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Holmgren: Blackhawks' run trumps 1979-80 Flyers

by Adam Kimelman

Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren played a significant role on the Flyers' record-setting 1979-80 team that went 35 straight games without a loss (25 wins, 10 ties).

But when he watches the Chicago Blackhawks, who have opened this season on a 24-game streak without a regulation loss (21-0-3) and have gone 30 straight games without a regulation loss (24-0-6) dating to the end of the 2011-12 season, he knows which team is more impressive.

The Blackhawks.

"It's probably a more difficult task now because of the parity in the League," Holmgren, who had nine goals and 12 assists in 33 games during the Flyers' streak, told "There were teams [in 1979-80] that weren't great. The parity in the League today makes it very difficult to do what they're doing and makes it more incredible than anything.

"It's a different era. I think what they've done … it's a more difficult thing to do today."

The 1979-80 team was a mix of members of the Flyers' Stanley Cup-winning teams, among them Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber and Reggie Leach, mixed with younger players Holmgren, who was 25 that season; Brian Propp, who was a 20-year-old rookie; and Ken Linseman, who was 21. Splitting time in goal was 22-year-old rookie Pete Peeters and Phil Myre, who was in his 11th season.

The Flyers' streak team also had 11 players score game-winning goals; this season's Blackhawks have seen 13 players finish as the hero. Chicago also has successfully mixed holdovers from the 2010 championship team -- Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook among them -- with a mix of hungry youngsters Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, Viktor Stalberg and Nick Leddy.

"They've got a good team, first off," Holmgren said of the Blackhawks. "They've been fortunate enough to be healthy. I know they started with a fairly long road trip, they got a lot of road games out of the way early. If you have some success early on the road, it kind of steamrolls. Everything is going well for them. They got Patrick Sharp out for their next game [but] the young players they have in the organization, mixed with the good older players they've got, they've got a good team."

Holmgren said if the Blackhawks are able to push their streak to match or better his Flyers team, he'll welcome those players with open arms.

"I think it's cool for the game," he said.


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