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Flyers’ Fightin’ 4th Line: Broad Street Bullies Are Back



Zack MacEwen, Philadelphia Flyers
Right winger Zack MacEwen, who signed with the Flyers on Tuesday, mixes it up with Detroit's Giovani Smith in a game last season.

For the Philadelphia Flyers, the Broad Street Bullies Line may be taking shape — at least with the two wingers on the fourth unit.

The Flyers avoided salary arbitration with popular right winger Zack MacEwen by signing the restricted free agent Tuesday to a one-year contract for $925,000.

He is expected to be on the fourth line with left winger Nic Deslauriers, who was signed as a free agent last month.

Deslauriers finished tied for second in the NHL with 13 fights last season, according to MacEwen was fourth, with 12 fights.


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The two big wingers play with an edge. They are guys known more for their fists than their goals. They are two throwback players who are in the Dave Schultz mold.

Schultz, of course, was a fighting machine on the Broad Street Bullies when they won Stanley Cup titles in 1974 and 1975. But those Flyers had lots of talent, including future Hall of Famers Bobby Clarke, Bernie Parent, and Bill Barber, and borderline Hall of Famers like Rick MacLeish and Reggie Leach. Leach was on the second Cup team.

The game has changed a lot since those days, of course. Now it’s more about speed, a quality the Flyers lack, and most teams don’t have an enforcer.

The Flyers have two.

Entertaining players

Deslauriers, who is 6-foot-2, and 220 pounds, and the 6-3, 205-pound MacEwen will entertain fans with their physicality and their fighting.

MacEwen, 26, was plucked off waivers from Vancouver last Oct. 13. He set career highs in games (75) and points (9) with the Flyers. The Philadelphia Flyers’ fan club named him the winner of the  Gene Hart Memorial Award, given to the player who shows the most “heart.”

He had 110 penalty minutes and a minus-15 rating.

Deslauriers, 31, had a total of eight goals in 81 combined games with Anaheim and Minnesota last season. He had 13 points, 113 penalty minutes, and a minus-11 rating.

After Deslauriers signed a four-year deal (!) that carries an annual cap hit of $1.75 million, general manager Chuck Fletcher said the left winger would bring a physical presence and might play on the penalty kill.

“With the number of young players that we expect to be on our roster next year — and in a division where there’s a lot of big, physical players — we thought Nic Deslauriers would help our group,” Fletcher said. He said Deslauriers would “bring an element we feel we need to allow the rest of our group to play to their capabilities.”

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I used to get as excited as anyone in the old days, cheering the physicality and fights from section 51 of the old Spectrum. As noted in the article, however, the game has changed. Yes, you need to be able to play physically if that is what a particular matchup requires, but speed and skill are essential. People forget that Dave “The Hammer” Schultz scored 20 goals in 73-74. Those “bullies” also had skill. I think the Flyers need to let go of the Broad Street Bullies era and identity. Maintaining this character by signing players like Deslauriers will not advance the franchise and it contributes to the negative attitude regarding the Flyers and the anti-Flyers bias that exists within the NHL.

Last edited 12 days ago by SpectrumSection51
Michael Vimes

I don’t care if there is an anti-Flyers bias. I wasn’t aware that this was a popularity contest, I thought it was hockey


It is hockey, Michael, and I pay attention to bias when it results in unfair scheduling demands or officiating like this:

Winter Classic 2010 at Fenway Park: Flyers led Boston 1-0 since early in the second. Three straight penalties on the Flyers in the third period, one in the last four minutes on which Boston scored to tie the game, another in the last minute of the third. Boston scores the OT winner at 1:57, just after the penalty expired. The League was NOT going to allow the Flyers to win that nationally televised spectacle.

Jack Lammons

Yeah like the bogus penalty shot they gave Danny Briere against the Rangers in the winter classic . What a joke anti Flyer bias .

Joe Nardone

The flyers have been soft for 10 years and yet the questionable calls continue. Let’s stop blaming everyone associated w the broad street bullies. Their past is irrelevant and that old guard has not been in charge for a long long time. For the most part, we could skate into the corner w a carton of eggs and not break any for a solid decade here. Under Hexy it was the ice capades. I do not care about the fighting, but we do need to hit people. From that perspective this is a good thing.

Last edited 11 days ago by Joe Nardone

😂 Broad Street Bullies? Sorry, that S*** is over. Been over. And boring. Flyers need people who know how to make plays & put pucks in the net. Is this still the mentality?
F that. I guarantee the Flyers will never win another cup with this kind of crap.
I stopped watching the Flyers 10 years ago. Thought it might get interesting with Tortorella… maybe not…🤷🏻‍♀️😅


Given how most of the kids have children’s physiques in a man’s game, something had to be done. Of course, the key to the weight lifting room has apparently been lost for a decade now, so I guess instead of building muscle in the kids, Fletch decided to buy a couple of body guards instead of developing their musculature. More lousy GM work of course.

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