The Flyers came to a crossroads two offseasons ago.
They could have gone in one or two directions. One side of the path had them rebuilding the team, pushing a youth movement that would make them a dangerous contender in a couple years. The other path was the same win-now mentality the Flyers have had for the last two decades, resulting in a couple Stanley Cup berths and a handful of Conference Finals appearances.
Unfortunately, general manager Paul Holmgren tried to travel down both paths at once and wound up falling flat on his face this season.
(Photo: Wayne Simmonds (front) and Sean Couturier (back) were both a part of the youth movement. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line)
When a certain eccentric Russian goaltender made his way to Philadelphia, fans joked about the one time he made fun of the city of Edmonton, and his then-Anaheim teammate Chris Pronger's departure from the freezing tundra.
"Why you heff to be mad?" he asked. "It's only game."
In that video, you could see Ilya Bryzgalov had fun with the reporters, giving them a unique perspective into his world. He laughed along with them, being as colorful as ever.
Perhaps he should have taken his own advice from the outset to remain happy in Philadelphia. "Why you heff to be mad," indeed.
According to a source close to The Fourth Period, the Flyers are planning on using one of their two amnesty buyouts on veteran forward Danny Briere.
Briere, 35, is expected to make $6.5 million the next two seasons. With the salary cap dropping nearly $10 million for the 2013-14 season, the buyout will free up some much needed money as the Flyers attempt to get under the cap and prepare their team for next season.
If Briere is bought out, he will be owed $3.33 million over the next four seasons.
Since dealing two of the franchise's most prominent stars of the 2000's, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, it seems the Philadelphia fan base has surgically dissected every single move made by the Flyers front office.
The two most scrutinized moves in the past two years though are the dealings of young stars James van Riemsdyk and Sergei Bobrovsky. To be fair, the former was an even trade that benefited both the Flyers, who got Luke Schenn, and the Maple Leafs, who landed the scorer in van Riemsdyk.
As for the latter, Bobrovsky was traded this past offseason to the Columbus Blue Jackets where he won the starting job over now-current Flyers back-up goaltender Steve Mason. After turning the Blue Jackets around and nearly making the post season, Bobrovsky is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the league's best goaltender.
(Pictured: Serge Bobrovsky against the Stars on April 25, 2013. Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
It's over, done, final. The Flyers season concludes tonight in Ottawa where they take on a playoff-bound Senators team looking to add to their point totals and climb in the playoff seeding. The Flyers will look to force Ottawa into a bad playoff match-up and finish the season on a four-game winning streak and above .500.
There are a handful of Flyers rookies who are looking to stand-out for Peter Laviolette as he starts to think about his blue line for next season.
For one, that may not necessarily be a difficult task.
Oliver Lauridsen is lucky he's a 6'6" mammoth of a man. Calling himself the "Great Dane" on Twitter, Lauridsen has been impressive for the Flyers in the 14 games he's played for Philadelphia so far.
Last night was just another example of what he brings to the table and it's certainly helping his cause.
With 6:31 left in the game, Lauridsen's screamer of a slap shot beat the Islanders' Kevin Poulin to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead and eventual victory. It was the second straight game in which Lauridsen scored a goal, both being credited as game-winners.
The New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Fllyers are both in unfamiliar situations coming into the final two games of the regular season. The visiting Isles managed to clinch their first playoff berth since 2007 with an overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night, while the Flyers sit in 12th place in the Eastern Conference and are mathematically eliminated from any playoff contention for the first time since the same year.
It will be the fourth and final meeting between the two Atlantic Division rivals at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. After a brutal 7-0 home loss to Philly earlier in the season, the Islanders responded with a pair of wins to lead the season series 2-1.
A battle of two teams out of the playoff picture happens tonight in Raleigh, NC. What will the storyline be? Will both teams play for pride? Steve Mason gets the start for the Flyers as they take on the Carolina Hurricanes.