Here we are in December with little to do in this tough lockout time. What’s a blog to do? Well, it looks like a 12 Days of Christmas-themed series of posts is the way to go. But, we realize that all of you hockey fans aren’t into Christmas, so we’ve named it after the man nicknamed Orange Jesus and called it Claudemas.
On the ninth day of Claudmas, Flyers Faithful gave to me…Nine of the best Flyers to wear number 9. A stick tap to Youtube.com and hockeyfights.com for the videos below.
Number 9: Darryl Sittler
Sittler, who was acquired from Toronto in January of 1982, donned #27 for his entire career to that point. One problem: in Philly, that jersey was taken by Reggie Leach. Solution: Sittler donned the #9 for the remainder of the 1981-82 season, but since he is a Hall of Famer, he’s gotta make the list. Sittler was supposed to help push the Flyers of the early 80′s back into the Finals, but it was not to be. He was maybe the first of many talented players of any age the Flyers brought in to try and push the team over the top who never fully panned out. [Sittler cuts Smith]
Number 8: Glen Cochrane
Glen had the dubious honor of wearing #9 after Bob “the Hound” Kelly. He only wore it for part of the 1980-81 season, giving it up to Reid Bailey that same year in favor of his more recognizable #29. Glen liked to fight, a lot. [Cochrane vs. Nystrom]
Number 7: Rob DiMaio
The little fire plug (who still holds an NHL record for most games played in a single regular season) was a key third line player for the Lindros-led Flyers from the time he was acquired late in the 1993-94 campaign through 1996. Although he only stood 5-foot-10, he played like a much bigger player, full of heart and fire. [Big hit by DiMaio]
Number 6: Patrick Sharp
One of the ones who simply got away, to the franchise’s detriment. Traded to Chicago in December of 2005 in a “benevolent” move to get him more playing time, Sharp has blossomed into a great player with a Stanley Cup ring to boot. He showed flashes of brilliance while a Flyer, but not to the level he has shown in Chi-town. [Down goes Spezza!]
Number 5: Leon Rochefort
The very first Flyer to wear #9, Leon recorded two solid season for the club as one of their original members before being traded to the Los Angeles Kings for Reggie Fleming.
Number 4: Scottie Upshall
Upshall only wore the number for two seasons, coming over from the Nashville Predators in the Peter Forsberg trade. He quickly became a fan favorite for his skill with the puck and willingness to mix it up if needed. Personally, I miss Upshall and trading him for Dan Carcillo was a big mistake. [Upshall scores an OT winner]
Number 3: Dainius Zubrus
The 18-year-old from Ukraine broke into the NHL during the 1996-97 season, one in which the Flyers made it all the way to the Finals. In his second pro campaign, an offseason shake-up on the forward lines saw him promoted to the top line with Eric Lindros, now dubbed the “Zubie Doom.” He showed flashes of a scoring touch and was very tough on the puck. He has since been around the league with four other teams and has shown to be a solid NHL player. [Zubrus fight]
Number 2: Pelle Eklund
The Swede wore the crooked number in question for eight seasons from 1985 to 1994, a solid career which came into the spotlight during a tremendous playoff run in 1987. He spent his whole career in Philadelphia until he was traded to Dallas late in the 93-94 season. Friend of the site, Eklund of Hockeybuzz.com, is named after him. [Eklund for the hat trick]
Number 1: Bob “The Hound” Kelly
Bob Kelly was one of the major players of the two Stanley Cup winning teams for the Flyers and was a tough forward who would mix it up with the best of them and had a bit of skill as well. He was the epitome of the good soldier for his entire 10-year tenure (1970-80) in Orange and Black, showing flashes of skill, toughness, and energy whenever the team required it. “The Hound” could throw the mitts [Hound vs. Nystrom] but is best remembered for scoring the game-winning goal at the start of the third period during Game 6 of the 1975 Stanley Cup Finals in Buffalo.