Sports Uncovered

If Flyers lose to Penguins in 5OT classic, would Sidney Crosby still be No. 1 Philly Sports Villain?

If Flyers lose to Penguins in 5OT classic, would Sidney Crosby still be No. 1 Philly Sports Villain?

Sidney Crosby was voted by fans as the No. 1 Philly Sports Villain in NBC Sports Philadelphia's recent series debating the city's most all-time disliked figures among the four major teams.

That shouldn't come as a massive surprise.

Crosby has tortured Flyers fans in a heated rivalry stemming back to 2005. There’s something about the way in which he plays (and wins) that has never jived with this city. After all, the Penguins' star has kicked the Flyers out of the playoffs three times and has won three Stanley Cup titles in Pittsburgh while the orange and black continue to look for their first championship since 1975. Crosby has also scored more goals (43) against the Flyers than he has against any other team and owns 105 points in 70 career regular-season dates with his rival.

No. 87's villain résumé checks all the boxes in this town.

When the Flyers duked it out with the Penguins in the five-overtime classic during the 2000 Eastern Conference semifinals, Crosby was only 12 years old. But the outcome of the Marathon on Ice, a 2-1 victory for the Flyers completed in just under seven hours at 2:35 a.m. ET, could have played a role in Crosby's eventual arrival to Pittsburgh, which we detailed in the Sports Uncovered: Marathon on Ice podcast.

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The Flyers' historic Game 4 win was a series-swinging result. If the Penguins had won, they would have taken a commanding 3-1 series lead. Instead, the Flyers evened the series, seized the momentum and went on to win the next two games to finish off Pittsburgh.

How would history have changed if the Penguins won Game 4? It's highly possible they would have won the series, pushing them one step closer to the Stanley Cup Final. If Pittsburgh made a run to the Cup, how different would the 2000-01 season had been? Would the Penguins had still traded the back-to-back-to-back-to-back Art Ross Trophy winner Jaromir Jagr in the summer of 2001?

It makes you wonder, from a Flyers perspective, too. Because after losing to the Flyers in 2000, then falling short in the 2001 Eastern Conference Final (despite the return of Mario Lemieux) and trading Jagr that summer, Pittsburgh was one of the worst teams in hockey over the next three seasons.

As a result, it landed Marc-Andre Fleury first overall in the 2003 draft, Evgeni Malkin second overall in 2004 and Crosby first overall in 2005. The trio helped lead the Penguins to championships in 2009, 2016 and 2017.

However, Pittsburgh's path very well could have stayed the same if the Penguins had beaten the Flyers in the 2000 five-overtime game and series. There's a good possibility Pittsburgh still would have lost to the Devils in the 2000 Eastern Conference Final. Martin Brodeur and New Jersey won the Cup that season and also rolled through the Penguins in the 2001 Eastern Conference Final, which gave way to the inevitable, franchise-shifting Jagr trade.

The Flyers' five-overtime win will go down in the history books. If the Penguins came out on the right side of history, good chance Crosby still finds his way to Pittsburgh and becomes the No. 1 Philly Sports Villain. The Flyers outlasted the Penguins that night of May 4, 2000, so we'll never know.

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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. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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How to listen to Sports Uncovered podcast and Marathon on Ice episode

How to listen to Sports Uncovered podcast and Marathon on Ice episode

The "Marathon on Ice" between the Flyers and Penguins during the 2000 playoffs was more than just a five-overtime game for the history books.

The 2-1 Game 4 victory for the Flyers in the Eastern Conference semifinals was not only a series-swinging result, but it may have also swung the future for both clubs in some ways.

Sports Uncovered: Marathon on Ice podcast digs into that storyline and so much more, from the crazy food to the crazy amount of fatigue.

And this isn't the only Sports Uncovered podcast by the NBC Sports family. Sports Uncovered will feature deep-dive perspective and behind-the-scene insight on some of the biggest stories in sports across the regional networks.

Sports Uncovered is available in the MyTeams app and on all podcasting platforms: Art 19, Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and iHeart.

You can check out the latest podcasts and what's to come right here:

The Sports Uncovered: Marathon on Ice — NBC Sports Philadelphia

How the Flyers and Penguins survived seven hours of playoff hockey as they battled in the longest game of the NHL’s modern era.

Sports Uncovered: Sean Taylor, the NFL superstar we didn’t get to know — NBC Sports Washington

Untold stories that explain why the NFL’s biggest stars revere Sean Taylor, the Redskins safety who was killed at 24 while protecting his family.

Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football — NBC Sports Northwest

How the University of Oregon ignited a fashion arms race by going from having Donald Duck as its mascot to trendsetting Nike uniforms that attracted five-star recruits to Eugene.

Sports Uncovered: Michael Jordan: "I'm Back" — NBC Sports Chicago

How a two-word fax from Michael Jordan changed the course of NBA history, plus never-before-heard stories about his secret workouts with another NBA team.

Sports Uncovered: The mysterious disappearance that decided a Super Bowl — NBC Sports Bay Area (July 9)

Barret Robbins in his own words — from prison — revealing the real reasons why he disappeared and missed playing in the Raiders’ loss in Super Bowl XXXVII.

Sports Uncovered: The Bill Belichick you don’t know — NBC Sports Boston (July 16)

Bill Belichick’s closest confidants reveal the side of the Patriots head coach the public doesn’t get to see.

More Marathon on Ice coverage