHL on fire. Bergen scored 11 goals and 16 points in just 14 games! He worked really well with 50 goal man Tim Kerr on the power play, notching 3 of his 11 goals on the power play. Another 3 of his goals were game winners! The 6'2" center had a good shot and outstanding hockey sense. He was above average defensively for a player of his experience, and good on faceoffs as well.

Bergen continued his strong play into the Stanley Cup playoffs. He had an outstanding first playoff, especially considering this year wouldn't count as his rookie year! He scored 4 goals and 13 points in 17 post season contests. He helped the Flyers get deep into the playoffs, and left the fans and team excited about there new found star.

However that would prove to be Bergen's only stint in the NHL. He was suspended the following fall when he refused to report to training camp for "personal reasons." Speculation was that Bergen did not like demanding head coach Mike Keenan.

During his short but spectacular stint in Philadelphia, Bergen suffered a lower abdominal pull.

"When I came back, I was ordered to do extra workouts, then practice, then work on weights and on
the exercise bike. The problem is, I'm not sure Mike Keenan thought I had been legitimately hurt." said Bergen.

"After that, there wasn't a day went by when that man didn't have something sarcastic or ignorant to say to me. I think he might have done that to different players, too, but in the last 33 games, I was the guy. It bothered me. I never used to sleep much at night. "

"When the playoffs started, I led the team in scoring against the Rangers and I only played the first two games. I had three goals and two assists. Then I only played three shifts in the third game. Keenan said to me before that game that I had the worst warm-up he'd ever seen. There was no other explanation given. Then I never played at all against Quebec or Edmonton. And Keenan drilled me in the press...he told me that my offensive game didn't fit in with the team's defensive game. "

During Bergen's holdout, he pursued a career in professional golf. There was much speculation that Bergen was just demanding a trade to get away from Keenan, to which general manager Bob Clarke replied "Who am I gonna trade him for - Lee Trevino?"

Eventually Bergen was traded with Ed Hospodar to Minnesota for Dave Richter and Bo Berglund in 1985. However Bergen never played for Minnesota. He was felled by a groin injury and later the same painful abdominal injury before even getting into one game. He did appear AHL in 1986-87, playing just 27 games, but soon gave up hockey to concentrate on golf.



Rick St. Croix

Rick St. Croix was born on January 3, 1955 in Kenora, Ontario. He played junior hockey with the Oshawa Generals of the OHL, from which he was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers with their third pick (72nd overall) in the 1975 Entry Draft.

St. Croix spent most of the next 5 seasons in the minor leagues with various teams. He really found a home in Maine of the AHL where he established himself as a number one goalie. By 1980 he led the entire AHL in GAA with a 2.90 mark, good enough to earn him (and partner Robbie Moore) the Hap Holmes Award for fewest goals against in the entire league!

In those 5 long years in the minors, St. Croix was called up for 10 games of NHL action in total, sporting a 3-5-2 record. But after his spectacular 1980 season in Maine the Flyers elevated St. Croix to the big club, becoming the full time backup to Pete Peeters in 80-81.  He recorded a career best 2.49 GAA and his only 2 NHL shutouts in 27 games. He also played admirably in the 1981 playoffs when Peeters went down with an injury. St. Croix battled hard with a 4-5 record and 1 shutout in 9 post season contest.

After showing good promise, St. Croix was given a better shot In 1981-82. However things didn't go as well for Rick. He played in 29 games in 81-82 but his GAA rose to 3.89.

His struggles continued in 1982-83 when he played only 16 games with Philadelphia. The Flyers felt they needed stronger goaltending in their backup position, so they traded Rick to Toronto in exchange for veteran goalie Michel "Bunny" Larocque. The move was also made to give hot shot rookie Pelle Lindbergh a mentoring figure.

St. Croix played 16 more games with Toronto that season, recording a 3.80 GAA. Obviously the team in front of Rick was pretty weak, but as often happens with goalies, St. Croix took more than his fair share of the blame for the poor results.

His playing time in Toronto decreased over the next two years while his GAA ballooned well over 5.00. He was demoted to the minor leagues. He finished his career in 1985-86 with a strong showing with the IHL's Fort Wayne Komets, sharing the Norris Trophy (fewest goals against) with Pokey Reddick.

In his retirement St. Croix operate his own goaltending schools



Dan Kordic

Few players know the rules better than Dan Kordic. He spent his professional hockey career breaking the rules. So what does a former penalty king do when he retires as a player? Why he becomes a referee, and calls penalties instead of committing them.

Following in the footsteps of former tough guys Paul Stewart and Kevin Maguire, Dan Kordic is working his way up the junior system and hopes to land back in the NHL as a referee.

Kordic, now living in Mississauga, played 197 games with the Philadelphia Flyers over six seasons, spending 584 minutes in the penalty box. He had four goals and eight assists.

"I never thought Dan would be an official," NHL director of officiating Bryan Lewis said. "A year ago, he was a guy going around using his stick for other things than scoring goals."

However Lewis, who was instrumental in Stewart and Maguire's ascent as officials, was impressed by Kordic's work.

"They have a good sense for potential trouble. It's a sense they've got because they probably were a party to a lot of it," Lewis said.

Kordic, at six-foot-five and 235 pounds, could make one heck of a linesman, especially when breaking up altercations.

Dan of course is the younger brother of the infamous John Kordic - one of hockey's baddest boys on and off the ice. Dan managed to keep his nose cleaner. However Dan, like his brother, was unable to shake the label of goon at the pro level. The defenseman turned left winger was used almost primarily for fighting.

Dan played 4 solid years on the blueline with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL before turning pro in 1991. After initially trying defense at the NHL level, the Flyers opted to use him on left wing because of his lack of mobility.

Dan played 7 professional seasons, all in the Flyers organization. This included 197 games, although he probably played in less than 10 minutes of action in most of those. He accumulated 4 goals and 8 assists for 12 points to go along with 584 PIM. He added 1 goal in 12 playoff contests.


Dale Kushner

Hard work earned Dale Kushner his cup of NHL coffee.

Never drafted, Kushner was signed by the New York Islanders in 1987 after playing as an overaged junior with the Memorial Cup champion Medicine Hat Tigers. Kushner played a physical role and was a leader on one of the better junior teams in CHL history - sporting names like Trevor Linden, Mark Pederson and Mark Fitzpatrick.

Kushner was signed for depth purposes for the Islanders farm team as his age allowed him to immediately fill a hole in the Islanders farm team. Never expected to play in the NHL, Kushner went to work as a hard nosed left winger and a great forechecker. A bit of a late bloomer, Kushner showed above average skating ability and the occasional goal while playing a strong forechecking role in the minor leagues. An eager and intense player, he also developed a reputation as a great team player. He eventually was rewarded with a 2 game call up to Long Island in 1989-90.

His contract with the Islanders expired in the summer of 1990 and the Philadelphia Flyers eagerly signed Kushner. He immediately stepped into the Flyers roster, eagerly accepting a part time role as a scrappy 4th liner. He played very seldom during games but was thrown out and excelled at those 45 second chaos shifts meant to change the momentum of the game. Kushner readily jumped over the boards just a few times a night in order to bang anyone in sight, work the boards, pressure the puck carrier, and if possible pin the puck in the opposition zone to set up a faceoff in offensive territory. He would then return to the bench, but accomplished his job - to help inspire his teammates to play with the same intensity.

Kushner showed a willingness to mix it up in his time in the NHL, registering 195 PIM in his rookie year. He
also chipped in with 7 goals and 11 assists.

The Flyers were a pretty weak team in the early 1990s, and as their depth improved, Kushner soon lost his role and was returned to the minor leagues. He played in 19 games in 1991-92 - scoring 3 goals and 2 assists - but finished the year in the AHL. He spent the next 4 years in the minor leagues before retiring.

Kushner impressed at the pro level playing the same limited role be it in the NHL or minors.



Brent Fedyk

Brent Fedyk was an interesting case. He was a bonafide scorer in junior (hence his 8th overall draft selection in 1985) and in the minor leagues (he scored a hat trick in the Calder Cup clinching game in 1989). He had some great line-mates in the NHL - Steve Yzerman in Detroit, Joe Nieuwendyk in Dallas and most notably as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers' Crazy Eights Line with Eric Lindros and Mark Recchi.

Yet for all his 470 NHL games Fedyk never really cemented himself as a scorer in the NHL. He had limited skating skills. He drove to the net as hard as average frame would allow him, but he failed to convert with any great regularity. Otherwise he was a reluctant physical player. He was a diligent defensive forward.

In his career Brent Fedyk scored 97 goals and 112 assists.


Gord Murphy

Gord Murphy played 14 NHL seasons and over 900 games including playoffs. Yet many will agree that Murphy never got enough recognition as a solid NHL defenseman.

A lot of that probably has to do with his playing in absolute obscurity in Florida. Especially after the veteran Murphy helped rookie Robert Svehla mature into the offensive dman's role, allowing Murph to concentrate on the defensive side of the game.

Gord Murphy was a very late draft pick, 9th round, 189th overall, out of the Oshawa Generals organization. The fact that any player drafted that low would play a single game in the NHL is impressive. Murphy played 14 seasons, and scored 85 goals and 323 points.

Murphy first debuted in the 1988-89 season and soon was scoring goals in double digits and accumulating over 40 points - not bad numbers at all for a young defenseman in any era.

After three seasons he was moved Boston for veteran Garry Galley and a young Wes Walz. Somehow Murphy struggled in Beantown, allowing for his exposure to the 1993 NHL expansion draft.

The Panthers were quick to snap up the young defenseman in the expansion draft. He would resuscitate his career in Florida, becoming a main stay on the Miami blue line for the rest of the decade. He later rounded off his career with a brief stop in Atlanta and another stop, even briefer, in Boston.

Gord Murphy was a finesse defenseman. Despite his good size (6'2" 200lbs) he played a small game, never throwing his weight around or punishing anyone physically. He was far more reliant on positioning, a very effective poke check and pushing or wrapping his arms around his check than to hit them. Perhaps it was his lack of perceived toughness that did not endure him to fans or media. But he was a versatile defender, well suited to play next to either an offensive rearguard or a big, hard hitting partner.

Being a finesse player at heart allowed him to be a solid two way defenseman. He was a strong and agile skater. He moved the puck well, either by carrying it out of the zone or with a safe breakout pass. He could eat up minutes on specialty team units.



Martin Hostak

Up until the very late 1990s, the stereotypical European player in the NHL was a small player with little physical game what-so-ever. They were on the team for the immense skill and skating abilities.

Martin Hostak was the exception to this rule.

Martin Hostak was a big man from Hradac Kralove, Czechoslovakia. At 6'3" and 200lbs, Martin used his size well when in position of the puck. Like Sweden's Ulf Dahlen, it was tremendously difficult to dislodge the puck from Hostak because he was so strong on his feet. However without the puck, Hostak was as gentle as a pussy cat.

Hostak was also a terrible skater - a very rare trait of a European NHLer. Simply put, he was slow. A plodding, knock-kneed skater, he didn't have the speed to get to a loose puck or to pressure a puck carrier.

Although he was a big European who couldn't skate, Hostak was very stereotypical of Europeans when it came to his hand skills. Hostak was perhaps one of the best stickhandlers of his time. A great stickhandler in a crowd, he also possessed a great wrist and snap shots. However, because of his lack of speed, he was never able to really use those gifts.

A third round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers in 1987, Hostak joined the Flyers in 1990 at the age of 23. Hostak showed up out of shape, not realizing just how dedicated NHL athletes really are. Hostak struggled in his rookie season with 3 goals and 10 assists in 50 games.

The following season Hostak failed to get into good enough shape to please the Flyers. That combined with his lack of speed saw him play the whole year in the minors except for a 5 game stint in which he pick up one assist.

Unhappy with life and his career in North America, Hostak returned to Europe after two seasons in the Flyers organization. Hostak would join the famous Modo AIK of the Swedish Elite League where he was a solid performer for 4 seasons before retiring from hockey.

During his 4 seasons in Sweden, Hostak always performed with the Czech. Republic national team in the World Championships as well as 1994 Olympics where he helped his team finish 5th overall.


Ron Hextall

With his masterful stickhandling, goaltender Ron Hextall helped revolutionize the game of hockey.

Ron Hextall's career started out like gangbusters. As a rookie he challenged Grant Fuhr for top status as the games best goalie in the late 1980s. He was incredible and made the Flyers a true Stanley Cup threat. Over time Ron's play leveled off to the point where he continued to play solidly, but was a victim of his own early success.

Hextall should be remembered as one of the most exciting goalies to watch play. He excited fans in a way that Dominik Hasek or Tony Esposito did. Fans will also remember Hexy for his uncontrollable temper. He set an NHL record for goaltenders with 113 PIM in 1988-89. Memorable skirmishes with Edmonton's Kent Nilsson and Montreal's Chris Chelios always stick out in the minds of many hockey fans.

Hextall revolutionized a game. He certainly wasn't the first goalie to handle the puck, but he was so good at handling and shooting the puck. Teams couldn't dump and chase against the Flyers because Hexy would roam behind the net to stop the puck and then lift it over everybody into the neutral zone where a quick Flyers forward like Brian Propp or Ilkka Sinisalo was waiting to pounce on a loose puck.

Also, Hextall was the leader of strong Flyers teams of the late 1980s. The Flyers came oh so close to knocking off the might Edmonton Oilers. Hextall's fiery play definitely characterized that team, something which is extremely rare for a goaltender to do.

Ron of course comes from a famous hockey family. Ron's grandfather is Hall of Famer Bryan Hextall. Sr. Bryan Hextall Jr. was Ron's dad, who also played in the NHL, as did Ron's uncle Dennis Hextall.

But right from an early age Ron wanted to be a goaltender.

"I remember going to my dad's practices, sitting behind the glass and watching the goalie the whole time," said Hextall in Dick Irvin's great book "In The Crease." "I can't explain it, can't pinpoint it. I twasn't like I watched a certain guy one time and said "I want to be a goalie like him." It was there from the start."

Although he and his brother were rink rats at the NHL practices, Ron never actually started playing hockey until he was 8 years old. At that point his hockey was played in Pittsburgh where his dad played for the NHL Penguins. Later Hextall would play low quality hockey in places like Atlanta and Detroit before his dad retired from hockey and returned to his native Brandon, Manitoba when Ron was 12.

The family bloodlines and the hanging out with NHLers must have made up for the lack of regular hockey training as Hextall made it to Major Junior hockey. The Brandon Wheat Kings were a pretty weak squad during Ron's tenure, which oddly enough Ron credits as a major reason for his development. A goaltender faces lots of shots while playing for a bad team, and can really develop. Where a goalie playing for strong team may have strong junior statistics, but isn't nearly as good a goalie or is behind in his development comparatively.

The Flyers selected Ron in the sixth round (119th overall) of the 1982 NHL Entry Draft, but it wasn't until 1986-87 when he made his NHL debut, playing in 66 games and posting a league-leading 37 wins, a career-high. He played in the 1987 All Star game, a rarity for a rookie. He was named to the NHL First All-Star Team and All-Rookie Team and won the Vezina Trophy as top goaltender. In the playoffs Ron's fiery play backstopped the Flyers to the '87 Cup Finals where he was named as the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as Most Valuable Player in the playoffs despite the fact that the Flyers lost to the Edmonton Oilers in a memorable 7 game series. Despite all this, somehow Hextall didn't win the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie, as a young Luc Robitaille notched 45 goals in his rookie campaign.

Hextall seemingly came out of nowhere to accomplish one of the greatest individual seasons in hockey history. He was surprised to even make the team. The Flyers had Bob Froese, who had been runner up for the Vezina Trophy the season before, and cagey veteran Chico Resch returning. Coach Mike Keenan played a bit of a hunch by starting with the rookie, and it obviously paid off.

Despite playing just one NHL season, Hexy was named to Team Canada in the 1987 Canada Cup. Hexy and the Islanders Kelly Hrudey never played however as Grant Fuhr went the distance. But it was still a definite honor for the big goalie. In 1987-88, he again played in the NHL All-Star Game and was awarded his second Bobby Clarke Trophy as the Flyers' Most Valuable Player. Ron would win that award again in 1988-89 when he posted his third straight 30 win season.

1987-88 was also memorable because Ron fired the puck into an empty net to become the first goaltender in NHL history to actually shoot the puck to score a goal. Nearly 10 years earlier Billy Smith was credited with a goal when he was the last player to handle the puck before the Colorado Rockies accidentally put the puck into their own goal. Hexy's goal came against Boston on December 8th, 1987. On April 11, 1989, Hextall duplicated this feat by scoring the first goal by a goalie in the Stanley Cup Playoffs!

Hextall downplays the importance of the goals.

"Everybody wanted it more than I wanted it. As much as I thought, yeah, it would be great, it would be fun, this and that, I didn't think it was that big a deal when I actually scored the goal. It was a thrill and when I look back it will still be a thrill. But it won't be in my book of the greatest memories of my career. I doubt if either of my goals will be there."

1989-90 was not a good season for Ron. He appeared in only 8 games. He was forced to sit out the first 12 games of the season due to a suspension for an incident in the previous playoffs. Hextall charged Montreal's Chris Chelios in a memorable battle in game 6 of the Wales Conference Finals. Ron later was felled by nagging groin and hamstring injuries, resulting in his most disappointing season ever.

"It was an awful feeling for me to sit out," confessed Ron to Dick Irvin. "I remember thinking that there I was, 25 years old and my career might be finished. I'm not a real spiritual guy but I must admit I said a prayer or two just to play until I was 32. At that point I was scared, very scared, that I was finished."

Hexy returned in 1990-91 to play 36 games, but some say he was never quite the same after his battle with the injuries. The stats support that argument, as Hextall struggled for the next two seasons. But in all fairness the Flyers team had deteriorated to the point where they were no longer playoff contenders.

Hextall's life changed on June 20, 1992 when the Flyers and Quebec Nordiques shook the hockey world with perhaps the biggest trade ever. Hextall was traded to the Nordiques with Peter Forsberg, Steve Duchesne, Kerry Huffman, Mike Ricci, Chris Simon, first round picks in the 1993 and 1994 drafts, and $15 million in exchange for the rights to a young phenom named Eric Lindros.

Hextall had a good season in Quebec, He went 29-18-6 and played a big role in turning around the once sad-sack Nords and bringing them back to the playoffs.

"Until the playoffs we had a great year," said Hextall of his lone season in Quebec. "We had 104 points. I still don't know what the hell happened in the playoffs. I played good for 4 games and then the wheels fell off. But overall we had a fun year. I wouldn't trade it for anything."

However Hextall's stay in Quebec lasted exactly one year as on June 20, 1993, he was traded with Quebec's first-round draft pick in 1993 to the New York Islanders in exchange for Mark Fitzpatrick and a first round draft pick in 1993.

In 1993-94, Ron played 65 games for the Islanders, one game shy of his career high. He also compiled a career-high five shutouts with an impressive 27-26-6 record on an average Isles team.

On Sept. 22, 1994, Ron returned to city of brotherly love. He was traded with the Islanders' sixth round choice in the 1995 draft to Philadelphia in exchange for Tommy Soderstrom. Ron celebrated his return by posting a league and career-best 2.17 goals-against average in 1995-96. He also posted 31 wins that year, the second highest of his career.

Towards the end of his career, Ron played more of a backup role. He shared the nets with Garth Snow for a couple of years before becoming a true backup to John Vanbiesbrouck in 1998-99. At the end of 1999, Hextall was bought out of his contract by the Flyers. The Flyers were looking to make room for a younger goalie to be brought up in their system.

Ron played in 608 NHL contests with a decision record 296-214-69. He had 23 shutouts and career goals against average of 2.97. He led the NHL in wins once and in GAA once. He is also the most penalized goalie in hockey history with 584 minutes, plus another 115 in the playoffs. He even scored 2 goals!

All in all fiery Ron Hextall will be remembered as a great competitor and a very good and entertaining goalie. He epitomized Flyer's hockey.



Lew Morrison

Lew Morrison was a high draft pick back in 1968. In fact he was selected 8th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers after demonstrating solid two way hockey ability with the Flin Flon Bombers of the WCJHL. He was a junior teammate of Bobby Clarke's, who of course the Flyers were already watching closely. They would draft Clarke the following year.

Lew immediately stepped into the Flyers farm system and was one of coach Vic Stasiuk's top performers with the AHL Quebec Aces. When Stasiuk was promoted to head coach of the Flyers the following year, he was quick to included Morrison on the team.

That 1969-70 season was one of Morrison's best seasons, at least statistically. He scored 9 goals and 19 points, both career highs. He gained instant recognition for his defensive abilities, and was reunited with Bobby Clarke to kill penalties that first in Philly.

"I'll tell you how good he (Morrison) and Clarke are," said coach Stasiuk. "They kill penalties for us. Imagine - a pair of rookies going out against the best power plays in the busines and doing not just an adequate job but a doggone good job."

However Morrison would never be able to shake the label as a defensive forward, and would toil for 564 games in the NHL in that limited capacity. After three years in Philadelphia he was claimed by the Atlanta Flames in their expansion draft. Two years later the Washington Capitals did the same, only to trade him back to Pennsylvania after 18 games. The Pittsburgh Penguins made good use of his services for 3 years before he was demoted to the minors for the 1977-78 season. That proved to be Morrison's final year of professional hockey.

Morrison was a dogged worker, a truly unappreciated hockeyist who was respected by his peers.



Bob "Hound" Kelly

Rookie initiations are part of hockey lore. Perhaps the best story I've ever heard was of how the Philadelphia Flyers players welcomed a rookie named Bob Kelly to the NHL in 1970.

Kelly, who came out of Oshawa as a junior star, was the victim of the famous and extravagant snipe hunt prank. The Flyers players had spent a few weeks talking about snipe hunts. Finally Kelly asked what exactly a snipe was, he was told it was a pigeon-like bird.

The players had all arranged a team snipe hunt night in November 1970. The rule was only veterans could hunt, but the rookie Kelly begged to come along, and finally the veterans agreed he could come.

Of course, hunting snipes required a rather unusual hunting method. Flyers tough guy Earl Heiskala explained:

"We beat the bushes with poles and when the snipes begin to fly we shine flashlights on them. They'll become confused and fly into the netting and get all tangled up. Then we toss them in the bag."

The Flyers prank was so elaborate that they had the cops show up, even firing a warning shot. Of course, only Kelly was arrested on charges of hunting snipes out of season. He must have really panicked when Heiskala showed up at the holding cell with his head all bandaged and full of what appeared to be red blood.

The spooked Kelly must have been really sweating when a fake judged showed up. Kelly immediately pleaded guilty to the charges and was fined $1500 plus court costs. That, of course, is when the Flyers teammates stormed into the room laughing, saying "Welcome to the NHL, Hound!"

Kelly went on to become a top player of the Flyers in the 1970s, including their two Stanley Cup championship teams in 1974 and 1975.

Nobody appreciated Kelly more than coach Fred Shero.

"He's got something that's hard to buy. No coach in the world can make a guy do what Kelly does. It's not in his contract, it comes from within him."

What he did best was run around recklessly, hitting every enemy in sight. He was also a noted fighter.

"He always gets in three or four punches before the other guy realizes he's in a fight," said Bobby Clarke. "He throws punches faster than anybody in the league."

Kelly was not much of a scorer. Only once in 10 seasons with the Flyers did he reach 20 goals. But he wasn't there to score goals. "If Bob Kelly scores twenty goals, I'm not using him properly," said Shero.

Kelly was the Flyers spark plug, as well as a pest and tough guy. Whenever coach Shero felt the game need a change of pace or needed his bench fired up, he would tap Kelly's shoulder and his fury would be unleashed on the subsequent shift.

Kelly, who finished his career with parts of two seasons with the lowly Washington Capitals in the early 1980s, played in 837 career NHL games, scoring 154 goals, 208 assists, 362 points and of course 1454 PIMs.


Philadelphia Flyers Greatest Players

Philadelphia Flyers Legends
Bill Barber  
Bobby Clarke

Eric Desjardins
Ron Hextall

Mark Howe

Reggie Leach
John LeClair
Pelle Lindbergh
Eric Lindros
Bernie Parent
Dave Poulin

Keith Primeau
Brian Propp
Dave "The Hammer" Schultz

Other Flyers Players

Ray Allison
Barry Ashbee
Reid Bailey

Tom Bladon

Claude Boivin

Dave Brown
Lindsay Carson
Dick Cherry
Bill Clement
Glen Cochrane
Doug Crossman
Bob Dailey
Gary Dornhoefer

Moose Dupont
Miroslav Dvorak
Pelle Eklund  
Thomas Eriksson

Doug Favell

Cowboy Bill Flett
Ron Flockhart
Bob Froese
Derian Hatcher

Earl Heiskala
Al Hill
Ed "Boxcar" Hospodar
Sami Kapanen
Forbes Kennedy
Tim Kerr
Orest Kindrachuk  
Ken Linseman
Ross Lonsberry
Rick MacLeish
Brad Marsh

Brad McCrimmon
Jack McIlhargey
Simon Nolet
Pete Peeters
Mikael Renberg
Dominic Roussel

Don Saleski
Kjell Samuelsson
Ilkka Sinisalo
Derrick Smith
Daryl Stanley
Rich Sutter
Ron Sutter
Bobby Taylor
Dimitri Tertyshny

Ed Van Impe
Joe Watson
Jimmy Watson 
Behn Wilson  
Larry Zeidel

Peter Zezel


Ross Lonsberry

When the Philadelphia Flyers won the Stanley Cup in 1974, guess who head coach Fred Shero declared was the Flyers most valuable player of the championship season? Bobby Clarke? Reggie Leach? Bernie Parent?

Try Ross Lonsberry, a long forgotten 5'11" 195lb left winger who scored 32 goals that season and another 4 in 17 playoff games.

"I knew Lonsberry would be good because I've seen him play for ten years," said Shero. "But he's been unbelievable this year. He has more stamina than Bobby Clarke, and he's been the key man in a lot of games. He's done everything for us."

"Roscoe" joined the Flyers late in the 1972 season, part of a big eight player trade with the Los Angeles Kings. He quickly endeared himself to coach Shero in a role as a top defensive forward, while still being able to score big goals.

Ever the team player, Lonsberry dismissed coach Shero's high praise of him.

"No way it's me. It has to be Clarkie. We have no stars. We're all equal. A lot of teams look to one or two guys, like Orr and Esposito of Boston, for the big goal when they fall behind. But with the Flyers, the winning goal might come from anyone.

Lonsberry often played on a line with Rick MacLeish and Gary Dornhoefer. His job was often to shut down the league's top right wingers like Yvan Cournoyer and Rod Gilbert. Lonsberry never considered himself to be a true defensive forward.

""Anybody can be a defensive forward. You can just skate beside your man and look at him all night. You're not using your brain. If he makes you adjust to his style, he's playing a good game. I want my man thinking that he has to guard me, too. The trick is to make the other team adjust to you."

Born in Humboldt, Saskatchewan in 1947, Lonsberry was originally property of the Boston Bruins. He played three seasons in the farm system, never quite cracked the Bruins line up.

In the summer of 1969 the Bruins traded Lonsberry to Los Angeles after an unfortunate incident in the 1969 playoffs. Lonsberry was playing for the Oklahoma in the CHL and his team had just been eliminated from the playoffs. Lonsberry was taking the loss especially hard, so hard that when the Bruins called the same night to call him up for their own playoff run, he was so dejected he actually told the Bruins no.

"I was down in the dumps that night and said, 'No, thanks,'" remembered Lonsberry. "I remember it was a Saturday and the Bruins were not going to play until the following Wednesday. I regretted it the next day and tried to call back, but I couldn't reach them. I guess it made me kind of a controversial figure and it got me out of their organization."

Lonsberry found full time NHL employment in sunny California, registering back to back 20 goal seasons for the Kings.

"The travel is brutal for any player in LA, but other than that, I loved the West Coast," he said. "I'd be lying if I said the weather didn't make me lose interest at times - not during a game but maybe at eight in the morning when I had to get up for practice."

One place Lonsberry didn't seem to like playing too much was another West Coast city, Vancouver. Twice he was in court in BC - once with LA for an off ice incident where he was found guilty and fined $50, and once with Philadelphia where he was acquitted in an infamous exchanged between the Flyers and Canucks fans in the stands.

Lonsberry, winner of the 1973 Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance and sportsmanship, was traded to cross-state rivals Pittsburgh Penguins in 1978. He rounded out his career with three more seasons in Pittsburgh.

When all was said and done Ross Lonsberry put together a career resume that boasted 956 career games with 256 goals and 310 assists for 566 points. He added another 21 goals and 46 points in 100 playoff games.


Jimmy Watson

When the Philadelphia Flyers won Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975, the players' fathers undoubtedly boasted to anyone who would listen "that's my boy!" Back home in Smithers, BC Joe Watson Jr. could say that about his son Joe, but then he could also say "that's my boy, too!" as younger son Jimmy was also on the team.

Despite being named the most outstanding defenseman in Western Canadian Hockey League in 1972 (ahead of Phil Russell, Larry Sacharuk and Tom Bladon), Jimmy Watson (not be confused with Jim Watson, another NHL defenseman at the same time) was not selected in the 1972 NHL draft until 39th overall to the Philadelphia Flyers.

How did 38 players and 13 defensemen get drafted ahead of Watson? Defensemen who never amounted to much like Pierre Guite, Wayne Elder, and Paul Shakes? The New York Rangers passed on Watson four times!It even took the Flyers three tries to land Watson, after alnding Bill Barber and Bladon with earlier picks.

How Watson was overlooked we will never know. The Flyers perhaps had a bit better of an insight on him as his older brother Joe was already on the team.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but history shows Jim Watson should have not been overlooked. Two years later he was helping the Flyers make the first of three consecutive appearances in the Stanley Cup finals, winning it all in 1974 and 1975.

"God, you don't know how many times as a kid I played imaginary Stanley Cups at home," Jimmy said after the first Stanley Cup title in 1974.

Joe and Jim were amongst 6 brothers who grew up playing hockey on frozen Lake Kathleen near their tiny hometown of Smithers, BC. The town is one of the most beautiful in all of BC, but it is cold. Back in those days the lakes would freeze from October through April, and kids never thought twice about playing in 20-below-zero temperatures.

"Sometimes we'd have to use a hunk of frozen horse manure for a puck," Jim recalled. "Real frustration i when the ice is beautiful on Lake Kathleen and it's your turn to break off the peice of turd."

Though the Watsons went on to big city careers, they never forgot their hometown.

"In the summer I play golf and swim and go water skiing. Big cities like Philadelphia and Vancouver always make me appreciate the beauty of Smithers. Joe and I do a lot of bike riding and mountain climbing."

Older brother Joe tells stories of how kid brother Jimmy just followed him around wanting to play sports.

"Anything I would do, Jimmy would want to do with me. I always had the kid brother tagging along. In baseball I'd be the pitcher, and I made him the catcher and three the ball as hard as I could."

Jimmy also quit hockey altogether in junior, leaving the Calgary Centennials in mid season as a 17 year old. He travelled to Philadelphia to visit Joe. After watching two weeks of the Flyers practice and play, Jimmy returned with is desire to play in the NHL firmly found.

It worked out well. He played in 9 full NHL seasons, playing in 613 career games, mostly tagging along with big brother Joe. He scored 38 goals and 186 points in his NHL career, and of course won two Stanley Cup championships. He participated in 5 NHL All Star games and was part of Team Canada at the 1976 Canada Cup.

Injuries cut Watson's career short. A scary eye injury at the 1976 Canada Cup was followed by a broken shoulder and then spinal fusion surgery by 1980. Watson came back but knew he wasn't the same player.

With a touch of regret Watson retired early, taking a scouting job with the Flyers. He later became a successful owner of a home construction business in Delaware, County, Pennsylvania.


Barry Ashbee

Barry Ashbee took the long route to the National Hockey League. Originally a Boston Bruins prospect since the late 1950s when he played junior hockey for the Barrie Flyers, a Bruins junior team. He played the entire 1960s in the minor leagues except for a 14 game stint in 1965-66.

After a decade in the minor leagues, the Bruins finally let Ashbee go. They traded him to the Philadelphia Flyers with Ed Chadwick for Bob Perreault. The Flyers, one of the new teams that saw the league double in size two years earlier, were hoping the experienced Ashbee could make the step to the NHL.

Since the league had doubled in size and the Flyers didn't have the depth of the Bruins, Ashbee was able to immediately join the Flyers after the 1970 training camp. It was not long later that he had established himself as a dependable stay at home defenseman.

Barry was a valuable performer on the Flyers blue line, and a key member of the 1974 team that defeated, oddly enough, the Bruins for the Stanley Cup. He wasn't your stereotypical "Broad Street Bully". He tallied only 291 PIM in 284 NHL contests. Instead he was a throwback defenseman who excelled ruggedly, though cleanly..

Even though he wasn't tough in the sense of Hammer Schultz or Hound Dog Kelly, Ashbee was probably the toughest member of the Flyers. Because of his physical play, Ashbee accumulated injuries like kids collected hockey cards. He often wore a "horse collar" neck support while playing the game. That was because of a serious back injury that cost him the entire 1966-67 season. He never played a full NHL season, only coming close in 71-72 when he missed only 7 games.

In a playoff game vs the New York Rangers on April 28, 1974, Ashbee's career came to an end due to yet another injury. A Dale Rolfe shot hit Ash directly in the eye. Serious bleeding cost him the sight in the eye.

During the following season, which saw the Flyers repeat as Cup champions, Ashbee began his second career in hockey as an assistant coach. But by 1977 disaster would strike again. He was diagnosed with deadly Leukemia.

"The players know I'm sick, and I'm going to get better, that's all," understated Barry in typical form, not wanting to make a big deal of his misfortune.

About a month after he said that from his hospital bed, he passed away on May 12, 1977.

In honor of their fallen friend, the Flyers have named a trophy after Ashbee. Since 1975 the Flyers most outstanding defenseman has been given the Barry Ashbee award. In addition, his jersey number 4 is forever retired.


Moose Dupont

Andre "Moose" Dupont came upon his nickname honestly - he was a big boy.

"Two guys used to carry him out to the blue line and he'd slash people as they skated by," joked Flyers announcer Gene Hart.

Dupont reportedly weighed in at 250lbs in junior hockey. At the same time he took on all comers, earning a ridiculous 212 PIMs in just 38 games.

Yet he was a very good junior, helping three different Quebec teams to Memorial Cup appearances in three consecutive seasons. The New York Rangers drafted Dupont 8th overall in 1969.

During that draft season Dupont was convinced to shed the excess weight if he wanted to play in the pros. He crashed dieted and got down to around 200lbs, which is what he played at in the NHL.

"Roger Bedard (a retired pro hockey player) was the man who straightened me out. He made me lose 40 pounds and get ready to turn pro."

Though his weight decreased, he zeal for the physical aspects of the game certainly did not. He played with the Rangers farm team in Omaha and his PIM totals were astounding. But so was his play. In 1969-70 the defenseman scored 11 goals and 37 points along with 258 penatly minutes, earning him the CHL rookie of the year award. The following season he shared the league's MVP award, thanks to 15 goals, 46 points and 308 PIMs! Needless to say he was also named as the league's top defenseman.

The coach in Omaha just loved Dupont's play. His name - Fred Shero.

Somehow the Rangers never shared the same love for Dupont's game. Despite his great play in the minor leagues, Dupont only got into 7 games in New York. Early in his third pro season the Rangers traded Dupont to the St. Louis Blues. Dupont played regularly with the Blues over parts of two seasons, starting in 85 games and scoring 4 goals and 20 points.

He played well enough in St. Louis, but was never quite comfortable there. Then a trade to Philadelphia changed his NHL fortunes dramatically, as he was reunited with his coach from Omaha - Fred Shero.

"I was with the Blues for a year, and they were having all kinds of trouble. Being traded to Philly and coming back to Freddy was the best thing that ever happened to me," he confessed. "I came to a winner, and you can't ask for more than that."

If there was ever a player who best represented Broad Street Bullies hockey of the 1970s, it was Dupont. He was a loose cannon, made even more unpredictable due to his expression-less face. But next thing you know he's being sent back to the penalty box for some unprovoked attack. All too often those infractions would put his team in bad penalty kill situations, but Shero kept on believing in Dupont and his value to the team.

Dupont could play hockey, too, as evidenced by his 59 goals and 244 points in 800 career NHL games and an appearance in the 1976 NHL All Star game. He celebrated his goals with "the Moose Shuffle" dance, a silly take on football end zone celebrations. But it never looked so good as in the 1974 playoffs. He scored 4 goals that spring, including the game tying goal with just 50 seconds left in game two of the finals. Of course, the Flyers went on to win that series and their first Stanley Cup.

Yet he will always be remembered as one the biggest and baddest of the Broad Street Bullies. Nearly 2000 career penalty minutes will do that to you.

Dupont played with the Flyers until 1980 when he was traded close to home and played three seasons with the Quebec Nordiques. He even served as the team captain in Quebec for a season. He retired in 1983.


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