The National Hockey League (NHL; French: Ligue nationale de hockey—LNH) is an "unincorporated not-for-profit association" which operates a major professional ice hockey league. Currently there are 30 franchised member clubs, 23 located in the United States and 7 in Canada. Headquartered in New York City, the NHL is widely considered to be the premier professional ice hockey league in the world, and one of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. The Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, is awarded annually to the league playoff champion at the end of each season.
The league was organized on November 27, 1917, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, after the suspension of operations of its predecessor organization, the National Hockey Association (NHA), which had been founded in 1909. It started with four teams (all based in Canada) and, through a series of expansions, contractions, and relocations, is now composed of thirty active franchises. The "nation" referred to by the league's name was Canada, although the league has now been binational since 1924 when it expanded into the United States. After a labour dispute that led to the cancellation of the entire 2004–05 season, the league resumed play under a new collective bargaining agreement that included a salary cap. In 2009, the NHL enjoyed record highs in terms of sponsorships, attendance, and television audiences.
The Philadelphia Flyers are a professional ice hockey team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They are members of the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). Part of the 1967 NHL Expansion, the Flyers were the first expansion team in the post-Original Six era to win the Stanley Cup, victorious in 1973–74 and again in 1974–75.
Rivalries in the National Hockey League have occurred between many teams and cities. Rivalries have arisen for many different reasons, the primary ones including geographic proximity, familiarity with opponents, on-ice incidents, and cultural, linguistic, or national pride.
The importance of these various factors has varied widely throughout the history of the league.
The 2009–10 Philadelphia Flyers season was the Flyers' 43rd season in the National Hockey League (NHL).
The Flyers began the 2009–10 season with some major changes, allowing goaltenders Martin Biron and Antero Niittymaki to depart via free agency, replacing them with former Ottawa Senators netminder Ray Emery and former Flyer Brian Boucher, and significantly upgrading the defense with the addition of Chris Pronger from the Anaheim Ducks. Pronger came at a price, costing the Flyers Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa and the Flyers' 1st-round draft picks in 2009 and 2010. The season began in earnest but soon began to unravel with mediocre play that cost John Stevens his job in December. Peter Laviolette was hired as head coach in order to re-institute accountability and restore success to the Flyers but the results were not immediate, as the Flyers suffered a 2–7–1 stretch after his arrival. Injuries took a major toll on the Flyers, with Blair Betts, Daniel Briere, Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne and Kimmo Timonen missing significant amounts of games, but no position was nearly affected as much with injuries as goaltending. Mediocre play down the stretch forced the Flyers into a do-or-die shootout with the New York Rangers in the last game of the regular season for a playoff berth. Boucher stopped final shooter Olli Jokinen to clinch the 7th seed in the East and a 1st-round match-up with the New Jersey Devils.