Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Goalie's Life

The NHL All-Star break is upon us, and look who's on top of the standings? The Philadelphia Flyers. I can't remember the last time the Flyers where at the top of the East for this long, let alone a top the NHL. It's pretty amazing how well this team has been playing.

But this entry is not how well the Flyers are playing, because there's plenty of articles that beat me too it and I don't want to beat a dead horse. I'm more interested in the goalies this year. I find it amazing, how goalies of last year who've not been good, have been great, and last year's top goalies are not living up to their level of play this year.

First, we'll take a loot at, of course the Flyers. #33 and #35. Notice there isn't a #49 there. We'll get to that in a second. But Sergie Bobrovsky and Brian Boucher are playing so well right now. Bobrovsky, or Bobs as we now know him in Philly, came out of no where in training camp. His intense preparation before each game has got not only fans turning heads, but teammates alike too. He's a rookie, and yes, he still has flaws, but you wouldn't know this is first year in the NHL, IN NORTH AMERICAN Hockey if you saw him play. This kid has been linked to a name, we all cherish in Philly, Pelle Lindbergh, and we all know how great that young goalie was before his untimely death. Bobs can only get better in time, that's scary, he already has 21 wins this season, launching him into 4th (I believe, under Hexy, Lindbergh, and Parent) in wins as a rookie goaltender.

Let's not forget about Brian Boucher neither. This guy deserves a ton of credit, Boucher, in his third tour in Philly (second tour was with the Phantoms in 2007), is playing damn good goaltending. Remember when how he was awesome in his rookie season, and then just became sub-par in the following two seasons? He was traded away to Phoinex for some guy named Robert Esche? Yea, well I think Boosh's rookie spirit has came back, because after being shaky all last year, he's been rock solid. I mean, this guy is a vetern goalie, who's been around. He played with 4 other teams; Phoenix, Chicago, Calgary, Columbus, and San Jose, before resigning with the Flyers last year, as Ray Emory's back up (then Michael Leighton's back up and well we know how that story went). This year is a different year as he's played equally as well with the young Russian, Bobs. With 20 games played, he has a 11-6 record, with a .916 save percentage, and a 2.14 Goals Aganst Average.

Elsewhere around the NHL, we have saw some surprises thus far in the season. What stands out in my mind the most is how the playoff teams from last year have changed. Montreal, Philadelphia, Boston, San Jose, Chicago, and Nashville. Montreal was praising Jaroslav Halak, his skills were superb. Sending the top seed in the East home after the first round, defeating Mark Andre Fluery and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Then Philadelphia finally solved Halak, ending the Habs dreams of a Stanley Cup Final appearance. In the offseason, the St. Louis Blues inquired about Halak and in the end, he was sent to St. Louis, causing a huge stir around the NHL. This season, Carey Price is manning the pipes very well (remember how he was always questioned just a couple years earlier?) in Montreal, and Halak is doing just the opposite in St. Louis, where he's playing not nearly as well as he was last year. In fact, Halak, was suppose to be a huge part of the St. Louis Blues' team, bringing in a solid proven goalie to help a young team on their upside. So far, with a 17-16-5 record with a .905 SV% and 2.64 GAA, a lot of Blues fans are hoping he'll improve. These are not horrible stats, but considering how well he played last year, we all expected better. Despite these medicore numbers, Halak does have 4 shutouts this year.

In Boston, the Big Bad Bruins still have their same goalie tandem, except surprisingly the "old man" Tim Thomas (I say that very sarcastically) is playing out of his mind! A lot of us thought that Tuukka Rask was going to be the go to guy in Bean Town. Much like the Flyers this year with Bobvorsky, and along with Chicago last year with Antti Neimi, Rask came out of no where last season took the reigns from Thomas and led the Bruins into game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. This year Thomas was strong in training camp and took the #1 job back, with Rask backing him up. Thomas is heading to the All-Star game with a 24-5-6 record with 7 shutouts! Along with a 1.81 GAA, and .945 SV%. Wow! He's truly a well deserved All-Star.

Chicago had the great Antti Neimi in net during their Stanley Cup winning season. Neimi really sprung on late, and turned heads to anyone who payed attention to his play. What's even more crazy is despite backstopping the Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup win since 1961, Neimi was allowed to walk as a free agent! Chicago was Cap strapped and they simply couldn't afford Neimi's aberration, he was asking for 2 million, they said nope. Instead Chicago is relying on another rookie this season, in Corey Crawford, who has a respectable record that includes 2 shutouts, Marty Turco also signed on to complete the 1-2 punch in the Chicago net. Neimi was left out of a starting role because of this, and it took a while for him to get nabbed up, eventually signing with the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks wanted to go with a cheaper and younger route in net, also signing former Flyer & Olympic MVP Antero Niittymaki. Niitty was signed first, and with Niitty and Neimi in replacement of longtime San Jose netminder Evgeni Nabokov (more on him later).

In Dallas after the Stars let go of Turco they traded for another Finnish goalie (keeping pace with San Jose's Finnish tandem) Kari Lehtonen, of the Atlanta Thrashers. On a side note, kinda funny how Lehtonen and Niittymaki follow similiar paths with each other. Back to the subject, Kari will have better success in Dallas than Atlanta, backed by a solid, proven hockey organization, and playoff contender, he'll see better days for sure. Atlanta is now going with sophmore goalie, Ondrej Pavelec, who seems to be much improved thus far into the season than last year. Atlanta also signed Chris Mason as their back up, who last year was the #1 goalie in St. Louis.

In the Nation's capital, Washington D.C., we have yet another rookie playing some good hockey, Michal Neuvirth from the Czech Republic. He came up and looks like he's taken the reigns from Varlamov. Neuvirth is in his first full season with the Caps, he did play a handful of games last year, I believe it was when Jose Theodore was injured (who's now playing in Minnesota). Just think 3 or 4 years ago, they still had Olaf Kolzig, an old goat who stuck around a bit too long, but was well respected in DC. Now Washington's net looks fresh and bright for the future as they got two solid young goalies, both only 22 years old.

Another big moment among goalies this year, is Marty Brodour. He's played very subpar this year, as has the whole team, but Brodour who has been dubbed "the best goalie ever to step foot on NHL Ice" ( I disagree) playing subpar? Who the thunk it. I think Marty is just showing his age and after all those seasons being a tank, playing in and around 70 games a year, it's finally taking it's tole. With a .895 SV% and 2.84 GAA, that's hardly the Marty Brodour we know of. He should retire soon, don't want be the Brett Farve of hockey, I mean be the new Chris Chelios. Brodour is still playing the majority of the games, while Johan Hedburg is picking up some games also. One's gotta think, doesn't Jersey have a young goaltender waiting in the wings "on the farm" in Albany? There are a few canadates out there, that providing the right time, those include Rask, and Michael Leighton, both proven goaltenders. Both don't want to be the #2 when they are proven #1 goalies. But those are just 2 far fetched ideas.

Speaking of Michael Leighton , we'll come full circle, with the Flyers to end this blog entry. Isn't it funny? the 2 top goalies of the NHL Playoffs last year, are out of the #1 job and not in the city they back stopped to the Cup Final? Leighton goes from hero to zero, his cinderella story ended in Philly, and is now playing with Adirondack Phantoms (Flyers AHL Farm team) as there is simply no room for him up in the big club. Well let's back track here a bit, Flyers started of with Ray Emory, and Brian Boucher, Emory goes down, Boosh backstops the team, but then HE goes down with an injury. Now the back up of Boucher, Johan Backlund is the only guy left, here enters Michael Leighton, as the Flyers claim him off the waivers from Carolina. Leights plays damn well, including in the Winter Classic, Ray Emory returns briefly but ends up having a possible career ending injury to his leg. Boucher returns, and Leights is the Flyers #1 goalie up until he gets hurt the last month or so of the regular season. Boucher leads the team up until Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals when he gets re-injured, Leights comes in back and stops the Flyers to Game 6 of the SCF. He had 3 shutouts in the Boston Series, and was arguably the best goalie in the playoffs. After the season, the Flyers sign him to a 2 year deal, with a nice pay raise. Then he goes off and tells the team he needs surgery for that back, that doesn't sit well with Ed Snider and Homer, I'm sure. Boosh and Bobs are playing too well for Leights to even have a shot at regaining his reigns in net. Once he hits reentry waivers, he's all but gone.

Let's just say if the NY Islanders nabbed him, heaven forbid he reports to them and doesn't go the Nabokov route, refusing to report to the team (because him and Detroit where going to agree to terms, with Detroit needing a solid back up for young Jimmy Howard since Chris Osgood is out for surgery). The Isles need a goalie as Rick Dipietro is, yet again, out with an injury.

So there ya have it the crazy, wacky, goalie circus that took place in the beginning of the season and now is in affect. So if you kept up with me you'll know about half the teams in the league have had no changes, at least not big enough to note about, and the other half had some notable changes. Whatever you do...don't take your eye off that #35 in the Orange & Black, you may miss something!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hey Philly...maybe you forgot?

Since the Eagles season ended 2 weeks ago, a lot of Philly fans are skipping right over the Flyers. "Oh, I can't wait til March;' "Pitchers and Catchers report in 3 weeks." I'm anxious to see the Phillies again my self, BUT a lot of Philly fans are seemingly skipping right over the Flyers. Who I might add, is atop the Eastern Conference, and leading the Atlantic Division with 3 games in hand to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Philadelphia Flyers have been one of the top teams since their installment in 1967 and one of the most consistent of the big 4 in Philly. But despite being one of the most consistent Philly sports teams they still get shunned away and over looked. Then again, most of hockey does, until playoff times.

Maybe I shouldn't be worried about it, hey no bandwagon fans right? I mean the Phillies have never been THIS popular up until their World Series win in 2008. Let's take a look at some stats and we'll evaluate this a bit further.

Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies have, for the better part of their existence been the red-headed stepchild of the MLB, often considered the "laughing stock" of Major League Baseball (I know we are all thankful that, that has changed in the last 4 to 5 years). But did you know Philadelphia had 2 MLB Teams up until 1955? The Phillies in the National League, and the Athletics (est. 1901) in the American League until 1955.

The Athletics where Philadelphia's most successful franchise to date. Having 2 dynastys in their span in Philly. The A’s s where one of the dominant teams out of the American League, winning the A.L. pennant nine times (1902, 1905, 1910, 1911, 1913 and 1914, 1929-1931), and winning the World Series in 1910, 1911 and 1913, 1929, and 1930). Obviously you see two different eras of dominance. They also won over 100 games in 1910 and 1911, 99 games in 1914, and 107 games in 1931. After their last World Series win in 1931, the team went from dominant, mediocre, to bottom feeder and later relocated to Kansas City in 1955, (after a few more relocations they set tent up in Oakland, where the team plays today.)

Back to the Phillies now, they have been in existence since 1883 (originally known as the Quakers). Making them the first athletic child of the city of brotherly love. They have 2 World Series Championships, 7 N.L. Pennants, and 10 Division Titles. But, it wasn't until around the early to mid 1940s that Philly showed that love as most of it went to the Athletics, even though the Athletics where just as bad if not worse then the Phillies. The Phillies where a decent team in the late 1800s, but failed to make it to the playoffs. The Athletics took their wind of the Phillies sails even more when Connie Mack, Nap Lajoie and Elmer Flick jumped to the A's. Then the loss of, big time star, Ed Delahanty, to another American League team resulted in the Phillies being bottom feeders of the league, and wouldn't contend for a playoff spot until the 1913, which would be the closest the 2 Philly ball teams would come to playing each other in the World Series.

After finishing 2nd to the New York Giants, and falling to 6th in the league in 1914, the Phillies came back in 1915 going to the World Series for the first time (Lost to the Boston Red Sox in 5 games).

After being purchased by a new owner (William Cox) in 148, a spark in attendance occoured over the next few years. The Phillies would return back to the Postseason in 1950, and facing the New York Yankees in the World Series. The Phillies were swept in 4 games.

The Phillies sunk back down into the bottom of the league until the 1970s where they made the postseason 3 consecutive years (1976 to 1978) but lost in the NL Championship Series all 3 times before going all the way and winning their first World Series in 1980. The team would then return to the playoffs in 1981, facing the Montreal Expos in the NL Divisional Series, loosing 3-1. They would again return to the World Series 2 years later, in 1983, but lost to the Baltimore Orioles 4-1. 10 years pass before the Phillies would have a taste at a playoff game again, this time it was 1993, going to the World Series loosing to the Toronto Blue Jays. Fast forward to the present day, and since 2003 the Phils have arguably enjoyed the best success in team history, including 4 straight NL Division Titles, 3 straight NLDS series wins, and 2 World Series appearances in 3 years.

# of Seasons Active: 177 Playoff Appearances: 13 Division Titles: 10 NL Pennants: 7 World Series Wins: 2,

Philadelphia Eagles

Established in 1933, the Birds came to town when the Frankford Yellow Jackets went bankrupt in 1931. The Eagles joined the NFL with the Pittsburgh Stealers and Cleavland Reds (folded) as expansion teams. The Eagles played in 3 different stadiums in the span of less than 10 years, Baker Bowl (1933-1935), Municipal Stadium (1936-1939; 1941), Shibe Park/Connie Mack Stadium (1940;1942-1957) and struggled to fill the seats (often being 5 to 10,000 short of capacity at Shibe Park).

The Eagles struggled in the first decade as a franchise in the NFL having consecutive loosing seasons through the 30's and early 40's. World War II made things worse and led to the Eagles and Steelers merging for the 1943 season. Both teams had incomplete rosters and merged into one team, forming the "Phil-Pitt Eagles," the team was renamed the "Steagles." The renamed team only lasted one year (and was never meant to be permanent), and at the end of the season, the teams went back to their familiar names, Eagles, and Steelers.

Times changed in the mid 40's when the team started to become more successful, starting with a 7-1-2 record after the team Philly/Pitts. merger. They earned a trip to 3 consecutive NFL Championship games, 2 of which they won in 1948, and 1949. In 1948 the Eagles beat the Chicago Cardinals in the blizzard (see Philly the Eagles CAN PLAY AND WIN in a blizzard!), 7-0. In 1949 they faced the Los Angeles Rams beating them 14-0, these tw0 shutouts make the Eagles as the only NFL team ever to win back-to-back championships with a shutout.

The Eagles will go on to win the last NFL Championship game in 1960, this would also be their League championship. This win is considered an epic win as the 1960 Eagles where the only team to beat coach Vince Lombardi & his Green Bay Packers in the playoffs. This also would prove big as this was the Eagles last playoff appearance for almost 2 decades (18 years) until they returned to the playoffs in 1978 but lost to the Atlanta Falcons 14-13.

They would appear in the playoffs 3x in a row after 1978, which included a trip to Superbowl XV. The Eagles faced the Oakland Raiders in New Orleans, and went in as the team to beat, but Oakland won the game with a score of 27-10.

After the 1981 playoffs the Eagles didn't see the playoffs again until 1988 and earned a trip to the playoffs for 3 consecutive years. All resulted in an early exit in the first round. They would miss the playoffs in 1991, before coming back in 1992, 1995, and 1996.

The Eagles have had arguably the best teams in team history in the new millennium. Earning postseason trips 10 out of 11 seasons, including a team high 5 consecutive years (2000-2004). After 3 seasons of being 1 game shy of advancing to the big game, they earned their second Superbowl berth in 2004 (Superbowl XXXIX) facing the New England Patriots. The Eagles would lose the game by 3 points (24-21), and once again Philly is snubbed of a Super Bowl Championship. After Superbowl XXXIX, fans would see the Eagles place a playoff berth 4 out of 6 seasons, but the Eagles would only get as high as the Conference Finals (2008).

# of Seasons active: 77: NFL Championships: 3 Playoff Appearances: 23
Division Championships: 11 Conference Championships: 3 Title Game Appearances (NFL Championship Game + Superbowl : 5)

sources: Sports Encyclopedia-Eagles

Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers are Philly's 2nd NHL team. The first team NHL team to play in Philly where the Quakers, but they only lasted 1 year with a 4-36-4 record. The team was disbanded at the end of the season, although talks where in place to bring them
back to Pittsburgh, the team never played again.

The Flyers came along in the 1967 NHL Expansion draft along with 5 other teams (St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Oakland Seals, L.A. Kings, Minnesota North Stars) to boost the NHL to a 12 team league.

ide note: Oakland was relocated to Cleavland in '76, eventually merged with the North Stars in '78. A final move of the franchise was later created when the North Stars moved south to Dallas, TX, becoming the Dallas Stars in 1993).

The Flyers were an immediate success in the NHL, they won their with a record of 31-32-11 in their first season. With top players selected in the expansion draft and a purchasing of the Quebec Aces, as the Flyers minor league affilite, they had a young talented team. This included the likes of Bernie Parent, Doug Favell, Ed Van Impe, Joe Watson, Lou Angotti, Gary Dornhoefer. They won the division (West aka the expansion division) at 73 points making it to the playoffs in their first season. Unfortunately they were ousted in the first round by the St. Louis Blues in 5 games (4-1).

After the inaugural season, Lou Angotti left the team, and Ed Van Impe was replaced as captain of the Flyers. The Flyers would make the payoffs again in their second year, finishing 3rd in the division but where again defeated by the Blues, this time in 4 games. The Flyers would fail to make the playoffs the following year finishing 5th in the division. Ed Snider was tired of team being out-toughed, and after the 1969 season, he would begin to create something that Philly fans loved and opposing teams feared.

Snider wanted the team to become tougher. The team began to acquire tough skillful players, first taking a chance on drafting a 19 year old kid from Flin-Flon, Mantobia named Bobby Clarke (17th overall), and also drafting Dave Shultz (52nd overall). Later the team drafted tough guys like Bob "The Hound" Kelly, Don "Big and Bird" Salaski. Along with the Flyers other tough skilled players, like Watson, Dornhoefer, Bill Clement and with the scoring touches of Clarke, Bill Barber, and Reggie Leach
became the Broadstreet Bullies.

This style of rough and tough antics became a strong point for the Flyers, they put fear into their opponents with fighting and intimidation. This turned into success on and off the ice, Philly embraced the Flyers new style and the team themselves saw new success as a young team. In 1973-1974 season they proved that, as they became the first expansion team to beat an Original 6 team (NY Rangers) in a playoff series. After going all 7 games, and winning game 7 the Flyers earned their first berth to the Stanley Cup Final, facing the Bobby Orr and the Boston Bruins. 6 Games later Philly had their first Stanley Cup. A year later the Flyers would repeat as Cup Champions beating the Buffalo Sabers 4-2.

The team would go back to the Final in 1976, but where swept in 4 games by the Montreal Canadiens. The team would make it to the playoffs 13 straight seasons, appearing in the Stanley Cup Final of 1981, 1985, and 1987.

The roughest times of the team where after the 1986-1987, where they missed the playoffs 6 straight seasons. They finished 5th or last (6th) in those 6 years. The team would come out of their "dark ages" and return to the Conference Finals in 1995, loosing out to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the New Jersey Devils, in 6 games.

They would go back to the Cup Finals in 1997, but where swept in 4 games by the Detroit Red Wings. The Flyers would not miss the playoffs again (excluding the 2004-2005 lockout) until the dismal 2006-2007 season.

The team rebounded the very next year, with coaching and managerial coaching as well as several key trades, they made it all the way to the Conference Finals loosing to Pittsburgh 4-1. As new GM Paul Holmgren continued to make several trades and acquisitions, as well as our young top talent grooming into being on the roster, the Flyers started to become a serious contender for years to come. From the magical run to the Cup Final in 2010, to the dominance fans have seen thus far in the 2010-2011 season.

# Of Seasons Active: 44 Championships won: 2 Playoff Appearances: 35 Division Championships: 15 Conference Championships: 8

sources: FlyersHistory Flyers-Official

So as you can see the Flyers have been the more dominant team in Philly over the course of their existance, representing Philly's true work ethic, hard working, and blue collar. You may go as far in saying, they helped establish the blue collar work ethic for all the major sports in Philly. The top 3 Philly teams are doing great, we are probably the second best (first in fan passion) sports city in the USA, 2nd to only Boston. So do me a favor, take a look at this team, we are witnessing something great here on the ice in Philly, so respect them also.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Best Of 2010 -Philly Sports.

My belated Top Of 2010 Lists, yea I know I am ubber late, but I can't let this go. So between now and Sunday, I will be counting down my best of 2010. Starting with The Best Of Philly Sports Of 2010. PS: You will not find the 76ers on my list, sorry to disappoint.

1) Flyers come from behind victory (down 3-0 in series, and 3-0 in the game) against the Bruins, in Boston, to advance to Eastern Conference Finals (3rd team ever to ever come back from a 3-0 deficit)

2) Miracle At Meadowlands III - nuff said

3) Flyers advance to the Cup Final for their first time in over a decade (13 years)

4)Cliff Lee returns to Philly, to become the 4th Ace of the Phillies. Lee took less money from the Phillies over the Yankees. They pitching rotation is now dubbed "The Phanastic Phour"

5) Michahel Leighton becomes the first Flyers goalie to record 3 shutouts in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Now Leighton has done something no other goaltender has done in the history of the Flyers and that's record three shutouts in a single playoff series. Not even Ron Hextall, Pelle Lindbergh, or the great Bernie Parent could accomplish that feat. When he stopped all 17 shots against the Canadiens on Saturday he became just the 13th goalie in NHL history to record three shutouts in a playoff series.
Michael Leighton Article

6) Flyers advance to the 2010 SCP with a shootout victory over the Rangers

7) Eagles crush Redskins 59-28 (multiple NFL records accomplished here)

8) Roy Halladay's No-Hitter in the MLB Playoffs

9) Shane Victorino's grand slam helps the Phils rally over (and stomp) to beat big time rivals - NewYork Mets, 11-5. (I witnessed this game)

Shane Victorino's 2 out Grand Slam

10) Vick becomes the starting QB over Kevin Kolb in Week 3 of the Eagles 2010 Season (I considered this shocking although I wanted it to happen)

Eagles coach Andy Reid stunned the Eagles' fan base and captured the nation's attention in September by deciding to stay with Vick as his permanent starting quarterback for the 2010 season after Vick stepped in for the injured Kevin Kolb and did such a spectacular job with the offense in leading the Eagles to a win over Detroit.

11) Roy Halladay signs with the Phillies

12) Philadelphia Union's first home win(s) in their inaugural season (@ The Linc vs DC United 3-2) First Win in their new home stadium (@PPL Park vs Seattle Sounders FC 3-1)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

History Of Ice Hockey in Philadelphia - Part 5

Philadelphia Rockets (1942)

1942. After the Rangers ended their affiliation with the Ramblers in 1941, team management decided to give them a new name. The team was renamed the Philadelphia Rockets for the 1941-1942 season.

Unfortunately things didn't go much better, than the year before, as the Rockets went 11-41-4 that season, generating only 26 points. After finishing dead last, once again, in their division the team folded and Philadelphia was left without a Pro Hockey team until the Rockets reemerged in the AHL in 1946.

1946-1949. The Rockets came back to the AHL for their second stint in 1946, unfortunately that season didn't go no better than before. Once again, Philadelphia set a loosing record in pro hockey that still stands today. The Rockets went 5-52-7 with a .133 winning percentage, that was actually lower than the 1930-1931 Quakers winning percentage of .136. Amazingly this record still stands today.

Ironically Philadelphia's first AHL scoring champion came in that year. After playing 125 games with the Black Hawks and scoring only 21 goals prior to the war years, Phil Hergesheimer, who doubled as a player and coach, scored 48 goals, and 44 assists that year in 64 games. This nearly accounted for half of the goals the Rockets scored that year, becoming the AHL's leading scorer. Hergehgeimer's success paid off as he was the AHL's starting Right Wing All-Star. But the Rockets gave up a remarkable 400 goals that season, which averages out to around 6.25 goals per game!The next season proved the Rockets where much better, proving their worthiness in the AHL. With former Hershey Bears head coach, and former Philadelphia Quaker, Wally Kilrea behind the bench the team improved to a 22-41-5 record.

Hergehgeimer remained on the team, as a player, and earned another All-Star team berth, but this time he wasn't on the starting line. He would repeat this in the following season, 1948-1949, also. Also earning a spot in the AHL's All-Star Game for Philadelphia was defensemen Eddie Bush. Another spot light that season was Wally Stefaniew, who lead the league in assists with 72.

But the Rockets slipped back to a 15-48-5 in the 1948-1949 season. Philadelphia's second AHL franchise never got a chance to prove their worthiness again as they relocated to Cincinnati, Ohio after the 1948-1949 season, becoming the Cincinnati Mohawks. All in all the Rockets won a mere 42 games out of 200 they played in their second stint in the AHL, that's not even a fourth of the total games played. Their three year totals where 42-141-17.

Philadelphia Falcons (1942-1946; 1951)

The Falcons remained Philadelphia's only hockey team for the next four seasons after the Rockets folded. The Falcons played in the Eastern Amateur Hockey League. After folding in 1946, they reemerged in 1951, but lasted only one season. They had a horrible record of 8-17-0 and didn't even last til the end of the season, as the team was disbanded in mid-December because of poor attendance. The last game was played on December 15 in front of 1,500 fans. The Falcons lost to the Johnstown Jets 9-3. After the news that the team would be disband, they would still play their final two games, but that was later canceled so that the players could return to their hometown teams.

This was allowed so that the players wouldn't violating the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association ruling on eligibility (if a member played in the United States after December 15 and his team disbanded, he was not eligible to return to his hometown team).

The city of Philadelphia would have no pro hockey team until a second Ramblers team was established in 1955.

Philadelphia Ramblers (1955-1964)

The Philadelphia Ramblers where back in Philadelphia, this time under the Eastern Hockey League, during the mid 50s and early 60s, the Ramblers where Philly's only pro hockey team.

The Ramblers offered Philly a taste of ice hockey for 9 seasons, 1955-1964. After the 1963-1964 season, the team moved across the Delaware, to Cherry Hill, New Jersey. They were renamed the Jersey Devils (not to be confused with the NHL's New Jersey Devils, who came along in 1982). Some notable players who played for the red sweater Ramblers include Ted Harris. Harris would win multiple Calder Cups with Springfield and Cleveland and multiple Stanley Cup titles with Montreal and Philadelphia in his playing career. Ironically, he ended up coming back to Philadelphia almost twenty years later where he won his 10th championship, playing for the Flyers in 1975.

Other notables include Boston netminder, Ross Brooks; EHL badboy, John Brophy, who went on to coach the Maple Leafs for 3 seasons, 1986-1989; Al Fontana; "Obie" O'Brien, who went on to be a longtime AHL defensemen with the Hershey Bears. The Ramblers longest serving player was Reggie Meserve, who first came over from the Washington Lions mid-season in 1955, playing through all 9 seasons in Philadelphia, and 5 more seasons when the team moved to New Jersey. Meserve hung up his skates in 1969.

There where a few future Flyers who came out of the Ramblers system after the team moved to New Jersey. Those players include: Bobby Taylor, future back-up of Bernie Parent; Dick Sarrazin, who played for the Flyers in the late 60s and early 70s; Rosaire Paiement, who played for the Flyers and the Vancouver Canucks in the 70s, and Vic Stasiuk, who coached Jersey from 1966-1968, became the Flyers 2nd Head Coach.

***Credits for the information gathered on this blog goes to,, Logos and Photos are copyrighted to their respected owenrs. All information was collected for recreational use only. This is NOT an attempt to claim this information gathered as my own. All information belongs to the respected owners.***

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Broad Street Rundown - 1/12/08

Doesn't it feel good to be on top right now? Wait, you don't know what I am talking about? The Flyers are solely in first place in the Atlantic. The Devils and Rangers each have been struggling the past couple games, and that's helped keep the Flyers in first. Of the top three in the Atlantic we have the best record, with a 5-2-3. Amazing how we've only lost in regulation three times from December til now.

Flyers strike back on the "Ninjury."

What is the "Ninjury" It's the "Injury Ninja." A fictional character us Flyer fans at the THE NHL ARENA came up with. He strikes injury with so much skill, and quickness, often us fans don't know a player has been injured until after the game, or day after the game. He's been steady at it since the start of the Flyers road trip, luckily, hopefully, we've seen the worst of him as no new injuries have come up, aside from Josh Gratton.

It is pleasing to the eye, to see our top guys returning from injury. Scottie Upshall is back and has been very good since his comeback. Biron is back after a strong battle with a virus that kept him out of action for the better part of two weeks. Lupul has recovered faster than Stevens and "Homer" originally thought, and is back in the line up instead of missing 4 to 6 weeks as originally thought. Vaananen is likely to comeback tonight, as well as Niitty, serving as Biron's back up. Briere is going to test his groin with the Phantoms for two games. He is the second Flyers player this year (Randy Jones was the first) to be on a conditioning assignment with the Phantoms. Hopefully management sees' this and thinks "The Phantoms should stay in, or close to Philly because of this reason."

The key thing down the stretch is to have our top guys stay healthy. Hopefully that'll stay true, these guys are our Broad Street Bullies, have to play tough and stay strong.

Phantoms & Conditioning Assignments

How cool would it be to have the Phantoms at the Wack along with the Flyers? This can be a great marketing scheme. Do some double headers on the weekends, maybe once or twice a month. Give out a discounted ticket for the double header. So instead of paying $30 and $60 for a ticket have them at $75 as a bundle to see the Phantoms and then the Flyers. Contacting Ed Snider.....

Either way I hope the Phantoms stay in Philadelphia or in my case, be relocated to Wilmington, DE. But it's something special to have your own farm team play right next door, and/or even in the same town.

Hot Streaks

While the Flyers are having a great couple months, it's not without the help from Jeff Carter, Marty Biron, and Mike Richards.

All have been on their game, as well as the rest of team. Hey even guys like Andrew Alberts has gotten a goal, finally ending his league leading scoring drought. Jeff Carter is leading the NHL with 29 goals and Mike Richards has posted a point in 10 of his last 12 games. Marty Biron has been great between the post, picking up some extra workload with Niitty being out with his groin strain. He has gone 7-1-2 in his last 10 starts with a 2.56 GAA, and a .919 sv%. He's only let 9 goals in, in his last 5 games, including no more than 2 in the last three.

Scottie Upshall has 5 points in his last 5 games, including a goal and an assist against Minnesota last Thursday. Not to mention being a physical presence each shift he takes. Speaking of that game, I have photos from that game on my photobucket.

Before I leave you, I would like to say congrats Jeff Carter for representing the Flyers in the All-Star game this year. Even though my view on the whole voting process is bias, that will be discussed at a later time.

That about does it, if you have not noticed yet, I have put up an Email Subscriber, so you can easily get my blog updates in your email! Keep a look out for more posts by me! More Philadelphia Hockey History, and as always.....Good Fight Good Night.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

History Of Ice Hockey in Philadelphia - Part 4

Philadelphia Ramblers (1935-1941)

Before the start of the 1935 season the Philadelphia Arrows changed their name to the Ramblers, after becoming the New York Ranger's top minor affiliate. The Philadelphia Ramblers would last until the 1941 season, playing 6 seasons under the name.

After the 1934 season, things looked bright for the new Ramblers for the 1934-1935 season, as they where, again, the top dominate club in the Can-Am League. They won the regular season championship and then defeated the Providence Reds on the road, 1-0, to win the series 3-1, and take home the Frank Fontaine Cup. This became Philadelphia's first pro hockey championship.

After the 1935 season, the International Hockey League (IHL) merged with the Canadian-American Hockey League (CAHL). After years of being rival leagues, both of the leagues' franchises had shrunk down to just four teams a piece. In order to protect the healthiness of the remaining hockey clubs, the two leagues merged for the 1935-1936 season, becoming the I-AHL (International-American Hockey League). This became known as the present days' American Hockey League.

As one team dropped out, the Buffalo Bison, the league had only seven teams for the next two years. The Ramblers, once again, showed they where a dominate force becoming the top team of the I-AHL, finishing with a 26-14-8 record. The next year, they once again had a winning season of a 31-18-5 record.

A new team surfaced for the 1938-1939 season, filling the void of the Buffalo Bison. This brought the new league back to 8 franchises. The team was the Hershey Bears. With the Bears now in the league, this ultimately created the Philadelphia-Hershey rivalry. The first game was just as intense as it is today, with the Bears being victorious at home, beating the Ramblers 3-1. When the two met in Philly two weeks later, the Ramblers where seeking revenge, as the Bears where still the only team to have beat the powerful 'Blueshirts.' At the time the Ramblers where 8-1-0, they scored 6 times to bring their goal total to 60 goals in just 10 games, but the Hershey faithful scored 9 times to give Philadelphia their second loss of the season.

The battles lasted all through the regular season and the playoffs. After the Ramblers finally won the 4th match up, 4-1, the two rivals faced off 2 more times. This match up was a home and home series, and decided who would have the league's best overall record. The two split that series, with the home team winning in each game. With that win, the Ramblers secured home ice advantage for the playoffs.

As the two teams met in the playoffs, the Bears traveled to Philadelphia for game 1 of the series, which went to the Ramblers. The score was 6-3, with rookie forward, Alf Pike, scoring a hat trick. The next game, the Bears evened the series, 1 game a piece, after the Bears beat back up goalie, Havery Teno, 3-2 in Hershey. Teno replaced the Ramblers #1 goalie, after The Ramblers would have their #1 goalie play just 1 more game in that series as Bert Gardiner was recalled from the Rangers to sub for the injured Dave Kerr. Hershey would survive game 4, and force game 5 in Philadelphia, where this time, Teno shutout the Bears, helping the Ramblers advance to the Calder Cup finals defeating the Bears 1-0. The Ramblers would be upset by the Cleavland Barons 3 game to 1.

After 1939, the Ramblers did not see much success, with players gaining spots on the Rangers roster, and with war becoming bigger, the Ramblers lasted two more NHL seasons before being renamed in 1941.

Notable players include Ron Hextall's grandfather, Bryan Hextall (top left), played on the Ramblers in the 1937 season. Hextall went on to be a forward in the NHL with the New York Rangers, and was a key player for the Rangers winning the Stanley Cup in 1940. Hextall scored the winning goal for the Rangers to win their third Stanley Cup. Other notables of Bryan Hextall include being the NHL scoring leader in 1940 + 1941, winning the Art Ross Trophy in 1942, and being inducted in the Hockey Hall Of Fame in 1969. Other notable players to play as Rambler where Dave Kerr, Bert Gardinerand Larry Molyneux (above), and Clint Smith (left[Photo creidt HHOF archives])

**Credits for the information gathered on thus blog goes to, and All information was collected for recreational use only. This is NOT an attempt to claim this information gathered as my own. All information and photos belongs to the respected owners.***

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Winter Classic Wrap-Up

Wow! Hard to believe it's 2009 already, time has flown by. Amazing isn't it?

Ahh, Wrigley Field, one of baseball's most historic ballparks, and home to the Chicago Cubs. It's one of baseball's most beloved fields that Cubs fans gather to watch some baseball, ski jumping, and hockey. Wait? Did I just say ski Well you can read about the ski jumping here, and I'll wrap up the hockey part.

The Winter Classic has come and gone, and I must say, this was about 2 times as better than it was last year. Last year the ice sucked, there was one good hit, and was miserable conditions. Now not to take away from last year, because it was neat seeing the snow fall while the game was going on, and it was the ending the NHL wanted, Sydney Crosby scoring the game winner in a shootout. Great for hockey TV.

This year was a total different story. I wished for two things: A close, high scoring game and a Blackhawks win, well I got one outta the two. After the first period I thought the young Blackhawks were going to win this thing, I expected Detroit to come back and maybe tie it up but WOW 5 unanswered goals. But they are the defending Stanley Cup champions, and with a deep talented team like that, they know how to come back big.

I loved the intensity of the game, you couldn't get a better story plot than this...2 of the NHL's most prestigious sports cities...2 of the NHL's most legendary teams, one is the defending Stanley Cup Champions, and the other is a young rising team, who's brought a hockey city back to life. Oh, did I mention they are heated rivals also?

Brent Seabrook's hit on Dan Cleary was friggin the best hit of the year, if you ask me, at least this far. I mean it was textbook, videogame/movie style "act," Seabrook lines him up, and just sends Cleary flying into the Blackhawks bench, having him land upside down. Then Ben Eager's sweet battle along the boards, the fake to go to the right side of the net, spins around and get's Conkin's glove hand. Pretty cool. I loved Eager, and Sharp while they where in Philly, and glad they are succeeding in Chicago. and how about Kris Versteeg's beautiful backhand pass to Martin Havlat to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead?

Let's not forget about some of them Detroit goals, I mean hey even though I can be biased because it is my blog, I won't be. How about when Pavel Datsyuk split the Chicago defense, and their goalie, Cristobal Huet, to give the Wings the go ahead goal in the second? Then 16 seconds after Brian Rafalski scored to make it 5-3, Brett Lebda scores a wicked wrister that went in so quick, that the officials waived it off, then upon a lenghty video review, after video clearly showed the puck going under the cross bar and hitting the net. That gave Detriot 5 straight goals, to take a 6-3 lead.

I am still amazed on how the Detroit Cougers....I mean Red Wings, lol (hey gotta love the heritage jerseys), stormed back to win 6-4. The Blackhawks had at least 3 goals that didn't go in. Like the one where it could have went in and been 4-1. Ty Conklin made the save but lost track of the puck as it dribbled behind his pads, luckily for Detroit they had more than one goalie on the ice on the ice at the time, as it was cleared away by a Detroit defensemen. How about that 1 on 2, shredding the defense, Patrick Sharp did in the third? I think it was Sharp....As you can tell I'm still stoked with this game.

It's also amazing that these two franchises have played 701 games against each other. This is a league record, no 2 team have ever played that amount of games against each other.

And how about the altered version of Take Me Out to the Ballgame?

Take me out to the Hockey Game
Take me out with the crowds;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks,
I don't care if I never get back.
Let me root, root, root for the Blackhawks,
If they don't win, it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three pucks, you're out,
At the old hockey game!

I would have altered it a bit more, replacing "1, 2, 3 pucks you're out with 1, 2, 3 pucks it's a hat trick" but hey I'm no song writer, lol.

Mr Bettman doesn't have a location for the next Winter Classic. I say it should be the Rangers and Flyers, IF the Flyers host, they should wear their third jerseys, and New York should wear the "New York Americans" jersey...that'd be cool, but the Americans jerseys won't happen. Maybe the Flyers could wear replicas of their 70's style white jersey, that'd be bad ass, and an excuse for me to get another Flyers jersey.

Maybe Bettman should limit the games to 1 goalie per Winter Classic, also (lol) ? Ty Conklin has played in all three, with the Oilers, Penguins and now the Red Wings. Now it's most likely just coincidental, but if he goes to another team next year and they are apart of the 2010 Winter Classic, something is fishy.

There was at least one Flyers fan, attending the Classic, check his interview out:

Well, I hope you enjoyed the Winter Classic as much as I did. It's a great way to celebrate the heritage, the grass roots of hockey, as well as promote the NHL. Can the ratings top the 2008 Classic?

Good Night, Good Hockey!