Defenseman Tom Bladon was never a player who sought out the spotlight despite being an offensively talented member of the Broad Street Bullies era Flyers. As with most of his teammates from that era, Bladon went by multiple nicknames. Some called him "Bomber" for his explosive point shot. Others good-naturedly called him "Sparky" in joking reference to his relatively quiet demeanor on boisterous Flyers' teams.
On December 11, 1977, Bladon could not avoid being the center of attention. That night, he set a franchise record by notching eight points - four goals and four assists - in an 11-1 rout of the lowly Cleveland Barons at the Spectrum.
The game was scoreless until Reggie Leach got the Flyers on the board at 10:45 of the first period. Late in the first period, however, the explosion began. At 17:54, Bladon scored to make it 2-0. Nineteen seconds later, he assisted on Don Saleski's 18th goal of the season. Twenty-seven seconds after that, Bladon picked up his third period as he and Saleski assisted on a Mel Bridgman tally.
After Rick MacLeish opened a 5-0 lead in the second period, Bladon scored the next two Flyers goals to complete his first NHL hat trick and create a 7-0 lead. Paul Holmgren made the score 8-0 late in the middle stanza.
Video: What happened December 11th, 1977 in Flyers history
At 2:47 of the third period, Bladon notched his fourth goal and sixth point of the game. As the third period progressed, he had a secondary assist on MacLeish's second goal of the night and the primary helper on a Bill Barber tally. The score was now 11-0 and Bladon had a direct hand in eight of the Flyers' goals. A Dennis Maruk power play goal in the final 1:15 of the game broke up a Bernie Parent shutout bid. The Flyers outshot the Barons by a whopping 52-18 for the night.
Bladon's eight-point game is one of 14 in NHL regular season history (it has also been done twice in the playoffs), and remains the lone occasion that a Flyers player has managed the feat. He is one of just two defensemen in NHL history to do it. The other is Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Paul Coffey.
December 11: Through the Years
- 1969: Andre Lacroix compiles the second hat trick of his NHL career as the Flyers skate off with a 6-3 home win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. This game is also notable for another key moment in franchise history.
- 1986: Multi-point games by Pelle Eklund (one goal, one assist), Dave Poulin (one goal, one assist) and checking forward Lindsay Carson (third period even strength and empty net goals) spur the Flyers to a 5-3 home win over the Calgary Flames. Ron Hextall (18 saves) earns the win while Derrick Smith's second period tally gave the Flyers a 3-1 lead before Calgary tied the game prior to the second intermission.
- 1997: It's the "Eric Lindros Show" in South Philadelphia as the Flyers captain completes the 11th hat trick of his NHL career by scoring the game winning goal against the New York Islanders with 1:27 remaining in regulation of a 4-3 Flyers victory. Philadelphia also gets a goal by John LeClair (skating on Chris Gratton's line at even strength) and a pair of assists by Rod Brind'Amour (playing left wing on a line with Lindros and Trent Klatt).
- 2007: The Flyers brutalize the visiting arch-rival Pittsburgh Penguins by an 8-2 count. It is an offensive bonanza night both for Joffrey Lupul (hat trick, three assists, six points) and linemate R.J. Umberger (hat trick, two assists, five points). In the meantime, Mike Knuble has a goal and an assist, Mike Richards assists on two of Lupul's goals and one of Umberger's, and even defenseman Braydon Coburn gets into the goal-scoring act with his second goal of the season. A pair of late game scuffles -- including a line brawl -- break out in the third period and numerous players on both teams receive 10-minute or game misconducts within the final seven minutes of the lopsided game.
- 2008: Trailing 5-1 in the third period, the Flyers mount the greatest third-period comeback in franchise history. The team scores four unanswered goals to force overtime and eventually defeat the Carolina Hurricanes in a shootout by a score of 6-5.
- 2010: Brian Boucher (36 saves) outduels two-time Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas (31 saves) in a 2-1 overtime road victory against the Boston Bruins. Flyers captain Mike Richards scores the game-winner with less than three seconds remaining on the overtime clock. During regulation, a second-period tally by the Flyers' James van Riemsdyk and a mid-third period goal by Boston's Nathan Horton stand as the lone tallies during regulation.
December 11: Flyers Birthday
- Offensive-minded defenseman Mark Streit was born in Englisberg, Switzerland on December 11, 1977.