The Philadelphia Flyers were riding high after a 2012 postseason that saw them beat up on cross-state rival Pittsburgh Penguins en route to their third straight season of making it at least to the Eastern Conference semifinals. Unfortunately, this momentum didn’t transfer through the lockout and their abridged campaign saw them finish six points out of playoff contention.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” said left winger Scott Hartnell, via the team website. “I really believe that. I think the guys in here have enough character, enough professionalism to go home this summer, watch these playoffs with fire in your step to get to the gym to work out, to skate, to do things that I can do to make the team better. That’s probably the most important thing we’ve got to do.”
Fortunately for Philly their roster is comprised of many key players in the early to mid-20s. Luke Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux and Brayden Schenn are all under age 26 and give this squad the hope and optimism for improvement brought by youth.
“For our team, we had a lot of guys who can make plays and be offensive,” said Hartnell. “In (D zone) we tried to be like a couple other teams in our division. We’re not used to that system. It takes a little adjustment time and this year we couldn’t afford that adjustment period. You start off 3-10 or whatever we were and we dug ourselves a hole. It was frustrating to watch, to play it. I think as the season went on … if this were an 82-game season, we would make it for sure. Our last 15 games, I think we won 11 or 10 of them. If we played 30 more games, we’re right there.’’