Top Ten Philly Sports Moments of 2011: #1 Paul Holmgren Shoots Mike Richards and Jeff Carter in a Blaze of Glory

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Read the full top ten list here.

On June 22, just a day before the Flyers traded Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, I received an email from a valued CB reader. He forwarded me a conversation he had with [a hockey person] who told him that the Flyers could trade their captain and leading scorer.

I absorbed it, but then did what I do with most speculatory emails: filed it away.

That night, CB contributor Ryan Gillon, who moonlights in various sports-related positions, sent me a text saying that he heard from a very connected person that the Flyers may trade Mike Richards.

I laughed. I trusted him and his source, but I laughed.

Ryan and I exchanged a few texts, mostly talking about how it was too crazy to put on site. A part of me wanted to do it, but it was too vague, too improbable. Neither source was reliable enough.

18 hours later, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were in tears.

I should have posted those tips.

Whether you agreed or disagreed with the Flyers' offseason moves, one thing is clear: trading Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, and signing Ilya Bryzgalov, Max Talbot, Jaromir Jagr and others, signaled the most significant organizational shift for the Flyers since they acquired Eric Lindros.

Discarding their captain – for whichever reason you choose to believe – and then signing a Russian goaltender was just about the most surprising thing the Flyers could have done. 

Richards was labeled the next Bobby Clarke. Ed Snider loves Bobby Clarke. Snider used to hate goaltenders… and Russians– now he has two of them.

The Flyers went from inking Richards, the captain, and Carter, one of the best goal scorers in the league, to decade-long contracts to throwing both under the bus for real or perceived off-ice reasons. 

In 2010, the team came closer to winning a Stanley Cup than they had in the previous 23 years. A season later, the captain, leading goal scorer and both playoff goaltenders were off the roster.

Six months later– today, the Flyers are near the top of the conference, two points behind the Rangers, whom they’ll play in the Winter Classic… with the Russian goaltender drinking tea on the bench and Jagr as the team’s third leading scorer. 

Yeah, things changed a bit. 

And no move or moment in 2011 was more significant or impactful than the Flyers blowing up and reassembling their franchise over the course of a week.

Ladies and gentlemen, your number one Philly sports moment of 2011: Paul Holmgren shooting Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.

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17 Responses

  1. ” … the few people in this town that watch hockey”
    Go back to trying to figure out how the Eagles will waste their 1st rd pick in April’s draft. What a clown.

  2. Lets see: Phillies were the best, then shit the bed. Eagles just shit then bed and were too late to clean it up, Sixers got the shit kicked out of them by the heat and then there was no bed to shit in until Christmas. Hockey was all the news this year for the right and wrong reasons. When this went down, it shook Flyers hockey for the next 10 years. Now we have a goalie lost in the woods, Jagr in a Flyers jersey (ever thought that happened) and Claude Giroux is the best player in the NHL. Have not had that since #88. Makes you think, do you think the Eagles have the BALLS to do a move like Homer do and trade their 2 franchise players like they did.

  3. @Rick The few people in this town who watch hockey? The flyers sell out just about every game and have one of the biggest fan bases in the league. There wasn’t any other story more significant then this. Maybe for 2012 you make a resolution to pull your head out of your ass.

  4. Can’t see how Andy Reid didn’t make the list. Whether it was for “hiring” Juan Castillo as the D-Coord or for handing a $140 million dollar contract to Mike Vick and tying his fate to a reclamation project. The collapse of the Eagles should have been noted. Just barely mentioning Nnamdi, only because he got here on the same day as Pence (who found the playoffs just as intimidating as Nnamdi did being a supposed shutdown corner) doesn’t do justice to this implosion. Granted, more will be coming this offseason, but the seeds of destruction were planted and should have been noted.

  5. @DXFLYERS, the flyers shit the bed just as bad. they were easily the best team in the eastern conference only to lose a lot of games towards the end of the regular season. then they barely beat a buffalo team who was less talented than the flyers which lead to a 0-4 sweep from the bruins.
    my first reaction was this shouldnt be nearly as high, but after rethinking, all 3 of the teams who should be winning, eagles flyers phillies, all didnt have any real number 1 moments to be proud of

  6. @the chink deli, still stings? are you serious? richards and carter have been holding back giroux for the past 2 seasons. anyone with any hockey knowledge could see that giroux had some of the best talent in the league too go along with great work ethic (something richie and carts seriously lacked). they needed to move those guys so giroux could get more ice time. needless to say this team got younger in one day of moves and really improved the teams chances of winning a cup within the next 5-10 years…and oh yeah, they’re still sitting in 2nd place even though they’re no.1 goalie has been lost in the woods for most of the season. this offense is dynamic now because of the subtraction of richards and carter.

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