Rick Tocchet

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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Rick Tocchet, Keith Jones had Marathon at the Movies before Flyers-Penguins Marathon on Ice

Rick Tocchet, Keith Jones had Marathon at the Movies before Flyers-Penguins Marathon on Ice

When Rick Tocchet, Keith Jones and the Flyers went to Pittsburgh for Games 3 and 4 of the 2000 Eastern Conference semifinals, they ended up playing six overtimes.

Trailing in the series, 2-0, the Flyers picked up a huge Game 3 victory, needing just one overtime to beat the Penguins, 4-3. The theatrics and heroics of that outcome paled in comparison to the Flyers' historic Game 4 win, a 2-1 drainer which famously lasted five overtimes and ended at 2:35 a.m. ET.

It wasn't only six extra periods for Tocchet and Jones. On May 3, the off day between those games, Tocchet and Jones still couldn't avoid overtime.

At the movies.

The day prior, Jones had a three-point effort and an assist on the game-winning goal, while Tocchet played 21:30 minutes. In an attempt to relax prior to resting up for Game 4, Tocchet and Jones decided to catch a flick.

It was the longest movie of their lives.

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Toch and I rented a car because we wanted to go to the movies," Jones recalled during the Sports Uncovered: Marathon on Ice podcast. "And so, I go watch this entire movie, I don’t even know what movie it was. We watched the whole movie. We come back out of the movie theater, we’re like, 'Man, the car's still running.' Toch was the driver and he goes, 'Oh, that’s crazy, I think I left the keys in.' He didn’t just leave them in, we were locked out. Like it’s almost impossible to lock a car with the keys in it while it’s running.

A bad omen for Game 4? Jones said he remembers getting back to the hotel around 10 p.m. after a tow truck eventually came to pop off the lock on the car.

"That two-hour movie turned into an eight-hour ordeal," Tocchet said. "I think we were about to have pregame in the parking lot the night before. I know it was eight hours. I felt so bad that I left the keys in the car. I guess I was nervous [the night before the game]."

Game 4 finished in just under seven hours. Tocchet played 46:58 minutes and Jones 37:50.

An eight-hour trip to the movies and six overtimes later, Tocchet, Jones and the Flyers were headed back to Philadelphia all even with Pittsburgh.

Something tells us Tocchet and Jones slept instead of watching a movie on the way home.

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Should Rick Tocchet make Flyers Hall of Fame?

Should Rick Tocchet make Flyers Hall of Fame?

Going End to End today are NBC Sports Philadelphia's Brooke Destra, Katie Emmer, Taryn Hatcher, Joe Fordyce and Jordan Hall.

The topic: Should Rick Tocchet make the Flyers Hall of Fame?

Destra

Tocchet not only has a strong case to make the Flyers Hall of Fame but he also has the potential for the Hockey Hall of Fame in the future. 

Even though his 18 seasons in the NHL had been spaced out across a handful of teams, he did some of his best work in Philadelphia — starting and ending his career as a Flyer.

It’s curious to think about where he would’ve ended in the franchise leaderboards if he spent his whole time in Philadelphia, but he's currently 15th overall in points. He also ranks in the top 20 for every other main category, including games played, goals and assists. 

Now, he also found success in Pittsburgh, posting his career high in points for a single season (48 goals, 61 assists, 109 points) and also coming back and winning two Stanley Cups behind the bench. (That was making the case for the Hockey Hall of Fame, of course.) 

Emmer

Absolutely.  

Throughout his 10 seasons with the orange and black, he made quite the impact, whether it was on the score sheet or being the reliable enforcer the team needed.  

The 1988-89 season was one of Tocchet’s best scoring seasons with the Flyers — he had the seventh-highest goals per game average in the league with a 0.68 mark, and behind Tim Kerr, Tocchet was the team’s second top scorer that season with 81 points (45 goals, 36 assists). 

Though he didn’t have numerous high-scoring seasons with the Flyers, Tocchet consistently made an impact in other ways with his hockey smarts or hockey fists.  

Tocchet had a combined 1,713 PIM with the Flyers. He was the true definition of Philly tough.  

A combination of his abilities, toughness and hockey IQ helped the Flyers to two Stanley Cup Final appearances (1985, 1987). 

Tocchet started and finished his 18-year NHL career in Philadelphia, he had a passion for the city and a passion for the fans. He deserves to be in the Flyers HOF.  

Hatcher

Tocchet 100 percent gets my vote. He worked his way up from being a bottom-six guy to a player who posted back-to-back-to-back-to-back 30-plus-goal seasons, highlighted by a 45-goal season in 1988-89. He ended his Flyers career with 232 goals and 508 points. Both of those statistics put him in the franchise's top-15 all-time in those respective categories.

Not to mention he’s the Flyers' all-time leader in penalty minutes, which means he accomplished all that while spending a fair amount of time in the sin bin. Iconic.

Fordyce

If anyone not named Bobby Clarke embodied the face of Flyers hockey more than Tocchet, let me know. My dad is one of the biggest Flyers fans I know and the first hockey player he ever told me about was Tocchet.

He was tough, a great teammate, a goal-scorer and an enforcer. Whatever the orange and black needed him to be, he was. Tocchet’s three-year run from 1988-1991 is up there with anyone in franchise history, scoring 45, 37 and 40 goals, respectively, during those three seasons.

Tocchet was one of the most prominent players on the Flyers' teams that stood toe to toe with the 80s Edmonton Oilers, one of the greatest dynasties in sports history. Tocchet also served as captain for one season and later in his career returned to the Flyers as a glue guy, part of the team that beat his former team (the Penguins) in five overtimes during the 2000 playoffs. Unfortunately, Tocchet’s best season and his one Stanley Cup ring as a player came with the hated rival Penguins in between his two Flyers tenures.

Tocchet is hands down a Flyers Hall of Famer.

Hall

Maybe it's just me but I find it odd to induct a player into a franchise's Hall of Fame when he won a Stanley Cup with the organization's rival team. In fact, Tocchet has won three Cups with the Penguins — two as an assistant coach and one as a player. And good for him.

Don't get me wrong, Tocchet had a heck of a career and could have a shot at the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was that old-school power forward, a leader and a winner with impressive numbers.

But with the Flyers, he doesn't rank in the organization's top 10 for games, goals or points, and he wasn't able to hoist the Cup in Philly.

A really good Flyer and a great player, but not sure he'll get into the Flyers Hall of Fame.

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