Hall Of Fame Profile

Hall Of Fame Profile

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Dave Poulin

Induction into Flyer Hall Of Fame - March 2004

Dave Poulin's 84-85 Rookie Card
Heart and desire defined what it is to be a Philadelphia Flyer and Dave Poulin epitomized those qualities.
The Toronto native and Dixie Beehive decided to accept a Notre Dame Scholarship offer rather than go the tradition junior hockey route. He was named Western Collegiate Hockey Association players of the week on January 21st 1980 on his way to a successfully collegiate career, averaging over a point per game. However his small size left him undrafted. After graduation, he got married and decided to play a season in Sweden - in part to act as an extended honeymoon. Dave had already been offered a management training position with Procter and Gamble, but he was recommended by a rival coach, Ron Mason, to Ted Sator who was coaching Rogel. But life in Sweden was difficult. He was left as an outsider on his team. This would become helpful later on - he would make sure all players, especially Europeans, would feel welcome and at home on his teams, because he knew what it was like to feel so isolated.
Luck would then intervene. Ted Sator, Poulin's coach in Sweden, recommended Dave to the Flyers (Sator had acted as a power skating instructor at the Flyers rookie camp). He would get signed and reported to the Flyers farm club in Maine, getting 16 points in 16 games. That quick start and an injury to Lindsay Carson resulted in his being called up late in the 1982-83 season for a game in Toronto. He missed the morning skate, but during his first regular shift of the game scored a goal on a pass from linemate Darryl Sittler. He added another goal - a shorthanded one, all in front of his proud parents. The Flyers as a team floundered in the playoffs, with Poulin as the only bright spot. Over the summer Bobby Clarke took him under his wing, working out with him and instilling confidence.
Poulin reported to camp in the best shape of any player and established a season rookie scoring record. His work ethic and character showed himself as a true team leader. Appropriately, his record setting 76th point was a game-winning goal against the Rangers. He was moved from left wing, centering a line with Brian Propp and Tim Kerr. Clarke would retire at the end of the season and Darryl Sittler would get traded. When looking for a new captain, they looked no further than Poulin, who had only played just over a single season with the team.
Later in the playoffs, Poulin would prove the captaincy was well deserved. In one of the most memorable moments in team history, he would score a shorthanded goal, while being two men down against the Quebec Nordiques in a playoff game that was the pivotal point in the Flyers winning the series. What made that moment even more special was the broken rib that allowed Dave to play only in two full games over the previous month. Unfortunately both Dave and the team wouldn't have much left for the final series against Edmonton.
The 1985-86 season started with much promise. The young team fresh off the heels of a Stanley Cup finals appearance and rattled off 10 straight wins. But tragedy struck when Pelle Lindbergh, the Flyers all-star goalie was killed in an auto accident. It was Poulin who kept the team together, even if it was at his own emotional expense. It was Dave that gave a heart wrenching eulogy at Lindbergh's private memorial service. It wouldn't be the last emotional rollercoaster for Dave. His wife would end up delivering twins almost 3 months early. Weighing barely 2 pounds each, the twins would have to end up fighting their way to health - which they did, arriving home for Christmas.
In 1987, the NHL's all-star game was replaced with "Rendezvous", a two game series against the Soviets. In the first game, in the waning moments, Dave Poulin tipped in a shot into the Soviet net for the game winning goal. But just like their cup run in 1985, injuries plagued Poulin during the playoffs, but again, just like in 1985, Dave showed what a leader he was through his injuries. Poulin suffered a cracked rib during their first round series against the Rangers. He was unable to play the first 6 games of their second round series against the Islanders. He ended up scoring two goals in game seven as the Flyers sent their second team from New York packing. In their semifinal series against Montreal, Poulin was unable to play the first 5 games, but in game 6, Dave scored a shorthanded goal on their way to a 4-3 comeback victory and their second trip to the finals in three years. Unfortunately, 1987 would wind up just like 1985 against after losing to Edmonton - this time in 7 games.
The 1987 off-season had its ups and downs. On June 11th Dave would be named winner of the Selke award as the NHL's best defensive forward. The down time came during training camp for the Canada Cup. Poulin was the last cut made from Team Canada. He didn't play like himself and wasn't able to crack the lineup. That seemed to be start of the downslide of Poulin's Flyer career. Concussions, separated shoulders and even a heart scare (a rapid heartbeat in a December 16th 1988 game) where among his injuries. A fractured finger didn't stop Dave in a 1989 playoff game against Washington. He had a hole cut into his glove and went on to score a game winner.
Bad coaching led to a slip of production, as new coach Paul Holmgren, reduced his ice time and put him into a defensive role. Selflessly, Poulin allowed Rick Tocchet and Ron Sutter take more of a leadership sole. Holmgren misread this and on December 16, 1989, named Ron Sutter as new captain of the team. This hurt both Poulin and the team. It didn't take much longer before Poulin was traded to Boston. Clarke now considers this January 17th 1990 traded for Ken Linseman as the worst trade he ever made. Linseman was acquired to spark some offense, which never really happened. Poulin's locker-room presence was sorely missed by the Flyers. But Boston got exactly the player they hoped for - one of the last players off the ice at practice, a locker room leader and a determined player on the ice. He missed the first two games after being traded due to a contract dispute, but recorded 4 assists in his first two games as a Bruin. In a Bruins playoff series against Hartford, both Neely and Bourque were injured, missing several games each. Each Boston player said it was Poulin who lead them to victory in 7 games. His new team was impressed at how quickly a player could come into a first placed team and carved such an integral niche.
Poulin, a stockbroker during the off-season, would be recognized for his off ice humanitarian efforts as he was named the NHL's King Clancy award winner for the 1992-93 season. He would spend 4 successful seasons in Boston before ending his career with a two year stint in Washington. Once again in Washington, Dave was considered their best player in the playoffs. Unexpectedly, Dave was offered the head coaching job at his Alma Mater, Notre Dame, before the start of the 1995-96 season. Dave retired and accepted the new position, which he still holds. On March 4th, 2004, Dave got another unexpected surprise as he was inducted into the Flyers' Hall of Fame.

Poulin lead by example, which was exemplified when on numerous occasions he lead his team in the playoffs despite painful injuries. Both on and off the ice, his leadership and dedication will be remembered in the annuls of Flyers history.

Regular Season
GP G A Pts PIM +/- PP SH GW GT Sht Sh%
1982-83 2202 2-10 110450
1983-84 73314576 47316 36118516.76
1984-85 73304474 59431 45017417.24
1985-86 79274269 49202 62118114.92
1986-87 75254570 53471 35115516.13
1987-88 68193251 32171 53012515.2
1988-89 69181735 4941 5408122.22
1989-90 289817 1250 0114619.57
TOTAL 467161233394 30316612 2727495116.93

GP G A Pts PIM +/- PP SH GW OT Sht Sh%
1983P 3134 910 000
1984P 3000 2-40 00050.00
1985P 11358 6-10 2002015.00
1986P 5202 2-41 0001020.00
1987P 15336 1411 1002114.29
1988P 7268 451 0101315.38
1989P 196511 1650 2212722.22
TOTAL 63172239 5333 5319617.71

NHL Awards & Honours

Season Award
1986-87Frank Selke : Best Defensive Forward

Team Awards

Season Award
1983-84Yanick Dupre Memorial : Class Guy

Seasons In All Star Game

Season 1985-86 1986-87 1987-88


Date # Score Goalies
21-Jan-841 New York Islanders 1 - FLYERS 7B.Smith
22-Mar-842 Pittsburgh Penguins 4 - FLYERS 13D.Herron
7-Mar-853 Washington Capitals 6 - FLYERS 9P.Riggin
24-Nov-854 Pittsburgh Penguins 4 - FLYERS 7D.Herron
18-Dec-865 New York Islanders 4 - FLYERS 9B.Smith(2) K.Hrudey(1)

Penalty Shots

Date Shooter Opponent Goalie Goal?
30-May-85Dave Poulin@ Edmonton OilersGrant FuhrNo
6-Mar-86Dave Poulinvs Toronto Maple LeafsDon EdwardsNo

Playoff Overtime Goals

Date Opponent Score Result Time
9-May-89@ Montreal Canadiens2-1W5:02

Regular Season Overtime Goals

Date Score Time
5-Mar-85Flyers 5 @ New York Islanders 42:18
26-Mar-87Quebec Nordiques 2 @ Flyers 33:22

Seasons Leading Flyers In Assists

Season Amount

Flyers History Logo

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