Keith Primeau

Where are they now? Key players to Flyers' five overtime victory 20 years later

Where are they now? Key players to Flyers' five overtime victory 20 years later

It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since the longest game in modern NHL history went down between the Flyers and Penguins. Thankfully, after 152:01 of playing time, the Flyers won Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, tying the series up at two games apiece. 

The names and players that went down in history during that game continued on from that moment, having memorable careers in different ways. When it comes to the Flyers, where are some of those household names in 2020? 

Let’s take a look:

• Craig Berube spent two different stints in Philadelphia — 1986-87 through 1990-91 and 1998-99 through 1999-00. He then finished his 17-year career in the NHL as a player-assistant coach with the Philadelphia Phantoms.

Just a few years later, he found himself moving through coaching positions within Philadelphia with both the Phantoms and Flyers. Eventually, on Oct. 7, 2013, Berube was named head coach of the Flyers and brought his team to the playoffs in 2014. Just one season later, he was relieved of his coaching duties — though, he didn’t stay out of a job for long. 

He joined the Blues organization by coaching the Chicago Wolves, its AHL affiliate team. Once again, he moved up the rankings from assistant coach to interim coach following the firing of Mike Yeo on Nov. 19, 2018. Who would’ve thought that he was going to take a team that was dead-last in the league come the New Year and turn it into Stanley Cup champions? This was the first time Berube ever held the coveted Stanley Cup as a player or coach in his career. 

• Keith Jones spent the last three seasons of his nine-year career as a Flyer, playing 131 games and tallying 74 points (27 goals, 47 assists). 

A few years after Jones officially hung up his skates in 2001, he turned to the broadcasting side of the game. He became a television analyst for NBCSN and is also NBC Sports Philadelphia’s very own color commentator for the Flyers. 

• Nothing beats rewatching Keith Primeau's goal that finally ended the longest game in modern NHL history. Following his first full season with the Flyers in 2000-01 and leading the team in goals (34) and matching his career best in points (73), he was named the 13th captain in franchise history. 

He continued his time as captain through the early games of the 2005-06 season. After suffering a concussion that ended his season and dealing with post-concussion syndrome, he announced he would be retiring from the league in September 2006. 

For some time, Primeau held two front office positions with the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers. He also received a degree in liberal studies from Neumann University in 2011. 

• There’s no denying the legacy former Flyer Mark Recchi left on the NHL. Twenty-two years in the league were divided among seven separate teams — the majority of the time was spent divided between the Flyers and Penguins. After parting with the Flyers, Recchi found himself victorious with the Hurricanes in 2005-06 and with the Bruins in 2010-11, winning the Stanley Cup for the second and third time of his career. 

After announcing retirement in June 2011, Recchi finished his career with 1,652 games played and 1,533 points (577 goals, 956 assists). On June 26, 2017, he was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

He has spent most of his time since 2014 with the Penguins, having worn a few different hats through the years including player development coach, director of player development and even assistant coach. He won two more Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. 

• Chris Therien spent just shy of 12 years in Philadelphia with the Flyers, only being broken up by a small stint in Dallas with the Stars via trade in 2004. A head injury cut his final season in the NHL short, but he finished his career having played 764 games and tallying 159 points (29 goals, 130 assists). 

Therien, who also goes by “Bundy,” has spent the majority of his post-playing career working on the broadcasting side of the game. He was previously a color commentator for the Flyers on NBC Sports Philadelphia and 97.5 The Fanatic. He is now the lead analyst for Flyers Pregame Live and Flyers Postgame Live on NBC Sports Philadelphia.  

• An 18-year career was only the beginning of Rick Tocchet’s journey in the NHL. 

Having spent the majority of his time in Philadelphia, Tocchet became a favorite for all fans based off his early style of play as a fighter. He later developed his game and became a well-respected forward and leader among teams he played for. 

Those leadership abilities were put to use quickly after he retired following the 2001-02 season. He soon found himself behind the bench and coaching various teams with different positions over the next two decades — assistant coach for the Avalanche being his first official gig in 2002-03. Tocchet saw two Stanley Cup victories with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017. 

Just a little bit of a month following that second win, he was named head coach for the Coyotes on July 11, 2017 — a title that he still holds today. 

• Brian Boucher had quite the rookie year, his best and most impressive outing having to be the five-overtime game against the Penguins. He found himself in Philadelphia with the Flyers on three separate playing stints throughout his career. His second time coming when the Flyers made their thrilling 2009-10 Stanley Cup run, in large part due to holding his ground in a shootout victory against the Rangers on the final day of that regular season.

Boucher is now a studio analyst on NBCSN and NHL Network. To this day, he still holds the NHL’s modern record for the longest shutout streak (332:01). This was set in the 2003-04 season when he played for the Coyotes. 

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Cayden Primeau ecstatic to join Canadiens' goaltending fraternity

Cayden Primeau ecstatic to join Canadiens' goaltending fraternity

CHICAGO – Keith Primeau was hoping the Flyers didn’t pick his son in this NHL draft.
 
“The Flyers have drafted a number of goaltenders the last couple years,” Primeau said.
 
Which is why general manager Ron Hextall did him an unknown favor by sending his final pick – No. 199 in the seventh round – to Montreal on Saturday afternoon.
 
Hextall didn’t know who Montreal wanted.
 
The Habs used that pick to select Primeau’s son, Cayden, a 17-year-old graduate of Bishop Eustace, who played 30 games for the Lincoln Stars in the USHL and is headed to Northeastern University in the fall.
 
Cayden is 6-foot-2, 185 pounds. Dad was beaming with pride.
 
“An Original Six team, the opportunity to put a Habs jersey, my mom was crying,” Keith said. “Two things, he is a percentage goaltender who plays big. You got to beat him with a good shot.
 
“And his temperament. He is never too high or too low. In that market, that is going to bode well and will be huge.”
 
Cayden was ecstatic. The list of Canadien goalies is legendary: Jacques Plante, Gump Worsley, Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy and now Carey Price.
 
“There really isn’t one word to describe it all,” Cayden said. “Just being in an organization with great goalies from the past.
 
“Right now, Carey Price, I can learn from him. And take from him anything he does on and off the ice and above and beyond anything else.”
 
He ranked No. 7 among North American goaltenders by NHL Central Scouting.
 
“I didn’t know where or when I was going [to be drafted],” Cayden said.
 
The Primeau family lives in Voorhees, New Jersey.
 
The Flyers got a seventh-round pick in 2018 from Montreal in return.

Unlike his dad, Cayden Primeau pursuing NHL dreams as a goalie

Unlike his dad, Cayden Primeau pursuing NHL dreams as a goalie

BUFFALO, N.Y. — If Keith Primeau had his way, his son Cayden would've learned how to skate and the basics of the game before making a decision to play goal. However, from a young age, Cayden Primeau insisted he'd don the pads and tend the net, a decision he doesn't regret today.

"He was pretty hesitant at first," Cayden Primeau recalled at the recent NHL Scouting Combine. "I was just relentless and persistent — he just finally caved in and I've stuck with it ever since."

A veteran of 15 NHL seasons, including parts of six in Philly, Keith Primeau was outnumbered when it came to his youngest son's wishes to be a goalie.

"I was of the mindset that you need to learn to skate and play the game a little bit first," the former Flyers captain said. "Then if you still have an interest in playing goal, then you could play goal.

"But right from Day 1 he wanted to be a goaltender and at my wife's wishes and against my better judgment, I allowed him to put pads on. Right from the first day, he was able to stop a puck, too, so there wasn't much chance I was going to get him out of the net."

As Cayden Primeau prepares to take the next step in his hockey career — the 17-year-old is the sixth-ranked goaltender in ISS Hockey's 2017 draft guide — Keith Primeau still doesn't know where the passion for the position came from.

"Right from the beginning, he wanted to play goal. It wasn't like at the time he was watching Brian Boucher and saying, 'I want to emulate Brian Boucher,'" said Keith Primeau, whose younger brother, Wayne Primeau, also enjoyed a lengthy career as a center in the NHL. "I did some television work a few years ago and I was asking Marty Turco and Kevin Weeks — they were sitting on the panel with me — I'm a player, I know how to train as a player, I don't know goalie-specific stuff and so he's been able to lean on other people who are goaltenders or of that profession."

Born in Voorhees, New Jersey, Cayden Primeau spent this past season playing for the Lincoln Stars of the USHL, where he posted a 14-11-1 record to go along with a 3.16 goals-against average and an .895 save percentage.

The 6-foot-1, 186-pound puck stopper is a butterfly-style goaltender that moves well and does a good job of using his edges.

Scouts say Primeau has very good hockey sense and feel for the game. He plays his angles well and tracks the puck through traffic well.

"Tall, lanky goalie with long limbs — has trouble catching with his glove," ISS Hockey scout Brent Parker said. "Strong post-to-post. When playing paddle down, he maintains good size and positioning.

"Rebound control was poor on his blocker side with both blocker and pads. Good balance in both the stand-up and butterfly positions. Plays at the top of his crease. Plays angles well and good overall positioning. Lots of upside."

With his dad being a member of the Flyers, Primeau said he often watched Steve Mason closely, but when it comes to modeling his game, he tries to emulate Nashville Predators netminder Pekka Rinne.

"Always trying to take things from him and try to implement them into my own game," Primeau said. "I like to do that with a bunch of other goalies, but my favorite is probably Pekka Rinne.

"I like that he uses his athleticism to his advantage, I like how he's aggressive and makes it challenging for shooters."

Primeau hopes to one day follow his dad's footsteps to the NHL, but he won't be taking the same route. Keith Primeau spent three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League before turning pro during the 1990-91 season.

The OHL's Mississauga Steelheads own Cayden Primeau's rights, but he's chosen to go the college route and will spend next season at Northeastern.

"College hockey in Boston, hockey alone in Boston, is just one thing in itself and then when I started talking to Northeastern, I went to visit the campus, it was beautiful and I loved it, so I felt like it was the right fit," said Cayden, whose cousin, Mason Primeau, recently committed to the OHL's Guelph Storm.

"Obviously the OHL is a great route, but for me personally, I believe college is the best route."

Primeau will have a familiar face on the team next season as Nolan Stevens, the son of former Flyers coach John Stevens, is expected to return for a fourth season with the Huskies.

Keith Primeau was the third overall selection of the Detroit Red Wings 27 years ago — an experience he remembers like it was yesterday. Waiting for his name to be called at BC Place Stadium, Primeau was certain he was going to the Vancouver Canucks.

"I knew that Quebec was going to take Owen Nolan and just from my conversations with Pat Quinn, I felt real strongly that I was going to Vancouver," Primeau recalled of his discussions with the late Flyers coach.

"I guess that's the one variable that you can't control. Until your name is called, everybody sits there anxiously waiting for that moment. It's exciting, but at the same time, nerve-racking."

The Flyers have selected four goaltenders over the past two NHL drafts, including Carter Hart in the second round (48th overall) last year, so the chances Cayden ends up with the Flyers are likely slim, but Keith's advice for his son heading into the draft June 23-24 in Chicago is simple.

"We all know this is just the first step," Keith said. "There's a long road to go, the work begins after the draft. Just enjoy the experience. Don't get caught up too much in where you're drafted, be excited about where you go and be ready to just take on the next challenge."