Flyers, Philly Fans Embarrass Selves in Playoff Loss

Members of the Philadelphia Flyers Ice Crew pick up wristbands that were thrown onto the ice during the third period against the Washington Capitals in game three of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center.

Members of the Philadelphia Flyers Ice Crew pick up wristbands that were thrown onto the ice during the third period against the Washington Capitals in game three of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center.

The Philadelphia Flyers and St. Louis Blues once played a game on January 6th of 1972. The Flyers, an expansion squad in its fifth season, were two years away from the first of the franchise’s only two Stanley Cups. It was Fred Shero‘s first year as coach. The Flyers were ahead, 2-0, after two periods, when a riot broke out.

Blues coach Al Arbour — the third employed by St. Louis that season — chased after the ref toward the dressing room. He was complaining about the way the puck was dropped on a face-off earlier in the game. As he berated the ref in the exit runway, a fan reached over and poured a beer over Albour’s head. (Stadium beer was cheaper in those days.)

The incident is recalled in fantastic detail in Glen Macnow and Anthony L. Gargano’s The Great Philadelphia Fan Book. The authors even got Ed Snider to comment on the incident.

“Fans started cursing the Blues and throwing things,” he said. “Then Arbour reached over into the seats and some cop hit him over the head with a billy club. Well, that was it. It became instant mayhem.”

The Blues players rushed to the tunnel entrance, defending their coach. Led by Bob Plager, Blues players rushed into the stands and began fighting fans. One-hundred fifty police officers had to be called in to quell the mayhem. Blues defenseman John Arbour, no relation to the coach, needed 40 stitches. Three Blues players, and coach Arbour, were arrested.

“That was the worst case of police brutality I’ve ever seen or heard about,” Blues owner Sidney Salomon told the Daily News. “It was worse than the riot in Chicago at the convention.” Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo was his usual self: “This community will not tolerate hooliganism. We probably didn’t need our police officers in that situation. I believe our residents could have taken care of the matter on their own.”

Snider bailed the Blues players out of jail. As he told the authors of the book, he was angrier at the way his team reacted than with the fans. The Flyers gave up three goals in the third period and lost to the Blues, 3-2. “I was angry,” Snider said. “Not about the fight, so much as the game. Blowing a two-goal lead made me sick.” The embarrassing fight and loss were on Snider’s 39th birthday. Read more »

Can the Flyers Come Back After a Disappointing Game 1?

Flyers - goal game 1

Washington Capitals center Jay Beagle celebrates after scoring a goal on Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

Things did not go well for the Flyers in their first playoff game last night, a a 2-0 shutout loss to the Washington Capitals.

It’s not entirely surprising — the second wildcard in the Eastern Conference, the Flyers are matched up against a team that had the best record in the NHL’s regular season — though they did come out pretty strong, outshooting the Capitals 11-8 in the first period. They went 0-for-3 on the period’s only power plays, but they looked solid. Had they kept that up, they might have been able to steal Game 1.

No such luck. The team looked listless in the in the final two periods, taking just eight more shots, and only a strong performance in net by Steve Mason and a better-than-usual defensive showing kept them in the game. To make matters worse, Sean Couturier — the Flyers’ best defensive forward — was injured on an Alex Ovechkin check midway through the second period. Couturier is reportedly out for the series. Read more »

The Phone Call From Ed Snider that Terry Murray Will Never Forget

L: Terry Murray (Mark J. Terrill, AP) R: Ed Snider (George Widman, AP)

L: Terry Murray (Mark J. Terrill/AP) R: Ed Snider (George Widman/AP)

Terry Murray’s phone rang in the middle of last summer, after he’d been hired as an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres.

He immediately recognized the voice on the other end. Ed Snider, after all, had been part of the soundtrack of Murray’s life for much of the last 40 years.

The new job meant Murray was stepping down as head coach of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, bringing to a close his sixth or seventh stint with the Flyers’ organization, depending on how you want to add up his time as player, coach and scout.

Murray knew the Flyers’ legendary chairman was sick, battling cancer for the second time. But Snider wanted to focus on Murray, to ask about his family and thank him for everything he’d done for the organization over the years.

“He just wished me luck,” Murray, 65, said during a phone interview today. “He said, ‘We’ve been around each other for a long time.’ It was the same kind of conversation we had back in the 1970s. He was the same person, and had the same genuine caring for you as a Flyer and your family.”

After Snider’s family announced on Monday that the sports and business mogul had died at his California home at the age of 83, Murray’s thoughts drifted back to their summertime conversation. Snider had always treated his employees like family, but in hindsight, the phone call now felt more significant. “Just to know that Mr. Snider was thinking of me at that difficult time in his life made it even more special,” he said. Read more »

Behind the Tough Persona, Ed Snider Was Kind, Compassionate

Ed Snider (left) and Bobby Clarke at the 2010 demolition of The Spectrum. Photo | Jeff Fusco

Ed Snider (left) and Bobby Clarke at the 2010 demolition of The Spectrum. Photo | Jeff Fusco

You could get a crippling case of carpal tunnel syndrome trying to list all of Ed Snider‘s accomplishments.

That’s what usually happens on a day like this, when a man of Snider’s immense stature dies — news stories fill with paragraph after paragraph about the professional mountains he conquered, the organizations he improbably brought to life, the honors he collected over the years.

Yes, Snider will forever be known as the wealthy visionary who brought the Flyers to Philadelphia. He was the face of the franchise for nearly 50 years, silver-haired and impeccably dressed, but every bit as hungry for a Stanley Cup championship as orange shirsey-clad diehards who yell at TVs in neighborhood dive bars.

But Snider’s obsession with winning on the ice isn’t what stands out the most in talking with people who knew him well. The anecdotes they shared today, after word spread that Snider had died in California at age 83 from a second bout with cancer, offered a glimpse at a kind and compassionate figure who sometimes emerged from behind a tough-as-nails public persona. Read more »

#WinItForEd: Social Media Reacts to the Death of Flyers Owner Ed Snider

Beloved Flyers chairman Ed Snider has died, his children announced this morning. As the Flyers gear up for the playoff run they clinched just days earlier, social media erupted with fond remembrances of Snider and encouragement for the franchise he built. Here are some of the best:

Read more »

Ed Snider, Flyers Chairman, Has Died

Ed Snider at the 2010 demolition of The Spectrum. Photo | Jeff Fusco

Ed Snider at the 2010 demolition of The Spectrum. Photo | Jeff Fusco

The children of Ed Snider announced this morning that Snider, the chairman of Comcast-Spectacor and founder and longtime face of the Philadelphia Flyers franchise, has died after a two-year battle with cancer. His death comes just days after his Flyers clinched a playoff berth that most thought was unlikely when the season began.

“He fought his last years, months and days with courage and grace and recounted his love for many including his Flyers family and fans,” read the statement from his family. “We are grateful for the outpouring of love and support from the community, his friends and all those who were fortunate to have been touched by him in some way, large or small.” Read more »

If the Flyers Win Their Last 2 Games, They Make the Playoffs

The Flyers looked like they were about to crash out of the playoff chase last night. They trailed the worst team in the NHL, the Toronto Maple Leafs, by two goals entering the third period. But Andrew MacDonald scored halfway through the period to cut the deficit to one. Then, with the goalie pulled in the final minute, Wayne Simmonds redirected a Mark Streit shot into the net to tie the game and send it to overtime.

The Maple Leafs ended up winning the game in OT, but Simmonds’ goal was huge: The Flyers now control their own playoff destiny. Regardless of the other results, the Flyers make the playoffs if they beat the Penguins on Saturday and the Islanders on Sunday. Read more »

Missanelli: The Flyers — Yes, the Flyers — Are Philly’s Best Franchise Right Now

The Flyers celebrate after winning against the Washington Capitals Wednesday, 2-1.

The Flyers celebrate after winning 2-1 against the Washington Capitals Wednesday. | AP Photo/Matt Slocum

It was a bleak sports decade, the 1970s in Philadelphia, until the Philadelphia Flyers won two Stanley Cups.

The Flyers’ Cups were a kickstart to what would turn out to be a golden winning era in Philly. From there, the Phillies, with a maturing lot from their farm system, became contenders, culminating in a 1980 World Championship. The Eagles, under Dick Vermeil, went to a Super Bowl. The Sixers were in a hunt every year until finally pushing through in 1983.

What does that have to do with today? Perhaps, as Yogi would have said, it’s déjà vu all over again.

I’m on the record saying that in the year 2020, all four of Philadelphia’s major sports teams will be contenders. But the Flyers may be way ahead of schedule. Read more »

After Rare Shootout Win, Flyers Playoff Chances Look Really Good

The other day we wrote about how bad the Flyers are in shootouts. Last night, a third-period tip-in goal from Brayden Schenn helped the Flyers tie the Washington Capitals at 1 in regulation. The game was scoreless through the 3-on-3 overtime, and so the Flyers were headed to a shootout.

The Caps have already clinched the President’s Trophy for the best record in the league. They were 4-1 in shootouts going into last night’s game; the Flyers were 2-8. Wouldn’t you know: Nick Cousins and Sam Gagner scored for the Flyers in the shootout and the Flyers upset the Capitals last night. Read more »

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