Welcome to the newest edition of “Point/Counterpoint,” where a pair of Flyers Faithful scribes present both sides of one particular issue with their own unique view and flair.
This week, Dain S and Jim H debate who is the greatest Flyer ever, Bobby Clarke or Bernie Parent. Jim will start off with his candidate, Robert Earl Clarke.
Jim: The Flyers have had players of various popularity and skill levels over their illustrious 40-plus years roaming NHL arenas, but when I close my eyes and think the word ” Flyers,” what jumps to the forefront of my mind’s eye is the image of a virtually toothless, wild-maned man from the hinterlands of Flin Flon Manitoba — Bobby Clarke — that rolls in with a vengeance.
Dain: With all due respect, Bernie Parent is the greatest Flyer of all for one reason: without him, the Flyers don’t win two Stanley Cups. His shutout of the Big Bad Bruins in Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Finals on home ice clinched the first of two consecutive championships and provided millions with a memory that will last a hockey lifetime. Parent also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP both times the Flyers took home the Cup. Although the Flyers returned to the Finals in 1976, without Parent they were swept by the Montreal Canadiens, who had to deal with Wayne Stephenson. Perhaps a healthy Parent would have been able to lead the Flyers to a third straight title.
His career was cut short by a freak eye injury, but had Bernie been able to play at all during the 1979-1980 season, who knows how long the Flyers unbeaten streak would have been. The outcome of the Finals against the New York Islanders would also have been different, in my opinion, as a healthy and still in his prime Parent could have changed history and given the Flyers yet another Stanley Cup. Without Parent, the later-day Broad Street Bullies were never able to get over the hump and their championship drought lasts to this very day.
I leave you with this: [NBC Sports]
It brings a tear to my eye.