John Russo and Jordan Kuhns made their picks for midseason report card awards. On some categories they agreed rather civilly. But on others, the disagreement couldn't have been any more clear.
That is why they had to put their differences aside and work together to bring to you some of the Flyers' studs, duds, and surprises among other things through the first 41 games of the 2013-14 season.
At 20-17-4, and second place in the Metro Division with 44 points, there were certainly a lot to choose from.
(Photo: Steve Mason has been the Flyers best player in the first half. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line)
For a guy who was a healthy scratch just five weeks ago, Michael Raffl has made the most of the opportunities presented to him since returning to the lineup on Nov. 27.
In fact, December may have been the best month in the 25-year-old’s professional hockey career.
During the final calendar month of 2013, Raffl notched 10 points (2 G, 8 A) in 14 games played, including his first career NHL goal against Ottawa on Dec. 9. Prior to the beginning of December, Raffl had just one point in 14 games played.
The Philadelphia Flyers couldn't have ended the 2013 portion of their season any better.
The Flyers defeated the Calgary Flames, 4-1, and head into 2014 winners of four straight and six of their last seven. At 20-16-4, they sit one point behind the Washington Capitals for second place in the Metro with both teams having played 40 games.
Ray Emery got the start for the Flyers, stopping 23 shots for the win. He didn't need to be overly impressive as the Flames didn't provide much pressure, but he came up with key saves late in the game to preserve the lead the Flyers built.
Five games ago, Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds scored just five goals along with ten assists.
Not bad totals by any stretch, but not spectacular for a productive winger known for hard work, physical play, and most importantly, timely scoring.
Since going goalless for 10 straight games dating from Nov. 27 until Dec. 17, Simmonds has scored five goals and two assists, doubling his goal total, and giving a team that looked hopeless in terms of secondary scoring months ago a chance to be lethal in that department.
It was not as if "Wayne Train" wasn't capable. He scored 28 goals two seasons ago, and if a lockout-shortened 2013 season spanned 82 games, Simmonds could have replicated that goal total again, scoring 15 goals in 45 games.
(Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line; October 24, 2013)
The Flyers got a bit of good news and bad news today.
The bad came earlier in the day when the Flyers found out winger Steve Downie would miss seven to 10 days with an upper-body injury. Surely it was going to impact the lineup for tonight's matchup against Columbus.
In an effort that was lacking any the Flyers lost one of the worst games of the season, a 2-0 no-show to the Wild on Monday. They managed just 21 shots all game with 11 coming in the third period alone.
Flyers center Vincent Lecavalier will not be in the lineup tonight for the Flyers.
General manager Paul Holmgren said that Lecavalier was experiencing back spasms and will not play against the Minnesota Wild tonight. Holmgren did express hope in Lecavalier being able to play in Detroit on Wednesday.
A tremendous 6-0-1 stretch seems so far behind in the rear view mirror after a substandard sojourn in the Sunshine State. The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2 on Wednesday night.
In the process, former Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier's homecoming was ruined with the loss, along with former Lightning wingers Steve Downie and Adam Hall.