Well, since my addiction to hockey is a pretty strong one I figured why fight it? After the Flyer loss in Game 6 I was just sitting in my seat numb knowing that the Stanley Cup Playoffs and this miraculous Flyers run had just ended. As the Stanley Cup was being awarded I zoned out and all of the top moments from this run were flashing before my eyes. I wanted to share some of these moments that I think were crucial and moments that I think we’ll remember for the rest of our lives when someone brings up the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers.
The Flyers had many heroes throughout this postseason. One night it was Giroux, one night it was Gagne, one night it was Richards, one night it was Leighton. For many nights it was the upstart new line of Ville Leino, Danny Briere, and Scott Hartnell. This run was a complete team effort which is why it’s going to be so fun to look back on the success of this team for years to come.
10. The Shootout Against the New York Rangers on the Final Day of the Regular Season
Yes, I know. This isn’t a playoff moment, but it may as well have been a playoff game. Win and you’re in, that’s what the Flyers had to do. The atmosphere in the building was incredible and judging by that I would say this was a better atmosphere than some playoff games. The team had to win this game to avoid huge disappointment, and to think that they did it in a shootout against Henrik Lundqvist is a hell of an accomplishment.
9. Carcillo! Carcillo! Dan Carcillo!
The call by Tim Saunders on Flyers radio was pretty special, but the goal scored by Dan Carcillo in OT in Game 3 vs. the Devils was a huge morale boost to the team. I remember sitting at this game feeling really frustrated that the officiating crew Brad Watson and Brad Meier wouldn’t let these guys play, but the Flyers were the better team this day and they deserved to win the game. Carcillo’s energy and being in the right place at the right time sealed the deal in overtime for what could have been a huge turn in a negative direction if the Flyers had lost this game.
8. Ian Laperriere Takes One for the Team
What can you say about how much of a gamer this guy is? Laperriere went down and blocked a shot from Paul Martin in Game 5 of the Flyers series against the Devils. The shot hit him maybe a half an inch above the eye and after the brain contusion was revealed in the CT Scan I don’t think any Flyer fans thought we’d see him back this season. His leadership I think had a lot to do with keeping the team motivated and showing them that this is how bad guys want to win this thing.
Video of Laperriere Getting Hit with the Puck
7. Simon Gagne’s Quick Comeback and OT Goal
When Gagne broke his toe against the Devils nobody ever dreamed that he would return as soon as he did. In fact, his return was a bit rushed. When the Flyers went down 3-0 against the Boston Bruins the Flyers and Gagne decided to speed up the process and get the medical clearance for Game 4, when originally it was thought it wouldn’t happen until Game 5. Good for the Flyers he did, because his OT goal in Game 4 breathed life into the team, the fans, and paired with a couple Boston injuries, put the Flyers in control of the series.
6. Mike Richards Shorthanded Goal Against the Habs
One of the biggest hustle plays you will ever see was Mike Richards shorthanded goal in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals vs. the Montreal Canadiens. It inspired the “What if Richie played like Clarkie?” History Will Be Made commercial and showed how far Mike has come as a captain this season. It was just another inspiring moment to the team on how bad guys want to win. Richards also had an incredible hustle play to Carter for an empty netter later in the game.
Mike Richards’ shorthanded goal against the Habs
5. The emergence of Ville Leino
This is one of those feel good stories that makes you love being a hockey fan. Ville Leino, who was a healthy scratch (even though I didn’t believe he deserved to be) for the first 4 games against the Devils and was irrelevant for most of the regular season, turned into a playoff hero. He was a cap dump by Detroit who ended up in the Flyers laps. Ville’s a great guy and I attended practice a lot and saw how hard he was working even when he was scratched. That’s why when I attended Game 4 in Montreal I jumped a mile out of my seat when he scored the breakaway goal on Halak. You have to feel good for guys like this who people cast off and later come back to show everyone what they’re made of. Ville is now a huge bright spot for the Flyers to look forward to next season, as is the whole Leino-Briere-Hartnell line. One could argue had the Flyers won the Cup, he may have been a candidate for Conn Smythe.
Ville Leino’s breakaway goal in Montreal
4. The resurgence of Danny Briere
After a sub-par regular season by Danny’s standards, he completely took off in the playoffs. A lot of it had to do with being moved back to center after Carter’s injury, and a lot of it had to do with the chemistry with his new linemates Hartnell and Leino. However, Danny’s big goals aren’t soon to be forgotten. The one that sticks out in my mind is the one to tie Game 7 vs. Boston 3-3 where he wrapped it around and threw it off a d-man and into the net. More than likely Danny would have been Conn Smythe had the Flyers won.
3. The Gagne Goal and the Completion of coming back from 0-3 to win a series
While Gagne was limping around practice and limping to his car in the parking lot, he wasn’t limping in the games. The incredible clutch goal to put the Flyers ahead 4-3 in Game 7 vs. Boston proved to be the game winner. The Flyers made history for the first time since 1975. As Coach Laviolette said, they had the right guys in the room to complete that comeback. Watching the simulcast at the Wachovia Center, not a person left after the team went down 3-0. We all had goosebumps watching that gutsy comeback.
2. The Team Resilience Which Lasted All the Way to the Finals
It goes without saying that a team that comes back from 3-0 is one of the most resilient teams ever, but the fact that they continued to defy the odds even into the Finals is something that was special to me. The Flyers played well enough to split in Chicago in the Finals, but didn’t. Even after the heartbreaking losses they came back with huge efforts to tie the series 2-2. In Game 3 when Patrick Kane scored in the 3rd to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead, Ville Leino scored 20 seconds later to tie it. You’d think a bad goal like that would deflate a team, but not this team.
Kane and Leino score within 20 seconds of each other
1. The Timeout Heard ‘Round the World
I think the moment that will live on in history the most from this Flyers postseason is the 3-0 comeback. Everytime a team gets down 3-0 in a series we will hear about the 1942 Leafs, the 1975 Islanders, and the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers. This wouldn’t have been possible without the “timeout.” This #1 spot is just as much for Peter Laviolette as it is for his timeout in Game 7 vs. the Bruins. This guy knows when to call timeouts, he knows his players, and he knows how to inspire each and every one of them. This timeout more than likely saved the Flyers season. I don’t think anyone in the Flyer organization expected Laviolette to fit in as nicely as he has and gain the players trust so quickly. He’s proven to be an outstanding coach, and I for one and very excited to seeing a full season with him at the helm next season.
Hope you enjoyed the list. Obviously there were tons of moments so if you feel I missed one feel free to shout it out. Thanks and I look forward to talking about roster possibilities soon.