Archive for goalies

Between the Pipes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 18, 2008 by flyersfan44

The Flyers’ signing of goaltender Martin Biron is already paying huge dividends.  He had a fantastic playoffs, especially in the Conference Semifinals where he stood on his head, enabling the Flyers to defeat the favored Montreal Canadiens.  It looks as though the Flyers finally have the goalie that can be depended upon in the playoffs and that can take them to the Cup.

This brings to mind some other great goalies the Flyers have had in their history.  First, the incredible Bernie Parent, who led the Flyers to back to back Cups in 1974 and 1975, would have to be tops on the list of great Flyers goalies.   Claimed from Boston in the 1967 expansion draft, Parent played with the Flyers until he was traded to Toronto during the 1970-71 season in a three-way deal that brought Rick MacLeish to the Flyers from the Bruins.   Unhappy in Toronto, Parent jumped to the newly-formed World Hockey Association, signing a huge contract with the Miami Screaming Eagles.  The Miami franchise never made it onto the ice in Florida however, moving to Philadelphia before the start of the inaugural season of 1972-73 and becoming known as the Blazers.  So, in a roundabout way, Parent had gotten back to Philadelphia.

After a contract dispute with the Blazers, Parent wanted to return to the NHL but made it clear he did not want to play for Toronto.  The Leafs, who still owned his NHL rights, traded him to Philadelphia in 1973.   Parent went on to play 70-some games for the Flyers during the 1973-74 season with a 1.89 goals against average, leading the Flyers to win the Stanley Cup over Boston, the team that initially drafted him.   Again Parent led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup in 1974-75.  He won the Vezina Trophy as the best goaltender and the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs in both those years.

Parent went on to play for the Flyers for the remainder of the decade, battling a series of injuries, until a freak accident ended his career in 1979.  Fighting for position in front of the net, Flyers’ defenseman Jimmy Watson’s stick accidentally swung back toward Parent and the tip of the blade went through the narrow eye opening in Parent’s mask, hitting his eye and damaging his sight.  This injury forced Parent to retire.

In the early 1980s, the Flyers drafted a young goalie from Sweden named Per-Erik Lindbergh.  After a couple years in the AHL, “Pelle” came to the Flyers and quickly showed that he had great skill at stopping the puck.  Bernie Parent was his idol and he emulated Parent right down to the same style of mask.  Parent tutored Lindbergh as the Flyers goalie coach during this time.  Lindbergh seemed poised to lead the Flyers to the Stanley Cup in the mid-1980s.  However, Lindbergh was killed in a tragic car accident in November of 1985.  This stunned the entire organization and the city and was certainly one of the saddest moments the team has experienced.

 Pelle Lindbergh makes a save

Another great, and perhaps the most entertaining, Flyers goalie began his rookie season in 1987.  Ron Hextall was one of the most volatile goalies to ever play the game and his combativeness was the epitome of Flyers hockey.  He led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup finals in 1987 and although they lost to Edmonton, Hextall won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.  He also took the Vezina that year.  “Hexy” was eager to roam from his net and could handle and shoot the puck better than any goalie before or since.  He was the first goalie to score a goal by shooting the puck into the other team’s net.  He accomplished this rare feat twice, once in the playoffs.  The video below really captures the essence of Hextall’s game: