Flyers legend Rick MacLeish dies at 66

Flyers legend Rick MacLeish dies at 66

Rick MacLeish, the smooth-skating centerman with a potent wrist shot whose goal lifted the Flyers to their first Stanley Cup, died late Monday night.

MacLeish was 66.
The center from Lindsay, Ontario, had been hospitalized in Philadelphia since mid-May while suffering from multiple medical issues, according to his daughter Brianna.

“With the passing of Rick MacLeish, the Flyers have lost one of their legends,” Flyers president Paul Holmgren said. “A good father, grandfather, teammate and friend, Rick will be missed by all who were fortunate to come and know him over the years.
“His happy and friendly demeanor was front and center everywhere Rick went. Today, our thoughts and prayers are with Rick’s wife, Charlene, his daughters, Danielle and Brianna along with his grandchildren. May he rest in peace.”
MacLeish was the Flyers’ first 50-goal scorer and second 100-point player behind Bobby Clarke, with both milestones achieved in 1972-73. A three-time NHL All-Star, he won two Cups with the Flyers.
He will forever be known for his power-play-tip goal in front of Boston goalie Gilles Gilbert in the first period of Game 6 of the 1974 Cup Final. Bernie Parent made the goal stand the remainder of the game.
MacLeish played 16 seasons, including 12 as a Flyer. He was an integral member of the Flyers’ 1974 and 1975 Cup squads.
MacLeish's 697 points are second only to Clarke (1,210) in club history among centers, and he ranks fourth in all-time points (697), fifth in assists (369) and sixth in goal-scoring (328).
His 741 games in orange and black are tied for sixth overall, and his 12 hat tricks are second only to Tim Kerr (17). MacLeish scored 54 goals with 53 assists (107 points) in 114 playoff games.
After leaving the Flyers, he also played in Pittsburgh, Hartford and Detroit, amassing 759 career points in 846 games.
Drafted fourth overall by Boston in 1970, MacLeish became a Flyer as part of three-team trade involving the Bruins and Toronto that same year.
Known for his effortless motion and blazing speed on the ice, MacLeish had a reputation as an unmotivated player early in his career until his breakout season in 1972-73.
“You can’t motivate someone who doesn’t want to play, and the Flyers didn’t keep you if you weren’t committed to winning,” teammate Gary Dornhoefer once said (see more reaction from teammates).
“It might have taken MacLeish a few years to mature as a hockey player, but he earned his keep as a member of the team.”
MacLeish was the Flyers’ first legitimate sniper, often wristing his deadly shot from the circles.
During the 1974 playoffs, he led the Flyers in both goals (13) and points (22) and finished second to Parent in the Conn Smythe Trophy voting for playoff MVP.
After his retirement, MacLeish dabbled in owning race horses and worked with the Flyers' alumni.
Among his last major public appearances with Cup teammates in Philadelphia was at the closing of the Spectrum party on Jan. 16, 2010, hosted by Flyers chairman Ed Snider, who died in April.

Flyers prospect Joel Farabee signs entry-level contract, will turn pro in 2019-20

Flyers prospect Joel Farabee signs entry-level contract, will turn pro in 2019-20

It’s one and done for Joel Farabee at Boston U.

The Flyers' 2018 first-round selection signed his entry-level contract Monday after one season at Boston University. 

Farabee finished as the Terriers' leading scorer with 36 points in 37 games as Boston University’s season (16-18-4) came to an end Friday night in the semifinals of the Hockey East Tournament.

However, Farabee’s performance as a 19-year-old freshman was one of the team’s highlights after he finished the regular season on a tear with seven goals over his last nine games and was recently named Hockey East Rookie of the Year. After getting acclimated to the collegiate game, Farabee adapted very quickly.

Farabee isn’t the only highly-touted prospect to leave BU after just one season. Buffalo’s Jack Eichel left after scoring 71 points in 40 games before the Sabres grabbed him with the second overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.

Unlike CHL prospects, who can sign entry-level deals and still compete at the major junior level, Farabee forfeits the remainder of his college eligibility, so the question moving forward is where will Farabee start the 2019-20 season?

He can make the Flyers out of training camp or start his first year of professional hockey at Lehigh Valley.

Farabee needs to develop physically but the hockey IQ and playmaking ability coupled with high character are all important attributes that he brings to the pro level.

Farabee was the Flyers' first draft pick to come from the U.S. national team development program (USNTDP) since James van Riemsdyk was selected second overall in 2007. 

JVR spent two years at the University of New Hampshire before electing to turn pro. The Flyers' left winger played just seven games with the Phantoms in 2008 before earning an NHL promotion.

There’s a debate as to whether Farabee or Morgan Frost, the Flyers' 2017 first-round pick, is the organization’s top prospect. Personally, I think Farabee has a more NHL-ready game right now, and he’ll get the chance to prove that when training camp commences in September.

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NHL playoff picture: Flyers are down and almost out

NHL playoff picture: Flyers are down and almost out

It was a disastrous weekend for the orange and black after they were swept in a back-to-back against the Islanders and Capitals, missing out on a pivotal four points.

In three days, the Flyers saw their tragic number go from 11 to five. They could be officially eliminated from contention for the Stanley Cup Playoffs as early as this week.

During a crucial stretch with little margin for error, the Flyers are now 4-6-0 over their last 10 games.

Wild-card standings

Carolina       42-26-7    91 points    7 GR        40 ROW
Montreal      40-28-8    88 points    6 GR         38 ROW
Columbus   41-30-4    86 points    7 GR         39 ROW
Flyers          35-29-8    80 points    6 GR         34 ROW

Sunday's games

PHI L 3-1 at Washington
CAR W 2-1 (OT) vs. Montreal
CBJ W 5-0 at Vancouver

• Braden Holtby stifled the Flyers, stopping 35 shots as the Capitals swept the orange and black for just the second time in franchise history.

• In a game pitting the two teams currently occupying wild-card positions, the Hurricanes outlasted the Canadiens as rookie Andrei Svechnikov scored the game-winner in overtime. Carey Price made 38 saves in a losing effort.   

• Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves for his seventh shutout of the season and the 31st of his career as the Blue Jackets remained in striking range of the Canadiens for the final wild-card spot in the East.

What lies ahead

The Flyers have a light week with a Wednesday game against the Toronto Maple Leafs before another weekend back-to-back against Carolina and the New York Rangers.

The Canadiens have three games on the slate starting Tuesday against the Panthers and a crucial game against the Blue Jackets in Columbus that could determine the final wild-card spot.

Aside from a head-to-head with Montreal Thursday, Columbus takes on the Islanders at home Tuesday with a weekend back-to-back against the Predators and the Sabres.

Playing the lottery?

As it stands right now, the Flyers are 14th out of the 15 lottery teams that would qualify for the No. 1 overall pick. 

Sad as it may seem, the Flyers have better odds of earning the top pick in the draft (1.5 percent) at this stage of the season than reaching the Stanley Cup Playoffs. As the team with the 14th-worst record in the NHL, the Flyers have a 5.0 percent chance of receiving a top-three selection.

Two years ago, the Flyers had just a 7.3 percent shot of earning a top-three draft pick when they landed at No. 2 overall and selected Nolan Patrick.

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