Now that the National Hockey League has decided to return to the flat hinterlands at the exact center of North America, I thought it’s about time to reminisce about how Philadelphia fared against that other Winnipeg team in its first go-round.
There were a ton of thrills and chills, collisions and explosions, and an awful lot of interesting hockey games between the Flyers and Jets from 1979-96, and here are some notable matchups.
January 2, 1981 – The Jets spent their entire second NHL year sucking badly. They finished 9-57-14, and one of those nine wins was in Winnipeg against the Orange menace. I hope Bobby Clarke wept after this one was over.
March 2, 1982 – Willy Lindstrom scores five, but the Flyers scored six, and the Jets came up with seven. This hockey’s gone to heaven.
January 25, 1990 – The Flyers were sinking under the weight of a then-record 10-game winless streak. From the looks of things, they did everything they could not to win this one, except for Rick Tocchet’s monster night.
October 23, 1993 – While Mitch Williams’ slide step was busy ruining Game 6 of the World Series up in Toronto, the Flyers lost this gem, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory at the Spectrum. Note how much Tkachuk, Selanne, Renberg and Recchi there is.
March 16, 1996 – Ex-Jet Dale Hawerchuk is traded to Philly and suits up in this game, the second-to-last matchup between the Flyers and Jets. It kicked off a great 13-3-0 season-ending stretch that pulled Philly ahead of the Panthers, Rangers and Penguins for the #1 spot in the East.
March 22, 1996 – Roussel’s Revenge. In the teams’ final meeting, Craig Janney and the once-starter-then-backup-then-persona-non-grata team up to give this one to Winnipeg at the now demolished Arena.
Included is a series of transactions from September 28 and October 3, 1989. If it looks like Pete Peeters and Keith Acton were essentially traded for themselves, give yourself a gold star.
In the wake of Bob Clarke’s manipulation, the NHL later created an anti-stashing rule that prevented trades of this type where one team can’t fabricate a deal for any commodity only to make another deal to get back the same.