Giroux makes unexpected return, but it’s not enough to end Flyers’ troubles – or prevent a Ron Hextall rant

Adam Proteau
Claude Giroux (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

When Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux was seen entering Madison Square Garden Wednesday before his team’s game against the New York Rangers, he was in a walking boot – so it was quite the shocker when the team announced Giroux would be playing the Blueshirts that night. But unfortunately for Flyers fans, neither Giroux’s presence nor a stellar showing from goalie Steve Mason would be enough to propel them to victory. Instead, they got a nasty tongue-lashing from GM Ron Hextall after their 2-0 loss.

You can see where Hextall’s frustration comes from: this was his team’s third straight loss and fifth defeat in their past 10 games. His Flyers now sit 13th in the Eastern Conference and sixth in the Metropolitan Division, just a single point ahead of the Hurricanes and three points ahead of the last-place Blue Jackets. And he also saw defenseman Michael Del Zotto – one of the few bright spots for a franchise that’s faced a number of physical ailments ready this season – sidelined with a lower-body
injury
following a collision with Rangers blueliner Dan Girardi.

So although it was heartening in some ways to see Giroux tough it out after injuring himself in practice Monday, it also could speak to the desperation running through the Flyers at the moment. Read more

Hockey’s 10 richest contracts, in honor of Giancarlo Stanton’s monster MLB deal

Shea Weber

On Monday, Major League Baseball’s Giancarlo Stanton signed the richest contract in North American sports history. At 13-years and $325 million, the Miami Marlins outfielder stands to make more money than the average Canadian or American could earn in one hundred lifetimes.

In fact, here’s how it breaks down. Those earning the average 2014 income in Canada (USD$42,719) and USA ($51,371) would have to spend 7,608 and 6,327 years in the workforce, respectively, in order to match Stanton’s monster deal. Something tells me that might be unattainable.

There was a time – around the formation of the World Hockey Association – when Bobby Hull and the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets made waves with a $1 million dollar signing bonus. And in 1998-99, Sergei Fedorov made $14.5 million, the most ever at the time, which was more than the entire Nashville Predators roster made – combined. The days of both these contracts are long gone. These are the most lucrative contracts in the history of the NHL, all coming during the salary cap era. Read more

Playing past their prime didn’t hurt Forsberg, Modano & Hasek – & it won’t hurt Brodeur’s legacy either

Martin Brodeur (Getty Images)

When I look at the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014, the first thing I think of is the eye-popping talent and character of the players and people. The second thing that comes to mind, oddly enough, is Martin Brodeur.

Because as the former Devils goalie floats in limbo these days, not employed by any team but not ready to say he’s retired, I hear some say he’s doing himself a disservice by not realizing what the lack of job offers is telling him, and suggest Brodeur should call a press conference as soon as possible to put his 21-season career to bed. But when you look at the careers of this year’s HHOF inductees, it becomes clear even the best of the best can’t help but play past their best due date. Guys like Red Wings icon (and 2015 lock Hall-of-Famer) Nicklas Lidstrom or Canadiens great Ken Dryden, who retire before a precipitous decline in effectiveness sets in, are the exception. The majority of the elite – including 2014 honorees Peter Forsberg and Mike Modano, and to a lesser degree, Dominik Hasek and Rob Blake – did not leave the sport at their peak. Read more

Philadelphia Flyers butcher Jingle Bells for your enjoyment in hilarious outtakes

Jared Clinton
Del Zotto Jingle Bells

Let’s just get this out of the way: Jakub Voracek is a terrible singer. Good at hockey, terrible singer. But, because of that, this video of the Flyers taking a hammer to holiday classic ‘Jingle Bells’ is so much better.

For the gift-giving season, the Flyers have put together some special packages for fans. And to make the hard sell, Philadelphia enlisted in some vocal magic from their roster. Take a listen: Read more

An Oral History of the Broad Street Bully-era Philadelphia Flyers

Adam Proteau
Flyers players (left-right): Jimmy Watson, Dave Hoyda, Bobby Clarke, Bob Kelly, Bill Barber and Reggie Leach; In rear: Flyers coach Fred Shero. (Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

WITH MATT LARKIN

The Philadelphia Flyers of the 1970s are renowned as the most fearsome unit ever to skate on an NHL sheet of ice. Winners of two Stanley Cups (1973-74 and 1974-75), they made headlines and enemies at every turn thanks to an aggressive style of play and memorable characters including their leader and best player, Bobby Clarke, their quiet-but-brilliant coach Fred ‘The Fog’ Shero and tough guys Dave ‘The Hammer’ Schultz, Andre ‘Moose’ Dupont and Bob ‘Hound Dog’ Kelly. The Hockey News spoke to a number of key members of the Broad Street Bullies (named for the street on which the Flyers have played through their existence) to get their perspective on the truth behind the tremble in their opponents’ knees:

After joining the league in the initial expansion of 1967, the franchise, owned by local businessman Ed Snider, made the playoffs in each of its first two years. In both post-season tournaments, however, they ran into a St. Louis Blues team that was bigger, stronger and nastier than them – and they lost both times. But it was the way the Flyers lost – bashed-up and pushed around – that left a bitter taste in the mouth of the man bankrolling the operation. And as Snider subsequently explained to GM Keith Allen, that was the impetus for change in Philadelphia.

ED SNIDER, OWNER: We had a bunch of little French-Canadian players, Andre Lacroix, Jean-Guy Gendron, and so forth. And the Plager brothers and Noel Picard terrorized us in Game 7 of our first playoff. That was one of the worst brawls I had ever seen. Some of our guys went down in a bloody heap after being suckerpunched. I looked at all this, and I couldn’t stand it. Then the next year we weren’t in the playoffs, but during the season we were being manhandled. So I said to Keith, “Look, we’re an expansion team, we may not be able to skate, we may not have great players, but we can go out and get the toughest son-of-a-bitches in the world, and I don’t want to see our team ever get beat up again. I don’t give a goddamn about this having one policeman. Let’s have five or six.” And that’s the beginning of the Broad Street Bullies. That was our modus operandi. We didn’t get beat up anymore. I didn’t invent fighting in hockey, and I don’t necessarily love it. I’m just saying I don’t want anybody to kick the s— out of a Flyer ever again. Read more

Nathan MacKinnon receives boarding major for shove on Luke Schenn

Jared Clinton
mackinnon

It’s hard to imagine there was a time this season when questionable hits were few and far between. On an almost nightly basis it seems there’s a new hit to discuss, and Saturday night was no different.

During Saturday’s tilt between the Colorado Avalanche and Philadelphia Flyers, Avs center Nathan MacKinnon delivered a shove to the back of Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn, resulting in a five minute major for boarding: Read more

From Miller to Malkin, the best of the early season streaks

Winnipeg's Ondrej Pavelec (Photo by Lance Thomson/NHLI via Getty Images)

Under new coach Bill Peters, the Hurricanes stumbled out of the gate and lost their first nine games before finally getting Peters his first NHL win. Just when they seemed poised for that first victory, they’d have it snatched out from under their feet. It wasn’t great to watch.

But there are some of the best streaks. This is not a list of futility, but rather a list of incredible stretches from the first month of the 2014-15 season: Read more