Bill Meltzer: Meltzer’s Musings: WJC, Christmas Quick Hits, A Holiday Gift

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FLYERS PROSPECTS AT THE WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

The Flyers will have three prospects at the 2014-15 World Junior Championships in Toronto and Montreal. Samuel Morin (2013 first-round pick) will represent tournament host Canada. Phantoms defenseman Robert Hägg will represent Sweden’s Under-20 team for the third and final time. Meanwhile, 2014 fifth-round pick Oskar Lindblom will make his WJC debut.

Canada’s schedule opens tomorrow with a game in Montreal against Slovakia. Sweden plays the Czech Republic in Toronto. Team USA plays Finland in the early game at the Bell Centre. The early game at Air Canada Centre pits Russia against Denmark.

Last year, the Flyers had five prospects in the tournament: Scott Laughton (Canada), Taylor Leier (Canada), Anthony Stolarz (USA), Valeri Vasiliev (Russia) and Hägg.

In sheer volume, last year’s tourney had the most player representatives the Flyers organization have had at a single WJC tournament. However, depending on how you want to count the numbers, the Flyers’ system was represented by three, four or five players at the 1998-98 tournament.

The 1998-99 tournament rosters featured then-center Simon Gagne for Canada, center Tomas Divisek for Czech Republic and defenseman Marko Kauppinen for Finland. Gagne led all players in the tourney with seven goals. Divisek tied Team USA’s Scott Gomez and Canada’s Brenden Morrow for the tournament assist lead with seven. Kauppinen was second in overall scoring among defensemen at the tournament with five points and first in goals with three.

Additionally, Vaclav Pletka (Divisek’s then-undrafted linemate on Team Czech Republic) scored five goals in seven games and was drafted by the Flyers that summer. Goaltender Antero Niittymäki was on Finland’s long-form roster but was an emergency third-stringer who did not dress in a single game as a backup (he was a starter the next year).

At the 2004-05 tournament, Jeff Carter (Canada) tied for the tourney lead with seven goals and was fourth in overall scoring with 10 points. Teammate Mike Richards posted five points (one goal, four assists) in the tourney.

In 2007-08, James van Riemsdyk (USA) led the tournament in overall scoring with 11 points in six games. He was tied for third in goals with five.

The all-time leading tournament scoring champion is Peter Forsberg (Sweden). Foppa was still affiliated with the Flyers at the 1991-92 tournament, in which he posted three goals, 11 points and 30 PIM in seven games. His NHL rights had already been traded to Quebec in the Eric Lindros deal by the time of the next tourney, when he posted a record 31 points in seven games. Forsberg’s teammate on the 1991-92 Swedish team, 1990 Flyers second-round pick Mikael Renberg, posted six goals and 10 points.

************ QUICK HITS: DECEMBER 25

* The Flyers have had two players in their history with Christmas Day birthdays. Checking forward and New Jersey native Jim Dowd turns 45 today. The late Dmitri Tertyshny was born on this day in 1976.

* On this day in 1974, the Flyers called up top defense prospect Larry Goodenough from the AHL’s Richmond Robins. He made his NHL debut the next night in a 4-1 win in Washington. Goodenough would soon be sent back down to the minors but would return to the big team in February and dress in 19 other regular season games plus five playoff matches as the Flyers repeated as Stanley Cup champions.

* In the early years of Flyers history, it was not uncommon for the team to play a game on Christmas. They had Christmas games in four of the first five seasons of the franchise’s existence, posting a 1-2-1 record. The team has not a Christmas game since 1971, when the host Boston Bruins laid a 5-1 whipping on the visiting Flyers. Bobby Clarke scored the line Philly goal, while Bobby Orr, Ken Hodge, Phil Esposito, Wayne Cashman and Derek Sanderson. A Bruins rookie by the name of Reggie Leach assisted on the final Boston tally.

* Last but most certainly not least, I want to extend best wishes for a Merry Christmas to all Flyers’ blog readers at HockeyBuzz who celebrate the holiday. To those who do not, please enjoy the annual Chinese-food-takeout-and-movie night (or whatever your particular ritual is on this day).

*********** Holiday Gift

As a special holiday treat, here are some Flyers great moments to relive:

ORIGINAL 1974 STANLEY CUP HIGHLIGHT VIDEO

1975 STANLEY CUP HIGHLIGHT VIDEO

FLYERS VS. CSKA 1976

BROAD STREET BULLIES DOCUMENTARY

35-GAME UNBEATEN STREAK 1979-80

DAVE POULIN SHORTHANDED GOAL: 1985 STANLEY CUP SEMIFINAL GAME 6

1987 STANLEY CUP FINALS: GAME 6 HIGHLIGHTS

ERIC LINDROS FIRST HOME GOAL: 1992-93

FLYERS COMPLETE PLAYOFF SWEEP OF DEFENDING CHAMPION RANGERS: 1995

FLYERS FINISH OFF RANGERS TO ADVANCE TO 1997 CUP FINALS

KEITH PRIMEAU PLAYOFF MONTAGE: 2004

PETER FORSBERG SKATES AROUND FIVE SABRES: 2006 PLAYOFFS

FLYERS FINISH OFF HABS TO ADVANCE TO 2010 CUP FINALS

CLAUDE GIROUX: ‘THE SHIFT’ VS. PENGUINS IN 2012 PLAYOFFS

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