Since their inception in 1967, the Philadelphia Flyers have become one of the NHL’s most iconic franchises.
From the early days of the Broad Street Bullies with Bobby Clarke, Dave Schultz, and Bernie Parent to the 80’s teams featuring Ron Hextall, Tim Kerr, and Mark Howe; the Flyers sure made their fare share of die hard fans and enemies.
That didn’t change as the newer era of Flyers hockey led by Eric Lindros and the Legion of Doom on down to the new kids like Claude Giroux and current bullies like Kevin Hayes, Scott Laughton and Travis Konecny.
Both the success the Flyers have enjoyed on the ice and the personalities they’ve had over the years have helped make them a slew of enemies, and spurred some pretty intense rivalries along the way.
We’ve already spend tons of time analyzing the Flyers’ rivalries with the Penguins all the way down to the 80’s Oilers (screw you, pals). But now it’s time to let bygones by bygones and pick five guys from the Flyers’ rivals that we don’t actually hate.
And man was it ever far from easy.
We started with the Flyers’ longtime and most prominent current nemesis: the Pittsburgh Penguins. But while we were able to identify five Penguins that we didn’t hate all that much, there were a few who just missed the cut.
Let’s take a look at a few more Penguins who we hated just a bit more.
The case for Super Mario to be on the most hated list? Well, shredding the Flyers to the tune of 124 points in 71 career games is a start (1.74 points per game) is sure a starting point. Though he victimized the Rangers, Islanders, and Devils more, he still gave the Flyers straight fits since breaking into the league in 1984 as a 19-year-old.
But while Mario tortured the Flyers, fans of the Orange and Black damn well respected the heck out of No. 66.
Hard to hate that kind of greatness: Mario came close, but not close enough.
Look if you would have polled this like anytime before July 1st of 2011, Talbot wouldn’t be anywhere near this list and right under Sidney Crosby on a different list that doesn’t include the word “don’t.”
But after a certain incident in a playoff series that we will decline to go into any further detail (or link), the Flyers brought in Talbot to wear the Orange and Black and we were all forced to at least forgive (a little) and forget (why Carcillo, why?).
Talbot was a hard-working grinder that endeared himself to fans with a career-best 19 goals in 2011-12 and followed with a strong playoff run in his first season with the Flyers. Though he scored just six more goals in his Flyers tenure, he helped provide a fresh start along with fellow former Penguin Jaromir Jagr for the team following the departure of noted stars like Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.
Though he didn’t make the trade himself, it really sucked that he was in the trade that brought Steve Downie back for whatever reason. That guy stinks.
A veteran of 22 NHL seasons and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Recchi is the most successful of the players who played for both the Penguins and Flyers.
After starting his career in Pittsburgh and winning a Stanley Cup, Recchi was traded traded to Philadelphia in February of 1992 with Brian Benning and Los Angeles’ 1st round choice (previously acquired, Philadelphia selected Jason Bowen) in 1992 Entry Draft for Rick Tocchet, Kjell Samuelsson, Ken Wregget and Philadelphia’s 3rd round choice (Dave Roche) in 1993 Entry Draft.
Recchi went on to accumulate 627 points in 602 games with the Flyers over parts of 10 seasons. and holds the Flyers franchise record for points in a season with 123 in 1992-93. He’s ninth on the Flyers’ all-time scoring list, and is one just five players to average more than a point per game for the franchise.
Though certainly not a Penguin that we totally hate, Recchi’s postseason success with the Flyers (just 39 points in 65 games) left a lot to be desired. He was also a thorn in the Flyers’ side with 58 points in 71 career games against the Orange and Black. Then there was the ladder stages of his career where he was just an annoying old dude on the Lightning and the Bruins.
I don't think anyone could hate Rick Tocchet at all, but he did happen to play 150 games for the Penguins, winning a Stanley Cup in 1992 along the way. The current Coyotes’ coach played 11 seasons in Philadelphia and represented just about everything fans expected from a Flyer.
A bulldog, Tocchet didn’t take it easy on the team that drafted him in the sixth round of the 1983 NHL Entry Draft, either, notching 22 points in 23 career games against the Flyers.
Now if Tocchet’s Coyotes end up beating the Flyers in some future Stanley Cup Final, this could very well change of course.
That’s our list of Penguins that we really don’t hate, as well as a couple other guys who we don’t totally hate but also don’t really love, either. We’ll be looking at some of the Flyers’ other rivals in the coming days and weeks because what else is there to talk about right now anyways?
* All statistics unless otherwise noted via hockeyreference.com *