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Broad Street Bullying: The Top 11 Flyers Single-Game PIM Retrospective

July 22, 2013, 12:34 PM ET [246 Comments]
Bill Meltzer
Philadelphia Flyers Blogger •NHL.com • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Thank you to everyone who responded to yesterday's poll questions. With so many of the respondents having become Flyers fans during the Eric Lindros era and/or considering it their favorite era of team history, I plan to intersperse several offseason blogs to team history topics specific to that era of team history, along with the usual array of discussions on the current team.

Additionally, the 2013-14 Flyers season will mark the 40th anniversary of the Flyers' first Stanley Cup season. I have an August blog planned that looks at how that team came together along with a fun little subsection called "the Internet Waaaaayback Machine" that is a tongue-in-cheek imagining of what the media and Flyers fans would have been writing on the Internet about the team's outlook during the 1973 offseason, had there been an Internet as we know it today and if today's tastes, styles of discourse/debate and ways of looking at the game were transposed 40 years into the past.

For today, I thought it would be fun to look at a topic that spans the entire organizational history: The Flyers' all-time single game penalty minute records by individual players. The research was done firsthand by going season-to-season on Flyershistory.com to find the top 10. I came up with a top 11, which includes a three-way tie at the bottom. There may be ones I missed, so if you spot an omission, let me know.

For some of the 1970s to early 1980s games on the list, I did not know the game details beyond the box scores on the Flyers' history site. So I went into file folders of old game clippings that I keep (I photocopied as many as old Flyers-related Bulletin clippings as possible on lunch breaks while I was a student worker at Temple University's Urban Archives many years ago, and consulted trusty Flyers history books such as Full Spectrum. Where possible, I tried to pull together details of older era games I either was unable to watch on TV or catch or radio or which I may have seen but didn't recall. There also could be gaps or errors in there, so again, let me know if I got something wrong or omitted key info.


Do you know which player holds the single-game record for penalty minutes in a game involving the Flyers? It wasn't a Flyers' player. It was Los Angeles Kings defenseman Randy Holt, who later briefly played for the Flyers.

On March 11, 1979, Holt (then with Los Angeles) racked up 67 penalty minutes against the Flyers in one of the most infamous NHL games ever played. The game most notably featured a wild brawl at the end of the first period, instigated by Holt, who got a triple game misconduct among other penalties.

Later in his career, during the 1981-82 season, Holt set what was (at least then) a Washington Capitals single-game team record with a 34 penalty-minute game against the Flyers.

Needless to say, when Randy Holt briefly (and ineffectively) played for the Flyers during the 1983-84 season, it was a strange sight. It wasn't that I couldn't root for the guy as a Flyer -- there have only been two players I've had trouble wanting to see do well in orange and black. Even so something never quite sat right about having Randy Holt play here.

The game where Holt set the all-time single game PIM record by one player also marked the night where the Flyers' team records for the highest and second-highest one-game PIM totals were set.

As far as I can determine, here are the all-time top 11 single-game highs by Flyers players:

1. Frank Bathe: 55 PIM vs LA, 3-11-1979. "Bather" had a pair of fights with Holt in the first period of the game and was part of the brawl at the end of the game. In all, he racked up three fights (15 PIM), a double game misconduct (20 PIM), and pair of 10-minute misconducts (20 PIM) in less than three minutes of ice time that night.

2. Glen Cochrane: 42 PIM vs LA, 2-21-1981. It rarely took much for Cochrane to get worked up into a fighting frenzy. In this tilt, he and Dean Hopkins got their sticks up and dropped the gloves in the first period (7 PIMs) and the two were in the center of a huge brawl in the third period that saw Cochrane pick up a pair of 10-minute misconducts for refusing to leave the ice (20 PIM) and a game misconduct (10 PIM) on top of another fighting major (5 PIM).

Cocher clearly felt lots of shame about all that time sitting in the penalty box. In the Flyers' very next game, he toned things down to the extent that he only got himself the #7 entry on this list (33 PIMs).

3. Paul Holmgren: 37 PIM vs LA, 3-11-1979. In the record game for LA's Holt, Homer also had a busy first period. He was still in the box for a late-period charging penalty (2 PIM) at the time the end-of-period brawl erupted. He left the box and got in the thick of the brawl, racking up a fighting major (5 PIMs), a double game misconduct (20 PIM) and a 10-minute misconduct (10 PIM).

4. Brantt Myhres: 35 PIM vs. MON, 12-15-1997. Midway through the second period, with the Flyers leading 2-1, a brawl started along the boards. I don't recall who the initial combatants were, but I do recall that Saku Koivu and Janne Niinimaa ended up wrestling and jawing at each other in the fracus. Myhers, who racked up 169 penalty minutes in just 23 games as a Flyer (and was going through a relapse of off-ice problems at about this time), got himself a pair of game misconducts, a 10-minute misconduct and a fighting major.

5-6. (Tie) Dave Schultz: 34 PIM vs. CALIF., 10-25-74, Donald Brashear: 34 PIM vs. OTT, 3-5-2004. In the 1974-75 season, Schultz set the NHL's record for penalty minutes in a season (472). This match marked his season-high and Flyers career high for penalty minutes in a single game. Brashear's 34 penalty minute game happened in the third period of the match in which the Flyers and Senators set the league's all-time record for combined PIMs in a game.

After the infamous Barry Cummins-Bobby Clarke incident during the 1973-74 season, subsequent meetings between the Flyers and California Seals often turned into brawl-a-thons. Philadelphia usually had little trouble dispatching the woeful Seals on the scoreboard, but this game the season following the Flyers' first Stanley Cup championship was not one of their better nights. With little-used backup goaltender Bobby Taylor in net, the Flyers lost this road tilt, 4-1.

Early in the first period of the game, the Flyers killed off a minor penalty to former Seals forward, Reggie Leach. Shortly after the expiration of the penalty, there was a goal mouth scramble just outside the California team's crease.

According to newspaper accounts of the game, in desperation, Seals defenseman Mike Christie closed his hand on the puck. Christie, a tough Texan who was one of the few American-born and trained players in the NHL at the time and had quite a few run-ins with the Flyers during his career, received a minor penalty for falling on the puck. But Schultz canceled it out by slashing Christie and then jumping him with a flurry of punches. Schultz was dispatched to his home away from home, the penalty box, for seven minutes.

The game was scoreless after the first period. Early in the second period, Schultz popped defenseman Len Frig in the face with his glove as the two untangled from a puck scramble deep in California territory. Up went referee Bryan Lewis' arm. Frig did not answer Schultz's fight challenge, so the Seals got a power play. They scored to make it 1-0. Two shifts later, the Seals found the twine behind Taylor again to extend the lead to 2-0.

Now "the Hammer" was really spoiling for a fight, both to spark his listless team and because he probably a bit annoyed that he didn't take anyone from the other side off with
him when he tried to go early in the period. On his next shift, Schultz gave Seals forward John Stewart little other choice but to fight him. There was no instigator rule in this era, and Schultz cast aside his gloves and squared up to do battle. Stewart realized he'd better oblige. Both went off for five minutes, bringing Schultz's penalty minute tally for the night to 14 PIM.

By early in the third period, it was 3-0 Seals. At the 8:20 mark, all hell broke loose as Don Saleski pummeled Seals goalie Gary Simmons (only Saleski received a fighting major; Simmons did not) and a line brawl broke out. Orest Kindrachuk fought Frig. Andre "Moose" Dupont went with Christie. Bob Kelly got involved, earning himself a game misconduct and a double roughing minor. Taylor left the crease and skated down the ice to engage with Simmons.

Things calmed down only momentarily, as the players on the two benches continued to holler at one another. Before play resumed and a semblance of order was restored by Lewis and beleaguered linesmen Leon Stickle and Ryan Bozak -- who had the nearly impossible task of separating combatants as they finally fell to the ice -- a wild-eyed Schultz tried to go after Jim Neilson, who wanted no part of fighting the Hammer and, according to the Flyers' account of events after the fact, was not sorry to see himself and Schultz tossed from the game on matching 10-minute and game misconducts. The additional 20 penalty minutes brought Schultz's final tally for the game to 34.

As for the Flyers-Senators game, I remember that one very well. The Flyers were spoiling for revenge against Ottawa's Martin Havlat for a stick foul he committed in a previous game against Mark Recchi. This game turned in Philly's favor on the scoreboard, and was relatively tame penalty wise for two-plus periods. Things did not get crazy until the third period after the game outcome was no longer in any doubt.

I was originally slated to cover that game from the pressbox, but had a late change of plans. My then-fiancee asked me to accompany her to check out a band we were thinking of hiring (and ultimately did hire) for our wedding. They were playing a gig in New Jersey at a restaurant-bar which had a big-screen TV with the Flyers-Senators game broadcast.

I confess that I soon stopped listening to the band and instead wandered repeatedly over to watch the TV screen as the Flyers beat the Sens, 5-3. In the latter stages of the game, the brawls started.

Whereas Schultz's 34 penalty minutes came as a result of four different incidents spread out over the course of the game, Brashear's came all in one shift. He was part of the first of several line brawls late in the third period, and got himself 34 minutes out of everything after going with both Rob Ray and Todd Simpson in fights.

Relive the madness below:

7. Glen Cochrane: 33 PIM vs. VAN, 2-23-1981. Two nights after racking up 42 penalty minutes against the Kings, "Cocher" was at it again. He picked up only a tame interference penalty (2 PIM) in the first period, but after the Flyers' Ken Linseman and Frank Bathe triggered a big brawl in the second period, "the Rat" pretty much left the dirty work to Cochrane, who got himself 31 penalty minutes (double-minor for roughing, five for fighting, third-man in game misconduct and a second game misconduct) jumping in on Linseman's behalf.

8-11 (Tie). Moose Dupont, Dave Schultz and Rick Tocchet: 31 PIM. I found one 31 PIM game for each player during their respective Flyers careers. Schultz's came against Minnesota on March 8, 1975, Dupont's was Nov 5, 1974 against the Islanders and Tocchet's was Dec. 19, 1989 against the Washington Capitals.

Special notes:

* I found several 25 PIM games apiece for Dave Brown, Craig Berube, Jack McIlhargey but couldn't find one where they got more than that in one game during their Flyers' careers.

Of all people, John LeClair actually topped that 25 PIM mark at the tail end of the Flyers-Ottawa brawl-a-thon game in 2004. By that point of the game, there were more players in the dressing room than the bench at the tail end of the game and the refs were pretty much tossing everyone. LeClair got 27 PIMs but really didn't do very much to earn it.

LeClair got a 10-minute misconduct, a game misconduct, a fighting major and a holding minor after an unremarkable "fight" with Wade Redden that basically consisted of LeClair pushing someone up against the boards and then being tackled by Redden.

Believe it or not, this was LeClair's his only fighting major in his entire Flyers career. I believe he had three in his career -- one each as a Hab, Flyer, and Penguin -- although Hockeyfights.com lists him as having two. It also marked the only time that the physical but clean-playing LeClair ever got a misconduct penalty as a Flyer.


Former Flyers forward Ian Laperriere, now the organization's Director of Player Development, will be participating in the Ironman Mont-Tremblant: North American Championship on August 18. Apart from competing in the triatholon, Lappy is raising funds for a variety of charitable causes: the IRONMAN Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, the National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation and Go4theGoal Foundation- Tunes4Teens. Laperriere has set a $10,000 fundraising goal. For more information or to make a donation, click here.

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