Over the next few weeks at The700Level, we'll be posting poll matchups as part of our Philly March Madness competition. Examine the cases of the two fine Philadelphia athletes below, and cast your vote at the bottom as to which you think should advance to the next round. And as always, feel free to explain your selection and/or debate the choices in the comments section.
(6) Pelle Lindbergh
The story of Pelle Lindbergh’s career in Philadelphia is equal parts brilliant and tragic. Before the age of 27, Pelle had become one of the greatest goalies in Flyers history, notched a 40-win season, won a Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender of the season, and was three times named an All-Star. He also died before the age of 27, leaving a legion of fans wondering “What if?” for the next two decades and counting. A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Lindberg came up monitoring Bernie Parent, which would come full circle when Bernie would later train him like a Jedi in the North American style of play. Possibly appreciating iconography, Pelle even wore a white mask strikingly similar to Bernie’s trademark look. Lindbergh was a pioneer for European goalies, the first to win a Vezina, and he won the hearts of the city for good with a run to the Stanley Cup Finals in his third NHL season, 1984-1985. Unfortunately, just 14 games into the next season, after the team had won its tenth straight, Lindbergh had a few too many celebration beers and got behind the wheel of his Porsche. You know the rest of the story.
Lindbergh will be remembered for his greatness over a short career, but sadly, it’s impossible to recall him without feeling the pain of losing him so soon. He might have been the best ever. No Flyer has worn the number 31 since Pelle, though it has never officially been retired. -Matt P.
Keith Primeau came to the Flyers after a tenure in Detroit that was both productive and frustrating, followed by a brief stop in Hartford before the Whalers moved south and become the Carolina Hurricanes. In 1999, the Canes traded him to Philadelphia in exchange for Rod Brind’Amour, something of an oddity given that both were veteran guys who played the same position. The popular Brind’Amour left big shoes to fill, but none could be bigger than those of Eric Lindros, who would be traded out of Philly after sitting out most of the 2000-2001 campaign. In that, Primeau’s first full season as a Flyer, he led the team in goals. Not long into the next campaign, Eric Desjardins handed the C he briefly held to Primeau, who would serve as captain from 2001 to 2006.
Like Lindros, Primeau had a big frame and could hit, pass, skate, and score. It was the power forward era in Philly, and Prims led the next generation. His defining moment as a Flyer came in game four of the Eastern Conference semifinals, when he ended the longest game in modern NHL history by putting a wrister over Penguin goalie Ron Tugnutt’s shoulder in the fifth overtime. It was a game and a shot no Flyer fan will ever forget. Primeau also had a memorable run in the 2004 playoffs, adding to his legacy in Philadelphia, which had seen some bumps along the way. The captain, along with several key members of the team, was vocal in his opposition to coach Bill Barber, who was fired after a strong team dramatically underperformed down the stretch. Unfortunately, Primeau’s career was cut short by a concussion just after the start of the 2005 season, a reminder at how quickly something great can come to an end in a contact sport. -Matt P.
Results So Far:
(1) Julius Erving (91.8%) over (16) Von Hayes (8.2%)
(8) Simon Gagne (77.9%) over (9) Seth Joyner (22.1%)
(5) Eric Lindros (70.3%) over (12) Eric Allen (29.7%)
(4) Randall Cunningham (77.6%) over (13) Shane Victorino (23.4%)
(11) Cole Hamels (82.1%) over (6) Mark Recchi (17.9%)
(14) Tug McGraw (51.1%) over (3) Moses Malone (48.9%)
(7) Darren Daulton (74.0%) over (10) Andrew Toney (26.0%)
(2) Chase Utley (93.5%) over (15) Andre Waters (6.5%)
(1) Mark Howe (60.2%) over (16) David Akers (39.8%)
(9) Rod Brind'Amour (73.6%) over (8) Rick Tocchet (26.4%)
(5) Brian Westbrook (93.3%) over (12) Jayson Werth (6.7%)
(4) Mike Richards (85.1%) over (13) Trent Cole (14.9%)
(6) John LeClair (89.2%) over (11) Clyde Simmons (10.8%)
(3) Jimmy Rollins (75.8%) over (14) John Kruk (24.2%)
(7) Lenny Dykstra (51.9%) over (10) Dave Poulin (48.1%)
(2) Allen Iverson (83.1%) over (15) Jeremiah Trotter (16.9%)
(1) Mike Schmidt (96.9%) over (16) Keith Byars (3.1%)
(9) Wilbert Montgomery (59.4%) over (8) Jeff Carter (40.6%)
(5) Ron Jaworski (83.5%) over (12) Bobby Abreu (16.5%)
(4) Ron Hextall (94.1%) over (13) Andre Iguodala (5.9%)
(6) Mike Quick (59.8%) over (11) Hugh Douglas (40.2%)
(3) Brian Dawkins (98.3%) over (14) Scott Rolen (1.7%)
(7) Maurice Cheeks (51.9%) over (10) Eric Desjardins (48.1%)
(15) Carlos Ruiz (58.9%) over (2) Tim Kerr (41.1%)
(1) Reggie White (97.1%) over (16) Hersey Hawkins (2.9%)
(9) Troy Vincent (51.8%) over (8) Curt Schilling (48.2%)
(5) Pete Rose (85.2%) over (12) Peter Zezel (14.8%)
(4) Ryan Howard (86.3%) over (13) Jon Runyan (13.7%)