This Flyers Season is Finally Over – Now the Work Begins

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Flyers season ended Monday with a pat on the back, a good way to end a miserable season with a 4-2 win over the Devils.

The team finished above .500 (in points percentage), and Joel Farabee scored two goals to finish the season with 20 and become the youngest player since Eric Lindros to lead the Flyers in goals scored for a season.

And he seems to have a nice little bromance working with Wade Allison, who should be an exciting tandem for the Flyers moving forward:

Brian Elliott had a really warm reception before the game, honoring him for making 500 starts in the NHL. He received a silver stick from GM Chuck Fletcher and Rolex watch from his teammates, presented by Claude Giroux, and got to watch a video of his current and former teammates saying great things about him. He then went out and played a solid game, earning the win in what could have been the final game of his Flyers career (although after the game he did say he would like to return again to back up Carter Hart, but the Flyers may want a younger goalie who can handle a larger backup workload than Elliott, who at 36 is usually good for starts as long as they are more spread out) –

Before the game, the Flyers announced the winners of their annual team awards. Sean Couturier won the Bobby Clarke Trophy as the team MVP. Ivan Provorov won the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the team’s best defenseman. Joel Farabee won the Pelle Lindbergh Award as the team’s most improved player. James van Riemsdyk won the Yannick Dupre Award (formerly “Class Guy”) which honors dedication, respect, and commitment to the sport of hockey, but really is the award we in the media present to a guy who is always available to us and who offers good insight into what’s going on through the course of a season. Claude Giroux won the Toyota Cup, which is given to the player who accumulates the most stars of the game over the course of the season, and Couturier also won the Gene Hart Award, presented by the Flyers Fan Club to the player who shows the most heart on a game-in and game-out basis.

Oh, and the Flyers announced that they vaccinated 75 people at the game as part of their push to help everyone get their COVID-19 shot. I’m not sure I would have reported the number, because it sounds small, but the reality is, this has been a very good promotion for the Flyers and every person that gets vaccinated is one small step closer to us reaching herd immunity and turning COVID-19 from a pandemic to an endemic, which is huge.

And that’s it for the happy horse bleep.

The reality is, the season sucked. The team fell well short of expectations. There are a lot of people who need to answer for a lot of the failings of this team.

The Flyers are wasting no time. They have an 11 am press conference with Chairman Dave Scott, GM Chuck Fletcher, and coach Alain Vigneault scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Exit interviews are going to happen. A lot of guys who you saw in a Flyers uniform this season won’t be back. Trades will happen. New draft picks will arrive. Free agents will be brought in. Beginning now, the next four months are the most crucial in this franchise’s history. The Flyers are becoming irrelevant in Philadelphia – which is something I never would have said five years ago, and the only way to avoid becoming an afterthought is to get back to being the franchise that was beloved here, and put together a competitive, likable team that fans will embrace.

It all starts with this week.

There had been some speculation that AV wouldn’t be back. That stemmed from a report in the New York Post by Larry Brooks that indicated Vigneault might not return.

The way it was written was not that the Flyers didn’t want him back, but that AV might not want to come back after what had to be one of his most trying seasons as a coach.

So, I asked AV about what his week ahead is going to look like. Here’s what he said:

“Chuck and I have been talking for a while and we’ve obviously prepared tomorrow’s day as far as our players meeting. Probably take a few more days here to talk to the staff. I think we all need away time to clear our minds and analyze what happened here properly. You can’t do that on emotions. You need to step back a little bit and take the time that you need to analyze this properly.”

That bolded part, which I emphasized, is the critical part of the comment. Can AV step away, clear his head and realize that it was a bad season, but one buoyed by circumstances outside of his control, and find it within himself to come back for another season raring to go in pursuit of the Stanley Cup?

Or, after some time away, does he believe that maybe this isn’t as good a situation as he originally thought when he signed on to coach the Flyers, and then step away?

I’m still 75-25 that Vigneault is back, but two weeks ago, I was 100-0. I think Scott wants him back. I think Fletcher wants him back. But I think this final call is on Vigneault, and I’m not 100 percent sure where he’s at.

We’ll all start to put the puzzle together at 11am.

For more Flyers coverage, follow Snow The Goalie on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also be sure to tune into The Press Row Show as Anthony SanFilippo and Russ Joy provide pregame and intermission coverage of every Flyers home game from press row of the Wells Fargo Center via the Crossing Broad Facebook page, YouTube Live, and Twitter, and their Twitter accounts   

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