Only five games remain in this lockout-shortened regular season for the Philadelphia Flyers. These five games serve as a tryout period for players to show why they should or shouldn't stay beyond next season. Some players have already been written off, as it may not make much sense to keep for the future.
Many difficult decisions have to be made this summer, including players that have had extended stints as Flyers.
With a horrible season coming to a close, it's time to count the positives
The easiest way to feel positive about things in the present for the Flyers is to relate them to the future. And the best way to do that is to take a look at the youth.
We are seeing Oliver Lauridsen and Erik Gustafsson get playing time, the Schenn's (Older brother Luke and younger brother Brayden) are both standing out in a good way, and Sean Couturier is taking advantage of increased ice time.
Couturier, specifically, is fantastic news. He went from a dazzling rookie to a player in a serious sophomore slump.
It's going to be a longer off season for the Flyers than they're used to.
Among the topics heading into the off season is the job security of head coach Peter Laviolette. In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren reassured the safety of his head coach.
Via Sam Carchidi's article this morning:
"I haven't even thought along those lines," Holmgren told The Inquirer in a phone conversation. "I think it's been a difficult year because of the situation. We haven't had our whole team all year. I don't blame the coaches.
The Flyers head to Buffalo where they face another team in a similar position. Both teams have some decent ground to make up in the standings with such little time left. Whoever wins this game could give themselves good momentum or a false sense of hope.
After dropping a 3-1 decision to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, they find themselves seven points back of the final playoff spot with eight games to go, needing a bevy of extremely unlikely circumstances to occur for them to even slide into the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.
"We have a game coming up," head coach Peter Laviolette said after the loss. "We need to win hockey games and focus on the next one."
That may be the only thing the Flyers can do—just try to win with what they have.
(Pictured: Claude Giroux during warm-ups. Photo by Candice Monhollan)