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The Philadelphia Flyers five greatest warriors: Fan’s take
Warriors are men who are willing to do anything to help their teams win. Their ranks have been built through every position on the ice.
Every team, including legendary franchises like the Boston Bruins, Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs have had numerous combatants on their rosters. The same is true for all organizations who have entered the League since expansion in 1967.
It's time to drop the helmet, the gloves and the mask. Here are the Flyers five greatest warriors:
Greatest warrior #5: Tim Kerr
In the days before obstruction was enforced, Tim Kerr often felt his opponents sticks harshly impact some part of his body as he stood in front of the opposition's crease.
The 145 power play goals this right winger scored in an orange and black sweater were assisted by ten times that number of black and blue bruises.
Greatest warrior #4: Rick Tocchet
Rick Tocchet could score and fight.
Supposedly, that's why Mike Keenan often had a smile on his face. That comment is an inside the rink joke for those who remember what the former Flyers head coach and taskmaster was really like to play for.
The right winger still ranks first on the Flyers all-time list with 1,817 penalty minutes. Any player who leads the 'Bullies' in penalty minutes clearly has earned his spot on this five-man team.
Greatest warrior #3: Ron Hextall
He is the most revered, non-1970s Stanley Cup-winning, player in team history.
Ron Hextall earned his place in Flyers lore in many ways. His ability to aggressively protect his goal crease and drop the gloves were as memorable as the two goals that he scored during his career.
Hexy's greatest achievement came in the spring of 1987, when he created one of the most amazing Conn Smythe performances in hockey history. His seven game, Stanley Cup Final, effort against the Edmonton Oilers made him an icon.
Greatest warrior #2: Dave Schultz
The reign of terror that this one man spread across the hockey world is directly tied to both of Philadelphia's Stanley Cup victories.
In the 1970s, grown men would pretend to be sick so that they wouldn't have to put their NHL uniforms on when Dave Schultz pushed his way into every National Hockey League arena.
During the Flyers first championship season in 1973-74, he had 139 penalty minutes. Doesn't seem like a lot? That number was recorded during the team's 17 spring playoff games.
He earned 472 penalty minutes during the team's next regular season, which was also its second consecutive championship year.
The left wing also had 51 goals and 64 assists during his time in Philadelphia, which sheds light on his generally unappreciated offensive skills.
Even though number 8 only played four full seasons with the Flyers, he still ranks fifth on their all-time penalty minute list.
Greatest warrior #1: Bobby Clarke
Who else could take this crown?
Bobby Clarke was a diabetic, who had most of his teeth knocked out and twice led a collection of talented brutes to hockey's promised land.
His Flyers teams didn't just win back-to-back championships in the 1970s, they became a permanent part of the sports world's consciousness.
Clarke's top billing can never be fully proven through use of statistics. The 5 foot 10 inch, 185 pound, center earned this spot through his unrelenting desire to win.
Honorable Mentions: Bernie Parent, Gary Dornhoefer, Ed Van Impe, Barry Ashbee, Bob Kelly, Andre Dupont, Bob Dailey, Paul Holmgren, Brad Marsh, Dave Brown(notes), Dave Poulin, Craig Berube, Mark Howe, Rod Brind'Amour(notes), Eric Lindros, Eric Dejardins and Keith Primeau.
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