A lot of boos were directed at the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday night as they were losing to the Washington Capitals, 4-3, at the Spectrum. In stark contrast, the fans gave a standing ovation to spectators Bob Kelly and Orest Kindrachuk, former members of the two teams.
Clearly, the Philadelphia fans think more of the good old Stanley Cup-champion, Broad Street Bully teams than they do of the current operation. As a result, the Flyers, who visit Capital Centre tonight at 8, are confused and unhappy.
Washington, meanwhile, is eight points behind Pittsburgh with five games left. The Penguins can clinch a playoff berth if they beat Chicago tonight and Washington either loses or ties.
Philadelphia, of course, will be in the playoffs, but the Flyers are not generating much enthusiasm at home. When playoff tickets went on sale to season ticket holders, at a 50 percent premium over regular-season rates and in 12-game strips, only about 10,000 responded. Hundreds of no-shows at most home games promise further inroads next season in the sellout situation, which ended this year after almost a decade of automatic renewal.
The dismissal of Coach Pat Quinn a week ago, despite his having posted a 34-29-9 record with a team that has obvious defensive inadequacies, has left the players almost as unhappy as the fans.
Bob McCammon, the new coach, has instituted fines of up to $500 for what he considers unnecessary penalties, in an effort to reduce the yield of power-play goals that has reached 98, one short of the NHL record.
Within the last week, McCammon has fined center Ken Linseman and goalie Pete Peeters a day's pay for missing a meeting with him, and defenseman Glen Cochrane and winger Reg Leach a day's pay for being late to practice.
Leach was subsequently dropped, in suspect circumstances. Although benched for the past two weeks, he had scored 26 goals. If he had reached 30, he would have automatically received a year's extension on his lucrative contract. Coincidentally, Leach's picture was on the tickets for Thursday's game.