Ranking the Best Fighters in Philadelphia Flyers' History

Brad KurtzbergContributor IApril 11, 2014

Ranking the Best Fighters in Philadelphia Flyers' History

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    The Flyers have been known for their ability to drop the gloves for more than 40 years.
    The Flyers have been known for their ability to drop the gloves for more than 40 years.Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The Philadelphia Flyers have been considered the toughest team in the NHL for more than 40 years.

    In 1974, the Flyers became the first expansion team to win a Stanley Cup and earned the nickname "The Broad Street Bullies" for their combative, tough and intimidating style of play and their willingness to drop the gloves.

    Here is a look at the 10 best fighters in the history of the Philadelphia Flyers. This is not a simple question of who would win a fight between any two players on this list. Players are ranked by their reputation as fighters during their tenure in Philadelphia, the length of time they spent with the Flyers and the impact they had on the team's success because of their ability to throw punches.

    The biggest challenge was limiting this list to 10. Feel free to mention any players you feel belong on this list or any player you feel belongs higher or lower. As always, please indicate why you feel the way you do.

10. Todd Fedoruk

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    Todd Fedoruk was a bruising 6'2", 232-pound winger who dished out plenty of punishment during his five seasons in Philadelphia.

    He accumulated 575 penalty minutes in 268 games with Philadelphia and topped 100 penalty minutes in all four of his full campaigns.

    His most famous fight arguably came against Eric Cairns. Fedoruk won the bout but actually suffered a broken orbital bone during the scrap. That didn't prevent him from finishing the bout and winning the decision.

9. Dan Kordic

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    Dan Kordic didn't quite play 200 games in a Flyers' uniform, but he was so big and tough that he became one of the most feared fighters in the league during his brief NHL career.

    At 6'5" and 233 pounds, Kordic could see eye-to-eye with the biggest opposing enforcers.

    He was part of Philadelphia's "Dan Line" along with Daniel Lacroix and Scott Daniels. They may not have been pretty to watch, but few opponents wanted to jump over the boards and take them on.

    Kordic had only two full seasons in the NHL, but he accumulated 210 penalty minutes in both of them.

    He finished his career with 587 penalty minutes in just 197 games.

8. Mel Bridgman

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    Mel Bridgman spent seven seasons with the Flyers and his scrappy style of play made him respected and feared throughout the league.

    His toughness and leadership qualities helped make him captain after Bobby Clarke decided to step down from that position in 1979.

    In 462 games with the Flyers, Bridgman accumulated 971 penalty minutes.

    He often took on bigger and heavier opponents and usually more than held his own.

    Bridgman had a career high 203 penalty minutes in 1977-78 and topped 100 minutes in the sin bin for five straight seasons in Philadelphia.

7. Rick Tochhet

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    Rick Tocchet is the Flyers' all-time leader in penalty minutes with 1,817 in 621 games.

    Tocchet was more than a fighter, however. He scored 232 goals and accumulated 508 points while playing for the Orange and Black and twice scored 40-or-more goals in a season.

    At 6', 214, Tocchet wasn't the biggest power forward out there, but he was always willing to stick up for his teammates and to drop the gloves.

    Tocchet topped 200 penalty minutes for three straight seasons during his first stint with the Flyers. By the time he returned for his second stint, he was not the same kind of physical player.

    He remains one of the best power forwards in Flyers' history and appeared in three All-Star Games while playing for Philadelphia.

6. Donald Brashear

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    Donald Brashear was intimidating when he skated onto the ice. At 6'3" and 240 pounds, he had no reason to back down from anybody.

    Brashear spent four seasons with the Flyers and accumulated 648 penalty minutes.

    In 2002-03, Brashear won the Pelle Lindbergh Trophy as the Flyers' most improved player. While he was a big, tough enforcer and one of the strongest players in hockey, he also worked at his hockey skills.

    On March 5, 2004, Brashear accumulated 34 penalty minutes in a brawl-filled game against the Ottawa Senators.

    Brashear would be higher on this list had he spent more time with the Flyers.

     

     

5. Craig Berube

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    Long before he became head coach of the Flyers, Craig Berube earned his living as an enforcer.

    The Calahoo, Alberta, native had two stints with the Flyers and always let it be known he was willing to drop the gloves and take on all comers.

    Berube made his NHL debut in 1986-87, appearing in only seven games for the Flyers. He accumulated 57 penalty minutes.

    Six times he topped 100 minutes in the sin bin during a season while playing for the Flyers including seasons with 291 and 293 penalty minutes.

    Berube was part of the Flyers team that reached the Stanley Cup final in 1987.

    He coached the Flyers AHL affiliate before being named head coach of the team early this season.

4. Glen Cochrane

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    Scrappy Glen Cochrane accumulated an amazing 1,110 penalty minutes in only 257 games with the Flyers.

    He totaled at least 100 penalty minutes in every season he spent in Philadelphia including 1984-85 when he appeared in only 18 games.

    In 1981-82, the native of Cranbrook, British Columbia, accumulated a career-high 329 minutes in the penalty box.

    The 6'2", 210-pound defenseman was a true hockey enforcer who totaled only 17 career goals in 411 career NHL games.

3. Behn Wilson

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    Defenseman Behn Wilson knew how to dish out punishment and left his mark on the NHL during his five seasons in Philadelphia.

    In 339 games with the Flyers, Wilson picked up 873 penalty minutes including 237 in 1980-81.

    Wilson was a part of the Flyers 1979-80 team that went on a 35-game unbeaten streak and later reached the Stanley Cup Final.

    Wilson could also play hockey. He scored more than 10 goals in a season three times with the Flyers and had a career-high 63 points in 1980-81.

    He finished his NHL career with 1,480 penalty minutes.

     

2. Dave Schultz

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    Dave Schultz is arguably the most famous fighter in the history of the Flyers and perhaps even the entire NHL. He certainly redefined the position of enforcer while helping Philadelphia win back-to-back Stanley Cup titles in 1974 and 1975.

    "The Hammer" still holds the NHL single-season record for penalty minutes. In 1974-75, Schultz spent an incredible 472 minutes in the sin bin.

    He even performed a song called "Penalty Box" which became a hit record in the Philadelphia area.

    In four seasons with the Flyers, Schultz never had fewer than 259 penalty minutes. He often kept throwing punches or pulling hair after the linesmen tried to break up his fights.

    Schultz became the most hated man in the NHL during the mid-1970s although he was always loved by Flyers' fans. "Schultz's Army" would appear at the Spectrum wearing World War I style German helmets to support their favorite fighter.

     

     

1. Dave Brown

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    Dave Brown was tough, strong and always threw punches.

    Brown played 11 seasons for the Flyers and accumulated 1,382 penalty minutes in 552 games.

    He is arguably best known for cross checking Tomas Sandstrom of the New York Rangers in the throat which earned Brown a 15-game suspension.

    But Brown was relentless when he dropped the gloves. His left hand delivered heavy blows to opposing players and at 6'5", he was as big as any tough guy in the league.

    Hall of Famer Mark Howe appreciated what Brown meant to the Flyers. He told the Flyers official Web site, "Knowing that a guy like Brownie was watching your back gave the other players peace of mind to make plays happen in traffic and the boards."

    Perhaps Brown himself summed up his style best. He told Michael Bamberger of The Philadelphia Inquirer, "Oh yeah, sure, I play physical. It's a big part of the game. The strongest people are going to win. My dad taught me that. I was never skilled, but I worked hard, and I could fight."

    Those who fought against him certainly agree.