Not only did Bob Kelly score the last Stanley Cup-winning goal in Flyers history, he got a playoff bonus to boot.
After “The Hound” surprised Sabres netminder Roger Crozier with an uncharacteristic, wraparound goal to break a scoreless tie in Game 6 of the 1976 Cup finals, Kelly reminded coach Fred Shero of a standard player incentive
“We had a drill and practiced that,’’ recalled Kelly, now the Flyers’ Ambassador for Hockey. “We used to get five bucks for a goal like that. After I scored I said to Freddie, ‘You owe me five bucks.’ He paid it. You could buy about a tankful of gas with that in those days.”
Kelly said that while facing the Sabres again in the playoffs does stir the memories, it’s a different era. Chances are they won’t be skating in complete fog like they did in 1976, when extreme heat clouded Buffalo’s arena.
“There was no air conditioning in the building, so we had fog,” said Kelly. “[Sabres center] Jim Lorentz killed a bat that got in there. It was so hot we put holes in our footwear and underwear to lighten up the load.”
Each year since the load has gotten heavier on the Flyers, trying to duplicate what Kelly’s 1974-75 Broad St. Bullies achieved.
“Things happen,” said Kelly. “It had been ’61 since Chicago won [last year over the Flyers]. The Maple Leafs won in ’67 when I was 17. Buffalo’s never won a Cup.”
Thanks to the Hound and Bernie Parent’s spectacular play in goal, those Flyers won back-to-back Cups.
“Anytime you have the opportunity to repeat you want to take advantage,” said Kelly.
Of course, they haven’t hoisted one since. since. Maybe Peter Laviolette should follow Fred Shero’s lead and start offering incentives.