Picture Of The Day

Picture Of The Day
Flyers Stanley Cup Champions Parade From The '70s

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Decade in Philadelphia Sports Part 8: 2006

Flyers: Welcome Back and An All Too Familiar Finish

Hockey was back and, as usual, Philadelphia had high expectations for their Flyers. With the addition of Peter Forsberg, the team had a true game-changer. Despite nagging injuries (388 man-games lost), the Flyers cruised to an early lead in the Atlantic Division. Gagne scored 47 goals, Forsberg had 75 points in his 60 games, and fan favorite Mike Knuble added 34 goals. Antero Nittymaki and Robert Esche split the goalie duties, each posting a 2.97 goals against average. The team's momentum, however, slowed in the second half of the season as injuries piled up. They finished with a 45-26-11 record, good for 101 points and second place in the division. Unfortunately, the Flyers bowed out in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Sabres won the series 4-2, after the Flyers had tied it at 2 games apiece after getting in an 0-2 hole.

76ers: Cheeks Returns, But No Playoffs

A year removed from posting 43 wins, former franchise great Maurice Cheeks returned to Pattison Avenue to coach the Sixers. The season began with optimism, as the team expected to reap the benefits of a full season from stars Allen Iverson and Chris Webber. Sprinkle in the promising Andre Iguodala and the sharpshooter Kyle Korver, and rotation had its merits. However, while scoring was never a problem (ranked 8th of 30 teams), the defense struggled (25th of 30). The Sixers finished a disappointing 38-44, good enough for the 9th seed in the Eastern Conference. It was yet another in a slew of middling campaigns for the team, leaving them empty handed in both playoff prospects and elite draft picks. Statistically, Iverson produced arguably his best season: 33.0 points per game and 7.4 assists per game. Webber added 20.2 ppg and 9.9 rebounds per game.





Flyers: Welcome Back and An All Too Familiar Finish

Hockey was back and, as usual, Philadelphia had high expectations for their Flyers. With the addition of Peter Forsberg, the team had a true game-changer. Despite nagging injuries (388 man-games lost), the Flyers cruised to an early lead in the Atlantic Division. Gagne scored 47 goals, Forsberg had 75 points in his 60 games, and fan favorite Mike Knuble added 34 goals. Antero Nittymaki and Robert Esche split the goalie duties, each posting a 2.97 goals against average. The team's momentum, however, slowed in the second half of the season as injuries piled up. They finished with a 45-26-11 record, good for 101 points and second place in the division. Unfortunately, the Flyers bowed out in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Sabres won the series 4-2, after the Flyers had tied it at 2 games apiece after getting in an 0-2 hole.

Phillies: Ryan Howard's Coming-Out Party

Although they logged an 85-77 record and missed the playoffs again by only a few games, the Phillies 2006 season was full of magnificent individual accomplishments. First baseman Ryan Howard put together one of the best offensive seasons in years, hitting .313 with 58 home runs and 149 RBI. He won the National League MVP award. Here is his 49th home run of the year, which pushed him past Mike Schmidt for the single season home run leader in club history. Howard also put on a clinic in July at PNC Park, home of that year's All-Star Game, winning the Home Run Derby.



Another 2006 highlight came when center fielder Aaron Rowand sacrificed his body for a deep fly ball in early May. It was a gutsy play, something the Phillies had been missing in past years. Rowand slammed his face against a metal bar on the outfield wall, breaking his nose. The fans instantly fell in love with Rowand.



While shortstop Jimmy Rollin's 38 game hitting streak came to an end, second baseman Chase Utley turned out a 34 game streak of his own. It tied the longest streak for a second baseman and the longest for a left-handed batter since 1945.

Left fielder Pat Burrell blasted 29 home runs and 95 RBI. The season was also noteworthy because it marked the departure of Phillie fixture Bobby Abreu. He was traded to the New York Yankees along with Cory Lidle for not much in return. Hey, you can't tell me the Jayson Werth experiment didn't work out.

Eagles: What a Ride

Off to a 4-1 start, the Eagles appeared ready to bounce back from their nightmarish 2005. McNabb tossed 11 touchdown passes and only 1 interception in those 5 games, one of the most dominant stretches of his career. The good times, though, did not last long. The Birds lost five of their next games, including a blowout defeat at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts. McNabb was injured and lost for the year. Jeff Garcia was in and the Eagles were 5-6, seemingly on the fast track to nowhere. What followed, however, was one of the most inspired playoff runs in recent memory. Led by the disciplined and consistent Garcia, the Eagles won their final five games to finish the season as champions of the NFC East. The stretch included three consecutive road wins against division opponents. Garcia finished with a 95.8 passer rating as a starter. Running back Brian Westbrook compiled 1916 yards from scrimmage and 11 total touchdowns. Some of his key highlights:



More on the playoffs coming in the review for 2007...

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