The 2003-04 Flyers were in the midst of an incredibly successful 101 point season that would see them make it all the way to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning, when the Ottawa Senators came to town for a potential playoff preview on March 5, 2004. What ensued was the largest brawl in NHL history, one which set a record for penalty minutes in a single game with 419. Former Flyer Patrick Sharp pulled back the curtain on what led up to the famous encounter on Snow The Goalie:
The league average for penalty minutes per game in 2003-04 was 14.6, but one night in March of 2004 the @NHLFlyers and @Senators combined for an @NHL record 419 penalty minutes. Former Flyer Patrick Sharp (@10PSharp) gave a behind-the-scenes story to @AntSanPhilly @JoyOnBroad: pic.twitter.com/PaBmKuq4dT
— Snow The Goalie: A Flyers Podcast & Radio Show (@SnowTheGoalie) June 22, 2020
More after the jump:
Sharp: What’s cool about that brawl is that the two organizations actually had a brawl prior to that, I think, on Boxing Day, which is December 26th. It was the first game around, now I might be messing dates up, but anyway, Binghamton and Philly had a brawl at the Spectrum and it was much the same. Drop the puck, five on five line brawl. I was in both actually. I didn’t fight in the one in the minors somehow, I don’t know how I didn’t, but when I was in the NHL one, for sure I was. I remember thinking, “Alright, don’t be the last guy on the bench here that’s not fighting. Go out there and get in a scrap.” That was about as loud as I’ve heard that building to be honest with you. 2010 Stanley cup finals was crazy in Philly. The crowd was insane, but during that brawl against Ottawa on home ice, I remember skating off the ice after [Jason Spezza] and I kind of, I don’t know if you want to call it a fight, there wasn’t much to it, but we didn’t really know what we were doing, the two of us, but skating off the ice, I just remember feeling like I was the toughest guy in the world and that was best feeling ever. That was a fun year.
Snow The Goalie: That is still my favorite regular season game to cover in 20 years of covering the sport. I loved that game because afterwards it was great too. You had [Bob Clarke] coming down, trying to get Jacques Martin to come out of the locker room to fight him in the hallway. You had media fighting in the locker room. It was insane, everybody was so caught up with it. You had brash trying to come back after he was already kicked out of the game, he comes back down the tunnel and he’s yelling. It was Slap Shot come to life, man, it was awesome.
Sharp: Yeah, my fight was towards the end of all this stuff going on and I remember going into the locker room and all the guys that had been previously kicked out of the game were huddled around a little monitor watching the next fight. It was just high fives coming back to everybody. Cellphones were going on back then, but they weren’t as active as they are today and I remember answering the phone a lot. Phone calls were being made post-game. A lot of my buddies that hadI played in college with were in the minors on different teams, it was like a big buzz across the hockey world that these two teams set some kind of penalty minute record and it’s cool that I could be a part of that one.
I don’t know about you, but picturing a 32-year-old Donald Brashear dishing out high fives to his teammates like a proud older brother brings warmth to my heart. It’s safe to say we’ll never again see a brawl quite like the one between Philly and Ottawa.
For more Flyers coverage, check out Snow The Goalie. Follow Snow The Goalie on Facebook and Twitter. Also be sure to tune into The Press Row Show as Anthony SanFilippo and Russ Joy preview every Flyers home game pregame and recap the first and second period action during intermission breaks from press row of the Wells Fargo Center via the Crossing Broad Facebook page, YouTube Live, and Twitter, and their Twitter accounts (@AntSanPhilly @JoyOnBroad).