Joe Fordyce

Former Flyer Rick Tocchet knows NHL is in difficult spot with coronavirus outbreak

Former Flyer Rick Tocchet knows NHL is in difficult spot with coronavirus outbreak

With much of the sports world’s future unclear, the one thing that is crystal clear is that the situation caused by the coronavirus is something that nobody expected.

Former Flyer and current Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet feels this has all been a learning experience. 

“I didn’t think it would be that long, I thought maybe two or three weeks," Tocchet said in a video interview last Thursday with NBC Sports Philadelphia, "but then you see how serious it is.”

Tocchet as a player was as tough as they come. He did everything as a member of the Flyers' franchise and won three Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins (two as an assistant coach, one as a player). Tocchet, despite being a coach, has that player’s mentality, and the current league suspension has forced him to change his daily approach a bit.

“I’m a routine guy," he said. "When you take routine away from hockey players, you get a little stir crazy, so I try to have a routine every day.”

Part of Tocchet’s routine is checking in with his players and watching video on his computer, preparing for when and if the NHL season returns. But that won’t be an easy process for hockey, which is different as far as conditioning than the other major sports. 

“Guys need to skate, they need ice," Tocchet said.

“Guys aren’t skating, and to be able to just hop back in there, you have to give these guys a seven-to-10-day training camp.”

How the NHL season returns remains to be seen. Multiple scenarios of beginning with the playoffs have been hypothesized. Regardless of what happens, the likelihood of someone being unhappy is high. 

“I don’t know what’s fair or not," Tocchet said. "If they said teams that are in now get in, I think we’d have to swallow that, and you’re in.”

Tocchet’s Coyotes are currently four points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, so that would be an unfortunate break for the former Flyer who is looking to reach the playoffs for the first time in his third year as head coach in Arizona.

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Flyers Talk podcast: Analyzing scenarios for Stanley Cup Playoffs

Flyers Talk podcast: Analyzing scenarios for Stanley Cup Playoffs

On the latest Flyers Talk podcast, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Katie Emmer and Jordan Hall are joined by Joe Fordyce, the Flyers Pre and Postgame Live producer.

From multiple interviews to the format of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, let's dive in:

1:25 — Kevin Hayes talks all things Flyers and the NHL stoppage

7:30 — No fans during the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

14:50 — An interview with Rick Tocchet and Keith Jones

18:00 — Should the NHL change the playoff format?

24:00 — Life without Flyers hockey right now

30:30 — Debating our all-time Flyers team

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Top 10 goals in Flyers playoff history

Top 10 goals in Flyers playoff history

Under normal circumstances, we would be prepping for a Flyers playoff run. However, as the last two weeks have shown us, our way of life at the present time is anything but normal.

With the playoffs in mind, let’s look at the Flyers' top 10 playoff goals.

10. Lindros 1997 hat trick

Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden and No. 88 put on a show.

Capping off a hat trick with a backhanded seed from the left circle that beat Mike Richter, this Eric Lindros goal gave the Flyers the upper hand in the series. The Flyers went on to win the series before losing to the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Final.

9. Roenick sends the Leafs home

Game 7 of the 2004 Eastern Conference semifinals was a drama-filled affair at the Air Canada Center. Jeremy Roenick provided a storybook ending silencing an electric Maple Leafs crowd as he flew down the right wing and beat goalie Ed Belfour in OT to send the Flyers to the Eastern Conference Final. It was J.R.'s signature moment in orange and black.

8. Haller OT magic vs. Rangers

The 1995 playoff run was the last at the Spectrum and it was the first Flyers playoff run in five years. This was the peak of the Lindros era, however, the signature moment of the playoffs came from a Kevin Haller wrist shot in overtime of Game 2 that nearly took the roof off the Spectrum ... again.

This gave the Flyers control of the series and they went on to sweep the Rangers just a year after the Blueshirts won the Stanley Cup.

7. Poulin shorthanded goal vs. Quebec

With the Flyers on the brink of the 1985 Stanley Cup Final, they found themselves shorthanded by two players, clinging to a one-goal lead at the Spectrum.

Dave Poulin set sail on a breakaway and scored, essentially closing out the Nordiques and sending the Flyers to the Cup Final for the first time in five years.

6. Primeau 5-overtime winner in Pittsburgh

They were eating pizza between overtimes to keep energy up in a game that seemed like it would never end at the igloo in Pittsburgh during 2000. That is until Keith Primeau cut to the middle of the ice and found the back of the net with a wrist shot, ending a marathon that stretched into the next morning.

This is the definition of a “where were you when?” moment and at the expense of the rival Penguins — an all-timer.

5. Daigneault forces Game 7

Many say this was the loudest moment in the history of the Spectrum. Game 6 of the 1987 Stanley Cup Final against one of the greatest dynasties in the history of sports the Edmonton Oilers.

The team was littered with Hall of Famers, but on this night, the Flyers forced a Game 7 by virtue of a J.J. Daigneault slap shot from the point that beat Grant Fuhr and pushed the series back to Edmonton.

When you say the name J.J. Daigneault and everyone already knows what play you’re talking about, you know it’s one of the biggest goals in franchise history.

4. Gagne caps historic comeback vs. Bruins

Simon Gagne’s return from injury during the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals infused some much-needed offense into a Flyers team that had dug a 3-0 series hole for itself.

The team was looking to be just the third in history to fight its way back to win the series after that deficit. Gagne scored the game-winning goal in the third period, in a game that the Flyers trailed 3-0, and it was clear that Gagne’s goal finished the Bruins and their sold-out crowd at TD Garden.

The Flyers went on to beat Montreal in the Eastern Conference Final and moved onto the Stanley Cup Final before losing to Chicago.

3. Kelly clinches 2nd straight Stanley Cup title

Bob Kelly scored the first and game-winning goal 11 seconds into the third period of Game 6 of the 1975 Stanley Cup Final. Bill Clement added a second goal and the Flyers won their second straight Stanley Cup.

2. MacLeish clinches Flyers' first-ever Stanley Cup

Rick MacLeish tipped Moose Dupont’s point shot into the back of the net for the only goal in Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Final, giving the Flyers' franchise their first-ever Stanley Cup title.

1. Clarke scores the biggest goal in Flyers history 

Game 2 1974 Stanley Cup Final.

Goal No. 2 on this countdown likely doesn’t happen without arguably the most important goal in Flyers history off the stick of captain Bobby Clarke in overtime of Game 2 in Boston. The Flyers trailed the series 1-0 and could not afford to fall down two games to the vaunted Bruins.

Clarke in OT makes the whole play happen, starting with a tenacious forecheck, then a backhanded shot is stopped but No. 16 gets his own rebound and scores to even the series.

Honorable mention: Gagne OT winner in Game 6 of 2004 Eastern Conference Final

If not for goal No. 4 in this countdown, this is arguably Gagne’s biggest goal of his career, forcing a Game 7 against the eventual Stanley Cup champions in front of a raucous home crowd.

Here’s hoping to add to these memories in the near future.

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