In last night’s series ending loss to the New Jersey Devils, the way the Flyers went down in defeat was downright spooky. Scary. Hand – wrenching, white knuckles kind of stuff …
Hitchcock – ian …
For days, years and decades – Philadelphia iced a good hockey squad. A roster often unmatched, whether it was under the watchful eye of Ziegler through Bettman. Year after orange, black and white season – every player on the Philly roster poured their sweat and blood toward winning the Stanley Cup. Every player except whoever happened to be in between the pipes.
That’s not to say the padded ones did not try. Au contraire mes freres! The net minders gave their all.
Robbie Moore, the diminutive goalie from Sarnia, Ontario – putting all of his 5′ 5″ frame in front of hundred mile an hour snapshots in 1979. Posting an impressive 5-0 shutout in his Flyers’ debut. Moore went on to play four more regular season games with Philadelphia that season. He posted two shutouts and finished with a 1.77 G.A.A.
He would match his season total in games played in the post season. Unfortunately, his goals against soared to 4.03 and the Flyers’ were bounced in the second round by the Rangers.
Moore never to play goals in Philly again … Moore never to play in the NHL again …
Legend has it – Mr. Moore was prone to nerves. Tossing his cookies before, frequently during and occasionally after games. An anxious goalie makes a strange crease fellow. An anxious goalie makes a mess!
Was Moore victim number one of the curse … ? More importantly – who is responsible for the curse?
The Flyers won back to back championships in the mid – seventies. One of the reasons, and a very big one – was the play of goalie Bernie Parent.
Parent backstopped a young, some say ‘ too violent’ Flyer squad to victory over the Boston Bruins in 1974 and the following season as well. Aside from this ‘championship roadblock’, the Flyers’ journey has been filled with many, often peculiar ‘bumps in the road’.
The Curious Case of Michel Belhumeur
What’s in a name?
Everything if you happen to be have been in goals for the Washington Capitals during the 1974- 1975 and 75- 76 seasons. For part of it anyway…
Micheal ( Michel ), translated his play into a 0 – 29 – 4 record with a goals against average of 5. 34 during his two and only seasons with the hapless Caps. These stats made him part of hockey history and wrongly translated his name to what the goalie from Sorel, Qc must have felt; ‘ill humor’ in lieu of the direct translation; ‘ good humor’!
What does this have to do with the Flyers?
M. Belhumeur was drafted by the Flyers in 1969. He was their 40th overall pick. Following stints with the Quebec Aces, Charlotte Checkers and Richmond Robins – the 5’10″ Virgo was called up to the Flyers during the 1972-73 season.
In goals for 23 games, the rookie posted a respectable 9-7-3 record with an admirable 3.22 ‘rookie’ G.A.A. For his troubles, he was returned to Richmond for the following season and his career as a Flyer net minder was over.
The Philadelphia organization exposed Belhumeur in the 1974 expansion draft and he joined the Washington Capitals’ organization. According to reports – Michel was agitated with the Flyers for giving up on him. Were Michel’s temperament and subsequent ‘words’ responsible for a curse in Philly … ?
Maybe it was a combination of his and teammate Bill Clements’ departure to Washington?
Along with players such as Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber and Reggie Leach – Clement was an integral part of the Flyers’ championship teams. As one of the ‘Broadstreet Bullies‘, the Buckingham,Qc.native reached his potential during the 1974-75 season.
On the heels of a nine goal season the year before – Clement notched 21 goals as the Flyers picked up the Stanley Cup for the second straight year. Along with many of his teammates, Clement savored the win over the Bruins as his favorite and once more – along with several teammates, looked forward to a third straight Cup.
Clement never had a chance to fulfill his dream.
Like Bonhumeur; Bill ended up with the Capitals following the amateur draft. Clement was traded for the rights to Mel Bridgeman. In Washington, despite having his most prolific season, the
6’1″ bruising power – forward skated with a grudge against Kate Smith’s non- choirboys.
Could it really have been Clement who has cursed the goalies in Philadelphia? How could a man whose work consists of doing voice – over work and acting be the villain of Voodoo in the city of brotherly love? As one of the voices in the popular EA Sports’ NHL video games from 2006 inclusively to a Philadelphia Flyers’ seasoned broadcaster, surely he is in position to ‘reverse the curse’.
A curse Guy Lafleur’s former centerman in Thurso may have inadvertently placed on his alma mater when he was dispersed to Washington in 1975.
You see – Bill Clement started playing hockey at the age of eight.
As a goalie …
- Philadelphia Flyers Get Knock Knocked out of the Playoffs (bleacherreport.com)
- The fall of the Flyers: What happened? (theglobeandmail.com)
- Devils take down the Flyers (thesudburystar.com)
- Commentary: New Jersey Devils eliminate Philadelphia Flyers (pennlive.com)
- Philadelphia Flyers eliminated from NHL playoffs; lose in five games to New Jersey Devils (pennlive.com)
- Devils finish off Flyers (nbcsports.msnbc.com)
- Here’s what they’re saying about Bryzgalov’s blunder (prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com)