The 2021-22 Philadelphia Flyers season has pushed every fan to the limits of their fandom. After two shortened seasons in a row, the first full 82-game campaign since 2018-19 felt like the longest season in our lifetimes and the race to the finish line was a marathon unlike any other. But the end has finally arrived and as we can all finally catch out breaths, it’s time to reflect on possibly the worst season in recent Flyers history.
The offseason offered so much hope. The additions of Ryan Ellis and a slew of other players gave the team the facelift it so desperately needed, but with only a few games together as a complete team, the mirage never actually came to fruition. Instead, the injuries mounted to an ungodly level and the team was never able to being putting the pieces together.
Not only has Ellis missed all but four games this year, but at one point they were without all four of their starting centers, Sean Couturier, Kevin Hayes, Derick Brassard and Patrick Brown. While the injuries can’t serve as an excuse, it is wild to look back at just how unlucky the team was against the injury bug.
We watched the entire fanbase bastardize Alain Vigneault, deeming him the root of all evil, claiming the key to success was sending him to the gallows. Upon his firing in early December, nothing actually changed. Something that should’ve been obvious to anyone who wasn’t overcome by anger.
We saw the final game of Claude Giroux in a Flyers’ uniform. A game that offered a quick sliver of a glance into a reality that once was. A packed Wells Fargo Center with a palpable electric feeling that hasn’t been the norm in years. It was a sad occasion for not only Giroux, but for a fanbase of a team that has gone so far astray.
Long losing streaks became a regular occurrence. One 10-game, one 13-game, two separate six-game streaks as well as one four-game streak. Eight of their 25 wins on the season happened in October and early November. They only won 17 times from December 10 to April 27, a string of 56 games.
As a fan, this is the first time in my life I voluntarily didn’t watch Flyers games. There was a time when I’d watch every second of every game. Now, any excuse to keep myself occupied from 7pm to 10pm will do. Sometimes it involves work for the real day job, and others I’ll find a way to do the dishes for three hours. Never did I think polishing a plate to perfection would be more exciting the Philadelphia Flyers hockey.
I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life when I was excited for a Flyers season to end. Sure, some years were more relieving than others, but I don’t recall ever openly begging for the end quite like I have this season. The Flyers can step aside and let the Phillies get their kicks in because the Philly sports masochism never ends.
What lies ahead is anyone’s guess. Hell, there’s a good chance the organization isn’t even united on the plans for the summer. It’s going to be a long but interesting offseason. No matter what happens, there’s no excuse to not make significant changes to this poisoned team. Hopefully they can instill some kind of hope for the future, because this current version of the Flyers needs to go away forever.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: espn.com