With it being the Philadelphia Flyers 50th anniversary season, they have commemorated various players and events that have happened in Flyers history at some point throughout every game played this season. Last night the Flyers played their long time rivals the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center in a losing effort 4-0. It wasn’t the los itself, but how they lost the game that made it seem like the Broad Street Bullies played, as opposed to the modern day Flyers.
During the first period of the game, the Flyers committed 29 penalty minutes. Two fighting majors were given to Nick Cousins and Dale Weise in the first period alone. The Flyers committed 50 penalty minutes for the game in total. This is how the New Jersey Devils won last night. They got into the Flyers heads who went on to commit penalties under a more disciplined regime in Dave Hakstol. According to Hockeyfights.com, the Flyers only had 10 fights this season in 35 games coming into the game against the Devils. Gone but never forgotten are the days of the Broad Street Bullies, as we enter the more skilled and faster Flyers due to the revolutionizing changes in the game.
The Broad Street Bullies era began in 1972 and continued until 1979. Jack Chevalier and Pete Cafone were two beat writers for the Philadelphia Bulletin, and they coined the term “Broad Street Bullies” in reference to the Philadelphia Flyers. The term has long withstood and it is a bright spot in the Flyers franchise history. The nickname was given to them on January 6, 1972 according to the Philadelphia Bulletin.
During a tilt between the Flyers and St. Louis Blues on that day in Flyers history, a fight ensued when Flyers goaltender Doug Favell skated to center ice after a player of the St. Louis Blues, Gary Sabourin. Favell was restrained by fellow teammates so no fight took place then. As Favell skated away towards the Blues bench he began to taunt them. A bench penalty ensued for the Blues that was given to them as head coach Al Arbour was challenging a minor bench penalty. A referee gave the Blues a penalty as Al Arbour was protesting a faceoff that transpired earlier on a play that was made. Al Arbour began to protest the penalty by trying to run down the referee as he exited the ice. Throughout this process a fan poured some beer on Arbour as he proclaims. This started a chain of events that lead to some Blues players entering the stands and fighting with some fans. Philadelphia Police were called and took order of the arena shortly thereafter.
After the fights on that day on January 6, 1972 owner and founder Ed Snider then wanted the likes of Ed Van Impe, Rick Macleish, and Dave “The Hammer” Schultz, to maintain order for his star players like Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber, and Gary Dornhoefer. He did not want the Flyers to be push overs. It must have worked because in 1973-1974 the Flyers won the franchises first Stanley Cup. In 1974-1975 the Flyers won back to back Stanley Cups. Forever they will live, the Broad Street Bullies.
Last night was a perfect tribute to the Broad Street Bullies era. Although, the game has revolutionized itself by getting faster and more skilled, fans still love to see hard checking and fights that might ensue. These modern day Flyers rarely partake in the rough stuff in comparison to prior years. The Flyers have a rich history, and they allowed the Devils to get in their heads by partaking in such behavior. They have to play smarter hockey and play the game they know against divisional opponents. Take nothing for granted and leave it all on the ice.
To my readers please feel free to comment or give your opinions on this article. Your comments will be highly regarded and treated fairly. Happy holidays and I look forward to writing again, when the Flyers play next December 28, 2016 at 8p.m. against the St. Louis Blues.
Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports