Ever since their first season, the Flyers have a knack for being in the middle of unusual NHL history.
There will be two NHL exhibition games Tuesday in Toronto as the league continues its impressive march toward crowning a champion. The Flyers will play Pittsburgh in the first one. Toronto faces Montreal in the nightcap.
It’s notable because for just the second time in history, two NHL games will be held at the same site on the same day. And the Flyers were involved the only other time there was a doubleheader.
» From the archives: “I think you’ve got a problem. The roof is blowing off.”
On March 3, 1968, the Flyers played Oakland in an afternoon game at Madison Square Garden before a Rangers night game. (Yes, kids, there used to be a hockey team in Oakland.). The Flyers were forced to hit the road to end their inaugural regular season after a section of the new Spectrum roof came apart because of high winds twice within a couple weeks.
“When the roof blew off the Spectrum,” late Flyers owner and founder Ed Snider recalled in a 1988 Inquirer story, “the city really became a national laughingstock.”
Obviously, Toronto and Edmonton will host doubleheaders and even tripleheaders as the bubble cities during this most unusual postseason.
The 1967-68 season was the first time the NHL expanded from its “Original 6″ teams to 12.
Gordie Howe, Stan Mikita and Jean Beliveau now had to travel to places like Philadelphia and St. Louis and Oakland. The league needed Philadelphia’s logistical nightmares like a hole in the roof.
The Flyers and the Seals tied that afternoon in New York as Don Blackburn scored Philadelphia’s only goal and Doug Favell stopped 34 of 35 shots. The Flyers then relocated to Canada and played games at Maple Leaf Gardens and Le Colisee in Quebec City.
They were in Quebec when they clinched the West Division after Los Angeles tied Oakland in a late-night West Coast game on March 30. They celebrated with a party in Snider’s hotel suite, though apparently not everyone was happy.
“Did we have to clinch now?” Favell grumbled. “I just took three sleeping pills, and The Slime People is on the late movie.”
“After Los Angeles is invaded by an army of subterranean monsters, a small group of people must fight for survival in the deserted metropolis.”
The Flyers are hovering around 10-1 to win the Stanley Cup and 6-1 to win the East.
They’re underdogs for Sunday’s round-robin with Pointsbet listing them at +115 and Boston -136.
Pointsbet’s Pat Eichner said their top three liabilities to win the Stanley Cup are the Rangers, Flyers and the Canucks.
The Canucks? At 35-1?
“Yeah, pretty strange,” he said. “We saw something similar in the NBA with money coming in and liability building up on long shots like the Pelicans and Suns. Think it’s just a case of value to be had at their long price.”
Other houses are starting to offer other hockey props, such as DraftKings putting up 12-1 that the Flyers will shutout the Bruins. Odds seem light since Boston was shutout just once this year.
As always, this is just informational and not a recommendation. Best way to double your money gambling is by folding it in half and putting it back in your pocket.
Had an item in last week’s Flyers’ newsletter about Toronto native Mark Friedman’s dismay that he won’t be able to see his family because of the strict quarantine guidelines NHL players are under. Most torturous, Friedman sighed, was that he wouldn’t be able to hit up his uncle’s new BBQ joint.
So Uncle Bram, who just opened the food service from his home in Toronto, responded by emailing his nephew some pictures “to show what Marky won’t be able to join when he heads up here next week. Now you can see why he is disappointed!”
Not sure which is better, the ribs or that he still calls the Flyers reserve defenseman “Marky.”