Philadelphia Flyers' 2012-13 NHL Epitaph Forms

By Sean O'Brien
Philadelphia Flyers Ilya Bryzgalov
Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports

Hockey fans are a funny bunch. When orange blood is in the air, they lick their chops and get ready to collectively feed.

These “fans” that I’m referring to are all non-Philadelphia Flyers‘ supporters. They, along with everyone in the hockey world, know that the “Bullies” 2013 playoff hopes are nearly gone.

Many factors need to be taken into consideration when someone begins to write an epitaph about a professional hockey team. One of them realistically isn’t whether Peter Laviolette’s squad can make the playoffs this spring.

Instead, it’s more reasonable to consider when they are likely to be eliminated from the chase. That answer will probably be found at the end of this month, after the Flyers have played five more games.

Before April begins, Philadelphia’s hockey team will have crossed 35 games off their shortened-regular season schedule and will only have 13 contests left to play. I would list the percentages that general manager Paul Holmgren moves into heavy trade deadline (April 3) “sell-mode” at over 95 percent by that time.

“Homer” is going to revamp part of his “Orange Order.” Veterans will be traded to contending teams for younger options. Some promising players on the current roster will be swapped in a change of style as well. Plus, an undetermined number of draft picks will be exchanged, or stockpiled, along the way.

This roster was never deep enough to contend for a playoff slot. As a result, I would allow “Lavy” to return next year.

Of course, Lindy Ruff is the most interesting iced man in the world right now. So, I reserve the right to amend that last statement. Keep in mind that if Ed Snider wants Ruff, he will be made an offer that he can’t refuse.

So, here’s how the epitaph to this unusual season will begin: the storm began to form last summer. That’s the first sentence in the first chapter. There will be plenty of time this spring and summer to fill in the rest.

Follow Sean on Twitter @SeanyOB, Facebook, Google+ and read his blog Insight.

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