History, like a concussion, seems to repeat itself more often than we’d like. No words have ever been truer said, specifically concerning those Philadelphia Flyers. On Tuesday January 15, 2013, the NHL13 cover-boy, Claude Giroux was named the 19th captain in this franchise’s existence. His brink-of-superstardom-career is doomed. Giroux should not accept this ‘honor,’ for it will bring pain and unfulfilled dreams. Like Taco Bell at 2-a.m., the Captain-Flyers relationship does not end well. Those players who have lead their team to a Cup Final, were out of South Philly within an average of 2.03 years. Cynical. I know, but let me explain. Starting with Dave Poulin (captain ’84-’89), the fate of those who’ve donned the Orange&Black "C" ends in either career-ending/career-threatening injury, or the player has been banished from Broad Street entirely. I’m going to start with Poulin because he’s the first captain I’ve cheered for, but my argument can also be said for Mel Bridgman. So let us count the ways: Dave Poulin, who captained two unlikely Flyers teams to Stanley Cup Final appearances, had his position unceremoniously abated in December of 1989 for Ron Sutter. In January of 1990, Poulin was shipped off to Boston, for Ken Linseman, where he’d play in another Cup Final against Edmonton. The Bruins lost in 5-games, but at least Brian Propp was there to share in his misery. Captain Ron (Sutter), saw his goal production decrease to 17-goals in ’90-’91, and in September of ‘91 was traded to St. Louis in the deal that brought Rod Brind’Amour to Broad Street. Rick Tocchet (’91-’92), is the next victim on this list. After a spat with Flyers’ management, Tocchet, still wearing the "C," was traded to Pittsburgh in February 1992 where he’d help Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr win their second Cup. The silver lining of this trade was that it brought Mark Recchi to Philly for his first of two stints. In ’92-’93, management saved a soul by not naming a Captain. The team went 36-37-11, out of the playoffs for the fourth straight year. The coach’s son, Kevin Dineen, is next on the block for the ’93-’94 season. Dineen posted 42-points and an impressive 113-penalty minutes in another playoff-less season. He was relieved of his duties when GM Bob Clarke gave the captaincy to the then 21-year old Eric Lindros. The Next One was captain from ’94-2000. This was an era in which the Flyers returned to prominence in the NHL, made a Cup Final appearance in 1997, and Lindros won the Hart Trophy in a lockout shortened ’94-’95 season. If you don’t know how this ends, please leave this site. In 2000, Eric Desjardins reluctantly accepts the captaincy. The team, which contains Rich Tocchet, Mark Recchi, and future captain Keith Primeau, blow a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals to the New Jersey Devils. The rest of Desjardins career is injury riddled. Primeau is captain from ’01-’06, but his career ends prematurely due to post concussion syndrome. He did give us the 2004 playoff run, but the last time I saw him, Primeau was running the snack bar at the Flyers Skate Zone in Pennsauken, NJ. This next set of doomed captains consists of hired guns. They possessed no true ties to the organization, but that doesn’t mean it ended any differently. Derian Hatcher bore this cross in 2006 – let’s forget about that season. In January 2006, this honor was given to Peter Forsberg. In February 2007, Pete’s bad feet were sent to Nashville. In ’07-’08, Jason Smith wore the "C" to a young Flyers team. After the season, in which they’ve lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to Pittsburgh, Smith wasn’t re-signed. In August of 2010, Smith was arrested for assault in a domestic dispute. You are all aware of the Mike Richards story. You are all aware of the Chris Pronger story. I hope the Giroux story has a different writer. Giroux is definitely worthy of this honor, but why couldn’t this honor been given to Tom Sestito? If he was traded, I don’t think anyone would notice.
This item was written by a member of this community and is not necessarily endorsed by Broad Street Hockey.