Goalie Pelle Lindbergh was coming off something of a dream season in 1985, as he became the first European goaltender to win the Vezina trophy, and led the Flyers all the way to the Stanley Cup finals, where they fell to the Edmonton Oilers. Lindbergh was only in his third season as a Flyer, and seemed well on his way to becoming a franchise cornerstone for the rest of the decade. But 14 games into the '85-'86 season, Pelle went out riding in his Porsche 930 Turbo in the middle of the night, and crashed into a short concrete wall that was part of Somerdale Elementary School. The next day, November 11th, 1985, he was taken off life support and pronounced dead.
"It was just awful," recalled team owner Ed Snider. "I felt a little guilty, because everybody knew he loved his Porsche, loved to speed. I felt like I could have done more before it happened." Other Flyers remembered how Pelle's need for speed had alarmed them previously. "He scared me" said Bobby Clarke. "We told Pelle he had to slow down." But Lindbergh's style in general was one on the edge, and the team and fans loved him for it. (Flyers beat writer and friend Al Morganti referred to him a "whack job," meant of course as the highest of compliments).
Lindbergh was saluted in a service at the Spectrum before the Flyers' next home game, a re-match with the Oilers who had vanquished them in the previous year's finals. Fans were handed out pictures of Pelle with a message: "In loving memory of Pelle Lindbergh. Our friend. Our goalie." The Flyers won the game, 5-3.
(For more on the life and death of Lindbergh, check out this recently released biography from Bill Meltzer and Thomas Tynander--Pelle Lindbergh: Behind the White Mask)
What is there to say about the Philadelphia Phillies?
In doing my usual postgame perusal of the Internet after their 7-2 loss on Wednesday night, I visited Phillies.com to see what kind of "highlights" they could have possibly posted from another crushing defeat at the hands of the Colorado Rockies.
Thankfully, the first thing that caught my eye was a video titled, "Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby."
It was not Larry Andersen in the Phanatic's arms. Nor me.
And that's the Phillies season in a nutshell.
"You gotta question the parenting skills here," John Kruk said on the telecast. And he's right! What kind of parent would raise their kid to be a Philly sports fan?!?
The Phillies now have the worst record in all of baseball. They're 4-20 in their last 24 games. It's their worst start to a season since 1960.
Even the Phanatic doesn't have enough popcorn to mask all the pain.
If you want to read about the upbeat approach Pete Mackanin is taking, go give this a gander.
"In a long season, these things sometimes happen," Mackanin told reporters. "I remember Atlanta, the first half last year, was terrible. They had a real good second half. I believe we just need to get something going. We're going to put something together. I believe that."
That makes one of us.
The future of Villanova basketball just got brighter.
Brandon Slater, a 6-foot-6 wing and highly touted 2018 recruit, told Scout.com on Wednesday night that he has verbally committed to the Wildcats.
He later made the announcement on Twitter.
Among the 2018 recruiting class, Slater, a product of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia, is ranked in the top 30 by Scout.com and top 50 by ESPN.com. He's slated as a four-star talent by both media outlets.
Per ESPN, Slater had offers from Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Syracuse, USC and Virginia Tech. He is Villanova's first commitment for 2018.
"Going up there it just feels like a second home," Slater said, via Evan Daniels of Scout.com. "It gives me a good vibe. It's nothing like all the other schools. I just feel like a Villanova guy. It feels like PVI. It's already home."
Slater and Villanova head coach Jay Wright expressed their excitement on Twitter.