Former Flyers goalie recalls top moment

Bobby Taylor In The Net
Bobby Taylor, goalkeeper for the Philadelphia Flyers, on the ice during a game against the Boston Bruins, early 1970s. Getty Images

Just as he did 38 years ago to the day, Bobby Taylor still has the best seat in the house to watch the Flyers do battle.

The only difference is this time he wasn’t supposed to play.

That was the case when he backed up Wayne Stephenson in goal in the Flyers’ 4-1 win over the Soviet Red Army, Jan. 11, 1976, arguably the franchise’s greatest single moment next to their two Stanley Cup clinching wins.

The 68-year-old Taylor was back in town Saturday in his familiar role as TV analyst for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who erupted for four second-period goals to beat the Flyers, 6-3, and snap their 10-game home winning streak.

Fittingly, much of that was due to the play of their own backup goalie, Anders Lindback, who kicked out 35 shots, many from point blank range

Taylor, who spent most of his five-year Flyers career as Bernie Parent’s backup — including both Cup winning squads under Fred Shero, then remembered the day he was scheduled to go, but got bumped at the last minute.

“We had a shutout and they had like seven shots on goal,” recalled the man Taylor known as “The Chief” long before Craig Berube came along, who played just 44 games as a Flyer, going 15-16-7, with a 4.05 goals against. “Freddy came to me in the middle of the game and said he was going to stick with Stephenson.

“I was supposed to play the second half of the game, so it was a disappointment. But with the team we had we didn’t care who scored or who played.  We just wanted to win.”

The then two-time defending Cup champion Flyers did convincingly that day, to the utter relief of the rest of the NHL.  In what they called the “Super Series,” the Russians had sent two teams over and taken it to the rest of the NHL.

While the Soviet Wings went 3-1, their consensus top team Central Red Army beat the Rangers and Bruins and tied Montreal.

Only the infamous “Broad Street Bullies” stood in their way of claiming worldwide hockey supremacy.

The Flyers made sure that didn’t happen, stifling the Soviets’ pass happy attack with their physical play.

The highlight came midway through the first period when defenseman Ed Van Impe leveled Soviet star Valeri Kharlamov with a hard check that so infuriated the Russians they left the ice in protest.

When they finally returned after Flyers owner Ed Snider threatened to withhold their payment for the entire Super Series, the Flyers systematically took them apart.

“We dominated them,” said Taylor, as goals by Reggie Leach, Rick MacLeish, followed by defenseman Joe Watson’s shorthanded score broke it open early.  “It was really a testament to how well we could play.”

“I had no idea it’s 38 years today.  All I know if the League was really worried we were gonna be overwhelmed by the so-called Russian machine”

“They didn’t want us to play ‘stupid’ and push them around,” he continued. “But we had the best pre-game scouting. We knew what they were gonna do. They wanted us to chase them but we just sat back and waited for them. They didn’t know what to do. They only had 13 shots.’’

The NHL’s reputation temporarily “saved” by the team everyone loved to hate, hockey began to change from that point on.

Eventually the league opened its arms to the Russians, Czechs and the rest of Europe to the point where international players now permeate virtually every team’s roster.

Not only that, but 38 years since this ’76 “Russian invasion” it will all come full circle in a matter of weeks when the NHL sends its best players to Sochi for the Olympics.

“Yeah, I hadn’t thought of that,” laughed Bobby Taylor, who covers a vastly improved Lightning team which has managed to stay near the top of the Atlantic Division without injured star Steven Stamkos. “But all those young Russian kids playing now don’t even know about it.

“It woke up the hockey world.”

And it made Jan. 11, 1976, in the overall global scheme of things, perhaps the most important day in Flyers’ history.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

And then there were six. It was a big night on stage as the Top 6 got to dance with each other, All-star partners and perform a solo routine.

Going Out

5 things to do in NYC this weekend…

FILM Lebowski Fest Aug. 22-23, 8 p.m. Various locations, Manhattan $20-$30, www.lebowskifest.com The Dude abides — for 48 hours to celebrate the 1998 Coen brothers classic.…

Television

'Doctor Who' personality profile: the 4 Doctors

When the time comes for a new Doctor, there's always some anxiety over the big question: Who will he be? The series owes its longevity…

Television

Billy Crystal to commemorate late actor Robin Williams…

  Comedian Billy Crystal will pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams at television's Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25, the show's organizers said on…

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

NFL

Jalen Saunders still unsure what caused car accident…

Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his car accident, but he didn't say a whole lot.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…