FLYERS 35 GAME UNBEATEN STREAK – part two

 STREAK 

Game 29 – TIME MAGAZINE

PART TWO Was there ever a time in your life when you felt on top of the world and wish it would never end? 

On the way to the 35 game unbeaten streak with the Philadelphia Flyers, there are some special games that stand out in my mind. We shattered the Flyers record of 23, surpassed the NHL record at 28 held by the Montreal Canadiens and the Pro Sport record at 33 held by the L.A. Lakers. Breaking the Flyers record was special because it was, after all, the second longest unbeaten streak in NHL history. But other games earn special mention. 

 The 27th and 28th games were both 1-1 ties. They especially stand out because we were within range to this great achievement and yet so close to blowing it. I may have played my best game of the streak in Madison Square garden to salvage the tie in game 27, stopping 35 shots. The score was tied at one after the first period and remained that way to the end. Bill Barber, a clutch player, scored our goal. 

  In game 28, the game that tied the Canadiens record, Pete Peeters and Greg Millen battled to a 1-1 tie also. Millen was outstanding for the Pittsburgh Penguins, stopping 34 shots, and almost took away our privilege of tying the NHL record. Behn Wilson scored the tying goal with less than 5 minutes left in the game ruining Greg’s shut-out but giving us a chance to continue our quest. What a shame it would have been if we had lost that game. 

  Game 29, in Boston, was the record breaker. The Flyers had not won in Boston Gardens in 5 years. But in this game, there was no question that we would be the winners. There was tension in the dressing room and nobody even talked about the record in specific terms. We all knew what was at stake.  We controlled the play from beginning to end. The best memorabilia I own from this game is a picture with our coach Pat Quinn on the ice after the game which made front page in TIME MAGAZINE. (see picture) 

  Another memorable game is the 34th game in Buffalo against the Sabres. Its notoriety isn’t just because we beat the All Pro Sport record with a 4-2 win. The game itself was really uneventful until about 7 minutes left in the 3rd period. Pete Peeters, my partner in goal, started the game although he didn’t feel very well. Leading 3-2 in the 3rd period, he got sick and vomited in the crease. Feeling a little “woozy”, he left the game and “gifted me with the stained crease” to close the game. We scored a goal to make it 4-2 shortly after I came in relief. Buffalo had a great chance that I stopped late in the game with the goalie pulled. Ironically, if I didn’t make that save and let a goal in, I would have been the goalie on record with the win and not Pete. (I’ll let you figure that one out…) 

  Every game after breaking the NHL Record was like a playoff game. Opponents and fans around the league wanted to be the ones to end the streak at all costs. When we finally lost (7-1) in Minneapolis, the noise still resounds in my head as the loudest crowd I ever heard in a hockey building. The North Stars took an early lead and the crowd smelled blood and knew that history was about to be made. We could hardly hear the whistle by the referee throughout the game. Yes, I did play that game. 

  Pat Quinn was our coach. Pat was ahead of his time as a coach in those days. He is a great strategist and even a better human being. He knew what buttons to push. Bob Boucher and Bobby Clarke were his assistant coaches. Jacques Plante was the Goalie Coach. Together, they were aware of the pulse of the team and gave the players a lot of freedom to express their skills and play their role. Keith Allen was our “classy and knowledgeable” general manager. I need to mention my good friend Joe Kadlec who did everything for the players and their families and who has a Flyer emblem tatooed on his heart. 

  Finally, I can’t talk about playing for the Flyers without mentioning the owner, Mr. Ed Snider. He is very competitive and demanding but extremely caring and a family oriented owner. It would have been great to win another cup for him that year. There is no question that the success that the Flyers have had over the years begins with his leadership

  We didn’t want the streak to end but what a ride it was…one I will never forget and proud to have been a part of… 

  HAVE AGREAT HOCKEY DAY

  Phil Myre

FLYERS 35 GAME STREAK – part one

79-80 Flyers

Did you ever participate in something so special that it will remain in your memory forever?

Was there ever a time in your life when you felt on top of the world and wish it would never end?

There are several accomplishments and memories that make me feel that way but none as memorable as the Philadelphia Flyers 35 game unbeaten streak during the 1979-80 season. This record will most likely never be broken because of the overtime period that was instituted in the NHL just a few years later for the 1983-84 season

That season would have been the ultimate achievement had we won the Stanley Cup. We finished first overall, had the streak but we lost to the New York Islanders in the Stanley Cup Finals. (Does anybody remember the famous off-side goal in the final game?)

The successful season wasn’t without ups and downs and battles along the way. I was traded to the Flyers from St-Louis Blues that summer for Rick Lapointe and Blake Dunlop. Prior to the trade, my wife and I suffered a family tragedy when we lost a baby girl (Elisabeth) to Respiratory Distress Syndrome three days after birth. This was the most difficult time of my life and still is very emotional for both of us. Moving to Philadelphia was a chance for a new start. But I had a terrible training camp. I had difficulty focusing and my performance was erratic. Regardless, I started the first game and won at home. The second game was “ugly” and typical of my play at training camp that year. I suffered a 9-2 loss in Atlanta, my former team. Little did I know that we wouldn’t lose another game until January 7th.

Following that forgettable game, we started to win and my focus and competitiveness improved as we progressed. Pete Peeters was my partner in goal as a rookie. We had a good team, but more importantly, we competed hard and had great leadership.. The core group of defensemen was Jimmy Watson, Bob Dailey, Andre Dupont and Behn Wilson. We also had rookies on defense; the 3 B’s: Norm Barnes, Mike Busniuk and Frank Bathes who were special people and had career seasons. Brian Propp was a rookie forward and had a terrific year. Our scoring leader was Ken Linseman and Reggie Leach scored 50 goals. What a “sniper” Rick MacLeish was. He scored a lot of big goals for us.

Our leadership definitely came from Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber and Paul Holmgren. All three of those players were model citizens, they practiced as hard as they played the game and would never let anybody “slack off” at any time. Clarkie was the player I hated to play against the most but the best teammate I ever had.

Our “role players” were so important to our success. Mel Bridgman, our captain, defines the term “role player”. He was so efficient in all areas. He did it all. He was not a good skater but he won faceoffs, played special teams, he played hard, he was a smart player and always stuck up for his teammates. He also contributed offensively with 47 points. Any team who achieves some level of success must have support players who play for the team and are willing to play hard for short minutes. Our role players included Bob (hound) Kelly, Al Hill, Tom Gorence, John Paddock, Jack McIIlhargey. They were great guys who deserve a lot of credit for the success of that season.

The buzz about a “Streak” started in Philadelphia and around the league at around 18 undefeated games. The Flyers record was 23 and it also was the second longest unbeaten record in the league. The league record was 28 held by the Montreal Canadiens. Pete Peeters and I almost split the games through the streak and it was fitting that Pete played both games that tied the records and I played both that beat the records. We also beat the Pro Sports record held by the L.A. Lakers at 33.

Can you believe that we had only lost one game when we had our New Year’s Eve party? A celebration I will always remember.

There was very little conversation about beating any record in the dressing room. But it was there. It was a quiet confidence and a subtle determination that we would do it. The euphoria, the media coverage and the fan interest grew as we kept winning. We broke attendance records in some buildings. Many hockey fans and opponents who “love to hate the Flyers” made the games very intense as we got closer. Boston Gardens was the dreaded building where the Flyers had not won a game in almost 5 years. We stepped onto the ice with the conviction that we would become part of something very special. From start to finish, we controlled the play and won the game 5-2.

I am very privileged and honored to have been a member of the Philadelphia Flyers and to have been a part of this outstanding accomplishment that will be ingrained in my memory forever.

PART TWO OF THIS BLOG SHORTLY

HAVE A GREAT HOCKEY DAY!

Phil Myre

QUALITY GOALS ESSENTIAL FOR GOALIES

Most coaches have a rating system to evaluate their players’ performance for each game. For example, Jacques Martin uses a 1-5 scale, Mike Keenan would uses a scale of 0-1-2. Some use letters.  Whatever the scale or the system used, coaches use it to keep a record of each player’s performance. By doing this, a coach can track the evolution or the consistency of the players.      

The same holds true for goalies. As a goalie coach I take it one step further. I rate the QUALITY OF GOALS SCORED AGAINST. It’s a very effective tool to motivate, teach and assess the the degree of responsibility for the goalie, especially if a team gives up too many goals. 

Here is how it works:   

We rate each goal 0, 1 or 2. I say “we” because the goalie and I rate each goal together. Goalies are pretty honest about it and are often more severe than I am on their own rating. Video, of course can be used effectively for this purpose.   

 
 

  1. If the goalie had absolutely no chance, the goal is rated a “0”. It’s a GOOD GOAL! We don’t spend time analyzing a good goal but we do CELEBRATE IT because that’s the what we try to achieve.
  2. When the goalie is solely responsible for the puck entering the net he receives a “2”. It’s a BAD GOAL!  It’s important to look for patterns of bad goals and they must be eliminated.  
  3. Anything in between a GOOD GOAL AND A BAD GOAL is given a “1”. It’s an ERROR. This is the chance to teach or make corrections.That can be done with related drills, video sessions and constant reminders.  The goalie has to know what mistake he made and what he needs to do the next time this situation comes up.   

I keep track of the goals against and their ratings all year-longThe average per game should be 2 or below.  The quality of the goals against usually coincides with wins and losses. GOOD GOALS produce more wins, that’s why we celebrate them.   

Goalies generally take on this challenge very positively. It gives a positive edge to a negative situation which is a goal against. If a goalie gives 5 or 6 goals and gets only two points in the rating, we can focus on the quality rather than the number of goals and give it a positive spin. If the rating is high, then the goalie takes responsibility, “we” identify the errors and take the steps necessary to correct them.    

This rating system celebrates good goals, helps cut down bad goals and identifies areas to work on with the goalie.    

 

    

 

Goal Scored

“GOALIES ARE RATED ON THE GOALS THEY GIVE UP NOT ON THE SAVES THEY MAKE!”  Phil Myre

NHL SALARY CAP “MOVING ON UP”!

The NHL salary cap continues to climb every year! Average players are handed out exorbitant amounts of money on the free agent market. Players coming out of their Entry Level contracts are banking excessive amounts and long term contracts. One General Manager, Dale Tallon, spent and guaranteed in excess of $100 million dollars in one day in his attempt to rebuild his team, the Florida Panthers.

Many hockey fans are bewildered and confused. With unemployment hovering at around 10% in the US, home values deflated up to 45% in many areas and the many other issues facing the economy, it’s hard to understand the amounts of money that NHL teams are willing to pay their players.  

I can’t say that I understand all of the reasoning or agree with all of those contracts but I can offer some plausible explanations:

The 2004 NHL lockout gave the owners what they wanted most: COST CERTAINTY. They wanted to control the high spenders and have the ability to project player cost by establishing a salary cap.

The NHL salary cap is formally titled the “Upper Limit of the Payroll Range” (the ceiling) in the new CBA.  Following the NHL lockout, for the 2005–06 season, the salary cap was set at $39 million dollars per team, with a maximum of $7.8 million (20% of the team’s cap) for one player. The CBA also contains a “Lower Limit of the Payroll Range”, (the floor) which is the minimum that each team must pay in player salaries. The lower limit was originally set at 55% of the cap, but is now defined to be $16 million below the upper cap.

The NHL salary cap in 2011-12 will be $64.3 million per team, with the “floor cap” set at $48.3 million dollars. That is $8.7 million more than the “upper cap” was in 2005 after the lockout.

How did all this happen?  Is our game so good that hockey fans and corporate sponsors will spend money to watch hockey regardless of a poor economy? The NHL has done an excellent job in increasing the visibility and exposure of our sports and developing a new fan base by promoting our great stars. Is that enough to justify the increase in revenue and spending? I don’t think so.

One of the reasons for the continued increase in revenues that the league has enjoyed in the past few years is the “Canadian Dollar”.

Revenues for the six (now seven) Canadian teams have all increased significantly since the lockout due to the fact the Canadian dollar has risen in value, reaching parity with the U.S. dollar. As a result, league-wide revenues measured in U.S. dollars have been inflated accordingly. Most Canadian teams play to near capacity; ticket prices are generally higher in Canada to reflect the supply and demand and the difference in monetary exchange. All six Canadian teams pay into the current revenue sharing plan which was designed in the new CBA to provide some protection to small market teams.

Consequently, the cap has been raised each year to its current figure of $64.3 million for the 2011–12 season, with a cap of $12.86 million for one player.

The league as a whole is happy regardless of the increase in salary as long as the fixed percentage of total league revenues doesn’t go over the 57% stipulated in the CBA. 

To ensure compliance with this provision, a percentage of each player’s salary is withheld in escrow until the season is over, at which time the funds are divided between the players and owners to reach the agreed percentage. In the first season of the current CBA, revenues exceeded expectations to such a margin that players received the entire escrow back plus additional funds from the owners, however in subsequent seasons this has not been the case.

While Canadian teams are enjoying this increase in revenues, the percentage paid to the players (57%) is a figure calculated league wide. Some U.S. teams are far below the league average in revenues and are struggling with the unexpected increase in salaries. Not all teams benefit from the revenue sharing and the money THEY spend on players’ salaries far exceed the league wide 57% of THEIR revenue.

It will be interesting to watch the posturing from both sides in preparation for the next bargaining agreement which expires at the end of the 2011-12 season. My guess is that the players would like to have “status quo” but don’t like the “escrow”.  I believe that the owners have some issues that will surface at the negotiation table. The NBA and the NFL will be first at modifying their CBA. Although specific issues are totally different, some fundamental principles may pave the way to solving some of the NHL issues.

HAVE A GREAT HOCKE DAY!

PHIL MYRE (www.philmyretalkshockey.com)

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NHL_salary_cap

CANADA DAY!

Occasionally, I like to bring in a “Guest Blogger” whenever I read one that is worthy. 

This was written by Kerry Huffman from Platinum Hockey Group.  

July 1st is Canada Day! So for all us goofy Canadians, this one is for us. (remember it’s all in good fun.) 

 You know you’re Canadian if :

 
You’re not offended by the term, “Homo Milk”.
You understand the sentence, “Could you please pass me a serviette, I just spilled my Bowl of Poutine!”
You eat chocolate bars instead of candy bars.
You drink pop, not soda.
You had a Prime Minister who wasn’t fluent in either of the official languages (English & French).
You know that a mickey and 2-4’s mean “Party at thecamp, eh?!”
You talk about the weather with strangers and friends alike.
When there is a social problem, you turn to your government to fix it, instead of telling them to stay out of it.
You get milk in bags as well as cartons and plastic jugs.
Pike is a type of fish, not some part of a highway.
You drive on a highway, not a freeway.
You have Canadian Tire money in your kitchen drawers.
You know that Mounties “don’t always look like that.”
You dismiss all beers under 6% as “for children and the elderly.”
You have an Inuit carving by your bedside with the rationale, “What’s good enough protection for the Prime Minister is good enough for me.”
You wonder why there isn’t a 5 dollar coin yet.
Like any international assasin/terrorist/spy in the world, you possess a Canadian Passport.
You know the French equivalents of “free”, “prize”, and “no sugar added”, thanks to your extensive education in bilingual cereal packaging.
You are excited whenever an American television show mentions Canada.
You were mad at the CBC when “The Beachcombers” were taken off the air.
You know what a touque is and you own one and often wear it.
You know Toronto is NOT a province.
You never miss “Coach’s Corner” during Hockey Night in Canada.
Back bacon and Kraft Dinner are two of your favourite food groups.
If you live in some of the colder Canadian provinces, your car has a cord and plug sticking out of the grill … it’s a block heater for those sub-zero (in Celsius) days.
You only know three spices: salt, pepper and ketchup.
You design your Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.
The mosquitoes have landing lights.
You have more kilometres on your snow blower than your car.
Canadian Tire Store on any Saturday is busier than most toy stores at Christmas.
You’ve taken your kids trick-or-treating in a blizzard.
Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled in with frozen snow and slush.
You think sexy lingerie is tube-socks and a flannel nightie with only 8 buttons.
You owe more money on your snowmobile than your car.
The local paper covers national and international headlines on 2 pages, but requires 6 pages for hockey.
At least twice a year, the kitchen doubles as a meat processing plant.
The most effective mosquito repellent is a shotgun.
Your snowblower gets stuck on the roof.
You think the start of deer season is a national holiday.
You head South to go to your cottage.
You know which leaves make good toilet paper now that there are no more dollar bills..
You find -40C a little chilly.
You know 4 seasons: Winter, Still Winter, almost Winter and Construction.
The municipality buys a Zamboni before a bus.
You understand the Labatt Blue commercials.
You perk-up when you hear the theme from “Hockey Night in Canada”.
Have a safe and fun holiday weekend!!!!!  

 

IS IT OVER YET?

IS IT OVER YET?

The Stanley Cup Final is finally over! Not that the hockey season and playoffs weren’t exciting, but let’s face it, June 15th is late for the average fan to be thinking about hockey. But wait, it’s not over yet. The NHL Entry Draft is coming up on Friday, June 24th and 25th in St-Paul Minnesota.

The two day event is hosted by a different NHL city every year and attracts thousands of hockey staff, media, fans, players, their families and agents. The NHL draft has evolved over the years and seems to grow in exposure and popularity as each city wants  to be the best host.

Here are a few facts about the NHL Draft that a good hockey fan should know and a personal story:

The first draft was held in Montreal, June 5, 1963 and has been held every year since. Once it was known as the “NHL Amateur Draft” until 1979 when the name was changed to “NHL Entry Draft”. Why the name change, you ask? The reason for the change was because the NHL was drafting players who had played Professional in the World Hockey Association and were no longer “amateur” players.

The two day format was introduced in 1993. The first round which takes about 3-4 hours is held on the first day and the remaining 6 rounds the next day.

Toronto was the first city to hold the draft other than Montreal in 1985 and the first NHL Draft held outside of Canada was at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit in 1987.

For the players, it’s much more exciting today than it was when I played Jr. Hockey in the Quebec Jr. Hockey League. I was drafted in the first round, 5th overall, by the Montreal Canadiens in 1966. The draft system was in its infancy then. Prior to the development of the “Amateur Draft”, NHL teams sponsored junior teams, and signed prospects through them. Players were signed to one of three forms: the “A” form, which committed a player to a tryout; a “B” form, which gave the team an option to sign a player in return for a bonus; and the “C” form, which committed a player’s professional rights. The first drafts only included players who had not signed with an NHL organization except for the Montreal Canadiens.

A rule that favored the Canadiens, allowed them to draft two French Canadiens every year whether they had signed a form or not. The Habs drafted me away from the Boston Bruins with their #1 choice and 5th overall in 1966.

Being drafted was much different than the “BIG SHOW” they put on today. I learned of my fate in the newspaper and nobody from the Canadiens contacted me until it was time to report to training camp. Being drafted was a total surprise for me as I knew nothing about this rule allowing the Canadiens to swipe players away from the other teams. Former Bruins General Manager Milt Schmidt told me later that they contested my French Canadian status because my father was born in Hawkesbury, Ontario. But I was born in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec and although Hawkesbury is in Ontario, it is a French town and the Bruins checked my dad’s birth certificate which was written in French.

This rule was applied until 1970 when other NHL teams realized that a young “star” named Gilbert Perreault was coming through the Quebec league and was eligible for that draft. With expansion looming, the rule was abolished. The last two players to be selected by Montreal under that “French Canadian” rule were my former teammates, Marc Tardif and Rejean Houle.

So anybody who is somebody in the Hockey Circles will be in St-Paul Minnesota this week-end to participate in the NHL Entry Draft and, in some way, celebrate the conclusion of another NHL season…BUT WAIT! The official Free Agent List comes out July 1st which will open the 2011-12 season. Here we go again…! It never seems to end…!

HAVE A GREAT HOCKEY DAY!

In memory of my good friend E.J. Macguire who loved draft day.

PHIL MYRE (www.philmyretalkshockey.com)