The big news out of Philly yesterday (that everyone already knew) was that the Spectrum is going to be shut down and demolished, to which I say, from the bottom of my heart, "Farewell, hell hole."
Don't get me wrong - I'm sure the ol' barn was a great place to see a game if you were a Flyers fan or someone who wanted to take in a game in a classic hockey atmosphere. It's just that the Caps never had much success playing in the
CoreStates First Union Wachovia Bank du Jour Spectrum (a 24-43-4 record all-time attests to that), so my memories of the place aren't terribly fond.
But in an effort to see the building to its dusty grave without ill will, I've thrown together a Top 10 (Hockey) Games in Philadelphia Spectrum History:
10. January 18, 1992 - The 1991-92 NHL All-Star Game featured three Caps: Kevin Hatcher, Randy Burridge and Don Beaupre. Burridge had a goal and Hatch an assist, but Beaupre got lit up to the tune of six goals on 12 shots against in one period of work. Still, three Caps on an All-Star squad was solid.
9. December 19, 1982 - Trailing 1-0 with less than four minutes left in the third period, the Caps got goals from Milan Novy, Bobby Gould and Mike Gartner in a 2:09 span to steal a win against the Flyers' brilliant young netminder, Pelle Lindbergh.
8. March 28, 1991 - Don Beaupre made 21 saves, John Druce had a goal and an assist, and Rod Langway had a pair of helpers in a 3-0 shutout.
7. January 27, 1989 - Clint Malarchuk's 42-saves and Geoff Courtnall's early goal were all the Caps needed in a 1-0 win.
6. March 24, 1981 - Gartner beat future Caps netminder Pete Peeters three times for his fourth career hat trick in a 5-2 Caps win.
5. December 21, 1980 - Mike Palmateer's 44-save shutout (the second road white-washing in franchise history and the Caps' first win ever in Philly) was impressive, but the story of this game was the 344 PIMs the two teams combined to rack up. Not surprisingly, this game still stands as the highest PIM total ever in a Caps game.
4. April 8, 1989 - With the Patrick Division Semifinals knotted at one game apiece, the series headed back to Philly, where Kelly Miller would win the game for the boys in red in overtime.
3. January 8, 1984 - Bengt Gustafsson had a hat-trick with eight minutes to go in the second period, but he wasn't done there. Anton's dad would go on to score two more goals in the 7-1 route.
2. April 7, 1984 - Up two games to none in their best-of-five Patrick Division Semifinal matchup, the Caps had a chance to finish off Philly in their own house, and they did just that with a convincing 5-1 win in a game that featured seven minor penalties (including five hi-sticks and a rough), ten fighting majors and five 10-minute misconducts in the first period.
1. April 14, 1988 - Trailing Philly three games to one in the Patrick Division Semifinals, the Caps had just won Game 5 at home and headed up I-95 to try to win their first road game of the series. They did so in a 7-2 thumping that set the stage for this.
Now, I recognize that Flyers fans might have a slightly different list than the one above, but generating discussion is what these lists are about, so I welcome some quibbling over the order or even a game or two that should or shouldn't be there.
As for the building itself, it will be missed, I'm sure. Perhaps the current Flyers team can honor it by practicing there (or even by hosting their in-state rival for a regular season game) one last time... at demolition time.