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Flyers were bullies of '70s

The documentary wars between ESPN and HBO (remember this post Thursday?) resume Tuesday night with a pair of premieres.

On ESPN it's the latest from "30 for 30," the Morgan Freeman-produced "The 16th Man," a look at the 1995 Rugby Cup and its effect on the creation of a post-apartheid South Africa.

I have not yet received a DVD to review the ESPN film, but I have seen HBO's Tuesday offering, "Broad Street Bullies," about the inphamous Philadelphia Flyers of the mid-1970s.

In fact, I watched it at the Wachovia Center a couple of weeks ago with several thousand Flyers fans, 12 members of those two-time Cup champion Flyers and Mrs. WatchDog, a regular at the Spectrum in those halcyon days of yore.

The show figures to be a tough sell in non-NHL cities, and even many NHL cities outside the Northeast.

But it will resonate with hockey fans of a certain age both from Philadelphia, as there are plenty of nostalgic moments in it, and from enemy camps such as Manhattan and Uniondale.

The documentary does not shy away from the dark side of the Bullies' legacy, bluntly recounting how their style was viewed as a threat to the sport by many purists.

One significant quibble Islanders fans surely will have:

Among the many fights shown in the documentary is NOT the one in which Clark Gillies famously pummeled Dave (The Hammer) Schultz.

Why? I asked producer George Roy, through an HBO spokesman:

"I wanted to include it so badly, but I could not locate an acceptable quality version of the fight . . . The only version I have seen was not broadcast quality, so I could not use it."

Fair enough, but . . . here it is!

New York Sports