A lot of people argue that J.J. Daigneault’s (That’s pronounced Dane-Yo) goal in game 6 of the 1987 Stanley Cup Finals against Edmonton was the loudest moment in the history of the Spectrum. It’s certainly one of the most famous goals in Flyers history, and like some others (Keith Primeau comes to mind, JR against Toronto) the goal was scored for one of the Flyers teams that failed to win the Stanley Cup. I remember 1987, and yet I don’t really at all. The games, the series against Edmonton, I have no memory of, and I’m reasonably sure I didn’t watch them. Perhaps they were on too late, perhaps I was watching The Cosby Show, I’m not really sure, but one thing that sticks in my mind about 1987 was it the first time that someone asked me if I was a Flyers fan.
It happened on the school bus of all places. The bus that took me home every day from elementary school was lightly populated. Not many kids lived out in far reaches of the school district like me, and so the handful of kids on the bus managed to exist without the usual age governed boundaries. I don’t remember the older kids names, or anything about them really. I think were generally entertained by me, asking me questions on topics I had no idea about to amuse themselves and pass the time. It was pretty harmless stuff, but I remember clearly one time being asked if I liked the Flyers. It was a question that implied the person asking certainly did like the Flyers, and so I just said that I did as well.
I knew who the Flyers were, and I didn’t dislike them, but I guess at seven, I hadn’t really thought about it that much. Something about the question though, and the following conversation where I was given the thumbnail sketch of this series against Edmonton, acted as a trigger for my Flyers fandom. Like I said, I didn’t watch the games, on too late and there were no hockey fans in my house, but I suddenly knew what was happening in that series. Down three games to one. The Flyers were devastated by injuries and were playing without Tim Kerr. Ron Hextall was otherworldly. I became aware of all these details, many after the fact, but I remember them coming back. Three games to two, then the improbable game six that tied the series.
I don’t remember being that down when the Flyers lost game seven in Edmonton. I bounced back pretty quickly, but that was the year that has led to every year since then, which sees me watching the Flyers spend most springs in the playoffs with varying levels of success. I’ve still never seen them finish off a run, but I’ve seen my share of great games and then this year perhaps a new peak with the comeback against the Bruins. It’d be nice to see them cap one of these runs off, but being a true Flyers fan comes with some trepidation. I’m sure there were bandwagon people that tuned in last night and said, “What the Bleep was that?” The veteran doesn’t flinch at a game like that. You just swallow hard, and hope they come out better in game four.
I think it is a huge game four for the Flyers. It needs to be a Flyers weekend. Montreal is an exceedingly difficult place to play, but the Flyers are no juggernaut. They need to keep the advantage, and try to maintain the momentum. Their advantage over Montreal is razor thin, if it exists at all. To come back to Philly tied 2-2 is to tempt fate, and to conjure up too much past history. Six wins away from the ultimate goal, and yet it still feels so far out of reach. Win or lose, I’ll be there though, my fate sealed that afternoon on the bus when I decided I was a Flyers fan.
And if you just want to watch 2 minutes of absolute insanity…Seriously watch it if you have the time, it is to this point probably my favorite hockey moment.