In 1975 the “Broad Street Bullies” were riding roughshod over the entire National Hockey League. The name of their game was intimidation and fear and when combined with a skill-set that included Bobby Clarke, Reggie Leach, Rick McLeish, Bill Barber and Bernie Parent, it produced consecutive Stanley Cups. Then the Canadiens came along and wiped them out in four straight games in the 1975 Stanley Cup final and we haven’t heard much from them since. The hatred and disdain the Canadiens held for that team was out there for all to see.
Seems like old times.
In the 35 years since their last Stanley Cup, while the game has changed, their own mindset hasn’t. Flyers teams have always had a few goons around a practice they maintain today.
Tuesday night at the Bell Centre we got another taste of Broad Street hockey. With the Canadiens intimidating the Flyer with speed and skill, the Flyers sent headhunter Darroll Powe out. He hammered Josh Gorges with an elbow in the second period and then took Jeff Halpern right out of the game with a blindside hit. When it still didn’t work, they went to post game verbal threats.. Their captain, Mike Richards targeted P.K. Subban of all people. Richards, in an interview with The Team 990, complained that Subban didn’t give him any “respect”, a comment that might have raised more than a few eyebrows in the African-American community. And then came the barely veiled threat.
“Hopefully someone on their team addresses it, because I’m not saying I’m going to do it but something might happen to him of he continues to be that cocky.”
Apparently the thinking is, Richards and his teammates are allowed to push around rookies but the rookies aren’t allowed to push back.
Tuesday night, Subban pushed back. He and Richards got into a shoving match that led to roughing penalties early in the third period. He also dropped his gloves, although he didn’t fight during that late game melee that started when he got involved with the Flyers Claude Giroux. Maxim Lapierre and the Flyers Sean O’Donnell and Scott Hartnell received misconduct penalties as a result.
Subban – the rookie, is also Subban – the competitor. His goal is to earn respect for himself, not bestow it on the opposition. His coach, who seems to be a stickler on decorum and self-discipline, has no complaints. So Subban will remain who he is. And the Flyers? They get another shot at him Monday in their own arena. Too bad we only see them four times a year.
As I said, seems like old times.
By the way, Subban may be 21 years old, but he’s learned a few tricks as Claude Giroux and Carey Price found out Tuesday.