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Daily Times beat writer Anthony J. SanFilippo takes you inside the locker rooms of the Philadelphia Flyers and the rest of the NHL.

Monday, May 12, 2008

THE HEX STILL STANDS TALL

Babe Ruth. The billy goat. Steve Bartman. Sleeping Beauty.

None of these curses have have anything on the Flyers.

The origins of this hex seems to stem from the year 1976, but what exactly happened in that fateful year still remains a mystery.

See, it was in that Spring the Flyers tried to win the Stanley Cup for the third straight season. And it was in that season they lost their hall-of-fame goalie Bernie Parent to injury.

The Flyers, behind backup Wayne Stephenson, did return to the finals, but couldn't stopp the high-flying Montreal Canadiens.

It was the first off 32 straight Springs without a title. Without an opportunity to sip champagne from the coveted Cup.

And now, the Flyers are just two losses away from making it 33 years-and-counting.

And while not every season has been sabotaged by injury - or this wicked curse - there have been their fair share.

Of course, 1980 saw the Leon Stickle non-offside-call that allowed the Flyers to lose in the finals.

Then there was 1986, when the team was struck by the Pelle Lindbergh tragedy a month into the season following a dramatic run to the finals.

A year later they lost their leading scorer Tim Kerr, and still went seven games with the vaunted Edmonton Oilers.

In 1989, it was Montreal again in, this time in the conference finals. And Brian Propp, their best sniper, was rubbed out of the playoffs thanks to a dirty blow Chris Chelios to Propp's head.

The '90s saw less strife, although an appearance in the finals in 1997 was wiped out quickly thanks to a "choking situation." I guess that's a mental injury.

In 2000, the Flyers were one win from the Finals when they brought back Eric Lindros from a season-long concussion injury. He messed with the chemistry, the team gagged, and by the time Game 7 rolled around, Lindros was buried by Scott Stevens with an open-ice hit that left him crumpled on the ice.

Lindros was never the same after that, and the Flyers didn't move on.

In both 2003 and 2004 it was the significant loss of defenseman Eric Desjardins that prevented the title shot.

And now it's Kimmo Timonen and possibly Braydon Coburn.

The curse is there. It exists, and almost tangibly. The Flyers are vexed, and now without their two top-flight blue liners it's going to be a near-impossible task to win four-of-five against Pittsburgh.

Sigh. The curse goes on....

Now if somebody can just explain what happened between May, 1975 and May, 1976?

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, call it a "hex" if that makes it any easier for you. Some would just say it's the style of play and if you don't adapt you get left behind. I love the comment about Lindros coming back and messing with the chemistry of the team. Please. Shouldn't he be called a "warrior" and applauded for doing all he could for the team?

May 13, 2008 at 11:46 AM 

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