Flyers 2014 Year in Review

2014 was a rather lackluster year for the Philadelphia Flyers, from beginning to end. But there were quite a few important moments for the team in the last twelve months, moments which we now look back on in the Flyers Year in Review.

January 1, 2014: The beginning of the New Year

Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)

Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)

The Flyers entered into 2014 with 21 wins on the season thus far (out of 40 games), including four wins in a row as 2013 came to an end. Just over .500, the team would have to go full speed ahead to have a chance to make the playoffs a few months down the line. With 22 wins throughout the rest of the season, they found their way into the postseason (more on that later).

January 6-7, 2014: Flyers at the Olympics

Photo credit: Bleacher Report

Photo credit: Bleacher Report

The Flyers sent five players – Jakub Voracek, Kimmo Timonen, Mark Streit, Michael Raffl, and Andrej Meszaros – to compete at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Here is a brief recap of their performances:

Voracek (CZE) – One goal and one assist in five games for the Czech Republic. The team reached the quarterfinal round but was eliminated.

Timonen (FIN) – Two assists in six games for Finland. The Finnish team took home the bronze medal, the third of Kimmo’s Olympic career (he’s also won a silver).

Streit (SUI) – One assist in and two penalty minutes for Switzerland. The Swiss team was strong defensively in their first few games and Streit had a hand in that, but he was still less than productive, and the team was eliminated in the quarterfinal round.

Raffl (AUT) – One goal and three points in four games for Austria. The team was eliminated in the qualification round, but Raffl was very productive in his short time in Sochi.

Meszaros (SVK) – No points in six games, but he did register six penalty minutes. The Slovakian team was eliminated in the qualification round.

January 18, 2014: Mason gets a new deal

Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)

Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)

After two seasons with the Flyers, goaltender Steve Mason was awarded a three-year contract extension worth $12.3 million. Mason had gone 19-11-5 with a .917 save percentage and a 2.48 goals-against average during the 2013-2014 season up until that point, his best numbers since his rookie season with Columbus. He finished the regular season with 33 wins in 60 starts, and had a 2-2-0 record during the playoffs.

February 4, 2014: The passing of Keith Allen

Photo credit: CBS Sports

Photo credit: CBS Sports

The Flyers community mourned when it lost Keith Allen, the first head coach of the team who soon became its general manager. Elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992, Allen was a large part of the construction of the “Broad Street Bullies” that led the team to its only two Stanley Cup victories in 1974 and 1975. Prior to his time with the Flyers, he was a defenseman in the SJHL, EAHL, AHL, SSHL, WCSHL, AHL, QHL, NHL (for two seasons with Detroit), and WHL before coaching in the AHL for nine seasons. Allen served as the executive vice president of the Flyers from 1980 until his passing.

March 4, 2014: Flyers acquire Andrew MacDonald

Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)

Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)

Andrew MacDonald spent just about six years in the New York Islanders organization before he was traded to the Flyers on March 4th in return for Matt Mangene, a third-round pick in the 2014 draft, and a second-round pick in the 2015 draft. MacDonald helped a depleted Flyers blueline when he came on board, and was rewarded for his efforts with a six-year, $30 million contract extension the following month. In his time with the Flyers, he has 13 points in 56 games (both regular and post-season), with 46 PIM. Most fans would agree that his contract extension was a huge mistake on the Flyers’ part, but he’s one of the better defensemen they have right now (which isn’t saying much).

April 30, 2014: Flyers lose Game 7

Photo credit: Edson Leader

Photo credit: Edson Leader

The Flyers took on the New York Rangers in the first round of the 2013-2014 postseason, and it was a hard-fought series all throughout. The Rangers won the first game, but the Flyers won game two, and neither team had a back-to-back win in the series. Unfortunately, the Rangers came out on top thanks mostly in part to goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s performance in game 7. He faced 11 Flyers shots in the third period and didn’t let one through, and the Rangers won it with a final score of 2-1. They advanced to the second round, where they would take on the Pittsburgh Penguins, and eventually lost to Los Angeles in the Stanley Cup Final.

May 4, 2014: The Flyers mourn Ross Lonsberry

Photo credit: Lockerdome.com

Photo credit: Lockerdome.com

Ross Lonsberry, a left winger who spent seven years as a member of the Flyers (including the two years they won the Stanley Cup) during his fifteen-season NHL career, sadly died of lung cancer in May of this year. Lonsberry also played for the Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings, and Pittsburgh Penguins during those fifteen seasons, and finished his NHL career with 566 points in 968 games and 806 penalty minutes. He appeared in 100 playoff matches and scored a total of 46 postseason points.

May 7, 2014: Ron Hextall, new Flyers GM

Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)

Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)

It was announced on May 7th that the Flyers had promoted Ron Hextall, former player and current Assistant General Manager, to the General Manager position, replacing Paul Holmgren. Hextall spent eleven years as a goaltender with the Flyers, winning both the Vezina and Conn Smythe trophies during his rookie season (1986-1987), and is regarded as one of the best goalies in Flyers history. He spent several years as the Vice President and Assistant General Manager of the Los Angeles Kings before re-joining the Flyers organization, winning a Stanley Cup in 2012. The Kings’ success in recent years is largely credited to Hextall’s system of developing young talent in the organization, which is a system that could greatly benefit the Flyers for the future.

June 17, 2014: Original Flyer Larry Zeidel passed away

zeidel_larry

Photo credit: bill613.com

Larry Zeidel had a less than traditional start to his NHL career. Zeidel had gone 13 years since his last NHL game when he started sending out professionally made brochures to market himself to teams. In his brochure Zeidel was pictured in both a uniform and a business suit just in case a team was interested in hiring him as a coach or a manager or for a marketing job.

Zeidel fight

Photo credit: tmlforum.net

The Flyers hired Zeidel in their first season and he quickly became the prototype for the later bullies. “He helped define Philadelphia Flyers hockey,” said Flyers owner, Ed Snider. “He was a tough son of a gun on the ice and a terrific fighter, a colorful guy and he was that way his whole life.” Zeidel is well known for the picture that was taken of “one of the most vicious stick fights in hockey” between him and Boston Bruins Eddie Shack.

June 23, 2014: Flyers trade Scott Hartnell

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Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)

This may be the move that everyone remembers from Ron Hextall’s first year as general manager. In his first move toward relieving the Flyers of some cap issues, Hextall traded fan favorite Scott Hartnell to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for former Flyer R.J. Umberger. The reasoning was that Hartnell’s contract was 2 years shorter and that Umberger would be a faster skater and take fewer penalties.  After a few hurt feelings and a chat with his family, and long time teammate Kimmo Timonen, Hartnell decided to waive his no movement clause so that the trade could happen.

The move was so shocking that Flyers captain Claude Giroux didn’t even believe the news when he was first told. Instead he chirped Hartnell for a bit until he learned the truth. Whether the trade was a good move or not has yet to be seen, but it sure did piss of a lot of fans. Hartnell’s popularity came from his agitating style of play and his personality as well as his charity work around Philly. Hartnell took a joke about him and turned it into the #HartnellDown foundation which “provides support to charities that support hockey, children and communities around the US and Canada.”

June 27-28, 2014: Philadelphia hosts the NHL Draft

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Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)

In Ron Hextall’s inaugural season as the Flyers general manager, he had the pleasure of staying at home for the NHL Draft. For the first time in the city’s history, the City of brotherly love got to host the NHL Draft. Hextall’s first draft brought in highly touted defensive prospect Travis Sanheim, who has 35 points so far this season with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League (WHL) and Nicolas Aube-Kubel a center with 39 points so far this season with the Val d’Or Foreurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).

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Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)

Sanheim got a bit more attention because of his former allegiances. Before being drafted by the Flyers, Sanheim was a major Pittsburgh Penguins fan. He even took to twitter to criticize Brayden Schenn in 2012 saying “Loves seeing Schenn getting dumbied! #duster #notalent” We assume Sanheim has since changed his tune, but it’d be pretty funny to pull his leg about it.

July 2, 2014: Giroux gets grabby

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Photo credit: Bridget Samuels (BridgetDS)

Over the summer Claude Giroux made himself the butt of many jokes when he was arrested in Ottawa for getting a little too comfortable with a police officer.  The initial news seemed much more serious until we learned that Giroux was arrested when he got a little drunk and repeatedly pinched the butt of a male police officer.  He was released after a night in jail without any criminal charges, but the never ending butt puns will probably follow him around for a few more years.

August 8, 2014: Kimmo Timonen diagnosed with blood clots

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Photo credit: Bridget Samuels (BridgetDS)

Kimmo Timonen’s return to the Flyers was a big question in the 2014 offseason. The Flyers best defenseman could just as easily have retired as signed on for one more year. Fans were excited when the Flyers announced his 1 year contract, but the good feelings about Timonen’s possible last season were killed when it was announced that Timonen had been diagnosed with blood clots in his leg and lungs.

Timonen had a history with blood clots, but his most recent incident was almost life threatening. After being taken to a hospital in Finland, Timonen continued to receive treatment while fans worried about him. It was Obvious that Timonen wouldn’t be starting the season, but there was also the possibility that Timonen would be forced to retire. As of right now, Timonen still remains hopeful that he’ll be able to play late this season and after a doctor check in a few days, we’ll know how possible his return will be.

October 1, 2014: Phantoms debut in Lehigh Valley

phantoms

Photo credit: pennlive.com

After spending five seasons playing in Glenn Falls N.Y. as the Adirondack Phantoms, the Flyers American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate moved a little closer to home. The Phantoms started the preseason against their rivals, the Hershey Bears in a shiny new arena. Unfortunately the Phantoms lost the first “official” game at the new PPL Center 3-1 to the divisional rivals.

November 20, 2014: Lindros and LeClair inducted into Flyers Hall of Fame

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Photo credit: Judecat

The “Legion of Doom” was the most dominant line in Flyers history and Eric Lindros and John LeClair became the most famous Flyers tandem for probably forever, so it’s only fitting that the two were finally inducted into the Flyers hall of fame this season. In the 30 minute ceremony before the Flyers-Wild game, the Wells Fargo Center was filled with constant cheers and applause as the former Flyers had an emotional moment in front of the home crowd.  Legion of doom third wheel Mikael Renberg traveled all the way from Sweden to take part in the ceremony, unveiling the hall of fame busts of his linemates.

November 24, 2014: Passing of Pat Quinn

Pat_Quinn_2012

Photo credit: wikipedia.org

Pat Quinn coached the Flyers through their legendary 35-game unbeaten streak and led them to the Stanley cup finals. That season he won the Jack Adams award for coach of the year for the first time. Quinn went on to coach the Kings, Canucks Maple Leafs and Oilers, winning the Jack Adams one more tiem with Vancouver in 1994, but he is most known for leading team Canada to a gold medal win at the 2002 Winter Olympics; Canada’s first gold medal since 1952.

The Hockey Hall of Fame, which Quinn was the chairman of, announced his passing on November 24th. A number of the teams that Quinn coached for are honoring him through the season with small decals added to players helmets.

December 22, 2014: Rob Zepp’s first NHL game

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Photo credit: Frank Fimmano (FimmanoPhotography)

It’s not often that a 33-year-old breaks into the NHL as a rookie. Phantoms goalie, Rob Zepp however, had been waiting for his chance for years. When Steve Mason suffered a back injury before the start of the Flyers longest road trip of the season, the Flyers called on Rob Zepp to back up Ray Emery. When he started against the Winnipeg Jets, Zepp made history as the oldest goaltender to win his debut game since 1926. Zepp’s 25 save performance in his first ever NHL game helped push the Flyers to an overtime win.

December 31, 2014: Flyers end 2014

Photo credit: NJ.com

Photo credit: NJ.com

The Flyers ended 2014 in a pretty unimpressive way, losing to the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 in overtime. They ended the 2014 part of the season with a 14-16-7 record, statistically guaranteed to miss the playoffs.

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