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Remembering some blue collar plays in Flyers’ history

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New Philadelphia don’t read this: Philly, hello.

Montreal Canadiens v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Five Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Philadelphia 76ers’ president Chris Heck made some interesting comments last week about the city his basketball team resides in. He unintentionally pissed off a lot of Philly (sorry, New Philadelphia) fans by saying he doesn’t want the idea of being blue collar to represent this city as a whole and decided to inadvertently slam the Philadelphia Flyers in the process. Since most fans of the Orange and Black, as well as most Philly fans in general, enjoy when our city’s athletes lay it all on the line for a chance at victory let’s take a look back at some moments that would make Heck wince.

Some classics

Orest Kindrachuk getting laid out to secure a second Stanley Cup
Late in Game 6 of the 1975 Stanley Cup Final the Flyers were up 1-0 thanks to a Bob Kelly tally 11 seconds into the third period. With 2:47 left in regulation Kindrachuk blocked a shot in the defensive zone to start a rush the other way and received a monstrous body check while serving up a goal for Bill Clement to finalize the score at 2-0 to help Philly to their second Stanley Cup in as many seasons.

Bobby Clarke’s 1,000th point
To this day Clarke is still the only player in franchise history to record over 1,000 points with the club, as he finished his career with 1,210 in 1,144 contests. He broke the four-digit mark on March 19th, 1981 at The Spectrum against the Boston Bruins in classic Clarke style. After an errant Reggie Leach slap shot caught the former captain in the face earlier in the game and left him bloodied, Clarke remained in the tilt and potted his 19th tally of the 1980-81 campaign for his 1,000th career point with blood all over his jersey.

Dave Poulin’s shorthanded goal
In his first season as captain of the team Poulin pushed the Orange and Black to the 1985 Stanley Cup Final in heroic fashion. After he battled through a groin injury during the 1984-85 regular season and missed six of the Flyers’ first eight postseason games with a ligament tear in his left knee, Poulin was able to return for the start of the Prince of Wales Conference Finals against the Quebec Nordiques. He cracked his ribs in Game 2 of the series and missed Games 3 and 4 before returning for a Game 5 loss to set up a dramatic moment in Game 6 back in Philly. With the Flyers up 1-0 early in the second period the hosts were in the midst of killing off a 5-on-3 power play when Poulin intercepted a pass in the defensive zone and took it all the way down the other end to double Philadelphia’s lead. The Flyers went on to win 3-0.

Rod Brind’Amour scores two shorthanded goals on same penalty kill
On the way to the 1997 Stanley Cup Final the Flyers knocked out the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Up 3-1 in the series the Orange and Black were down 2-1 in Game 5 before Petr Svoboda was called for slashing late in the first period. It took all of 54 seconds for Brind’Amour to tie the game and give Philly their first lead of an eventual 6-3 series-clincher. He’s the only Flyer to pot two shorthanded goals in the same playoff game.

Wayne Simmonds scores two with a full shield
You knew Simmonds was going to find his way into this article one way or another. After he was hit in the face with a puck in pregame warmups, Simmonds proceeded to score twice in the second period of a 7-2 rout against the Buffalo Sabres on February 16th, 2012. The Wayne Train lit the lamp twice while wearing a full face shield after he needed 25 stitches to patch up his mouth.

2010 run

Ian Laperriere blocking a shot with his face
As a whole the idea of reaching the Stanley Cup Final as the seventh seed and overcoming a 3-0 series deficit in the process is pretty blue collar so naturally we’ll look at a bunch of moments from the 2010 run. Perhaps the second-most notable blue collar play from a Flyer in the 2010 playoffs was Laperriere dropping down to block a Paul Martin slap shot early in the third period of a series-clinching 3-0 Game 5 decision against the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Ville Leino’s string of puck retrievals in Game 5
The line of Ville Leino, Danny Briere, and Scott Hartnell were the trio that led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final that postseason with one of their more remarkable performances coming in a Game 5 win over the Bruins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. With Philly already up 1-0 in the must-win contest thanks to his second goal of the 2010 playoffs Leino managed to jump on four loose pucks in the offensive zone during a cycle and eventually tossed the disc down low to set up Hartnell’s eventual insurance marker. The Flyers went on to win the game 4-0.

Giroux works a bunch of Bruins
With time winding down and the Flyers on the verge of hockey history the future captain killed off some critical clock with an impressive display of puck possession. He received a pass down low from Simon Gagne and fought off a bunch of B’s for nearly half a minute before Boston regained possession in the opposite corner.

Mike Richards’ shift
In the next round the captain of that year’s squad provided his version of The Shift to tie Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final. This play highlights why Richards was one of the all-time great Philly players: a big hit, a relentless backcheck, and hauling ass down ice before diving to create a tap-in for himself.

Richards’ opening goal in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final
Just seconds after Tomas Kopecky put the Flyers on a power play, Richards chased down Niklas Hjalmarsson from behind and ripped the puck away from him before backhanding one five-hole on Antti Niemi. Philadelphia went on to win the game 5-3 for their most recent victory in a Stanley Cup Finals game.

More of Richards’ hard work

Three goals while down two men
Before his role in the 2010 run Richards managed to claim the title of most goals in NHL history while killing 5-on-3 power plays with three. He put home his first 3-on-5 goal in his first month in the league during a 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, as Donald Brashear and Derian Hatcher sat in the sin bin.

Richards’ second goal down two men came early in the 2007-08 campaign in an 8-2 shellacking against Alain Vigneault’s Vancouver Canucks. With Jesse Boulerice kicked out of the game for cross-checking Ryan Kesler in the face behind the play, Kimmo Timonen flipped the puck over the glass to give the Canucks a 5-on-3 advantage for a full two minutes. On the ensuing faceoff in the Flyers’ zone, Ryan Shannon flubbed a cross-ice pass that Richards intercepted and took down the ice to finalize the score with 5:41 left in regulation.

Richards’ final 3-on-5 tally came in 2008-09, as his changeup fooled Henrik Lundqvist early in the second period of an eventual 5-2 win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on February 15th, 2009.

Ending his Flyers’ career with hustle
In most classic Richards’ style he ended his tenure with the Orange and Black on a hustle play. Down 3-0 in the 2011 Eastern Conference Semifinals to the Bruins and down 4-1 in the final minute of Game 4, Richards sprawled out to block a Shawn Thornton try at an empty net before Boston scored seconds later thanks to Daniel Paille. It’s a play that’s often overlooked for obvious reasons, but it’s a pretty clear illustration of how Richards left it all out on the ice every single night.

The current captain’s work against Pittsburgh

One-man show in Game 3 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
With the Flyers up 3-2 in the second period of an eventual 6-3 win thanks to his first career playoff goal, Giroux was on the ice to help Philly kill off a holding call on Richards. As Sergei Gonchar went behind Pittsburgh’s net to retrieve the puck Giroux stole it from him and fended off Kris Letang while working back and forth behind the cage before he perfected a cross-crease dime to Gagne for the shorthanded tally.

Giroux’s shift
Giroux’s version of The Shift came in Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. We all know how this one goes but it’ll never get old.

*Stats courtesy of Hockey-Reference and NHL.com