Saturday, December 13, 2008

October '74: The Torture Test

After dropping the first game in franchise history in Toronto, the Scouts traveled to Long Island to lose 6-2. The next night found them in Philadelphia to face the defending and eventual repeat Stanley Cup champion Flyers. The lowly Scouts put quite a scare into the Flyers, but couldn't come away with a point, losing 3-2.

The game marked ex-Flyer Simon Nolet's return to Philadelphia. At the time, Nolet was the third leading scorer in Flyers history, and the fans gave him a warm reception when he stepped on the ice for the first time. The warm reception turned into a standing ovation after Nolet potted a shorthanded goal.

Nolet was obviously a gifted player and a fan favorite, which again begs the question, why on earth did the Flyers let him get away in the expansion draft? Star writer Jay Greenberg offered this explanation: "...the Flyers had remade their image on the way to the Stanley Cup. Simon, the whippet, didn't fit in with the ruffians, and he played in only 35 of the Flyers 78 regular-season games last year." (10/14/74 Star)

Looking at Nolet's stats with the Flyers, his point totals dropped fairly dramatically once the post season began. He scored 201 points in 358 regular season games for .56 points per game, but only 9 points in 31 playoff games, or .29 points per game. In addition to not fitting in with the "Broad Street Bullies," perhaps the Flyers felt he was a liability once the post-season began.

The Scouts continued the long road trip by losing in Atlanta and Los Angeles, before finally earning their first point in the standings by tying the California Golden Seals 4-4 in their sixth game. As big of a relief as that was, it was also bittersweet. The Scouts blew a 4-1 lead before just barely hanging on for the tie. But, as Robin Burns said, "We're in the league now."

Here is Jay Greenberg's game wrap:

It was to be the only point they would earn on the "8 game road torture test to start the season." They dropped games in Vancouver and Boston before finally getting to play a home game on November 2nd.

Don't be left out:

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